Not from the Hill or the Street this time, but I just had to bring this up…
China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases and biggest energy consumer. That’s staggering and all the more terrifying, knowing the rate and capacity at which industry has evolved and grown there. There is one area, however, where China is attempting to curtail its deep carbon footprint.
Meet the straddle bus.
In an effort to go green and relieve traffic congestion without widening roads to accommodate more cars, the Shenzhen Huashi Future ParkingEquipment company is developing a “3D Express Coach” (also known as a “three-dimensional fast bus”). I think of it more as a pretend-you’re-in-a-video-game adventure ride: It’s less dangerous-sounding that way.
Here’s how it works: The monorail on steroids will allow cars less than two meters high to travel underneath the upper level of the vehicle which will be carrying passengers, who were not rendered in the drafter’s graphic seen above, but are most certainly laughing at the screaming drivers and passengers in the cars below them (“My god, the tunnel – it won’t stop following me!”)
According to China Hush, the 6-meter-wide 3D Express Coach will be powered by a combination of electricity and solar energy, and will be able to travel up to 60 kilometers per hour carrying some 1200 to 1400 passengers. You read that right. A large Greyhound bus houses 49 passengers. A typical passenger plane seats roughly 300. This behemoth is green, certainly not lean, and if it goes out of control, God help us all.
And it’s set for construction in Beijing’s Mentougou district by the end of this year. The Chairman of the Huashi Future Parking Equipment company boasts that it will only take a year and $73 million to build and operate the thing. Which is why I get ever more frustrated every time I see the still unfinished San Francisco Bay Bridge lazily huddled in the ocean like a section of braces that an orthodontist forgot to remove from a kid’s mouth.
You hear that, Bay Bridge? China’s built one of you that can drive.