Futuristic “Straddle Bus” Could Drive Over Rush-Hour Traffic and Help Save the Environment

May 26, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

Straddle bus
Photo credit: Screengrab from New China TV video

Just one straddle bus could replace 40 conventional buses.

Transit Explore Bus, a Beijing-based company, unveiled its latest design for a futuristic “straddle bus” at the International High Tech Expo in Beijing.

Basically, if you’ve ever dreamed of soaring above all of the gridlock-packed cars during rush hour, the straddle bus may go on to make that a reality.

“I had the idea when I was doing research on the road for the designs of innovative parking slots for bikes and cars,” Youzhou Song, the vehicle’s designer, said in an interview with the New York Times. “I saw the traffic jams and wondered if it’s possible to make buses high up in the air as well.”

The futuristic design runs 200 feet (60 meters) long and nearly 26 feet (8 meters) wide, and any cars less than 7 feet (2 meters) can travel underneath — whether the bus is moving or stationary. Picture a streetcar shaped like an arch. The bus would glide about 6.5 feet (2 meters) above the street on a set of rails.

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The main goal of the design is to ease road congestion, creating a new means of mass transportation without having to install costly subway systems. Song told the NY Times that a bus along with about 25 miles of route facilities would cost $7.4 million — roughly one-tenth of what it costs to build a subway of the same length.

What’s more, the bus can carry up to 1,400 passengers at a speed of 37 miles (60 kilometers) per hour. The vehicle’s large size means it could replace about 40 conventional buses, which would in turn have considerable environmental benefits.

It’s designed to be powered by electricity, so the straddle bus could save over 880 tons of fuel each year, reducing carbon emissions by about 2,730 tons.

As of now, the straddle bus remains a concept, but the company plans to construct a working prototype in eastern China sometime after late July.

To see the idea in motion, check out the straddle bus video below.

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