China is currently developing a bus that is elevated above the road leaving it possible for cars to drive underneath it. This new bus is a great idea for China because it removes the necessity to widen the existing infrastructure (roads.) The Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment Company is calling this new bus the “3D Express Coach.”
This is a great idea because it saves money widening the roads and reduces traffic jams, however it currently only allows for cars less than 2 meters high to travel underneath. In the future this could cause some problems with regulating which cars are allowed to travel on which roads. Nonetheless, the idea is something that can be integrated into almost any existing roadway including large US cities such as New York and Chicago.
Much like many city trains the 3D Express Coach will be accessed in above the street platforms.
According to China Hush:
“The model looks like a subway or light-rail train bestriding the road. It is 4-4.5 m high with two levels: passengers board on the upper level while other vehicles lower than 2 m can go through under. Powered by electricity and solar energy, the bus can speed up to 60 km/h carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicles’ way. Also it costs about 500 million yuan to build the bus and a 40-km-long path for it, only 10% of building equivalent subway. It is said that the bus can reduce traffic jams by 20-30%.”
A radar scanning system will be integrated under the bus to let cars know when they are getting too close to the bus’ wheels. Also the front and rear of the bus will have ultrasonic waves will trigger an alarm that keep trucks and cars that are too tall from going underneath the bus. The busses will run on a combination of electricity and solar power and will charge at “charging posts” along the bus paths.
Construction of the first 115 miles of the 3D Express Coach track will begin in the Mentougou district in Beijing. It was said that by the end of 2010 this part of the track should be completed, however, no major strides have been made quite yet.
It will be interesting to follow this project as it progresses more and eventually is fully operating. If successful, I can see this method of transportation being widely used in other cities making that the existing infrastructure of cities builds up instead of out.
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Images thanks to The Huffington Post