03
Aug

2010

Chinese Tunnel Bus

Post by Steven Dale


Now this is unique.

Engadget reported yesterday that Shenzhen Huashi Future Car-Parking Equipment will begin construction of a 186 km long Tunnel Bus track at year’s end.

That’s right: Tunnel Bus. Not Bus Tunnel. Tunnel Bus. I won’t try and explain it because . . . well . . . it’s a bus . . . and a . . . tunnel . . . just watch the video:

(China Hush has a full translation for those who’re interested.)

What’s surprising about this is that it’s not a proposal. This is actually going to be built. This is both truly exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Exciting to see an alternative transit strategy actually get built, terrifying because it is so far outside the mainstream, it’s almost impossible to imagine it working.

Will it work? Who knows. Such a thing has never been tried before and actually makes the idea of CPT and Urban Gondolas seem rational and sane by comparison.

I’m not going to pass judgement on this yet because there’s really no point; it could be a masterstroke, it could be a disaster. I’m no fortune teller. There are, however, a few questions I have:

  1. Will humans actually want to drive under this or will they avoid it like the plague?
  2. When an accident eventually occurs underneath the bus (and an accident will occur sometime), isn’t the accident going to be exponentially more catastrophic for both drivers and riders of the Tunnel Bus?
  3. How does the Tunnel Bus contend with intersections and turns? In essence, this is nothing more than a (very) clever right-of-way workaround. It doesn’t, however, appear to alleviate the intersection and turning issue which is at the core of all right-of-way problems.
  4. When drivers are underneath the Tunnel Bus, how do they see road signs, stop lights and turning signals?
  5. When can I buy a ticket?

Big thanks to Marielle for sending me the link!



Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

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Comments

  1. Wow! Utilizing road space for PT, while not actually taking away roads - how politically acceptable... (obviously not an issue in China anyway). Interesting you cant really compare it to any ground based transit, however can you compare it with cable or elevated rail/bus systems? I just do not know.... Would be really interesting to know cost/km figures?. Got to hand it to Chinese 'can do' attitude!
  2. The straddling bus is a really cool idea. Have a elevated transport system with no elevated infrastructure. The concept is so simple that i wonder why nobody has thought about it before. I guess if you proposed this in most countries you would been declared crazy an never ever find some supporter which are going to spend money for this. If it really integrated with the cities traffic light and traffic management system, it can work. In China the cars just have to go out of way of this thing and once the under the bus the have to accept that they cannot turn left or right anymore. I guess in the initial phase some motorist have to learn how to deal with this thing the hard way.
  3. Wow, I want one :) On a more serious this design relies on drivers keeping within there lanes, In asian countries the lane markers are often ignored. It will be interesting to see how these issues are overcome.
  4. Maybe the way to deal with this problem is simpler than it looks: If the vehicles had a wider berth (which, itself presents a problem), you could then install bollards and guiderails along the roadway to act as a barrier between the cars and the Tunnel Buses. Does that make any sense?
  5. Ryan, The politics of this are great. The urban design issues . . . little more problematic. No more so that gondolas though, I suppose.
  6. The video is quite interesting. There are sensors to prevent cars hitting the sidewalls or high vehicles such as trucks under the bus. There are gates like those in carparks along the straddled bus lane to prevent to large vehicles from entering the bus lanes. Also the power collecting system is interesting at is needs no overhead cable just a mast spacing which is shorter than a vehicle length.
  7. love the idea of that thing moving around. but to me it seems never being built or at least functioning, because there are to many rules. especially rules to the other people in traffic system. lots of people are already overstrained with traffic or behave reckless - so even if there are so many installations and good ideas preventing accidents or any kinds of incidents to the tunnel bus i just can not see it running. i think mixtures of different kind of transportation in one space are always very dangerous and until the perfect solution isn't found (like no person could drive on her/his own - which means no human failure is possible) there will be so many incidents that the whole thing isn't really reliable.
  8. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've driven in China. Correction, I've been driven in China. It's an absolute madhouse. No one follows the lane markings, they drive up on sidewalks, they go the wrong way down one-way streets, they go the wrong way through round-a-bouts, people walk and bicycle through traffic. You really have to see it to believe. And this guy wants to tackle that...?! Come on. Can you imagine even the safest drivers trying to navigate that 'tunnel'? I can't. There would be constant rear-enders, not just with it, but other traffic trying to get around it. Then there's getting off and the climbing stairs thing. I love this guy's creativity, but OMG! I've got a better way. Break that bus up into much, much smaller pieces. Like small compartments holding maybe 35 people. Instead of having it exposed to traffic, turn on the anti gravity device and elevate it 30' above the roadway (like perhaps on a suspended cable?). Have the compartments leave stations (which are elevated over intersections so they can also serve as pedestrian crossings) every 20 or 30 seconds. Or less. In addition to being the safest form of transport, one of really cool things about it is that people would ride just for the ride. Only thing we have to do now is come with a name. Ideas anyone? Seems a much better way to fly. And a helluva lot cheaper. COULD WE GET THE HELL BACK ON TOPIC?!
  9. i've been in china too and that was the first thing that came up my mind. they are driving so messy, it just would work if the construction on street level would be designed as a tank ;) anyway: i can see that "thing" working in places like Los Angeles (or towards) - using the highways while all the other cars are waiting. the highways are pretty long and the shape is clear and people are waiting there day by day. so why not install a few park and ride stations near the road and a few meters earlier where the daily rush hour takes place and grab those people to the next best place in town. thats it. wouldn't be really a bus, much more like a LRT, but without it's own infrastructure and more outside the city working. here are a few images for the situation and "shopped" images showing how it could look like: http://img10.imageshack.us/i/tunnelbus1.png/ http://img230.imageshack.us/i/tunnelbus2pr.png/ http://img339.imageshack.us/i/tunnelbus3.png/
  10. @Dave who said: "I’ve got a better way. Break that bus up into much, much smaller pieces. Like small compartments holding maybe 35 people. Instead of having it exposed to traffic, turn on the anti gravity device and elevate it 30′ above the roadway (like perhaps on a suspended cable?). Have the compartments leave stations (which are elevated over intersections so they can also serve as pedestrian crossings) every 20 or 30 seconds. Or less. In addition to being the safest form of transport, one of really cool things about it is that people would ride just for the ride. Only thing we have to do now is come with a name. Ideas anyone? Seems a much better way to fly. And a helluva lot cheaper." That sounds like it'll never catch on.
  11. @ Dave, the stair/ramp thing was for emergency use only,under normal conditions boarding would occur from platforms so no steps are required. I hope it succeeds.
  12. I have no idea if they can make it work at a reasonable cost, but potentially it seems like a great alternative to HOV/bus lanes on congested urban highways. So if they can make it work, it could really expand the practical possibilities for rapid urban transit. In fact I was momentarily quite excited for my city, Pittsburgh, until I remembered our worst highway congestion problems all involve tunnels . . .
  13. It seems this would be incompatible with parallel parking, which may limit where it can be put on surface streets. It would also be difficult to put on a highway -- how would merging work? I have my doubts, but hopefully we find out soon how well it works in practice!
  14. I follow Dave Brough' s idea its too dangourous to let anyon drive under this bus why don't they just make some kind of monorail above the road held up by plillars alongside of the road. then you do not interfear with the traffic and you would have no problems with turns, turn signals, other signals exits and so on this idea might fit better in a somewhat safer invirement the roads somewhere in europe perhaps anyway I adore the idea
  15. Jef, My gut says this thing is a death trap, too, but who knows. We shall see.
  16. Why not just have it on Normal double wide train tracks?? Rather than a tunnel, instead as a double decker, extra wide train.. Id be great for use, between 2 Large citys that are about anhour apart by train.. If a normal train carries 500 people max. It could be twice as long, and twice the widthm with say 2000 capasity. :)
  17. Ah, just remembered where I've seen the "tunnel bus" before. Now I got it again. [img]http://www.ahoycargo.com/images/stories/maps/port_aid_huskyterminal_w500_spanhigh.jpg[/img] and or http://www.rigginginternational.com/projects/pictures/Penn%20Terminals%20Moving%20to%20barge.jpg
  18. Has anyone heard anything from this lately?
  19. I wish. That thing is the gift that keeps on giving.
  20. This TED talk lost all credibility for me when they cited the tunnel bus! See 18:40 of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oT8ki6ciopI
  21. Wow . . . . like, wow. A bus that carries 2,000 people and travels 100 miles per hour. Right. You'd think when someone gets invited to TED they'd at least take 2 minutes to research what they're going to be talking about.