Could this futuristic-looking contraption be the future of public transport?
Unveiled at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo on Sunday, this is the Transit Elevated Bus, designed to help combat gridlock by letting passengers soar over the tops of cars on the increasingly-congested roads of Shanghai and Beijing.
The TEB is powered by electricity and runs on rails. Each vehicle has capacity for 1,200 passengers.
“The TEB has the same functions as the subway while its cost of construction is less than one fifth that of the subway,” said Bai Zhiming, engineer in charge of the TEB project. “Its construction can be finished in one year.”
A trial TEB service is scheduled to kick off in the second half of this year on the roads around Qinhuangdao City, north China’s Hebei Province.
“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” said Song Youzhou, the project’s chief engineer, in an interview with news agency Xinhua.
Song claimed that, as well as being cheaper to produce than underground trains, the TEB could be rolled out far more quickly thanks to the relative simplicity of supporting infrastructure.
An earlier version of the TEB was first unveiled in 2010, when Song Youzhou suggested that it could reduce traffic congestion in cities by as much as 30 per cent.
“The main innovation of the straddling bus is that it runs above cars and under overpasses,” he said. “Its biggest strengths are saving road space, efficiency and high capacity.”