China is all about the future of transportation. High-speed trains criss cross the countryside, sending people whizzing from Shanghai to Beijing at speeds over 200 miles per hour. And General Motors has even developed a tiny urban car that’s designed just for Chinese urban drivers.
But now a company has designed something called a “straddling bus.” Basically, it’s a huge bus that operates like a train on wheels, and is so tall that cars can drive right under it. Each bus is about two street lanes wide and 18 feet tall, according to Song Youzhou, the chairman of Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Company, which is building these enormous buses.
With Chinese traffic growing rapidly, designers intend to have as many commuters on the road as is efficiently possible. This straddling bus won’t get in the way of any buses or cars currently on the roads, and will only add capacity to the public transportation infrastructure.
In a rough translation of Youzhou’s presentation I found, he says, “The highlight innovation of the straddling bus is that it runs above cars and under overpass. Its biggest strength is saving road space, efficient and high in capacity.”
Youzhou threw out some figures about the impact the straddling bus will have on Chinese traffic. He says they can reduce up to 25 to 30 percent of traffic jams on main routes. Running at an average of 25 miles per hour, it can take 1,200 people at a time, or 300 passengers per cart.
In terms of help to the environment, he says each bus can save up to 860 tons of fuel per year, reducing 2,640 tons of carbon emissions. It is powered partly by solar panels on each bus, but it’s powered mostly by electricity.
Either way, it’s a lot better than getting around on fossil fuels.