Transit Elevated Bus set to enter service in 2017
Like it or not, as traffic congestion and environmental concerns get worse, public transport will become an even bigger presence on our roads over the coming years. In this case, quite literally.
It's called the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), though it's more commonly known as the 'straddling bus'. That's because it stands above the road and passes over the top of traffic when it slows down or stops. Though - disappointingly - the TEB doesn't actually fly; instead its 'legs' ride rails set into the road.
A single, full-size prototype compartment has been shown by its imaginatively-named inventors, Transit Elevated Bus Technology. As wide as two lanes of road and 10 meters long, it holds 300 passengers. And, as you can see, it looks much like a commuter train. Each bus would be made up of two to four compartments. According to its makers, a fleet of TEBs could reduce congestion by as much as 35%.
Said TEB Technology chief engineer, Song Youzhou: "We want use the three-dimensional space in the most delicate, simple and cost-effective way. It will relieve traffic congestion."
According to TEB Tech, one kilometre of TEB track would cost around $20 million, a fraction of the cost of building a new subway line. The company hopes to have the TEB in service next year.
It's an amazing thing, but we do have two concerns. First, how does it deal with vehicles joining and leaving its lanes? And second, how will drivers react to a 130-foot monster passing inches above their heads - at seven feet, it's underbelly is only just above the roof of most full-size SUVs.