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What If Buses Could Pass Over Cars?

The latest from China: a concept for street-straddling buses that cars could pass underneath. The giant vehicles could improve worsening traffic and already-dire pollution levels, taking the place of many conventional buses.
May 31, 2016, 5am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Keep the upper decks, lose the lower decks. Make everything bigger.
Roman Pavlyuk

In case you missed it, a new transportation concept promises to ease traffic and lower pollution all at once. Linda Poon writes, "Participants at the 19th International High-Tech Expo in Beijing [...] watched excitedly as a tiny 'straddling bus' gobbled up cars and spit them back out as it glided above the traffic in a model city. It's a replica of what could be the future of China's public transport."

While it has been labeled a bus, the vehicle runs on tracks on either side of the road. Its potential passenger capacity is striking. "The bus would span two traffic lanes and carry up to 1,400 passengers. It would travel up to 40 miles an hour above street level on a special track, allowing regular cars under 7 feet high to freely pass underneath." 

"The idea, while innovative, isn't new. As TreeHugger pointed out, two architects—Craig Hodgetts and Lester Walker—dreamed up a similar concept back in 1969 as part of their 'immodest proposal' for redesigning New York City." But their concept never became anything more than that. 

Look forward to more developments this July or August, when the Chinese company Transit Explore Bus plans to test a life-sized model in the city of Changzhou.

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Published on Monday, May 23, 2016 in CityLab
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