Modern transport innovation isn’t just about convenience; it’s about the environment. Car manufacturers and transport authorities have a duty to cut carbon emissions. With record-high pollution levels, researchers in China has unveiled design concept for a “straddling bus” which lets cars drive underneath, saving not only the road space but also help reduce air pollution.
Also known as a land airbus, the concept was the brainchild of Beijing-based Transit Explore Bus, which took their design to the just-concluded high-tech expo in the city. The passenger compartment spans two traffic lanes and sits high above the road surface on a pair of stilts, leaving the road clear for ordinary cars to pass underneath, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.Regardless of whether the bus is moving or not, cars under two meters high can easily pass through. Running along special tracks, the bus can carry up to 1,400 passengers and travel at a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour.
“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” said Song Youzhou, chief engineer of the straddling bus project. He said the bus has the similar function of the subway, but its cost is only 16 per cent of the subway.
The manufacturing and construction lead-time is also much shorter. Furthermore, the design is environment friendly. Powered by electricity, the straddling bus could replace about 40 conventional buses, potentially saving more than 800 tonnes of fuel annually and reducing 2,480 tonnes of carbon emissions, Song said.Some Chinese cities have shown interest in the invention. Song said a vehicle is under production in east China’s city of Changzhou to test its design feasibility. “Our first test bus is planned to be put on track in north China’s Qinhuangdao City at the end of July or in August,” he said. If successful, the straddling bus may ease traffic congestion and help reduce air pollution in China.