China is dreaming up some pretty radically innovative ideas for the future of it’s cities. The latest idea is this “bridge bus,” which I’m not even sure exactly how to describe. Here’s an attempt:
Basically you take a bus and make it 15′ high or so – just a hair shorter than whatever the standard clearance for overpasses is. Then, you raise up the floor in the middle, so there’s about seven feet of clear space under the bus. Now, you position the wheels to the extreme outside edges of the bus frame, so there’s effectively a box-shaped void under the bus which is big enough for passenger cars to drive through.
Now your bus can cruise around, hovering above on special lanes that are “car-only”, while regular size passenger cars can free – flow underneath.
Check this link for the original story, and a video (in Chinese, but with helpful animations that don’t really need narration).
My gut reaction is that this kind of thing wouldn’t work out so well – but apparently they’re going to give it a shot anyway, and build 186 km of these special busways in Beijing.
This is really remarkable when you think about it. In Houston we had to fight tooth and nail to build a 7mi starter line. In China it looks like they actually grasp the idea that transportation isn’t worth building at all if you’re not going to actually take it to enough destinations for it to be useful, so their “starter project” to “experiment” with the idea is 186km in length…
186km is 115.5 mi – or almost three times Houston’s “ambitious” phase two light-rail plan. That’s Beijing’s idea of a “starter” project.
Whatever happened to the America that could be bold and pioneering and build big and meaningful infrastructure? We need to find that spirit and revive it soon, or we risk a future where America is irrelevant and a communist state controls the world.