China has done it. By that, we mean that China has literally built a crazy traffic straddling bus that looks like a car-eating Godzilla.
Now even though the machine sounds like a legitimate monster, China hasn’t made the machine out of the blue. Well, it has in a way, but we’ll get to that part later in the post.
China had been fiddling with the concept of manufacturing a large bus that straddles several lanes of vehicles to transport commuters to their desired locations. The main advantage of using such a superstructure is that the machine does all that work without causing traffic problems.
Till now, the idea of building such a machine only existed in computer rendering software and animation studios.
But now, China has created the life-size model which will start a test phase in Qinhuangdao, China.
Indeed, it is the latest attempt by the Chinese people to modernize their country’s public transport means and revolutionize the way people travel from one destination to another.
China is already notorious for building massive networks for transport modes such as cars, buses, subways and trains but now the Chinese people have outdone themselves by introducing a giant bus that rides above the roads.
It is so big and so wide that cars can pass beneath it without any problems. Not only that, the giant traffic straddling bus costs very little to manufacture.
The design for the traffic straddling bus came from a company known as Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Company. That is indeed a long company name, but the primary service the company provides to its clients is of problem-solving.
The straddling bus is the solution to China’s massive transport problems to some extent. The traffic straddling bus is a cross between a bus and a train and it can move through wheels on a set of rails that are installed along the edges of your regular traffic lanes.
The main feature is that the traffic straddling bus can leave space beneath it for other cars and trucks to pass by without any hindrance.
Vehicles as high as 14 ft high can pass safely beneath the traffic straddling bus. The traffic straddling bus is built in a way that it is very cheap to produce when compared to other transport methods such as subways.
Also, the traffic straddling bus doesn’t take a lot of space when compared to a train. Trains require separate train lines and come with their own set of problems because of the massive infrastructure investment that is necessary for a railway transport service.
Most of all, the traffic straddling bus reduces traffic congestion almost as soon as it is installed in an area.
The traffic straddling bus has an all-electric system and is powered by solar energy along with generated electricity from the grid.
There is no hiding the fact that traffic in places like Beijing is depressing if not outright atrocious. And the central part of the problem is the number of buses that run inside the city. These buses crowd the streets, and that leads to supernova like traffic jams in China.
The traffic straddling bus, however, is a genuinely mass transit option in the sense that it can swallow around 1300 passengers at any given time.
You can easily imagine the effect this type of mass transport will have on the streets of Beijing when tens of regular buses are replaced by these traffic straddling buses.
The Chinese government approved the pilot program in 2010 for Beijing’s Mentougou district, and now manufacturers have delivered after six years of hard work and suffering.
The once wacky dream project has now become a reality as the traffic straddling bus from China made its first test run in Qinhuangdao which is in Hebei province in China.
The project had started to lose steam since it was announced back in 2010. However in May at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo, the traffic straddling bus project received considerable interest and just one month later, manufacturers over delivered by releasing a behemoth that is officially known as Transit Elevated Bus.
The traffic straddling bus will be able to travel at a speed that can reach up to 60 kilometers per hour which is comparable to the rate a subway travels at when in full flight.
The only difference would be that transport through Transit Elevated Bus would cost five times less.
For now, the initial working model of the traffic straddling bus won’t be put under the immense traffic pressure of Qinhuangdao streets.
Right now, even though the project is finished, it is still in testing phase because manufacturers want to introduce the new concept slowly to the public.
The transit elevated bus currently is limited to a track that is 300 meters long. The track has very few turns and doesn’t present any huge traffic challenges.
But as with everything that is made to stay, the elevated bus will be put into full service slowly over a period of weeks if not months.
To those wondering how a mammoth transit elevated bus like this one would work with traffic challenges such as intersections and turns when it gets out in the open then you don’t need to look any further than bus lanes.
Bus lanes are special lanes made exclusively for buses. Theoretically speaking, the Chinese government could give out orders for an additional phase built into the current traffic lights system.
That new traffic lights system would hold the car traffic for the duration that the transit elevated bus needs to go past such an intersection or turn.
Critics have cited two huge problems with the system if it is indeed implemented citywide or even across the whole country that is China.
First, the government or the manufacturing company itself would have to build elevated bus stations, and that would bring the overall cost of the project closer to traditional means of mass transport.
Secondly, it would be hard to operate more than a single transit elevated bus at any given time around a circuit.
That could lead to other problems such as passengers having to wait a long time before the transit elevated bus completed its full course and came back to the station. A simple loop could solve this problem, but nothing of that sort has been proposed yet.
And of course, we certainly cannot ignore the fact that the transit elevated bus would work best when the traffic isn’t congested, and the traveling routes are straight.
Let’s also not forget the fact that there would be considerable problems if vehicles that are over 14 foot high get on the same road as the transit elevated bus.
Have we discussed people who like to jaywalk or not? Jaywalking is a serious problem in the presence of a traffic straddling bus because it could lead to an increased number of fatalities through road accidents.
Some people have also discussed the idea of a traffic straddling bus as an unproven one when compared to mass transport modes such as Bus Rapid Transit and light rail.
Whether traffic authorities would be able to implement the changed traffic rules (such as people not jaywalking or no vehicles over 14 feet high) around these gigantic traffic straddling buses, is another question that, as of now, remains unanswered.