China Unveils Massive Experimental Bus
China’s home-made transit elevated bus TEB-1 is 22-meters long, 7.8-meters wide and 4.8-meters tall and can carry up to 300 passengers. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Imagine a bus that puffs out its chest 2 meters high above the street traffic below. A bus that runs cleanly on electricity while transporting upwards of 300 passengers at a time. Imagine a bus that doesn’t flinch at the threat of traffic congestion and merely floats above it. It’s a clever bit of make-believe for the skeptics stewing in their cars in 90-degree heat in the crush that is L.A. traffic.
But for China, more specifically Hebei Province, it’s now a reality. The straddling bus first came to the public’s attention as that one brilliant idea even Elon Musk didn’t think up back in 2010. It was put forward as a means to conquer questions of clean transport, traffic and the evolution of the modern day city. What resulted was a blueprint for a massive bus that would essentially drive over traffic while carrying hundreds of passengers at a time.
How does it work? The bus is like its own moving tunnel with each side supported on two-wheeled walls that lift 2 meters high above the street. The electric powered behemoth then allows traffic to roll easily under it in the ample 2 lane traffic space it provides.
It’s not quite The Jetsons nor The Fifth Element. But for its part, the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) is all kinds of brilliance in its forward-thinking approach to handling traffic and environmental issues. According to Song Youzhou, chief engineer behind the project, one TEB could replace 40 conventional buses. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Up to 4 TEBs can be linked together.
The trial run went off with flying colors, test-driving a 300 meter stretch of roadway in Qinhuangdao. Bai Ziming, another engineer, has promised that the project, while boasting many of the same positive design elements of the subway, will only cost one-fifth of construction costs usually associated with subway construction. At 72 feet long and 25 feet wide, it provides ample elbow room for daily commuters.