If you’ve been following our Facebook page (and if not, you so totally should, why not? It’s awesome), you may have seen a rather futuristic looking concept a few months or so ago, displaying a bus with the ability to travel over and above cars on the road, cutting down traffic, returning the road to cars and enabling commuters using public transport to get to work faster without having to worry about getting caught in the hustle and bustle of rush hour. It would allow for more leg room, the commuter transport numbers and the views that no public transport vehicle can currently provide, all whilst using the same roads, with of course a few tweaks to accommodate such large vehicles. Think trams, but with the added benefit of not bringing everything already on the road to a grinding halt to make room for it.
Check out also: Sony Is Rebooting Its Robotic Developments
The incredible “Straddling Bus” or TEB (Transport Elevated Bus) idea has been sitting around in China’s idea bank for a while now, but like most concepts, few expected it to actually become a reality, fewer still so soon, so what a glorious surprise to see it going into full fledged testing in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province.
Interest was renewed in May when a mini model showcased at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo was unveiled, and a mere month later the announcement that a full fledged version of the model would be ready for test runs in August. Well August is here and here is the TEB in all of its glory.
As the test itself was more of a simulation, with a single bus on a 300 meter controlled track, it’s still not yet known how drivers would adjust or even feel about such changes (it would no doubt take some getting used to, a large vehicle skirting over you), nor how it would operate in real traffic scenarios, but it did help to provide some insight into what it is we would come to expect from it if it did get onto major roads.
The ambition is for the TEB to be able to electronically skirt above the traffic packed street, carrying up to 300 to 1,200 passengers (depending on how many carriages) and travel at speeds of 40mph (60 km). The initiative would cost five times less and take only a year to finish (that’s Chinese efficiency for you), but most importantly, it has already generated quite a bit of interest from other countries like Brazil, France, India and Indonesia.