Monday, October 18, 2010

Straddling bus - Cost Effective Public Transport?

Is this China innovation, the straddling bus, the cost effective answer to the world's cities very critical traffic and public transport problems? Watch Inventor Song Youzhou present his STRADDLING BUS innovation in the video below or if short of time, read the transcript.

Song Youzhou's straddling bus is a 2 lane wide bus with 2 legs along its sides running on dividing lanes on the road surfaces itself, straddling above the in-between 2 lanes thus allowing vehicles to drive under it. Looks like an interesting concept and probably the most cost effective rapid transit concept. I had initially thought that pedestrian safety might be an issue but on second thought, the bus probably be running on highways and expressways which are devoid of pedestrians who would take overhead pedestrian bridges instead.

Transcript of inventor Song Youzhou presenting the Straddling Bus innovation with photos

What you can see from video is traffic jams. What you can hear is noise and there is also visible air pollution. At present, there are mainly 4 types of public transit in China - subway, light rail train (LRT), BRT (Bus rapid transit) and normal bus. There are advantages and disadvantages. For example, subways cost a lot and take a long time to build. VRT takes up road spaces and produce noise as well as pollution to the air. How can develop environmentally friendly public transportation

Straddling bus provides a solution. Let's watch a demonstration. This is what the interior looks like: It has huge skylight that will elimate passengers' sense of depression when enter. The straddling bus combines the advantages of BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), it is also a substitution for BRT and subway in the future.

Chinese rapid transit innovation: straddling bus

Sensors warns for motorist underneath it when they get too close to its side. It has sensors all over the place to ensure motorist are aware of its height constraint.

straddling bus: sensors warn too close vehicles

straddling bus: sensors warn tall vehicles of height restriction

As you all know, the majority vehicles on the road are cars, the shortest vehicles are also cars. Normally our everpass is 4.5 to 5.5 meter high. The highlighting innovation of straddling bus is that it runs above cars and under overpass. Its biggest strength is saving road spaces, efficient and high in capacity.

There are also 2 ways in dealing with station platform. One is to load and unload through the sides; the other is using the built-in ladder so that passengers can go up to the overpass through the ceiling doors.

straddling bus: ladder to overhead platform for passengers access

The bus can (achieve) speed up to 60km/hr carrying 1200 - 1400 passengers.

There are 2 parts in building the straddling bus. One is remodeling the road/ The other is building station platforms. Two ways to remodel the road: we can go with laying rails on both sides of car lane, which save 30% energy; or wen can paint 2 white lines on both sides and use auto-pilot technology in the bus, which will follow the white lines and run stable.

Another strength of straddling bus is its short construction life cycle: only 1 year to build 40 km. Whereas building 40km os subway will take 3 years at best. Also, the straddling bus will not need the large parking lot that normal buses demand. It can part at its own stop without affecting passage of cars.

Straddling bus is completely powered by municipal electricity and solar energy system. In terms of electricity, the setting is called direct current electrification. The bus itself is electrical conductor, 2 rails built on top to allow the charging post to run along with the bus, the next charging post will be on the rails before the earlier leaves, that is why we call it relay charging.

The set here is super capacitor, a device that can charge and discharge and store electricity quickly. The power it stores during the stop support the bus till the next stop where another round of charging takes place, achieving zero toxic gas throughout the process.

Straddling bus: super capacitor charging station

Nowadays many big cities have remodeled their signaling system, to prioritize pubic buses, that is to say when a bus reaches a crossing,red light on the other side of the fork will turn on automatically to give buses the right of way. Our straddling bus can learn from this BRT method.

The bus is 6m in width and 4 to 4.5m high. How will people get off the bus if an accident happens to such a huge bus? Here I introduce the most advanced escaping system in the world. In case of fire or other emergencies, the escaping door will open automatically. I believe many of you have been on a plane. Planes are equipped with inflated ladder so people can slide down on it in emergency. I put the escaping concept into the straddling bus.

straddling bus inflated ladder emergency escape system

The bus can save up to 860 tons of fuel per year, reducing 2,640 tons of carbon emission.

Presently we have passed the first stage demonstration and will get through all of the technical invalidation by end of August. Beijing's Mentougou District is carrying out a eco-community project, it has already planned out 186 km of our straddling bus. Construction will begin at the year end.

Thank you.

Beijing Mentougou District location map

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