It’s finally here. The so-called “straddling bus” that took the Internet by storm in 2010 has made the incredible leap from a crazy design dream to reality. Chinese developers just completed a prototype of the bus, officially titled the Transit Elevated Bus, and have taken it on the road for its first test run. If all goes to plan, the futuristic electric bus will zoom above the roads, easily overtaking traffic jams and slashing air pollution.
The massive two-lane-wide Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) battles gridlock by soaring above traffic and is capable of replacing around 40 conventional buses and saving over 800 tonnes of fuel. The bus would be powered with electricity, rather than petrol. Each bus is designed to hold up to 300 passengers at a time and its elevated profile would allow two lanes of traffic to pass underneath.
The first completed TEB prototype took to the roads yesterday morning on a 300-meter-long controlled track. The prototype measures 22 meters in length with a 7.8-meter width and 4.8-meter height. Up to four TEB cars can be linked together at a time to carry up to 1,200 passengers at speeds of 60 kilometers (40 miles) per hour. Similar to China’s subway trains, the bus is spacious and equipped with many LCD TV screens; however, engineers say producing TEB would amount to less than a fifth of the time and cost of a typical subway line.
The TEB is still a long way away from being implemented on the mean and busy streets of Chinese cities, but the initial test run is a promising first step towards what may be the future of public transportation.