Public transport tunnels into new dimension

15:55, August 26, 2010      

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Visitors have a look at a model of the super bus system at Beijing science expo. (Source: China Daily/Chen Xiaogen)
Beijing, a city that is being choked by its daily traffic jams, is adopting an imaginative remedy for its transport ills - tunnel buses.

"I was stuck in the middle of a severe traffic jam one day when the idea came to me: I wished that I could drive on a different level to escape the situation," said creator Song Youzhou, 52, chief executive officer of Huashi Future Parking Equipment.

The proposed "3D Express Coach", which was modeled on bridge cranes and the Airbus A-380 aircraft, will travel on rails at a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour and straddle two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to drive beneath its four 10-meter-long passenger compartments, which will be able to accommodate more than 1,000 people.

Song said, that unlike traditional buses, the tunnel bus does not take up road space, and can ease the capital's traffic volume by 20 to 30 percent. It is also eco-friendly, running on both electricity and solar power with zero carbon emissions.

A number of practical issues, including how the bus turns, and all safety issues have been taken into consideration, Song said. For example, what happens in the event of a car underneath bumping into it and now should passengers be evacuated should an accident occur.

The cost of the super bus system is estimated at 50 million yuan for every kilometer of track, at least one-tenth the cost of subways, which cost from 500 million to 800 million per kilometer. And a 40-kilometer-long section of super bus takes only one year to complete, while the same length of subway takes about three years to complete.

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