China’s “Land Airbus” will allow the cars to drive underneath it
Transport Explore Bus, a Beijing-based company has disclosed that a scale model of a road-straddling ‘Land Airbus’ that looks like an overgrown monorail will allow the traffic to pass underneath it. The trial of a full-size trial version is expected to be deployed on urban Chinese around August this year. The biggest highlight of this model is that cars can actually drive under the Land Airbus.
It was first presented as the ‘3D Express Coach’ concept by Chinese company Shenzen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co. However, the latest iteration – the Land Airbus – has now been shown as a scale model and an animated concept by Transit Explore Bus, at this year’s High-tech Expo in Beijing. The first unit is currently under construction in China.
The model version of the futuristic train-like ‘bus’ sits above two lanes of traffic which allows other vehicles on the road to pass below it. The Land Airbus riding on rails that sit on each side of the road moves at about 37 miles per hour (60km/h). However, its real usefulness lies in its human-carrying capacity: As many as 1,400 people can be carried in a single bus at once, which is around the same as 40 conventional buses. It’s also said to save road space and cost cheaper than trains or tram systems.
Further, the Land Airbus in comparison to a rail system or a subway can be built and deployed much faster in order to remedy immediate traffic issues. In addition, the roadside-mounted rails for the huge Airbus also allow it to travel along existing infrastructure, saving on development costs and allowing the people carrier to use routes that passengers would travel on a regular bus or in their own car.
However, the flipside to this model is that while the Land Airbus that travels on rails mounted to existing roadways is high enough off the ground for cars to fit under it, but large buses and trucks would not be able to pass through it. In other words, since the Land Airbus is around two metres, the underpass would have to be restricted for travel of passenger cars only.
Once the full size version of the Land Airbus is operational, the Chinese government is expecting that more people would take public transport, which in turn would reduce congestion and vehicle emissions – a growing problem in China.