Taking the High Road, With 1,200 Aboard

The New York Times reports on a new public transport design created by a company to fight congestion:

Design for the Straddling Bus, Shenzhen

In a bid to address the country’s problems with traffic and air quality, Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment has developed a decidedly odd-looking, extra-wide and extra-tall vehicle that can carry up to 1,200 passengers.

Though it is dubbed the “straddling bus,” Huashi’s invention resembles a train in many respects — but it requires neither elevated tracks nor extensive tunneling. Its passenger compartment spans the width of two traffic lanes and sits high above the road surface, thanks to a pair of fence-like stilts that leave the road clear for ordinary cars to pass underneath. It runs along a fixed route.

Huashi Future Parking’s outsize invention — 6 meters, or about 20 feet, wide — is to be powered by a combination of municipal electricity and solar power derived from panels mounted on the roofs of the vehicles and at bus stops… The company says the vehicle — which will travel at an average speed of 40 kilometers per hour, or about 25 m.p.h. — could reduce traffic jams by 25 percent to 30 percent on main routes.

The straddling bus could ferry as many passengers as 40 conventional buses, potentially saving the 860 tons of fuel that 40 buses would consume annually, and preventing 2,640 tons of carbon emissions, according to Youzhou Song, the vehicle’s designer.

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