With notorious traffic jams and suffocating air population levels, a revolutionary idea to transform current transport services cannot come a moment too soon. Originally dreamed up in 1960s America, it is now another country that has taken on the mantle of achieving these aims for its rapidly growing population.
The Facilitate4Me Change Practitioner of the Month Award for May 2016 goes to…China – for wetting our appetites with the vision of public transportation in the form of the Transit Elevated Buses (TEB) – which straddles cars, avoids traffic jams and reduces pollution.
At the 19th International High-Tech Expo held recently in Beijing, a model bus and road track was unveiled. The new buses would be able to carry more than a thousand passengers and glide over cars ahead of them without taking up extra space on the road. The bus would span two traffic lanes and travel up to 40 miles an hour above street level on a special track, allowing regular cars under 7 feet high to pass underneath uninhibited. And for the drivers who may be fearful or feel anxious about a great big bus passing over their heads, it will be comforting to know that the buses’ underbellies have been designed to stimulate the sky.
As reported by the chief engineer Song Youzhou in CityLab, the TEB also benefits the environment in a variety of ways as the buses:
- Would run on electricity,
- Would replace the equivalent of 40 buses and
- Would ultimately reduce annual fuel consumption by 800 tons and carbon emission by approximately 2,500 tons.
- Would also be less expensive than implementing a subway system as it does not require excavation
Trial operations are scheduled to begin at the end of this year. In a country with more than 20 million new drivers each year since 2010 (according to the Wall Street Journal, one in five Chinese people have a license), such change is timely.
If China can pull this off, is there any reason why the idea won’t be replicated in other traffic-heavy cities around the world to revolutionise the age-old transport industry?