New Ways to Mass Travel
Not everyone can drive to work in their own vehicle. Planners must find ways to blend individual vehicles with hte needs of mass transportation. Building train stations or subways is highly capital intensive and involves years of construction and related dealys due ot construction. Adding buses adds to traffic. Furthermore mass transist needs to be safe, clean and inexpensive. The straddling bus, first exhibited on the 13th Beijing International High-tech Expo in May this year, maybe one answer. In the near future, the model is to be put into pilot use in Beijing’s Mentougou District.
This straddle bus is really a monorail with a wheel. One side of the bus rides a rail next to the side of the road while the other side has a normal tire. Under the bus is an open space, sort of like a tunnel, in which ordinary cars can pass through like in a tunnel. Such a bus is also similar to an old style trolley bus that also rides on a rail.
Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd,describes the model like a subway or light-rail train bestriding the road. It is 4-4.5 meter high with two levels: passengers board on the upper level while other vehicles lower than 2 meters (about 7 feet) can go through under.
These buses are powered by electricity and solar energy. The bus can is designed for speeds of 40 miles per hour carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicle's way. In theory, traffic jams are reduced and the capital costs are less than a train or a subway.
The straddle bus is planned to be mainly installed in China at this time. At present, there are 3 types of public transits in China: subway, light-rail train, and bus.
Subways and trains have a high capital costs and take a long time to build. Buses take up road spaces, are noisy and usually pollute a lot more due to fuel combustion.
To build a straddle bus line one needs the bus as well as the rail system and support systems to be built. For cities without an existing subway or train system, the straddle bus may be a cost effective solution.
There is a potential issue of vehicles that are too high entering into the bus tunnel. The designers say too high vehicles can be warned off by signs and alarms activated by warning laser scanners.
The height of the bus is also a potential issue because people have to climb up to board as well as go down to escape. There are already double decker buses and trains that are exactly the same in concept. The straddle bus also has a emergency inflatable chute which the same as is used in emergencies for escape from a plane.
At the moment, the straddle bus is a Chinese solution for mass transit. It is similar to monorails and trolley cars in concept. The uniquenss is the tunnel underneath which will take getting used to for the motorist underneath.