Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) completes successful trial run in China

Back in May this year, there was this video that came along in the social media showing a straddling bus that could drive over vehicles stuck in traffic jams. Coming from China, a country notorious for congestion and traffic jams, we dismissed it as a 'too good to be true' imagination that's not going to make it out of virtual reality. 

Needless to say we were shocked when we learnt earlier this month that a working prototype of the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB-1), as the straddling bus is called, made its official test run in the city of Qinhuangdao, China's Hebei Province. Running on guided rails laid on either sides of a two-lane highway, the test run lasted just 300 meters.

As you can see from the pictures, at 22 m long and 7.8 m wide, the bus is massive and can be intimidating at first glance. The bus has a maximum speed of 60 km/h and runs 2 m above the road, letting other vehicles drive underneath. Each of these behemoths can carry up to 300 passengers. Multiple units could be coupled using concertina connections like the ones we have in articulated buses. A key fact highlighted during its test run was that a TEB network costs only a fraction of what it takes to build an underground metro while serving the same purpose. 

While all that is cool, what's not is its approximately 50 m turning radius and the need to control wheels on either sides to run at different speeds to take turns. Cities adopting this mode of transport better have wide and straight roads with minimal turns! 

The designers of the concept apparently referenced German trams for standards and control systems while the developers say the height and length of the bus are customizable and can be designed to accommodate the needs and infrastructure of different cities. 

Expectedly, the news of the Transit Elevated Bus on test created quite a stir globally but it appears not all are convinced this could be a potential solution for our traffic woes. While its feasibility and safety will continue to be discussed and debated, let's see if the trial run paves way for a full-fledged working model. If the time taken to transform this from concept to reality is any indication, we can expect that to happen pretty soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment