[Video report is from New China TV]
With over 21 million cars sold in China last year, it has overtaken the United States to become the largest vehicle market in 2009. This growth has caused increased traffic jams and air pollution, making the government look for relief in technology.
The Transit Explore Bus or TEB was shown at a technology expo in China earlier this month. Supported by two legs, the Straddling Bus runs on rails laid along the roadside. Those legs allow the TEB to float above traffic at speeds of up to 60km (37m) per hour. While vehicles that are less than two metres high will still be able to drive underneath the TEB - not sure what sounds more worrisome, being in the bus or below it.
“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 is claiming that the buses, which are capable of moving up to 1,400 passengers, could be produced for 20% of the price of a subway train, and placed in operation far more quickly since it doesn’t involve digging up the ground. Also, the TEB would run on electricity, taking the place of 40 buses, and cutting annual fuel consumption by 800 tonnes.
Qinhuangdao, a port city on the coast of China, located in northeastern Hebei province, should have a prototype deployed later this summer. Although, a similar vehicle was unveiled at the 2010 Expo, but didn't catch on.
Also published on Medium.