I always wondered about the economic efficiency of creating long, safe, underground tunnels for subway systems. Now, a Chinese company has decided that this traditional underground transit system isn’t as good as an innovative, overground system it has just designed.
The company, Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., has come out with a concept “3D Fast Bus” (also called a “straddling” bus) that straddles the road, going directly over cars, trucks, and probably even monsterbikes. (I think you can get the idea from the pictures above and below.)
There is a video about the bus and a full English translation of the video on China Hush. It discusses the various benefits, design features, and practicalities of the 3D Fast Bus.
Michael Graham Richard of TreeHugger created a nice little summary of the English translation and rather than do the same thing here myself, I will just share his summary:
What you can see from the video is traffic jams, what you can hear is noise, and there is also invisible air pollution. At present, there are mainly 4 types of public transits in China: subway, light-rail train, BRT, and normal bus. They have advantages and disadvantages, for example, subway costs a lot and takes long time to build; BRT takes up road spaces and produces noises as well as pollution to the air. How to develop environmental-friendly public transportation? Straddling bus provides a solution. Let’s watch a demonstration.
The straddling bus combines the advantages of BRT, it is also a substitution for BRT and subway in the future. As you all know, the majority vehicle on the road is car, the shortest vehicle is also car. Normally our overpass is 4.5-5.5 m high. The highlight innovation of straddling bus is that it runs above car and under overpass. Its biggest strength is saving road spaces, efficient and high in capacity. It can reduce up to 25-30% traffic jams on main routes. Running at an average 40 km/h, it can take 1200 people at a time, which means 300 passengers per cart. […]
The bus can save up to 860 ton of fuel per year, reducing 2,640 ton of carbon emission. Presently we have passed the first stage demonstration and will get through all of the technical invalidation by the end of August. Beijing’s Mentougou District is carrying out a eco-community project, it has already planned out 186 km for our straddling bus. Construction will begin at year end.
Whether or not this bus would be the right fit for your city, depends on its costs, your city’s density and spacial needs, the population of your city, and other factors. But I think it is definitely a system that could be used in many countries worldwide to solve long-standing mass transit and general transportation problems.
We’ll see what comes of an upcoming 3D Fast Bus pilot project in Beijing’s Mentougou District [webpage is in Chinese (Simplified Han), but Google translate does a decent job of translating it to English].
Images via China Hush