In its most recent bid to combat pollution and traffic, China has revealed ambitious plans to introduce a bus which would literally drive over cars.
"The future of the city"
A Beijing-based company has recently unveiled futuristic designs for a new mode of public transport in China's busy cities. The bus, which would sit up above traffic and allow cars to pass beneath, is part of a scheme to reduce China's pollution problem.
Although a very similar concept was proposed over 45 years ago by a couple of Americans, a live model of this idea was first showcased by designer Song Youzhou at the recent International High-tech Expo in Beijing.
The large vehicle would be capable of holding 1,400 passengers and would run on a fixed track the width of two traffic lanes. Passengers would board the 'straddle bus' from above street level, with the cabin situated atop a seven-foot tunnel, allowing cars to pass seamlessly beneath it.
Watch the designs in action
The electrically-powered bus would run at around 37 miles per hour and could save over 800 tons of fuel per year. By carrying so many passengers and avoiding traffic build-up, designers believe it could reduce carbon emissions by 2,500 tons per year.
The buses could be produced for 20% of the price of an underground train and rolled out far more quickly since the supporting infrastructure is relatively simple. A prototype will reportedly be deployed on the streets of Qinhuangdao, a coastal city about 300km east of Beijing, this summer.
In recent years China has begun to tackle its pollution problem seriously. Cities like Shanghai are repurposing land for urban forests and building magnificent eco-friendly skyscrapers. This new scheme will target the country's notoriously smoggy road network, especially in big urban centres.