Public transit in a metropolitan area is all about balance; if there aren't enough public transit options, too many people choose to drive, clogging roadways and adding to pollution. But trains are expensive (and, if above-ground, contributors to traffic) and adding more buses to the road can magnify traffic woes further. Enter the 3D Fast Bus, a futuristic concept vehicle that carries passengers above street level, straddling the lanes below so traffic can pass freely underneath.
Chinese company Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co. came up with the idea, which is more like a massive double-wide tram than a bus, with a fixed route and physical connection to the city's municipal power grid. Running on solar power gathered from its rooftop supplemented with grid energy, the "Fast Bus" is expected to top out just shy of 40 miles per hour, so it's not ideal for long treks. But for intra-city travel in large, dense metropolises like those common in urban China, the 1,200-passenger 3D Fast Bus could be a feasible solution, far-fetched though it may seem.
The vehicle is wide, straddling two lanes at a time, letting traffic pass underneath both when it is stopped and when it is in motion. It's clearly best suited to long, straight stretches of roadway, but the bus can turn and is equipped with signals underneath that give cars traveling there ample warning that a turn is approaching. Radar scanners will alert drivers passing underneath if they wander to close to the bus's wheels, and a similar system would warn traffic approaching from behind if a vehicle too tall to clear the bus's belly.
Sound like one of those cool-but-too-crazy-to-work kind of transit schemes? Beijing has already mapped out 116 miles of its Mentougou District as a test bed for the 3D Fast Bus. Construction to install the proper infrastructure should begin by year's end.
The presentation below isn't in English, but a translation is available via the source link below.
How about bridges, it has to be wider than a single lane of highway, how would you make a turn. This is not a good idea.
My girlfriend almost runs off the road if she sees a squirrel on the side of the road. I can't imagine what she'd do if this monstrosity whooshed over top of her. I feel like accidents might quadruple.
"Sound like one of those cool-but-too-crazy-to-work kind of transit schemes?"
No. It sounds like the same thing will happen to this to what happened to the Concord. Too impractical. At least to the U.S.
But China is a bit more "pushy" if you know what I mean.
The answer to bridges is simple....You build a track that the bus section runs over. Old tech that's been around since trains.
As for accidents, it's just an adjustment like roundabouts, double-turn-lanes, train crossings, and tunnels. No doubt there are people who can't handle those things either and they probably shouldn't be driving if that's the case- or at least chould choose not to drive in areas that they don't feel comfortable in.
An idea such as this isn't something you would stick everywhere. It is a solution to specific areas which are already overburdened by busses. In such places I'm sure the busses and other distractions are no less dangerous than replacing them with something like this. They way it is designed, if you hit the side of the thing, you would have probably hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk instead.
As for ideas that are neat but impractical, I think it's a bit different. This is more like the subway than the concorde. The people who would get on this thing would have been the same people who would normally board a regular bus since this replaces the bus.... and the cost would be the same. So it's not like people would have to choose between a cheap ticket and a much more expensive ticket.
The article explains how warning signals alert cars approaching the bus but what about cars that the bus approaches? Presumably vehicles in front of the bus will continue to change lanes or approach right turns at intersections by partially merging into perpendicular traffic. Granted, drivers should be aware of their surroundings by checking their mirrors, but it's not unlikely even vigilant drivers would move into the path of one of the bus walls on the ground level.
As for turning, the video depicts the kind of articulated joints that are already on buses in many cities. But again, unless they program the traffic lights to protect them and only make turns during those cycles, it would be all sorts of complicated to stay underneath it during a turn, or negotiate it merging into your right of way.
Also, the video has little black and yellow painted loops supposedly demarcating the bus lane but nothing to suggest a fixed rail or guide to help drivers avoid hitting them every 20 feet or so. The same goes for docking with the bus terminal, which is made to look like a subway stop but clearly lacks the benefits to precise positioning that tracks provide. The driver is required to position the bus close enough to avoid large gaps along it's entire length.
I can't wait for the youtube videos when this thing makes its debut.
Then there's the truck driver that is *absolutely sure* he can squeeze under the bus.
Bad idea bad idea bad idea. Talk about getting stuck in traffic! What happens if a car has to dodge an object thrown on the highway or a child or something? If they turn to avoid the hit then they hit the bus. Or at least clog up the lanes frying the guard rails. What a really stupid stupid idea!
It is cool and efficient, but it could use a better name. Why is it even named that?
It's only going 40 mph, the beast isn't going on any highway/freeway I know of. It's for in-city use.
The only way this is gonna work is for long term trips through highway only!!. It will not work in the city because people wont be able to switch lanes while uinder the bus. Personally I think that it will only cause more traffic jams because people are scared of driving as it is add a huge bus that can scare u senseless on the road and it doesnt add up well.
Look at where they want to use it. It is a street with four lanes in each direction. There, it might work. Of course it will not work on narrow streets of european cities, but no one is suggesting that.
As for going undeneath it, drivers will need to get used to it. But it drives very slowely (40 kph / 25 mph max). It will work fine, if it moves slower than other trafic. It will not be that difficult to enter from behind, but sort of scary, if it chases you.
If you read the translation of video, you would find out, they thought of most of those things.
it sounds like a very innovative concept, but what happens if you are driving underneath the bus and need to turn or switch lanes? or as gizmowiz mentioned swerve away from something. good idea but needs some consideration
ok first i was thinking 'what if you have to turn but the stupid bus is blocking your turn' ok brake and let it move over you.. but i was thinking this thing was on rails/tracks and did not turn. just straight shot from beijing to tokyo (ok i dont know my chinese cities lol i know tokyo is japan) or shopping centers on main streets.. tourist trolley kinda thing, then it would be a good idea. but somebody driving this thing, paired with stupid drivers, and the fact that it can turn anywhere it wants.. what u smokin? i would just move to another country, as if any country is safe from Skynet.
seems like if each one held a thousand passengers then they'd be quite a bit bigger than the image shown, that's not even close to the right scale for a thousand passenger bus, lol.
Looks interesting. I think it will work well in big cities.
i've seen asians drive. you're asking them to drive alongside a moving tunnel, that turns on top of that.
The straddling bus can work quite well.
Actually it will rarely whoosh over other vehicles. Most of the time cars up ahead will be spread out so the bus side carriages won't clear them. The significance of being on stilts is to let other traffic overtake it and also not take up the road square footage that ordinary buses consume.
There should be no problem going around gentle curves. Cars simply follow lane lines, which could be illuminated or projected on the pavement by the bus undercarriage. For sharp turns the bus should have its own traffic signal phase.
In typical operation, it will not be over the same cars for long periods of time so cars should not have problems making turns or changing lanes.
Although running on a track is not mandatory, if the bus did not run on a track, wider lanes would be necessary underneath, otherwise car driver behavior would force a single file underneath.
I don't think those yellow and black arches every so often over the traffic lanes will work out. In addition to being obstacles that cars have to dodge, if one got deformed by a car then the bus won't be able to go past that point. Another alternative would be a height gauge that hung behind the bus. The latter might include a curtain that dropped down to hide the view of the bus underside and also flash warning messages for the driver of a truck that was too high.
As far as swerving and hitting the "side" of the bus, that would be no different than swerving and hitting a motorcycle or ordinary bus or truck next to you.
Styles of the bus can be made to be able to go under any underpass that a tractor trailer truck can. These styles will probably restrict the underside to cars less than seven feet high.
The buses that carry over a thousand people would be longer, and segmented so they can bend around curves. The side carriages would still be continuous but telescoping so as not to leave gaps that someone might try to drive or walk through.
Although this is an ideal solution, it will certainly not work, as they did not account any crashes, or errors, which would shut down the whole highway and put people's lives at risk.
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It said 40 "mph", not "kph"
I don't really see the "swerving out of the way" problem. If something unexpected "like a child" is in front of the car, how did it get under the bus? Squirrels and children that get hit under the bus are the children and squirrels that get hit BY the bus today. I don't think they'll be an increased threat.
My only qualm about this, is something that I'm sure can be solved. I'd like to know how the bus handles turns -not the road's turns, but the bus turns. Typically bus routes make turns from time-to-time. I wonder how it will handle that? Perhaps lights to warn people below to slow down and let the bus pass?
Whats wrong with the good old mono rail that moves over the top of the trafic. It worked ok in Sydney, Australia.Just a through!
You mean we dont need all the commuter rails and wasted millions of dollars on trac maintenance? All we need is to buy more from China!!! Where were the city developers at when they started drafting up the crappy space sucking high maintenance traffic stopping transit rail. I think this should be sent to every governors office in the US so we can stop wasting tax dollars.
I really liked the concept of the straddling bus. Buses are known to be the most convenient mode of commuting and passing underneath it is going to be extra special, isn’t it.
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Detailed and informative blog post, which discuses details about the passengers.
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The article was written taking into consideration all details about the straddling bus. Well writtten article!