China Demonstrates Transit Elevated Bus, Cars Travel Underneath (w/videos)

AUG 8 2016 BY MARK KANE 52

TEB (Transit Elevated Bus)

TEB (Transit Elevated Bus) eating cars

China has now reached the point where New Energy Buses eat cars ordinary electric buses are not enough.

One of the propositions for the future (and heavy congestion) are a special kind of tram, called the TEB, or Transit Elevated Bus.

The futuristic buses are 22 m long and 4.8 m high, and take up two lanes, but above cars. Vehicles travelling underneath need to be lower than 2 m.

We aren’t sure how you feel about them, but from that demonstration video…it sure looks a bit scary to us.

The top speed is just 30 mph (50 km/h), as the first prototype just completed a 0.2 mile run in Qinhuangdao.  We believe that there is some storage battery component inside, but on the route the main power source will be an external connection (see video).

Could this be a real thing? Apparently with proper permissions it could be.

Categories: Bus, China

Tags:

Leave a Reply

52 Comments on "China Demonstrates Transit Elevated Bus, Cars Travel Underneath (w/videos)"

newest oldest most voted

Woot!

I used to wonder why China blatantly, outright copied Western tech innovations, instead of innovating for themselves. Now I know why.

This is just a horrible, horrible idea. NYC built a monorail to JFK Airport rising from the median of the Van Wyck Expressway, one of the world’s most congested highways. The monorail pilings take up a small footprint, about the same width as two of the wheel tracks of the Chinese elevated bus. It works great; it’s fast and it’s fully automated. The Chinese elevated bus, not so much.

What are you on about?

This is going to be much cheaper to build than miles and miles of monorail. It is essentially a much much bigger tram.

This is a very sensible concept that requires the space of a mono-rail but costs the same to implement as a tram line. I don’t see it as a replacement for a mono-rail, which will be far faster, more expensive and time consuming to build and more designed for longer travel routs. I am slightly amused by the video’s though, this thing is never going to travel over congestion free streets. The cars it glides over will be largely stationary.

The Chinese have their faults but in terms of mass transit they are really starting to pick up.

It is certainly well adapted for some long stretches of dense strait traffic.

Also, look at the size of that thing. One of them can hold 40 traditional busloads. Think about that for a second. That’s the equivalent of 5 subway train. We are talking about mass transit on a different scale than light rail.

Building a train on a raised median is fine. Building a tram* on a raised median is a whole different thing and not good at all.

An elevated tram takes up little space and allows entry at the _side_ of a road. It does mean that entry points also need to be raised, but longer-term not a big deal. Better to have buildings that provide access than having to dig down deep.

* It’s a tram. It runs on tracks.

And guess where I was last week…

Looking up at it saying “That seems to be a goo idea.”

this isn’t a particularly practical idea, but it has nothing to do with their ethnicity, although the racial meme that you have espoused has been floating around silicon valley for decades – it was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

that said, setting aside a lane for a tram would be a lot more workable. this “elevated bus” thing would impose strict height limitations on any road on which the thing is expected to operate. what happens when the thing encounters a delivery truck?

“what happens when the thing encounters a delivery truck?”

Delivery trucks can be banned from those lanes…

It is China which can ban anything it wants.

We should take a few of our US Hillbilly lifted trucks there and see what happens…….lol

Let that thing sneak up over the top of you when you’re driving 70 mph and the wind is blowing from 90 deg off at 30 mph, ….. it’ll probably get pretty exciting.

This thing is limited to 30mph top speed.

That is more than fast enough for typical congested Chinese cities.

This explains why the Tesla Model X was designed without the ability to put a bicycle roof rack on it….

This thing would obliterate a roof rack full of bikes.

What if the cars go to stand on the rails during congestion times? This happens in my city even though that wasn’t the design. This bus isn’t going to drive into them, so it can still get blocked.

In the ideal a world a sound solution but interesting how it will turn out in the real world. It will probably have its pros and cons.

Fence?

Bollards.

never mind the bollards

Overwrought engineering and not flexible.

A couple of intersections in Beijing.

They certainly won’t put them there.

Thank you for that reality check, philip.

Yes, this idea is wholly impractical, and such a vehicle certainly won’t be able to easily or quickly pass any of the numerous congested intersections in large Chinese cities… which is exactly where a high passenger density mass transit system is most needed!

“which is exactly where a high passenger density mass transit system is most needed!”

Funny you mention that. And the picture is for Beijing which has one of the best high passenger density mass transit system in the world.

And its subways system are already covering the city.

But what do you do with a city of 17 millions+?

I don’t really understand your point. If you can’t drive a car through a junction it is unlikely that any mass transit solution will ever get through that junction.

The proposed system would work in the top junction if there weren’t cars and buses parked in the yellow hatched area. If the timing on the lights was set correctly and there were sufficient red light camera’s then the situation above won’t (shouldn’t) happen. The buses in London used to get trapped by people parking or clogging up the bus lanes. This was remedied by putting traffic cameras in the front of the bus that fined motorists. It took about 6 weeks to largely eliminate the problem.

Being a tram it will have to travel slowly in traffic and can get stuck at junctions that have been blocked or if people block, park or otherwise obstruct the rails. Unlike a tram, provided its rails are clear, it will be able to travel over traffic which is a major advantage.

I don’t think this concept is a solution for every single city street but I can see it working well in certain situations.

If the timing on the lights was set correctly and there were sufficient red light camera’s then the situation above won’t (shouldn’t) happen.

The reason traffic snarls are happening in Bejing and other large Chinese cities is not because they don’t have the stoplights timed correctly. It’s because China is experiencing a boom economy, with ever-increasing numbers of people buying cars that didn’t have them before, and roads never intended to handle anything remotely close to the current volume of cars.

These giant buses aren’t the solution. They’ll get stuck in traffic just like the cars.

The reason cities use subways and elevated trains is so they do not have to fight with surface level traffic for right of way. Making a city bus bigger and higher won’t solve that problem.

And what about trucks making local deliveries, and cars with roof racks? Will those be banned from the streets just to keep these giant buses from running into them?

I don’t see how this could ever be practical.

As long as there’s enforcement that stops people stopping on the tram tracks the tram wouldn’t get blocked. The same can happen with regular trams. You could put cameras on the tram, the driver would merely have to push a button to record each time it gets blocked and the vehicle owners would end up fined.

The key issues are actually that:
– The vehicle is tall
– The bottom of the vehicle is quite low (high enough for SUVs and pick-ups, unless lifted, 2m is actually still pretty high)
– The tram rails would still take up some road space.
– It’s wide, so maneuverability would be an issue.
– It would require elevated access.

So, there are limitations on how it could be implemented, and the elevated access would add cost, especially in the short term, but it seems to me actually to be a workable idea, and a compromise between the cost of subway systems and the traffic problems associated with typical tramways, buses and bus lanes.

Beijing ban trucks during day, delivery happens at night.

It already have a great subway system and buses.

What it needs is for people to walk more and bike more and live outside of cities.

In that “dome” video made by the Chinese reporter about pollution, she mentioned typical driving distance in Beijing is about 1.2 miles…

That is the problem!!!!!

Clearly, you didn’t understand the point. Look up “subway (mass transit)” at Wikipedia.

Trams are idiotic. I actually like traveling in them, but they really are stupid. Whoever had the idea of “saving” by making tracks for a mini train in the road missed several important points. Compared to dedicated infrastructure it is horrible in terms of both throughout and latency. Compared to buses it’s horrible in cost and lack of flexibility. Need to do road work on 50 yards of the route? With a bus, re-route. With a tram, stop operations.

Trams are so idiotic that almost every mid size European city has built one.

You probably missed the point of the tram. The point is not to increase traffic capacity. The actual goal is to get cars off the road by force. They shrink the number of available car lanes and replace them with the exclusive tram tracks and high frequency tram and absolute priority automatic traffic lights, which slows car traffic to a crawl.
And finally then make the touristic inner city center a very attractive pedestrian area almost only accessible by tram.

Washington, D.C. achieves the same result by having a well developed subway system with frequently running trains, coupled with almost no public parking places for cars in the area around the capital. For those reasons, that area has remarkably little vehicle traffic.

Those pictures only describe one problem…

Lack of ability obey traffic laws.

That is why the congestion is even worse in China. They don’t follow rules. Each person would feel “cheated” if they don’t bend the rules to get ahead. When one does it, everyone follows and then the entire system collapses…

That is what happens in a country when people grow up with often unfair system that can’t meet demand so a culture of “getting ahead at all cost” becomes the norm. Then the traffic is just part of that.

Won’t this mess with drivers heads with relativity stuff?

China certainly needs to build out some kind of high passenger density mass transit system, and should have done so long ago. The existence of highways with more than 50 (not a typo — fifty!) traffic lanes points to a massive traffic problem.


A 50 lane traffic jam in Bejing

Are you being intentionally ignorant?
First of all, China *is* building a high density mass transit transport system. In case you haven’t noticed, they have (much) more high speed rail kilometres than the rest of the world combined. They had zero in 2006.

Second, as I believe you are talking about Chinese cities and not about China the country, the same can really be said for subway construction. Throughout the country, they are building to the tune of well over 100km per year. That’s over 300m every single day.

Third, there is no 50 lane highway. The picture is taken in front of a toll gate.

This bus may be idiotic, but faulting China for lack of trying on public transport is equally so.

Subspace said: “Are you being intentionally ignorant?” Hmmm, no, you’ve established an unassailable position in that regard. No point to anyone trying to compete with you there. “First of all, China *is* building a high density mass transit transport system. In case you haven’t noticed, they have (much) more high speed rail kilometres than the rest of the world combined. They had zero in 2006.” High speed rail is much too expensive per mile to ever qualify as a high passenger density transportation system. Since you’re having trouble understanding the meaning of “high density” in this context, I’ll use the term “high capacity” instead. “Second, as I believe you are talking about Chinese cities and not about China the country, the same can really be said for subway construction. Throughout the country, they are building to the tune of well over 100km per year. That’s over 300m every single day.” Someone should explain the concept of scale to you. 100 km per year is laughable, compared to the scale of the problem. New York City’s subway system has 233 miles of routes, and 846 miles of track, for a city of 8.4 million; China has no less than seventeen (17)… Read more »

“China isn’t trying very hard to build high capacity mass transit systems, compared to the scale of the problem.”

Show me another high capacity system that can handle 17 million people in a congest city such as Beijing.

Beijing already have a high density network of subway system, especially built to address the issue and opened just before the Olympic but the surface streets are still congested.

Almost 1 million visitors come to and leave Beijing DAILY through air, bus, cars and trains.

Do you have a better suggestion?

Also, I bet you have never visited Cities such as Beijing or Shanghai to know what is “congestion”.

The only way to solve the problem is to decentralize the population so people don’t all try to squeeze into that little city at the same time!

Beijing already have a high density network of subway system, especially built to address the issue and opened just before the Olympic but the surface streets are still congested.

Simple logic indicates that if people are choosing to commute by driving on congested surface streets instead of using the subway, then the subway isn’t adequate for their needs. Since surface streets are congested, travel via subway should be faster for most commutes.

The fact that streets remain congested, and the fact that China’s megacities have freeways with many, many more lanes than are found anywhere else in the world, is alone pretty convincing evidence that the subway system is woefully inadequate to meet the needs of the population.

“Also, I bet you have never visited Cities such as Beijing or Shanghai to know what is ‘congestion’.”

You’re right, I haven’t. And given photos I’ve seen of air pollution in Bejing, I have absolutely no desire to visit.

“You’re right, I haven’t. And given photos I’ve seen of air pollution in Bejing, I have absolutely no desire to visit.”

Yes, that is often people’s “excuse” to illustrate their lack of experience.

Beijing’s pollution is bad. But according to many rankings, Indian cities polluations levels are far worse but media don’t cover it nearly as much. Pictures do showcase the worse days. They are bad. But the facts remain that there are also good days.

Regardless of pollution, my entire point was that since you never been there, you hardly have any experience on what a crowded cities mean or what type of problems a single city with large population faces…

Try Tokyo sometimes if you air pollution is the only reason preventing you from experience it…

Found this in Wiki as the first paragraph describing Beijing Subway system.

“The Beijing Subway is a rapid transit rail network that serves the urban and suburban districts of Beijing municipality. The network has 18 lines, 334 stations[a] and 554 km (344 mi) of track in operation,[4] and is the second longest subway system in the world after the Shanghai Metro. The subway is the world’s busiest in annual ridership, with 3.41 billion trips delivered in 2014,[3] averaging 9.2786 million per day, with peak single-day ridership reaching 11.5595 million.[1]”

Obviously the claim it’s the world’s second largest system after another in China is incorrect. I cited the track mileage for New York City’s subway, and it’s considerably more… for a city with far fewer people.

Which is, again, what simple logic indicates. Sure, Bejing’s subway system is very busy. That’s the problem; it’s wholly inadequate for Bejing’s needs, so of course it’s congested and overly crowded. So much so that far too many people are still using the congested surface streets.

And, MMF… despite your various arguments, I don’t think that either inductive reasoning based on solid evidence, nor simple logic, work any differently in China than they do here. 😉

“Obviously the claim it’s the world’s second largest system after another in China is incorrect. I cited the track mileage for New York City’s subway, and it’s considerably more… for a city with far fewer people.” Yes, but my entire point on this article is about the fact that it doesn’t matter how good a subway system is, once you reach certain population limit, it won’t be sufficient either way. Think of it as a city with given size, in order to keep your desired metrics going, if population doubles, you double the lines. But at some point, the roads are covered by subways underneath and you have subway lines in every block. But the population can keep growing because the building can go up. What do you do next? Dig deeper for 2nd layer lines? That is why this TEB thing is considered since subways system has saturated its density and surface streets are still full. So, they are trying to add another dimensions to the traffic layer. Beijing is rumored to be approaching 20 millions while the city center is completely saturated. So, at that some point, there are NO solutions possible. “Sure, Bejing’s subway system is very… Read more »

““Third, there is no 50 lane highway. The picture is taken in front of a toll gate.”

Well, I guess you need to write to USA Today, ABC News, Autoblog, and quite a few other media outlets and tell them they’re wrong. /sarcasm”

Then you provided the links. In them, it says:

“A newly installed checkpoint forced traffic to merge down to 20 lanes, creating a bottleneck that backed up traffic for miles, the People’s Daily reported.”

So, I guess that first person was right about it…

And if you scroll to the 3rd picture, you will see that those lanes got merged later after the plaza…

The words “50 lanes” were there to cause “sensationalism” to increase clicks and you fell for it.

[The ‘bot here seems to have swallowed my reply. Reposting…] MMF: Why would you edit out the relevant part of what you quoted? That looks like you’re deliberately practicing deceptive arguments, which I’ve not noticed you doing before. Hoping this was just a mistake on your part. Here’s the unedited quote: “Thousands of cars were stuck for hours on the 50-lane-wide G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway on Wednesday, according to Chinese newspaper The People’s Daily. “A newly installed checkpoint forced traffic to merge down to 20 lanes, creating a bottleneck that backed up traffic for miles, the People’s Daily reported. And here’s a quote from the other article I linked to: “A newly installed checkpoint forced traffic to merge down to 20 lanes, creating a bottleneck that backed up traffic for miles, the People’s Daily reported.” Now, after Googling a bit I do see some discussion at Skeptics Stack Exchange which argues that it’s not really a 50-lane (or even a 20-lane) highway; that 50 lanes exist only where it widens out in a toll plaza: http://tinyurl.com/j24ujgp But even if that’s correct, Subspace’s rhetorical pejorative “Are you being intentionally ignorant?” was entirely uncalled for. Whether or not it’s factually correct that… Read more »

“But even if that’s correct, Subspace’s rhetorical pejorative “Are you being intentionally ignorant?” was entirely uncalled for. Whether or not it’s factually correct that there are actually 50-lane highways in China, quite a few headlines of articles online, and statements within those articles, assert this as if it’s fact.”

Don’t agree with his claim of calling you ignorant. That is a personal attack which we all agree aren’t helpful to the subject at hand (I will always reserve some for RexxSee or SeeRexx or Lustucc)..

But we all know that 50 lanes claims are news media who uses sensationalism to boost clicks.

Your statement of 2 million hits basically proves that. That is my complain here. You propagated that sensational claims to illustrate your point rather than facts…

An interesting and novel concept. It could potentially be far less infrastructure intensive than subways or elevated rail. The obvious problem I see in this prototype is height, or more accurately the lack of it. Not enough clearance for the SUVs the Chinese adore, let alone commercial vehicles. That severely limits it’s practical applications.

“Not enough clearance for the SUVs the Chinese adore, let alone commercial vehicles. That severely limits it’s practical applications.”

YOu actually rarely see cars such as Navigator or Escalades in China… Most of them are CUVs.

Commercial vehicles are often restricted by time or route. So, that problem can be addressed.

I am not sure if this thing will solve the issues of Chinese drivers no obeying traffic laws..

So much work to save cars lines… Just close those lines, and put double deckers tram instead. You then get more capacity for a cheaper price.

So, to improve traffic patterns in China, they have put street signals on rolling stock? This is insane.

Dr. Miguelito Loveless

Thanks for that info, doctor!

I think it actually makes more sense if it is a scam. I’d like to think that even in China, as corrupt as their political system is, public officials wouldn’t sign off on a proposal as obviously unworkable as this is.

“Two Chinese state media outlets have claimed that the whole TEB project is actually a scam to extract funds from investors. The project was funded by peer-to-peer lending, a model where an online company matches potential investors with borrowers, promising a high interest return for those who invest. Other peer-to-peer investing platforms in China have demonstrated the risk of these systems. The platform Ezubao was shut down this year after the government declared the company was a “Ponzi scheme”. Even more dubiously, the Chinese tabloid Global Times claims that the project’s chief architect, only has a primary school level education.

Whether the TEB is a ploy to take advantage of new financial tools or a sincere project for social and environmental good is still unclear. There are sure to be more developments as the international interest in this ambitious project grows.”

That is what article says…

Whether it is scam or legit, it remains to be seen.

But when you run out of space for subways, buses and lanes, you sort have to go up. Those kind of TEBs are cheaper to build than single rails above ground.

LOL … must be a hoax because it’s not Tesla who came up with the idea, right?

This thing can work if the traffic law are enforced and drivers are trained.

But I would think they should try double decker buses first.

Also, maybe restricting driver who doesn’t need to drive would help even more?