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cteno4

Chinese floating bus/tram

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cteno4

Well they call it a bus but it looks like it runs on embedded roadway rails. Odd idea, one car out of lane will lock the bus back into the traffic jam, not to mention if a truck in in the Lane! Guess these lanes will have a height exclusion device on entrances!

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

 

Ps, love the animation with the whole unit curving around the curves and the evac slides that will be quite a shock when you hit the bottom or the person behind you lands on top of you from one story up, especially if they are wearing nice sharp high heels! Idea has been around the block before in the past. I'm sure it was a popular science cover from the 30s!

 

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=2P4e9mqItaU&ebc=ANyPxKqRDVGSPb7YnhvUlqaqBGLuisY2qoXFrgdv7kEjcWSTos2QNWBZ2pBb93KlLVn0I-60pMVNO2zBxvfb6wGmukrcCa0cow

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/05/world/asia/china-elevated-bus-teb.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

 

http://en.tebtech.com.cn/

Edited by cteno4

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JR 500系

I saw this and I was like... cool! But i could see quite a number of issues here:

 

What happens when a car is stuck in-between the bus rails? These things do happen, and I guess especially more so in China...

 

It seems that there is a traffic light to hold the cars going straight so that the elevated bus could turn. What happens when there are people who beat the traffic lights?

 

The in-built elevator seems interesting... But that would mean stops would have to be aligned to the bus to make this happen. Wouldn't stops then be at only specific locations, which is somewhat like a train or sub-way? How would this differ then from the trains/ subway and its advantages?

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kvp

The prototype on the 2nd video looks more sane. The elevators were dropped for simple side doors, the rails are the classic streetcar type and going very close to the dividing barrier, so cars won't run on them on straights. Tram lanes are height limited and those height limiters could also serve as traffic light stands. It's manually driven, so it could stop in case of a nonconforming driver ahead. Evacuation slides have to be the aircraft type soft variant, both for safety and to fit them under the doors.

 

The single wheel axles mean the wheels need to be double sided with a center flange. Turning is simple as each car has 4 double bogies. Turnouts could be the simple under surface moving blade type which allow road traffic over them.

 

On the bright side, stops could be simple island or side platforms, both ground type or hanged down from a pedestrian overpass above the side lanes.

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katoftw

I cannot believe they were stupid enough to take it further than a concept.

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cteno4

Only takes one car a bit out of lane in a jam to jam the bus.

 

Unfortunately the real solution would be to suspend/run the bus from a fixed framework above the roads which would eliminate all the issues except a over height vehicle entering the bus lanes, but this ends up requiring a lot more infrastructure this concept is trying to remove.

 

Jeff

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kvp

I cannot believe they were stupid enough to take it further than a concept.

It's incredibly cheap to build one as it's just a big tramcar running on paved rails. Essentially 1950ies technology, but would only work with 6 to 8 car lane streets, so it's too large for most US cities.

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katoftw

Unfortunately the real solution would be to suspend/run the bus from a fixed framework above the roads which would eliminate all the issues except a over height vehicle entering the bus lanes, but this ends up requiring a lot more infrastructure this concept is trying to remove.

They call those monorails.  They have built many of them across the world.  The require a 4 foot space every 15 meters for the supports.

 

I don't know what infrastructure problems this concept was trying to avoid, but I think it makes more problems than it dodges.

Edited by katoftw

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Kabutoni

With all the traffic law abiding PRC citizens and meticulous maintenance records, this can only mean a lot of fun YouTube videos in the future. Oh no wait. YouTube is banned in China...

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kvp

I don't know what infrastructure problems this concept was trying to avoid, but I think it makes more problems than it dodges.

The basic idea was to have a suface running high capacity line. Trams are good but they need a dedicated lane if you want to avoid road traffic and building tram stops need space which is hard to find in the middle of a 4x2 lane road. (putting trams on the side would block turning traffic) Subways are nicer and could be dug just under the road surface but digging in a city with lots of utilities is hard and costy. Elevation needs space for the supports.

 

This concept allows the capacity of an 8 car subway train in a 3 car length and stops could be suspended above the road from a walkway. This allows 1 truck lane, 1 standard car lane and 2 express car lanes and one heavy metro line in each direction with the minimal costs of a tram line. The same safeties have to kept as in case of any street running trams. Strange concept but not really high tech, more like late 50ies early 60ies level.

 

The other sane alternative would have been to add seel beams to each side of the road and elevate the rail lines NYC/Chicago style with all the ugly dark streets that come with that early technology and it also costs way more to do so.

 

The only big question is that having express lanes in the middle that can only be left at major intersections would be popular or not. Also i would check if putting the rails between metal dividing barriers (except at crossings) could make the system safer.

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katoftw

The other sane alternative would have been to add steel beams to each side of the road and elevate the rail lines NYC/Chicago style with all the ugly dark streets that come with that early technology and it also costs way more to do so.

Do you have reference data for this statement.  I'd love to see financials where building rails into the ground (which weren't there before) and have traffic control equipment (light traffic lights) would cost less than a monorail like system above ground with free right of way.

 

This thing is a tram that runs above ground.  And the Chinese peeps whom think it will work have great faith in their countrymen's driving skills.  Cos my experience with Chinese drivers and walkers is:- See a gap, dive for it.  Gap too small, use eblows and make gap.

 

To me.  It is an attempt to be visionary.  

Edited by katoftw

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kvp

Financially you have to compare the cost of paving in two strips of metal rail and building a whole elevated support structure. The high costs for light rail in the US are because of regulations, which aren't a concern in China. Traffic lights are low cost and usually already present on most major roads. It's just like putting down tracks in a street, like it was done in the past for streetcars.

 

For traffic safety: people will learn that the 2 stories high trams are heavier, stronger and could not be elbowed out of the way. They learned this in Hong Kong, so i think it could work elsewhere.

 

Adding safety barriers to both sides of the road (between the rails and the lanes) would also help but not really a must as there are street running trams all around the world.

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marknewton

I immediately thought of "Thunderbirds" and that movie about the nuclear-powered bus.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark.

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kvp

The funny thing is if you have ever seen a portal crane, you know the concept is technically feasible.

 

Of course, i would use double sided, center flange steel wheels on steel rails, standard DC catenary for power and add traffic barriers on both sides of the rails (essentially running the legs in their own narrow fully separated lane between junctions).

 

The big question is if any cities would need it. A city that has space for 4x2 traffic lanes could easily afford to add two new dedicated tram lanes or to loose 2 road lanes for a combined tram/bus/emergency vehicle lane. (the latter was choosen in Hungary for the grand boulvard and outer ring lines) Going for a standard gauge 'street legal' tram line means the trams could continue running on smaller streets beyond the main lines.

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westfalen

"The Transit Elevated Bus, dubbed Batie"  Batty alright.

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railsquid

The other factor no-one seems to have considered is what it would be like to drive under one of these - I imagine it would become very disorientating to suddenly be enclosed in a moving tunnel.

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kvp

That's a railbus and it has a pretty long history:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railbus

 

For the chinese version, it could be called portal tram (similar to portal cranes) and getting under one should be a similar experience as when one of the larger container cranes move above someone. Opening up the sides, so only the legs go down to the ground would help too.

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Mudkip Orange

Good on them for actually building it. I don't see it gaining widespread adoption, but building weird one-off stuff is cool too.

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westfalen

Even though it doesn't look too practical it will be interesting to see where it goes, look at the high speed rail network they built in less than a decade.

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kvp

Interesting as it really looks like a guided bus with rubber wheels running on a concrete guideway. I would prefer the steel wheels on steel track variant with constant overhead power, but that would be too easy to build.

 

My oppinion is that the idea was good, but the designer was hoping for government contracts to finish the prototyping, but nobody is buying it and local investor money is not enough to make it commercially available. Not to mention, nobody would buy it even then. So imho it might be less of a scam than a failed business plan.

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velotrain

Given the many hurdles to making it a reality (as have been documented here), and the dubious benefits it would provide, I don't comprehend how any thinking person could have taken it seriously.

 

 

Addendum:

People have commented on potential issues under the bus, but so far no one has mentioned possible problems above the bus.  It's 4.6 meters tall, which equates to just over 15'.  The initial overhear clearance spec for US Interstates was 14', but the military wanted it higher, and there is a revised spec of 16', but there are bridges built to the earlier spec.  https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/50vertical.cfm

 

I tried to search for the standard overhead clearance specs for China, but had no luck.  However, since Asia in general tends to have smaller cars and trucks than the U.S., that may impact the height.  OTOH, China has largely recent infrastructure, so a higher height may have been chosen looking toward the future.

 

If there are clearance issues, it wouldn't just be bridges of all sorts (road, railroad, and pedestrian), but potentially traffic signals and all of the associated wiring.

Edited by velotrain
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katoftw

Given the many hurdles to making it a reality (as have been documented here), and the dubious benefits it would provide, I don't comprehend how any thinking person could have taken it seriously.

I would have to agree.

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