China to Test Bus That Glides Over Roadways Later This Year

A bus and light rail mashup, the Transit Elevated Bus straddles existing roadways, letting cars pass beneath.

The Transit Elevated Bus (rendering above) carries passengers over traffic on existing roadways. (Credit: China TBS via YouTube)

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A bus that straddles existing roadways, allowing cars to pass beneath while over 1,000 bus riders glide above, will be launched in China later this year, reports Rush Lane. The futuristic Transit Elevated Bus, which runs on electricity supplied by rails embedded on either side of the road, is really more like a cross between bus and light rail. Because it requires virtually no real estate, it’s being touted as a cheaper, more effective way to reduce traffic congestion.

“With a carrying capacity of 1,200 people at a time, the TEB has the same functions as the subway while its cost of construction is less than one-fifth that of the subway,” said Bai Zhiming, engineer in charge of the TEB project, in an interview with CCTV News.

Though the idea has been tossed around for the past six years, last week, a small working model of the system was showcased at the China Beijing International High-Tech Expo, where it was announced that a pilot will be launched later this year in Qinhuangdao City. Zhiming said construction could be finished in one year.

A 2012 rendering of the project (the first video below) shows passengers boarding the bus via an elevator from a station above the bus, and evacuating via retractable slides in case of emergency. See the model in action and the interview with Zhiming in the second video below.

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Jen Kinney is a freelance writer and documentary photographer. Her work has also appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, High Country News online, and the Anchorage Press. She is currently a student of radio production at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. See her work at jakinney.com.

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Tags: public transportationbuseschina

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