The number of cars in Beijing is expected to double by 2015, the Beijing Transportation Research Center told Global Times. By the end of 2009, Beijing had 4 million cars.
A taxi driver said it more succinctly: “We’re making another Great Wall, it’s just that this one is a wall of cars.” Relief could come from a monstrous contraption called the straddle bus.
The monstrosity of a bus will sit on 7 foot tall legs. The two bus legs leave a “tunnel” wide enough for two lanes of small or medium-sized vehicles to drive right through under the moving bus.
No busses will take space from other cars or impede traffic by weaving in and out of stops.
The new elevated super bus will be road-tested in western Beijing by the end of this year, says Global Times.
If everything goes according to plan, more than 180 kilometers of the straddle bus line will be built, all the way out to the airport.
Laser scanners between the legs scan vehicles and warn them to keep a safe distance. The bus will be fitted with an ultrasonic detector on its tail to measure the size of incoming vehicles and deny entry to the oversized.
The price of one kilometer of straddle bus line comes to about 50 million yuan ($7.3 million,) that’s 10 percent of the cost of a subway.
Powered by electricity and solar power, the straddle bus can travel up to 60 kilometers per hour, with a maximum capacity of 1,200 to 1,400 passengers.