Clean Transport 3D Fast Bus (aka "the straddling bus")

Published on August 3rd, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


3D Fast Bus in China Goes OVER Cars

August 3rd, 2010 by  

3D Fast Bus (aka "the straddling bus")

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.)

China 3D Fast Bus

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].

via TreeHugger & China Hush

Images via China Hush

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Isaac Gerke

    how does this thing turn? looks like it is a pretty solid vehicle

  • handle455b

    WHAT could POSSIBLY go wrong?!!?

  • Tfish

    It would be nice if we hosted this system on a larger scale, stretch it over the entire road and not just a couple of lanes. Placing it on interstate highways here in the US would be ideal. I mean they have all already been laid down, the foundation and platform for this bus would be so much easier to implement for the same logistical application of public transportation then say… a train offer (like the kind which are taking years to install between and on freeways here in Los Angeles). All you would have to do is reinforce overpasses and slap a rail system… then of course create a larger bus which could stress across six lanes. But It would be incredibly more cost efficient then buying land, grading it, and doing all other preparatory work that new train tracks takes. Why spend billions in purchasing all that when we could use the freeways already in place.

    Plus, if you built larger busses they could possibly haul cargo as well.

  • Laptop Skins

    This would work perfectly in a world where drivers never drive into stuff.

  • Raed

    This is obviously a stupid and non-practical idea. Unless, the cars driving beneath will not be allowed to change lanes and this “monster” bus will neither cahnge lane nor turn!

    • oh, the limits of some people’s imagination and innovation skillz

  • gmhendo

    Nice article explaining an innovative and bold attempt to overcome planet-threatening pollution and emissions.
    I was surprised by some of the negative and vitriolic comment. Consider this:
    Perhaps the Chinese drivers are not great, but then they have not had 100 years of driving experience to help them sort things out. Even in experienced countries we still manage to kill thousands annually in vehicular accidents, can you expect other nations to be perfect? I’m quite certain they will learn very quickly.
    Secondly, the Chinese energy per capita rate currently is a fraction of the USA. That is changing fast, and with such a massive population with such a massive potential energy bill, I applaud their willingness to try unproven technology in an attempt to be more efficient and generate less emissions. Even if the elevated system fails, good luck to them for trying it out.

  • Sven

    Why don’t you guys do an article on SkyTran. It’s such a better idea than this. Maglev is the future.

    • Clarkson

      Ya really, just ignore everything else going on in the world, and cover SkyTran. Make it a SkyTran blog.

      ^ Jackass.

  • Dave

    I’m picturing myself in the SUV in the top picture and the terribly distracting sight of effectively entering a tunnel backwards while at speed forwards… If that’s not enough, I want to turn off at the next junction, what then?!

    Further down the road I see the “bus” encountering (at speed) one of those ridiculously tall lorries, stopped at the back of a traffic jam.

    Following the link I see it’s not even 100% decided this thing is going to run on rails and may just follow the white-lines on the road. What happens when one of these lines has worn out, or something is spilled on it and it’s no-longer anything to track?!

    This is one of the most ridiculously hazardous ideas ever! I can’t believe it’s planned to go into production!

  • It’s great to see so many public transit advocates. We recently started an online forum dedicated Public and Urban Transportation. If you have a chance, please take a look at our site by visiting the following link: Transit-Forum

  • SSEnergy

    The train stations would obviously be above the roads as well- highly doubt they would use ladders. Like the transit system we use in Calgary, bridges and platforms can be built over the highway or between roads. Our train also runs through tunnels, on sky rail and through city traffic following traffic lights at major downtown intersections. If it works here, I’m sure it can work in China. Pretty sure they’ve thought this through a little more than you think.

  • I think there is possibilities in this concept. Restricted area roads , dedicated road from and airport to a city.

  • Interesting idea, it’s not clear in the pictures but the rails (or whatever the thing rides on) would have to be separated from the road and protected by guard rails (or raised on something like Jersey barricades to keep people from crashing into the things.

    • Yes, thank you for pointing out the relatively simple solutions to that hazard that several others could not conceive of. Without innovation and solutions to the problems new technologies and vehicles bring, we’d still be riding on horses.

  • Christina

    Wait. How are the people going to get in and out of that bus?

    • on ladders 🙂 truthfully. or something else along the sides to help them up — am sure they would have to be ADA compliant too (at least in the US)

  • Uncle B

    Soon, China will have fewer motor-cars and more buses, electric trains, electric bullet trains etc. They have no endless supply of gasoline either, but they at least have prepared for this eventuality by developing the world’s best nuclear/electric sourced, electric bullet train networks, complete with the ensuing social structures, and they are now up and running, on veggies and rice diets, oil free and manufacturing goods for American and world markets at the lowest prices possible, cutting all throats in the marketplace with high quality, cheap, oil free, products! America with its gasoline guzzlers rolling in from the suburbs to work for astronomical wages to pay for the strip malls, and car insurance, will never produce a product as cheaply – their overhead, their EROI is far greater than their product is worth to start with! As far as Chinese drivers not being able to accommodate the large buses – remember, justice is dealt at the muzzle of a gun in this country and hitting a bus could be costly indeed! behavior modification is a communist specialty after all.

  • Jonno

    If this design ever becomes a reality (which it won’t), there are going to be SO MANY accidents. This is just terrible.

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  • Andrew

    Another example of how China will beat us in the manufacturing of new products via there ideas. Unfortunately the US senate is filabustering Job and other critical bills.

  • Mandy

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve lived in Beijing the last 10 years. These people are horrible drivers, cutting in and out of lanes and crashing into each other on a regular basis. All this insane design does is ensure that any accident taking place under one of these things endangers 1800 people’s lives instead of just 3 or 4.

  • Allen

    This idea was not thought through all the way. It seems like the train is going to be in the middle of the second and third lane. How will cars know when to not change lanes? Or if there is a traffic accident in that lane?

  • Bard

    Bad idea. People would wreck into these so often it would be hilarious. Once again, concept > reality.

  • dykvandykhead

    this could also be called BRT ie Blade Runner Transit.

  • Woo! That IS clever!

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