Some years ago, ideas were thrown around in China on how public transportation can combat traffic congestion and an audacious idea surfaced: an enormous bus that straddles on regular road while allowing other road users, namely automobiles, to continue to use the road beneath. In a way, the “Transit Elevated Bus” or “TEB” as it is called, creates a moving tunnel of sort as it goes about picking and dropping commuters. Think of the TEB as the lovechild of a bus and a train. This means, it won’t be able to move freely like a bus; instead, it travels on track much like rail transit, but it will be much more cost effective and faster to build as compared to an actual rail system.
A miniature model of this ambitious mass transportation system was unveiled years ago and today, officials in Qinhuangdao City in China province of Hubei has finally unveiled a working prototype which they demoed on a short 300-meter track. The bus itself isn’t as long as the original concept pitched. As you might have imagined, short track and short bus are hardly a brilliant recipe for real-world test as actual environment like turns and traffic lights are not put to the test and that’s not to mention it moves at an extreme slow speed. Still, it is a step closer to reality.
We imagine it is going to be gargantuan task implementing this if this “bus rail” were ever given the green light. Existing road conditions such as bridges will pose some serious issues, more so in China where bridges’ height standard varies from place to place. Experts, however, countered that they can consider lowering the roads under bridges that don’t provide enough vertical room. Anywho, it is still too early to deal with that, or any other foreseeable issues for that matter. For now, TEB must prove that the concept will work as pitched and in the event it does see the light of day, the TEB will one day ferry around 1,200 passengers, traveling at speeds of 60 km/h (37 mph) across the city.
Images via Xinhua News.