Better Than Streetcars?

DDOT posted this awesome story on Facebook from Huffington Post this morning:

China may have found an environmentally friendly way to save money while easing congestion on city roads, Engadget reports.

Instead of spending millions to widen roads, the Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company is developing a “3D Express Coach” (also called a “three-dimensional fast bus”) that will allow cars less than 2 meters high to travel underneath the upper level carrying passengers.

China kicking up public transport a notch. I don’t know if this is realistic or not but I’m digging it.

33 Comment

  • It’s clever for sure, but it’s Chinese, meaning it will probably catch on fire regularly and contain poisonous chemicals that kill babies.

    • Haha… I couldn’t help thinking [the first time I saw that video] about the horrible types of accidents, both vehicle and pedestrian that a solution like that would create. I think its better to use even a monorail instead [and a monorail is a horrible idea].

  • Doesn’t make a lot of sense from an energy perspective, since you still have to carry the tremendous and unnecessary weight of the car, while people-only transit just carries the weight of the person. The train’s electric motor is going to be a lot more efficient than a car’s internal combustion engine, but why not just make the car’s engine electric to achieve the same benefit.

    • Sorry, should have read more closely – I thought the train would carry the cars, not allow them to pass underneath. That seems like a major safety concern to me, but I guess safety isn’t a major concern in China so it might work.

  • This should be called Pac Man 2010!

  • While I do appreciate the creative thinking behind this, I have to imagine it’s going to be terribly distracting the cars under it. Not to mention that for probably the same price, you could build above-grade rail which would be a more-effective people-mover.

    Not to mention that if it breaks down, you’ll have to block an entire street/highway.

  • really we should be going toward no cars at all, all bicycles and mass transit vehicles. but this doesn’t seem like such a bad idea in the meantime. traffic flows, people get moved. it’s no more unsafe than bulky city buses blocking visibility and people trying to go around them into traffic.

  • Lots of missed exists.

  • Yikes, logistics? Does the coach make turns? What if it needs to turn when there’s car underneath it?

    Fascianting concept just not sure how it would work in the real world!

  • Another example that China has the “can-do” spirit that we USED to have, but now eveything in the US gets value engineered and litigated to death. Our country is now Bureaucracyland.

  • Here is a video of the prototype in action…

    The language spoken in it is all Chinese though.

    • LMAO! Man this thing is ridiculous! So they plan to have croquet arches on the highway? What happens when someone is texting and changing lanes and smashes into it at 80 miles an hour? While this would make a great action sequence not really feasible. Just build off to the side of the road or elevated monorail.

    • Anyone notice all the blonde white avatars in the video? Are they planning to sell this to Sweden?

  • That idea would work great on limited access highways but not at all on city streets with intersections.

    Regarding street cars: I so wish they had never been removed but do not really think they are a solution for today’s DC. DC drivers will routinely be blocking the cars, getting hit by the cars and so on. In the end they will either have to be separated from traffic, done away with or people will accept them being slower, less reliable and often stalled in traffic just like buses. Actually maybe worse since they can not go around minor blockages.

    • Disagree. People like streetcars. They aren’t the optimal solution for fast travel, but no one’s putting in underground trains right now.

  • People have such misconceptions about China.

    I have been there and their cities – Schenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing etc are just as developed as our cities here.

    They drive better cars than us, their highways are better built than ours. The best thing is that people are really afraid of the givernment so that creates a whole new type of law abiding citizens. There are cops everywhere!

    I saw more BMWs, Mercedes and Audis in Schenzhen than I have seen in Washington DC, and I was there just for a couple of days.

  • neat idea. doubt it would work in real life.

  • Showed this to my friend in China. She said, “As if Chinese traffic could ever be that orderly.” She lives in Chengdu (population: 10 million) and apparently even traffic lights are regularly regarded as mere suggestions.

  • Yeah, yeah – where’s my jetpack?

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