A couple of months ago, you may have seen plans out of China for a pretty cool idea for a solution to traffic.
The proposal was for a gigantic bus raised up to straddle the road, allowing regular cars to drive underneath it:
The concept design for this traffic-defying bus rocketed around the Internet, which makes sense because we all know traffic is the worst.
Sure, you always try to convince yourself that it’s not that bad — after all, when else will you get to listen to those six awesome radio commercials play over and over again? But inevitably you’ll hit your breaking point because there’s no F***ING WAY THAT ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE TAKING THE SAME EXIT. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ARE ALL OF YOU GOING TO MY NEIGHBORHOOD?
This is why, as city populations around the world have steadily increased, engineers, scientists, and innovators everywhere are desperately searching for solutions.
Solutions like giant, traffic-straddling buses:
In theory, sure, it sounded amazing. Many of us were looking forward to our grandkids’ grandkids’ grandkids’ enjoying it in the future while they ate meals in pill form and downloaded entire seasons of “The Simpsons” directly into their brains (obviously “The Simpsons” will still be on).
China, ever ahead of the game, actually went and built the darn thing.
It’s called the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB).
It’s real, and it’s pretty awesome.
It’s still only a prototype right now, but it’s being tested at full-scale on a 300-meter track in Qinhuangdao.
The TEB is an impressive machine — not just in concept and execution, but in its potential to tackle the big problems that plague major cities.
“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” the project’s chief engineer, Song Youzhou, said last year.
The TEB can hold up to 300 passengers. And according to its designers, one TEB could replace about 40 conventional buses, which means hundreds of cars and buses could be off the roads.
It also runs entirely on electric energy, meaning zero emissions, which is a huge deal, especially in China, where smog and air pollution are so bad that the country often has to shut down parts of Beijing to combat it.
It’s also relatively affordable, as far as big-city infrastructure projects go. “The TEB has the same functions as the subway, while its cost of construction is less than one fifth of the subway,” said engineer Bai Zhiming.
It will still be a while before the TEB officially hits the road.
Some kinks need to be worked out, and China will still presumably have to convince millions of people that driving underneath a city bus filled with hundreds of people isn’t … you know … terrifying.
Once they work out all those details, however, the TEB could be the futuristic, clean-energy, highly innovative solution to traffic we’ve all been waiting for.
For now, though, you’ll just have to keep waiting in traffic and finding new ways to keep your cool behind that car with the “Baby on board” bumper sticker. (Thanks for warning! I was totally going to just smash into your car repeatedly until I saw you had a baby on board. I’ll try to contain myself now.)