“Straddling” bus–a cheaper, greener and faster alternative to commute

| July 31st, 2010


A big concern on top of urban transportation planner’s mind is how to speed up the traffic: putting more buses on the road will jam the roads even worse and deteriorate the air; building more subway is costly and time consuming. Well, here is an cheaper, greener and fast alternative to lighten their mind up a bit: the straddling bus, first exhibited on the 13th Beijing International High-tech Expo in May this year. In the near future, the model is to be put into pilot use in Beijing’s Mentougou District (bjnews). (The official site of the high-tech expo put it as 3D fast bus, which I think is more confusing, for now I’ll just call it the straddling bus.)


Proposed by Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd, the model looks like a subway or light-rail train bestriding the road. It is 4-4.5 m high with two levels: passengers board on the upper level while other vehicles lower than 2 m can go through under. Powered by electricity and solar energy, the bus can speed up to 60 km/h carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicles’ way. Also it costs about 500 million yuan to build the bus and a 40-km-long path for it, only 10% of building equivalent subway. It is said that the bus can reduce traffic jams by 20-30%.

Here is the presentation by Song Youzhou, chairman of  Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd.


What you can see from the video is traffic jams, what you can hear is noise, and there is also invisible air pollution. At present, there are mainly 4 types of public transits in China: subway, light-rail train, BRT, and normal bus. They have advantages and disadvantages, for example, subway costs a lot and takes long time to build; BRT takes up road spaces and produces noises as well as pollution to the air. How to develop environmental-friendly public transportation? Straddling bus provides a solution. Let’s watch a demonstration.

The straddling bus combines the advantages of BRT, it is also a substitution for BRT and subway in the future. As you all know, the majority vehicle on the road is car, the shortest vehicle is also car. Normally our overpass is 4.5-5.5 m high. The highlight innovation of straddling bus is that it runs above car and under overpass. Its biggest strength is saving road spaces, efficient and high in capacity. It can reduce up to 25-30% traffic jams on main routes. Running at an average 40 km/h, it can take 1200 people at a time, which means 300 passengers per cart.

Another strength of straddling bus is its short construction life cycle: only 1 year to build 40 km. Whereas building 40-km subway will take 3 years at best. Also the straddling bus will not need the large parking lot that normal buses demand. It can park at its own stop without affecting the passage of cars. This is what the interior looks like: it has huge skylight that will eliminate passengers’ sense of depression when enter.

There are two parts in building the straddling bus. One is remodeling the road, the other is building station platforms. Two ways to remodel the road: we can go with laying rails on both sides of car lane, which save 30% energy; or we can paint two white lines on both sides and use auto-pilot technology in the bus, which will follow the lines and run stable.

There are also two ways in dealing with station platform. One is to load/unload through the sides; the other is using the built-in ladder so that passengers can go up and to the overpass through the ceiling door.

Straddling bus is completely powered by municipal electricity and solar energy system. In terms of electricity, the setting is called relay direct current electrification. The bus itself is electrical conductor, two rails built on top to allow the charging post to run along with the bus, the next charging post will be on the rails before the earlier one leaves, that is why we call it relay charging. It is new invention, not available yet in other places.

The set here is super capacitor, a device that can charge, discharge and store electricity quickly. The power it stores during the stop can support the bus till the next stop where another round of charging takes place, achieving zero toxic gas throughout the process.

About the ultrasonic waves put forth from the end of the bus, that is to keep those high cars or trucks away from entering the tunnel. Using laser ray to scan, cars get too close to the passage will activate the alarm on the bus end. Inside the bus, there are turning lights that indicate a the bus is intending to make a turn to warn the cars inside. Also radar scanning system is embedded on the walls to warn cars from getting too close to the bus wheels.

Nowadays many big cities have remodeled their traffic signaling system, to prioritize public buses, that is to say when a bus reaches a crossing, red light on the other side of the fork will turn on automatically to give buses the right of way. Our straddling bus can learn from this BRT method. The car can make the turn with the bus if that is the direction it wants to go too; if not, the red light will be on to stop the cars beneath while the bus take the turn.

The bus is 6 m in width and 4-4.5 m high. How will people get off the bus if an accident happens to such a huge bus? Here I introduce the most advanced escaping system in the world. In the case of fire or other emergencies, the escaping door will open automatically. I believe many of you have been on a plane. Planes are equipped with inflated ladder so people can slide down on it in emergency. I put the escaping concept into the straddling bus. It is the fastest way to escape.

The bus can save up to 860 ton of fuel per year, reducing 2,640 ton of carbon emission. Presently we have passed the first stage demonstration and will get through all of the technical invalidation by the end of August. Beijing’s Mentougou District is carrying out a eco-community project, it has already planned out 186 km for our straddling bus. Construction will begin at year end.

Thank you.

172 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. keegy says:

    this electric stuff is really a GLASS for Chinese.
    GLASS means tragedy in China.

  2. Bill says:

    Its simple to prevent people from doing things that may cause accidents when near this thing: Just make it so that at least one member of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) always rides one of these things and make it well known that they do so. This way if there is an accident, the one causing it will immeadiately get caught by a PAP officer. That should make people think twice about cutting in front, tailgating etc.

  3. Leah says:

    Great concept, but this is either gonna be a hit or miss. On one hand, in most of the cities of China, drivers are crazy maniacs that truly make the road a stage for natural selection & the pedestrians people who j walk like hell, but from my time in Beijing, they’re also ridiculously adaptive so maybe it’ll work out.

  4. Jason says:

    This seems to basically be an elevated rail like what we refer to in Chicago as the “el” http://indospectrum.com/images/photos/chicago-3/cd033_31may04_under_el.jpg

    We’ve been doing this since 1893. Only without the train having the possibility to make contact with cars below. I also think it would be great if the Beijing subway adopted the idea of the “loop” system where the trains don’t just go back and forth on one line but to have a central meeting place where you can pick up more than one line’s train. It would cause less clutter in the center if everyone wasn’t intending to ride the same train.

    • Paul says:

      It’s not though is it? The ‘el’ is a fixed overpass on which trains run. The Chinese concept is for the train itself to be the overpass. Did you even read the article? Watch the video?

      • Jason says:

        I did. Moving a train above the traffic is the same concept as the el. I think China is good at taking an idea and making it cheaper and faster to build. In my opinion this is the el. . Cheaper and faster. Plus, it’s easy to remove if it doesn’t work out.

  5. roozbeh says:

    so good

  6. Eddy says:

    As the saying goes…..” Nothing is Impossible” has proven ‘not in our dictionary’ as far as China is concerned.

  7. GV says:

    What is the length of the bus please

  8. ArnoA.Evers says:

    That is so cool. I can think of so many cities, including my home town,
    where a solution like this would be ideal.
    More here:

    World passenger car production incl. P.R. China

    The graphic of the global motor vehicle production from 1900 to 2008 shows that in the beginning, car production was shared between North America and Europe only. After 1950, other players appeared on the market like Japan and South Korea. China started their domestic car production in 1985. However, the production of cars in China skyrocketed from half a million in 1995 to over 6.7 million in 2008. Once more Asian reality has overtaken all the estimates made by the so called experts: In 2007, 6.4 million passenger cars have been built in China – the quantity which was predicted in 2003 to be produced not before the year 2010. …more:


  9. JET says:

    This is by far the most amazing creation I’ve ever seen! We need this type of transportation every where in the world. In the USA especially; where the pollution and traffic jam are outrageous. Not to mention how much greener and safer the earth will be, also very cost effective.

  10. Chin-Chu-Lan-Cha says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA…..this is the solution to traffic congestion?!?!?!….HAHAHAHAHA….this is a Mickey Mouse band-aid that will only create a more hazardous roadway and will lead to more accidents and deaths on the roads!!….what do Chinese know anyway?…..they always copy someone else. I’m sure this is NOT their original idea, they got it from someone else. Someone else who saw the huge problems I mentioned above. Oh, wait, but in China there is no liability so it is OK to use this hazardous proposed system….life is cheap in China…..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  11. N says:

    This looks like a horrible idea, Good intentions sure, but bad idea. I can only seeing this thing causing lot’s of accidents. think of being a driver under this thing it would be insanely distracting, imagine being stuck in traffic after it does have an accident and the amount of people potentially involved in said accident. The roads aren’t a very safe as they are now, this will only increase the danger. Bad idea.

  12. Marky says:

    simpsons did it

  13. D. Lama says:

    So nothing can exist on the right side of the road, i.e. no more right turns. Ignores the handicapped wheelchair people, they can’t climb stairs. Utopia yes, practical no.

  14. D. Lama says:

    And the entire purpose of elevating a railway or bus for that matter is to make the train or bus virtually unaffected by a traffic accident below it. This system would be stopped too if an automobile accident occurred that blocked the area where the bus wheels ride or a car fire that would prevent it from going overtop.

  15. Johnson says:

    Hmm, I don’t know about this. I think Subways are pretty well the way to go.

  16. adjee says:

    This idea looks very promising but I guess every idea has some nicks that need to be patched up first before they start implementing it. But I do hope they get this thing working, this is gonna be really helpful with the traffic nowadays.

  17. zorro says:

    wow! china going ahead of any other country to control pollution, i wonder how much taxes are the people of china going to paid for such as good idea, i know it would work but it will cost the the people best of luck!

    • Anonymus says:

      nah, probably not… not because it’s not costly like any mass solution…


  18. d says:

    Eh, here’s a though. What happens in you are under one of these things and it’s going slowly at the same speed and the car (Also under) infront of you and behind you. And what happens under the same situation but you what to left or right turn?

  19. Jon says:

    i dont like chinese government, but i love this idea

  20. alan says:

    Some goes underneath, zips through, cuts in front of the edge of the vehicle to get into another lane.

    A crash happens, the coach has no time to stop, hundreds get hurt, or worse.

    Massive vehicles have lots of inertia. You don’t want to invite disaster by letting other vehicles too close. Letting them go underneath seems to violate all common sense.

  21. george says:

    If they put the rails it rides on on an elevated platform like in the middle of highways then the cars crashing into the bus will be much lesslikely. So the bus will ride a foot higher than the traffic. The bus will go down to road level when turning corners. Its route will have to be planned.

  22. Игорь says:

    Молодцы! Китай очередной раз удививил весь мир – отличная идея из Поднебесной, скоро полностью изменит облик городов. Эта идея давно висела в воздухе, но найти решение транспортной и экологической проблеме быстрее всех удалось китайцам.
    Теперь не Китай будет копировать западные технологии, а «развитым» западным странам придется догонять Китай.

    Отлично ребята! Мне очень нравится ваша страна – у Китая великое будущее.

  23. tuff says:

    I donot think it is a good idea. A Trolly-car would be better. How about
    the horse and wagon? Bring in the camels. Give up the cars and take a
    seat on a triple decker bus!

  24. sch says:

    This Straddling bus is not mature for obvious safety reasons as you guys said ;-DD
    But yes, China starts to invent on it’s own. The next flow of ideas will come from there. Vitality + pressure are seeds to creativity . I thing the guys are brilliant.
    Just wait&see (this is all we seem to do in the West anyway…)

  25. SDS says:

    You know they can get rid of traffic congestion quite easily by banning cars and adopting mass relocation so everyone ended up living near their workplace. Everything will be centrally governed, everyone must carry certified identification and nobody is allowed to appear on the streets without authorized permission after 9pm. In these times, the powerful government will direct the flow of trade, force people to purchase certain items and forbid the consumption of others, whilst allowing marginal freedom on others. This will be a truly efficient China. All cargo will be transported in standardized, militarized and streamlined trucks traveling one direction on designated lanes. Limited buses will operate on another lane. The third lane will remain a clearway for transit stops and emergency vehicles. In this China, traffic congestion and all other urban problems will be solved. Push rationalism to its finest.

    You like my China no?

    • pierre says:

      Very surprised to find such a stupid and ignorant comment from some one who
      has certainly never travelled all his life nor has not enough education and objectivity to acknowledge nor acccept the fast evoluting world of today,
      what a pity !
      you better shut your mouth up before getting appropriate information.

    • Игорь says:

      Привет SDS! Было интересно прочитать Ваш комментарий. Вероятно Вы придерживаетесь либеральных взглядов. Вы думаете что, при демократии больше свободы? К сожалению это не так – проблема тотального контроля населения существует и при демократии. Но эта тема выходит за рамки новости.

      Проблема больших городов существует во всем мире, но именно в Китае появился такой проект, как этот автобус. Мое мнение – это не случайно, а стало возможным благодаря экономической и политической модели Китая.

    • shit SDS says:

      SUPPORT pierre! SDS, you’re so nasty

    • charlie makan says:

      If you keep your month shut, people will not call you dumb!

    • David Li says:

      You simply make me feel you an idoit.
      Want to be respected? First respect others.


    Me gustaría saber la forma de obtener información detallada respecto a la empresa y la manera de conseguir una representación.

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