August 25, 2010

Beijing Traffic Could Be Eased By ‘Super Bus’

China's capital city Beijing, recently named one of the worst cities in the world for traffic jams, and currently deadlocked by a 62-mile-long traffic jam that has been ongoing for the past ten days, is looking for solutions to the serious problem.

One possible solution could be an elevated "super bus."

The bus, the brainchild of Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment, is due to be tested in the coming months in the western region of the city. It will travel on rails and straddle two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to drive under its passenger compartment. The bus will hold up to 1,400 passengers.

The company plans to "start laying down test tracks along a six-kilometer (four-mile) stretch towards the end of the year," Song Youzhou, CEO of Shenzhen Hashi, told AFP on Tuesday.

"From the second half of 2011, we're planning to test the bus with passengers on board," he said. After a full year of trial runs, authorities will make the decision whether to use the bus on a wide scale, he noted.

Youzhou said Shenzhen Hashi was in talks with three Chinese automakers to produce the eco-friendly bus, which will run on both electricity and solar power.

If tests go well, authorities are hoping to install more than a hundred miles of "straddle bus" lines including a route to the capital's airport, Youzhou told the official Global Times.

The "super bus" could ease traffic congestion by up to 30 percent, Youzhou said, as it does not take up actual road space, but would run on special tracks built into the ground.

The bus, however, would not cut out all congestion. Only small and medium-sized vehicles would be able to pass under the bus, meaning drivers will have to use caution when approaching the unit. An alarm would sound if an oversized vehicle attempted to pass, according to a report.

Youzhou said the bus needs to be tested with real motorists in real-time situations to detect any possible problems.

There are currently more than four million vehicles in operation in Beijing. If government data is accurate, there could be 5 million on the road by the end of this year.

Guo Jifu, head of the Beijing Transportation Research Center, warned that traffic in the capital city could slow to under 10 miles per hour on average if further measures were not taken to limit the number of cars on the road.

Private automobiles are currently kept off Beijing roads for one day per week depending on their license plate numbers.


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