A model of the Transit Elevated Bus is displayed at the Beijing International High-tech Expo on May 20.[Photo/China Daily]
A bus that straddles highway lanes to allow cars to pass beneath－a sort of moving tunnel－is set for a test run in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, in August.
The bus is said to be the first of its kind.
Called a Transit Elevated Bus, it looks like a giant double-decker but is hollow on the ground floor. Passengers can sit on the top floor while cars move below.
“TEB is a brand new tool for urban transportation that can help ease traffic congestion by creating roadway space,” said Song Youzhou, chief engineer at TEB Technology Development.
About 35 percent of traffic jams can be avoided with the use of TEBs, the company’s website claimed.
Vehicles with a height less than two meters will be able to drive under the bus.
“The TEB and vehicles running within it can drive on roads without interfering with each other, which avoids the scrambling for the road between traditional buses and private cars,” Song said.
According to Song, a four-car TEB is 54 meters long, 4.5 to 4.7 meters high and 7.8 meters wide. It can hold 1,200 to 1,400 passengers, many times more than a traditional bus.
“Its carrying capacity is near that of a subway, but the cost of manufacturing and installing a TEB is much lower,” Song said.
Manufacturing of the first TEB is underway and will be finished by July, after which it will be tried in Qinhuangdao.
Zhoukou, Henan province, plans to build a special 120-kilometer line that will allow the running of TEBs.
The company has also signed letters of intent with countries including Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Indonesia and Argentina.
It is expected that more than 400,000 TEBs will be needed in the next few decades, the company said.
Another feature of the TEB is that it is driven by electricity, which is more environmentally friendly than gasoline.
“It’s indeed green and highly efficient in transiting passengers, but its operation needs supporting urban road systems,” said Yin Yu, an engineer at China Road and Bridge Co.
Yin said that redoing the roads is not easy and involves demolishing existing houses.
“But it may be easy to popularize the TEB in new zones where most of the roads are wide and some are still under construction,” he said.