Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Bus That Rides Above Traffic

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the that's-not-gonna-work dept.

Transportation 371

An anonymous reader writes "China is the new tech king. They're developing a new, two-lane bus system that travels over traffic below. It's claimed to cost 10% of a subway system and use 30% less energy than current bus technologies." This one has been boggling my brain. I can't see how this is a good idea or safe. But it sure is awesome.

cancel ×

371 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Shades of Oakland (2, Interesting)

Ora*DBA (101576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125118)

Someone should send them pics of the Oakland freeway that collapsed in an earthquake - back in the 90's, was it? During a World Series. Isn't much of China an earthquake zone?

Re:Shades of Oakland (4, Funny)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125228)

So you are worried about a bus collapse?

Re:Shades of Oakland (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125508)

Am I imagining things or is there a palm tree in one of those pictures? And a Jeep Grand Cherokee??

Re:Shades of Oakland (4, Funny)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125594)

I was wondering why all the people getting onto the bus were caucasian, myself.

That is bloody clever. (4, Funny)

_0rm_ (1638559) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125124)

Countries can still one-up China by designing a bus that can leverage existing roads.

Truck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125128)

Well shit.

Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the rail. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125164)

From the sketches it appears the buses use a rail on one side to help guide them, this is probably the biggest failure point. All it will take is someone crashing into the rail to cause a delay for the bus until it can be repaired. Seems like they would be better off just building an elevated road for buses only. My first though was that the buses would just use rails like a train that were set to be flush with the road so cars could easily change lanes. Only problem there would be debris de-railing them. The best solution would be to let everyone telecommute and invest in laying fiber for greater bandwidth. ;)

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (2, Interesting)

IICV (652597) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125290)

Yeah I'm not sure how this will interact with the way the Chinese drive. My wife has been there for business before, and she says that while Chinese people are generally better drivers than people here in the states, they have to be because the streets are like a giant game of no-contact bumper cars. People basically just do whatever the hell they want.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125772)

I was with you until you said "no-contact". Now I don't believe your wife has ever been to China.

Trolly car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125318)

It's not so much a bus as a trolly car. It runs on rails and can only stop at designated stations. The differences are mostly in power and position, but otherwise it has the same limitations. It remains to be seen if it actually benefits traffic or is safer (for the riders or other traffic).

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (4, Insightful)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125338)

The best solution would be to let everyone telecommute and invest in laying fiber for greater bandwidth.

That would be a wonderful solution if nobody MADE any thing.
you know those nasty, dirty people who produce everything you own.
I have not been able to find a way to run my cabinet shop from my desk. I'll be damned if I don't have to keep traveling to the shop to cut things and assemble things and those darned customers think that we should deliver and install too.
please crawl back under your bridge now.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125362)

did you not see the winking smiley at the end of his post, or are you just a stupid cunt?

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125452)

You're just mad.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (2, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125472)

If 90% of the office workers could telecommute and you removed them from the roads, wouldn't that alleviate much of the congestion in the first place? Assuming a mixed load of white and blue collar commuters, of course?

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125612)

If 90% of the office workers could telecommute and you removed them from the roads, wouldn't that alleviate much of the congestion in the first place? Assuming a mixed load of white and blue collar commuters, of course?

They've already moved to India, but there's still congestion. Next step, this train thing?

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (3, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125542)

sure, a country should make things and the people who do can commute to work. But that's still would leave a huge chunk of the population who could work from anywhere. we're wasting time and fuel being on the roads, only 5% of days at most would I physically need to be present at work or at client.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125568)

Some of us like the social interaction - thankyouverymuch.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125574)

It is still a wonderful solution since many (if not most) people don't actually make anything. Please crawl back into your cabinet now.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125584)

One way to improve things would be to have staggered shifts. Having everyone arrive at the same time along with everyone leaving at the same time creates traffic jams.

Now in a place that makes things that gets difficult, but not impossible. You just need a reasonable amount of shift overlap with different departments starting/ending their shift at different times than other departments.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

moronikos (595352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125586)

How can they telecommute to a job for creating cadmium and lead laced toys for happy meals?

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125730)

The winking face meant he was joking.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125872)

Subways are better, they don't need to stop for traffic lights. And safer, I don't know what would happen if a car would hit that ugly thing, but even at 40-50 kph I expect it to do some disabling damage. And understand this, Americans are good drivers compared to the rest of the world. (I'm not american). But I live in the capital city of my country and I see a lot of accidents all the time, from minor fender-benders to cars wrapping around concrete poles.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125396)

Seems like any accident could leave debris in the tracks. I can't imagine that would end well. It would also be very easy to sabotage.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125492)

You've got the same problem with streetcars and trolleys. Never seems to slow them down much.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (-1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125674)

>>>Never seems to slow them down much.

Yes actually it does. You have one train driver texting in DC, he wrecks, and then the whole northwestern quarter of Greater Washington Metro stops moving with millions of workers not able to get home. - I'll stick with the flexibility of my car, thank you. At least I can drive around the accident - can't do that with railed systems.

Oh and by the way my car if a hybrid that gets 80 miles per gallon (160 if I carry a friend). The typical bus or train averages only 25mpg each passenger.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (2, Insightful)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125746)

That is a problem with the driver attitude. Replace him with an automatic system (it is driving a guided vehicle in a dark tunnel, what benefit is a human anyway?).

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125860)

A half century old London Routemaster bus manages 4mpg (UK gallon), so that would get better per passenger mileage than you suggest if it only had an average of 7 passengers. It can carry 64 seated passengers. Modern buses manage 6mpg and a lot of them have more room for more passengers.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125862)

>>> (-1 Overrated)

And I get modded down because someone disagrees with my *opinion* about DC's Metro. I really wish Slashdot would fix its moderation system, because moderation is not meant to be used to say "I disagree". That's what posting is for.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

in10se (472253) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125866)

Wow, your car increases its fuel efficiency by 100% for each passenger you add, but the bus decreases fuel efficiency for each passenger? You should get all those people from the bus to join your carpool and you'll never have to fill up again.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125524)

Seems like any accident could leave debris in the tracks. I can't imagine that would end well. It would also be very easy to sabotage.

Light rail systems have been around in various forms for over a century now. I'm sure they're aware of the potential issues of them. I'm curious what would happen if a vehicle under the bus were to veer into the the side. How strong is the support structure, and could it withstand multiple vehicle impacts if there were to be a serious accident under it. I could see the thing freaking out some drivers.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125692)

Chinese-built trams running on Chinese-built elevated railways directly above vehicle traffic? What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125560)

From the sketches it appears the buses use a rail on one side to help guide them, this is probably the biggest failure point. All it will take is someone crashing into the rail to cause a delay for the bus until it can be repaired. Seems like they would be better off just building an elevated road for buses only. My first though was that the buses would just use rails like a train that were set to be flush with the road so cars could easily change lanes. Only problem there would be debris de-railing them. The best solution would be to let everyone telecommute and invest in laying fiber for greater bandwidth. ;)

Building elevated roads seems like it would cost many many times what building elevated buses and street-level rails would cost. That said, I'm all in favor of telecommuting as much as possible.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125606)

My first though was that the buses would just use rails like a train that were set to be flush with the road so cars could easily change lanes.

That's called a tramline/tramway, and the vehicles trams. (In the US I think they call them streetcars.) I assume they keep the gap for the wheel flange clean, but I don't know how.

However, if cars can drive over the rails you aren't going to avoid severe congestion -- someone will always be stopped in the tram's path.

For 0.01% of the cost I suggest the Chinese paint one lane of the road red and mark it "Buses Only".

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125750)

mmm at least in the UK trams don't tend to share the road with cars. Sure they cross roads and sometimes run along them for short sections but for the most part they run along dedicated routes.

Re:Looks nifty assuming no one crashes into the ra (2, Insightful)

serialband (447336) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125816)

From the sketches it appears the buses use a rail on one side to help guide them, this is probably the biggest failure point. All it will take is someone crashing into the rail to cause a delay for the bus until it can be repaired. Seems like they would be better off just building an elevated road for buses only. My first though was that the buses would just use rails like a train that were set to be flush with the road so cars could easily change lanes. Only problem there would be debris de-railing them. The best solution would be to let everyone telecommute and invest in laying fiber for greater bandwidth. ;)

It's not using the guard rail. They're on tracks. It's basically light rail that uses existing roadways instead of requiring a widening of the roadway. They use signal lights inside to indicate turns and radar to sense when you're too close to the supports and make an announcement to the driver. At turns, the signal lights would stop all the cars and only the train would go, just as with any other light rail system. Debris that might derail this train would derail any other light rail train as well. It's much cheaper than building a subway and they're going to commence building 186 km of track by years end.

Trucks? (3, Insightful)

Danimoth (852665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125166)

Do they have trucks in that area? Wouldn't that pose a minor issue?

Truck "Repellent" System (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125320)

Do they have trucks in that area? Wouldn't that pose a minor issue?

I don't speak Chinese but from watching the video it appears that there is a warning signal when a truck is detected as approaching from behind or in front of the bus. In addition to this there are black and yellow poles that apparently act as truck detractors like the upside down U-shaped hoops in lawn croquet. The bus would fit over these perfectly but a truck in this same section of traffic would hit one of these before endangering the bus. It appears that this would designate which lanes are okay for trucks (however they then also pose a bit of a traffic obstacle where they come down in between lanes).

My bigger concern is turning and how the sections bend and twist between themselves (as seen at around 5:30 in the video). Is this on a rail or not? Because I could see that being potentially problematic and accident prone if drivers fail to yield to you. I'm interested that they're already planning on deploying this as I think there are things to iron out yet.

On a rail and not (1)

JohnFen (1641097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125410)

"Is this on a rail or not?"

Yes. At least, from what I understand through the translated text, the bus could run both on a rail (for maximum energy efficiency) and also like a bus, using video tracking technology to follow white lines on the pavement. Although, I think I'd prefer a human driver instead.

Re:On a rail and not (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125720)

...using video tracking technology to follow white lines on the pavement.

So this wouldn't work in the U.S. where some drunk teenager bent on revenge over an imagined slight is bound to reroute the white line to their former-BFF's house.

Re:Truck "Repellent" System (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125534)

Well, judging by truck drivers here in the states trying to drive under bridges, I wonder how many lawn croquet hoops are going to be taken down daily by miscalculating truck drivers.

There is at least one municipality in the US that bought busses nearly 2x the length of regular ones, with an accordion section in the middle, and ran them on regular roads. There must be some similar engineering feat at play here. Not speaking Mandarin or Cantonese, I'll have to take it on faith that they've addressed the issue.

Re:Truck "Repellent" System (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125770)

My bigger concern is turning and how the sections bend and twist between themselves (as seen at around 5:30 in the video). Is this on a rail or not?

Articulated tram [wikipedia.org] . Similar technology also works for buses [wikipedia.org] , subway trains [wikipedia.org] and normal trains [flickr.com] (some of those are internal pictures).

Since when... (-1, Troll)

xirusmom (815129) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125176)

...anything coming from China is a either a good idea or safe? (Not even trying to be get both).

Re:Since when... (3, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125540)

You mean like ... china, paper, woodblock printing, gunpowder, compass, the fork, fireworks, go, maglev wind power generators, negative numbers, menus, tea, toilet paper or the toothbrush?

I mean, granted, not all of these are new things - in fact most of them are all fairly old (the maglev being the exception), but I really doubt any of us would want to go without them.

Re:Since when... (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125748)

Most of that stuff was invented independently in Europe, so even if China never existed, we'd still have those items.

Plus you gave credit for some things that were actually invented by the Arabs or the Romans/Greeks. Like the compass.

Congestion? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125182)

Couldn't you get trapped under a bus when there's congestion and end up missing your destination?

Re:Congestion? (4, Funny)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125226)

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "throwing them under the bus"

Re:Congestion? (3, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125306)

Damn you!

Re:Congestion? (-1, Redundant)

boristdog (133725) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125246)

Yeah, it would redefine "Thrown under the bus."

Re:Congestion? (1)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125618)

It appears you missed the bus on that one...

Like the idea (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125198)

Very cool, and while the video seems to touch on it and explain the system (don't understand Chinese), I'm still worried about the whole cars passing underneath it and tall trucks getting told to move to the side. The buses would need to be super communicative to avoid any kind of collisions.

Also not sure how much infrastructure would need to be modified to accommodate the buses, apparently they need two lanes and quite a bit of clearance that might currently be blocked by power lines and the like. I'd love to see it in action though, hope this actually materializes.

Re:Like the idea (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125538)

I dont like the idea at all. When one gets derailed what in gods name is going to take it away for repairs? All it takes is one idiot with a kayak or something mounted to the roof of his vehicle to cause a traffic jam. And what about exits and side streets? Couldn't they just build a separate rail system next to the road or are they too cramped for space? And what happens to traffic when one of these is knocked off the rail? I would love to see what they would have that could haul that thing away from traffic.
Seriously underground or above ground mass transit. They have the layered traffic idea right just not the proper implementation of it.

Re:Like the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125858)

All that and "Made in China" quality, too! What could possibly go wrong?

The Big Bus! (0, Offtopic)

boristdog (133725) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125212)

RAISE THE FLAGS OF ALL NATIONS!

That's my favorite quote from one of the funniest, stupidest movies ever.

Re:The Big Bus! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125392)

That was an awesome parody.

"Dan's a good man, and he's never eaten a whole person in his entire life. "

the 70's. it was truly a different time.

Interesting idea, (1)

david@ecsd.com (45841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125236)

but since the author decided to use the word, "ginormous" I really can't take it--or him--seriously it's a word that should only be used in the description of titties, not buses.

If it breaks down, your whole mass transit route comes to a standstill until it's repaired.

Color me skeptical.

Oh My Goodness! (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125240)

I just saw the concept, and I must say. "DO NOT WANT!"

Looks cool, but... (4, Insightful)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125250)

This looks cool, but I have to wonder how practical it is. First, you'd have to design all your roads and bridges to accommodate it, but second, you'd have issues with things like turning traffic (don't forget to look for a giant bus over your head or coming from behind before you make that turn!) and possibly even pedestrians, although I'm sure they'll have a clever solution like not putting it right next to the sidewalk.

Just thinking of how things are on my bike sometimes, though, the turning traffic was the first thing that came to my mind.

Re:Looks cool, but... (1)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125382)

Near the end of the presentation I think they solve this problem with some special circulation lights that allow only for the bus to make it's change of direction.

Re:Looks cool, but... (2, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125408)

you'd have issues with things like turning traffic

From what I can see in the video (it's in Chinese but just judging from the graphics...) they seem to have thought of that. These mega-busses would be in the left-most lanes, and if they need to turn at an intersection, the lights at that intersection go red in all directions. The mega-bus then has the right of way to make a wide turn, cutting across many lanes safely because everyone is stopped.

I don't know if this is a good solution, mind you. First, the mega-bus has to be able to communicate-with/control the traffic lights. People have expectations about how traffic lights will work, and so adding in a new mode could confuse drivers. Pedestrians especially may start walking as soon as oncoming traffic gets a red light. (Do people in China obey the walk/don't-walk signals? They sure don't in any North American cities I've lived in!)

Similarly, the "truck height issue" seems to be addressed with flashing warnings on the back of the bus, and various sensors that detect positions of nearby vehicles and warn them somehow. But there are problems with such complex systems: they tend to handle changes in base assumptions very poorly (e.g. what happens when a bus needs to back up or there is construction along one of its routes). This is why tram/trolley-cars have fallen out of favor compared to generic busses: the gains you get from smart/efficient infrastructure make the system brittle to maintain.

This mega-bus plan sounds like a logistic nightmare. Which doesn't mean it couldn't work: awesome new ideas always seem difficult and crazy at first. The problem is that bad new ideas also sound difficult and crazy at first...

Re:Looks cool, but... (4, Interesting)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125438)

I think the use of the word 'bus' is problematic here.

I think of it more as a substitute for light rail.

I don't see it being too useful for new developments, but I could definitely see it being useful in areas where you can't just add another lane for busses or put light rail on its own. A lot of our cities are built up.

So the alternative is either bore underground with an expensive subway, go overhead with an expensive skytrain (like vancouver), or do something like this. I'm idealizing a bit here just from the video. But if the only infrastructure needed in the guide rail... it could definitely be cheaper.

Safety wise... no doubt there are issues. I'm especially worried about drivers thinking they are going to miss their turn while being stuck under the bus. They might end up doing some stupid things. I really dont see trucks swerving out of the way like in the video. They would probably either be content to stay behind the bus or go the next lane gradullay.

Re:Looks cool, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125480)

So... unlike those trains that require no road & bridge planning?

Re:Looks cool, but... (1)

unix1 (1667411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125798)

It may be useful for congested central areas with no trucks, or at least 3 lanes where small trucks will only stay in the right lane. It looks more like a tram and not a bus. But is it really "better" than a tram?

What about:

- cars slowing down, and congesting traffic behind them, in order to get out of under the bus to change lanes, park, turn, etc.? This could easily cause more congestion than a bus
- cars accelerating to pass the bus and do the above would also be dangerous
- cars getting stuck (because of traffic) in between lanes blocking the bus would make it very inefficient
- drivers (and passengers) under the bus may get disoriented when the bus keeps going and they are supposed to stop or slow down, and vice versa

Crashes (0, Redundant)

snarfies (115214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125276)

An interesting idea in theory, maybe, if it ran on rails. But as a BUS? No way. How will the driver keep track of vehicles below him? Vehicles in front will be in great danger of being rear-ended by the edges of this thing. And let's say you are brave/stupid enough to drive under it - unless the roads are perfectly straight and level there will be collisions occuring all of the time. Mounting it on rails could alleviate SOME of these problems, but...

Re:Crashes (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125348)

According to TFA, it does indeed run on rails.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125282)

It's called an elevated rail system. Chicago has had one for decades.

Plausible? (1)

coolsteve (1582557) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125284)

Ok, I've got a couple problems with this... First, if that bus wants to turn left/right, then I'd feel bad for anyone who's underneath that bus at the time. (Or likewise, if it's going straight, and you want to turn left/right while underneath.) Second, people drive like idiots. I can't imagine how much damage a car accident with this thing would do. Third, maintaining the tracks that these things run on has got to be expensive and/or difficult. I can imagine the amount of loose change, or little kid shoes being dropped in those tracks.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad they're thinking outside the box to deal with congestion problems, but I don't think this will work...

Switching lanes (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125292)

Seems like a good idea until you start imagining rush hour traffic.

You're the driver of this "bus" and someone is stopped in between lanes as he's trying to merge/switch. But there is a long line of traffic and a bunch of people are switching. Now the "bus" is stopped waiting for the cars to clear the track. And the cars underneath it are unable to switch as well. Imagine a stalled vehicle or accident and now all cars underneath are now, stuck.

If everything works flawlessly, great, but it seems it would get very problematic very quickly once you put real traffic into the scenario.

Re:Switching lanes (0)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125486)

and what if a car hits this elevated bus, which seems a lot more likely than conventional rail. It is not like a regular bus and all the buses would be affected.

Re:Switching lanes (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125630)

Which is why I only see this as practical for long straight runs, where it would move with traffic lights just like a car, and would not have to turn. Otherwise there's going to be serious confusion down below. And considering that "confused" was the kindest thing I can say about Chinese street traffic (at least per videos I've seen)...

Safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125302)

The OP is worried about safety, but from the video, it looks like only Sims are going to be riding it. So what's the problem?

A very expensive system it seems. (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125310)

According to that poorly photoshopped publicity image in the article, this system will only work if everyone owns an SUV or a supercar.

Re:A very expensive system it seems. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125496)

All Chinese people have traded away their right to have a second child for the opportunity to own a SUV or a supercar.

I'm sure... (1)

casca69 (795069) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125328)

Terrorists will like the convenient packaging.

They could do that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125340)

or they could use the space that is consumed by trees in the mocup to put a bus lane there, its not like china is going to have green anything within the next few years, why bother pretending

Since when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125380)

Is "bus" a "technology"? Isn't anyone remotely disgusted by the rampant overuse of that word? "Bus technology." WTF?

Re:Since when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125576)

>Is "bus" a "technology"? Isn't anyone remotely disgusted by the rampant overuse of that word?
Nope. I know some people who started deliberately overusing the term years ago for humorous purposes, and it spread to our friends and colleagues, and fanned out further still.
I am pleased to see someone else doing the same thing.

Re:Since when... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125652)

There's more to technology than "high tech." Anything that applies practical science to industry or commerce is technology. The wheel is technology. The automobile is technology, and yes a bus is a piece of technology. Really, you should be complaining about all the computer geeks trying to hijack the term "technology" and narrow its definition down to just high tech computers and robotics.

So it is not a Bus? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125388)

Runs on rails - it is not a bus. More of a giant tram.

China 2010 = America, c. 1955 (1, Interesting)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125400)

It's pretty amazing that they are going through some very similar issues, thinking they can engineer around things in a way only America had the audacity to try "back then".

Re:China 2010 = America, c. 1955 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125604)

... or Paris c. 1900

One of the ideas for the metro was it running on some platform (instead of mostly underground as it is now).

The difference is instead of having the rails on a platform, is having the rails on the floor and having the platform in the vehicle. The advantage of having the platform
for the rails is that it is static (but it is expensive) so you can plan for tunnels. There is also a century of difference in technology that makes having the platform in the vehicle
possible (that couldn't be possible by then).

I see a lot of potential for that idea... crash potential I mean.

yq (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125432)

so if you're driving under the bus, how do you see the traffic lights?

But what about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33125448)

CURVES! ... Our ONE weakness!

10% of subway costs (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125456)

Well, I for one like the the Beijing Subway. Line 10 goes between my house and my workplace, it is two yuan (US$0.30) to go anywhere on the extensive network, trains are clean and frequent and best of all: when you change lanes, you don't have to worry about it being on top of you with its support struts engulfing you from all sides like some monster, ready to shear you in half if you, um, well, behave like a Chinese driver.

By definition a subway is under ground where you can just ignore it when you are not riding it. You can't merge into it, you can't cut in front of it, you can't run in front of it, with screen doors you cannot even fall in front of it. You don't have to listen to it, you don't have to look at it, you can ride it if you want and if you don't want to, you never have to think about it. This is what a subway can provide. If this bus is a tenth of what a subway costs, then that shows that you get what you pay for. It is so lucky that there is absolutely nothing that I or anyone else remotely cares about in Mentougou district and I can pretend that this does not exist, just as if it were underground.

NIMBY (1)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125466)

I remember such things being proposed in the US before. They were always rejected as "unsightly". Stupid NIMBY retards getting int he way of progress.

Chinese driving (2, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125498)

Chinese driving is not compatible with this idea. Chinese cities have some terrifying traffic behavior. Not that I think such a system would even be safe in the nicest town.

Safety is very far from their minds (0)

wirelessdreamer (1136477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125514)

1. Foundations under the roads would have to be completely redone to support the extra weight, trains have large supports under the rails to support the weight of the trains, so its not just a simple cut holes put in rails, and drive.

2. The vehicles have a small surface area that contacts the ground, so they take longer to stop, if there is an accident 20 feet in front of one of these busses, the buss will likely slice straight through the cars in the accident, and throw parts of the vehicles into other lanes, let alone if one of these gets knocked loose into traffic.

Re:Safety is very far from their minds (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125774)

1. Foundations under the roads would have to be completely redone to support the extra weight, trains have large supports under the rails to support the weight of the trains, so its not just a simple cut holes put in rails, and drive.

Looks like the rails steer it and regular tires support the weight.

I imagine old fashioned cable cars (frisco?) work the same way, in that the cable provides the "pull" but the cable cars do not by any means hang from the cable. (an Aerial Tramway is a totally different concept and does in fact hang from the cable)

The vehicles have a small surface area that contacts the ground

I would not worry so much about tire friction as about wind surface area. Coasties are supposed to know all about hurricanes, but even Chicago "the windy city" can't use these. The center of gravity being extremely high, I'd think the odds of overturning in a breeze would be high. In addition to the dynamic stability issues of basically being a ten foot tall upside down pendulum even under ideal conditions.

all new and some old issues (0)

cenobyte40k (831687) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125554)

1)Road has to be designed to support extra weight and have track system built in. 2)All overhead items, bridges, signs, lighting, etc have to be redesigned to allowed for something twice as tall as most buses. 3) No left or right turns can be done from the road or to the road without a traffic signal, so it can't be used on a highway but needs roads with few cross streets or the stop lights will bring traffic to a complete halt. It has more problems than a elevated train system, while using all the resources of a surface light rail system. They have taken the worst of both and put them together into one of the worst public transport system ideas I have ever seen.

Hovercraft? (1)

InvisibleBacon (1698438) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125572)

That's what I thought when I read the title.. Oh well, I guess I'll keep waiting.

Seems unique but limited (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125582)

The design obviously requires at least 3 lane roads - two lanes for cars and small trucks where the bus goes, and one lane for taller vehicles. So many large cities are also old cities, with many narrow streets; certainly digging subway tunnels and establishing infrastructure is expensive, but employing this solution basically requires a pre-planned city with huge thoroughfares. The larger the street infrastructure, though, the less need you have for a bus that allows traffic to go underneath it.

All this is before a host of other concerns people have mentioned: turning requires huge intersections and, to reduce stopping, pre-specified traffic light timing. You also need significant above ground space to build the loading (and charging?) platforms shown.

Nonetheless, it's truly something very different for urban transportation. The fact that it's getting deployed means this isn't just some crazy idea but that we'll get to see how well it works.

Charging? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125764)

Hard to say. Some of the renderings of the buses seem to show some sort of 'arms' sticking up out of the top of the buses, similar to some electric train designs I've seen which use such arms to get power from overhead wires/bars, so it might be powered that way. Alternatively, it looks like the 'buses' ride on some sort of rails, so they could possibly electrify the rails the way some electric passenger train systems are designed.

To quote an overused internet meme (1)

valadaar (1667093) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125588)

OM NOM NOM NOM.... I'd paint a big toothy mouth up front :)

Crash. And Burn. (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125624)

With state of the art video systems to record the most horrific wrecks in the world.

oh yes, diesel tanker changes lanes under bus... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125660)

and hilarity ensues.

more like a trolly on stilts (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125666)

Since it rides on tracks in the street it's more like a trolly car (or LRV) on stilts than a bus. And because of the tracks drivers in cars on the street will know how to get of it's way, since the 'bus' has to follow the tracks.

Terrorism (1)

gdavidp (709900) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125672)

Guaranteed easy kill for any wannabe terrorists who drive a loaded truck or car bomb underneath this bus. Stupid idea.

The best of both worlds (4, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125706)

The advantages of el trains and monorail systems is that they don't compete with street traffic. The advantage of buses is that they can pass each other -- one stalled car doesn't take the whole line down as currently happens with light rail. Elevated bus lanes seems to me the best of both worlds.

Regarding earthquakes, elevated roadways are a mature technology. Nothing is 100% safe -- if you're looking for absolute safety we'd never build anything -- but built to today's standards, elevated roadways shouldn't be any less safe than any of the other tall structures hanging over you -- overpasses, skyscrapers, bridges, etc.

Parenthetically, light rail on the street is the worst of both worlds. The disadvantages of light rail (the system moves as a whole or not at all) with the disadvantages of buses (the system competes with street traffic). When I was living in San Jose, cars being t-boned by light rail in low speed collisions was so common that people started scrawling under the ubiquitous "Taking 217 cars off the road" the addition "One car at a time".

It looks interesting on paper... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125740)

... but I think whomever came up with the idea needs to come up with a short version.

Wierd, yes. Possible, maybe. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125762)

That's a fascinating idea. Some postings claim that construction will start this year, but it seems unlikely. They'd have to build a prototype and a test track first, and if they had that, there would be pictures.

The thing runs on road wheels, not tracks. Steering is at least semi-automated, to keep it properly positioned. It's electrically powered, with recharging as it passes through stations. The electrical contact mechanism for recharging, as drawn, is wildly optimistic about the difficulties of making contact with a moving vehicle. The illustrations show solar cells atop buses and stations, but no way can those yield enough power for this thing.

They're vague about how the articulated bus corners. The trick with articulated buses is avoiding crush points. Real articulated buses have turntables and bellows at the joints, and they narrow at the join region. That's going to be tough with a vehicle this wide. Also, it's not at all clear how transitions to hills are handled. Does it articulate in pitch, too? All that can be made to work; San Francisco, of all places, has large articulated buses. The joints were troublesome at first, but the second generation of joints seems to work adequately.

Also, on sharp turns, there had better not be cars underneath.

The emergency evacuation slide system is a bit much, as is the roof entry stair system.

small footprint elevated train (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#33125842)

I can't see how this solution could possibly work as well as a small footprint elevated train similar to Bangkok's Skytrain. For this you need a 3m median for support pillars, and a slightly wider (4m?) median to support stations. Entrances and exits are stairways to the sidewalks.

Skytrain type solutions have zero probability of having to stop for gridlocked cross traffic.

I've not researched it, but I'm guessing that the only advantages of the megabus are lower upfront capital outlays (not TCO), and that some highly politically connected group will become extremely wealthy.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?