China unveils the floating bus to beat traffic jams
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Chinese engineers have unveiled a prototype elevated bus designed to rise above the traffic jams below it by straddling road lanes.
Plans for the so-called Transit Explore Bus or TEB were showcased earlier this month at a technology expo in the Chinese capital.
The “straddling bus”, which owes more to Blade Runner than China’s car-clogged highways, is supported by two legs that run along rails laid along the roadside.
Those legs allow the TEB’s giant frame to glide high above the gridlock at speeds of up to 60km per hour. Equally, vehicles that are less than two metres high will be able to drive freely underneath the bus, even when it is stationary.
Each of the gargantuan buses is projected to be able to carry approximately 1,200 passengers.
“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” Song Youzhou, the project’s chief engineer, told Xinhua, China’s official news agency.
Song claimed his buses, capable of transporting up to 1,400 commuters, could be produced for 20% of the price of an underground train and rolled out far more quickly since the supporting infrastructure was relatively simple. One TEB could replace 40 conventional buses, he said.
A prototype will reportedly be deployed on the streets of Qinhuangdao, a coastal city about 300km east of Beijing, this summer.