The number of amazing transportation options seems to be growing by the year, if not in practice, at least in concept and testing. The high-speed Hyperloop, a rail from the mind of Elon Musk, had a successful first test in May of this year. But high-speed rails are old news now. It’s the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) that’s got me excited.
What is a TEB, you ask? First, imagine a road, complete with cars and bike lanes. Now imagine a bridge over that road. Now imagine that bridge is not a bridge, but an elevated bus, capable of moving commuters from place to place above the lanes beneath them. That is the Transit Elevated Bus, and it’s more than just a crazy pipe dream — it’s been built and tested to success this summer in China.
The idea has been kicked around for a while now as a solution to China’s traffic woes, namely bad traffic, pollution, and inexperienced drivers. A video concept was spread several years ago, and then a mini-model was unveiled at 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo. Also called a “straddling bus,” the real-life TEB has its inaugural test run in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province on August 2.
In its finished form, the TEB is supposed to be 72 feet long and 25 feet wide, allowing up to 1,200 passengers to travel overhead at 40 mph as traffic zooms undisturbed underneath. The bus costs less than five times the amount a subway would and can be built in just a year.
The tested version was limited, but impressive. With a capacity of 300, the humongous vehicle is powered totally by electricity. Its road test consisted of a brake and power consumption test, and though it didn’t exactly simulate real-world traffic conditions, the short trial demonstrated that what was once thought of as a crazy idea is a real, viable solution. Just ask India, Indonesia, France and Brazil — they’ve already reached out about licensing their own versions.
Whether the TEB will be adopted as a form of mainstream transportation has yet to be seen. But what we have seen is promising. Just check out the videos to get a taste for yourself — you’ll want to glide effortlessly above traffic in a futuristic train-bus, too.