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.

1 minute read

May 31, 2016, 5:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


The fronts of three double-decker buses in London

Keep the upper decks, lose the lower decks. Make everything bigger. | Roman Pavlyuk / flickr

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.

Monday, May 23, 2016 in CityLab

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Ice fishing tents surrounded by fence in Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused people in parking lot in Denver, Colorado.

An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans

Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.

March 1 - High Country News

An electric bicycle is shown with the legs of a human who is riding the e-bike.

Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16

State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.

March 1 - Oregon Capital Chronical

Aerial view of canal cut into beach in Charlestow, Rhode Island with boats parked in sand.

Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year

Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.

March 1 - University of Rhode Island

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.