China has almost 300 million private cars, and some of the worst traffic and air pollution in the world. Auto sales are brisk, crashes and road rage are epidemic, and it’s so dire a futuristic transit concept first proposed 45 years ago might finally get the green light.
In 1969 architects Craig Hodgetts and Lester Walker proposed the Bos-Wash Landliner, a towering vehicle running between DC and Boston with enough space underneath that passenger cars could dive under it. China’s Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment Company (HS Future) introduced a similar electric-powered “Straddle-Bus” design at a 2010 trade fair and updated it a few years later but got no, um, traction, and the concept went back into hibernation.
Until now. HS Future says it will start building the first 116 miles (186 km) of track in western Beijing’s Mentougou District for the “Widebody Elevated Dimensional Fast Bus” aka 3D Express Coach” at the end of the year. It will only travel through the city at about 38 mph (60 Km/hr) but holds 1400 passengers, isn’t troubled by traffic jams, doesn’t need its own dedicated lane or parking lot, and only costs about 15% of what a subway would.
“Can China’s Futuristic ‘Straddling Bus’ Finally Become a Reality?” Linda Poon, City Lab
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