A bus tested in China this week carries 300 passengers without getting in the way of cars. That’s because it straddles the road leaving a two meter high, two lane gap for cars to drive through.
The electrically-powered Transit Elevated Bus is 72 feet long and 25 feet wide and is designed to perform the same functions as a subway network at less than 20 percent of the cost. Up to four of the buses can be chained together.
The vehicle does need some infrastructure in the form of 16-inch rails placed alongside the roads, but the design means this shouldn’t be particularly disruptive. However, it would make it unworkable for some roads with low bridges or overpasses.
While it would mainly be used on major road routes without turns, there is a potential solution for turning on major, large intersections. The idea is that the bottom of the bus would have lights, coordinated with the main traffic lights. These would tell cars to stay in place while the bus continued moving and made the turn along curved rails.
The development of a full-size working vehicles has been surprisingly quick, with the first small-scale model having only been unveiled in May. However, there’s no word of any cities signing up to use the technology.