Too Expensive to Go Under? Go Over...What if there was a way to get most of the benefits of a subway, but without the costs of digging up all those tunnels? The Chinese company Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co. thinks it might be able to do just that with a concept it calls the 3D Fast Bus (which has also been called the straddling bus), and kind of giant bus/train that straddles the street and allows cars to drive right under it. This means that it isn't slowed down by traffic and it doesn't add to traffic either. Read on for more details and a video showing a rendering of the 3D Fast Bus in action.
The presenter in this video is Song Youzhou, chairman of Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., the company that is proposing the 3D Fast Bus. Chinahush has a translation of what is said at the bottom of this post. Here are some highlights:
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.
Compromise Between BRT and SubwayIt's certainly a very interesting idea. Now we'll have to see if it can be pulled off without too many cost overruns and technical problems (though we might never know, China isn't exactly transparent about that stuff). Most cities would probably still be better off with a BRT, but in places where land is at such a high premium that you can't spare extra lanes for buses, and where it would just be too expensive and take too long to build a subway, this type of technology might be a good compromise.
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