Greater City Providence

Giant Chinese bus is also a tunnel

This exotic bus prototype is actually more of a light rail like tram system. The vehicle runs on roadways with auto traffic going under it and passengers riding in an upper passenger compartment. Basically what we have here is an elevated light rail line without the bother of actually building the miles of elevated track.

Proposed by Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd, the model looks like a subway or light-rail train bestriding the road. It is 4-4.5 m high with two levels: passengers board on the upper level while other vehicles lower than 2 m can go through under. Powered by electricity and solar energy, the bus can speed up to 60 km/h carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicles’ way. Also it costs about 500 million yuan [approx. US$ 74,000,000] to build the bus and a 40-km-long [approx. 25 mile] path for it, only 10% of building equivalent subway. It is said that the bus can reduce traffic jams by 20-30%.

Video translation available at China Hush

Frankly, it looks terrifying. The idea that automobiles driven by the average driving public can just whisk under the bus does not make me feel comfortable. Especially when this is the Chinese driving public:

Of course we don’t drive amazingly much better here.

It is disconcerting to see China invest in extreme engineering to move their billion+ people around faster in their cars, which is the goal of the system; get the buses out of the way of the cars. Living in a glass house, it’s hard to fault them, but wouldn’t it be nice if China bypassed our car-dependency folly and moved directly to a multi-modal future? Image this system of buses on stilts running above a wide bicycle highway.


Via Engadget

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • That thing is pretty cool, though a bit scary. I don’t think we could ever have something like that here, unless it was a shuttle that ran up and down only the wider streets in Providence (Smith, North Main, Broad, Elmwood). I can see it as a shuttle for people on Bald Hill Rd too, not that anyone would use it there.

  • The fact that it spans two lanes — that’s a little scary. But how many accidents are there in tunnels? STRAIGHT tunnels? That are only 80 feet long (-ish).

    Now, $74 Million a pop… that’s scary.

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