A super bus that can carry 1,400 people

The bus, due to be tested in the coming months in the western part of the city, travels on rails and straddles two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to drive under its passenger compartment, which holds up to 1,400 people.

“We’re going to start laying down test tracks along a six-kilometre (four-mile) stretch towards the end of the year,” Song Youzhou, the chief executive of design firm Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment, said on Tuesday.

“From the second half of 2011, we’re planning to test the bus with passengers on board,” he said, noting that after a full year of trial runs, authorities would make a decision on whether to use the bus on a wide scale. Song said Hashi was in talks with three Chinese carmakers to produce the eco-friendly bus, which runs on both electricity and solar power.

Authorities hope eventually to install 180 kilometres of “straddle bus” lines including a route to the capital’s international airport, Song said.

Song said the “super bus” could ease traffic congestion by up to 30 per cent, as it does not take up actual road space, but special tracks would have to be put down, elevated bus stops built and new traffic signals developed. Only small and medium-sized vehicles will be able to pass under the bus, meaning drivers will have to be extra-vigilant.

An alarm would sound if an oversized vehicle attempted to pass. Song said the bus had to be tested with car drivers in real-time situations to detect any possible problems.
According to government data, Beijing is on track to have five million cars on its roads by year’s end. The four million mark was passed in December.

The head of the Beijing Transportation Research Centre, Guo Jifu, warned this week that traffic in the capital could slow to under 15 kilometres an hour on average if further measures were not taken to limit the number of cars.

Private cars are currently kept off Beijing’s roads for one day per week depending on license plate numbers.

A traffic jam in China is 100 km long!

Does your blood boil when you get caught in a traffic snarl? If so, then do spare a thought for motorists in China who have been stuck for the past 10 days in a traffic jam that stretches a good 100 km on a highway, agencies report from Beijing.

Trucks bound for the Chinese capital are barely moving on the Beijing-Tibet Expressway, formerly known as the Badaling Expressway, due to ongoing maintenance construction work.

Traffic authorities are struggling to cope with congestion on the major national expressway on which traffic has slowed to a snail’s pace. The congestion is expected to last for almost a month, since the construction is due for completion on September 13.
Since August 14, thousands of Beijing-bound trucks have choked the expressway. Now traffic stretches for over 100 km between Beijing and Huai’an in Heibei Province and Jining in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Minor traffic accidents and broken-down cars have aggravated the jam. “Insufficient traffic capacity on the National Expressway 110 caused by maintenance construction is the major cause of the congestion,” a publicity officer with the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau said.

Traffic congestion and road safety have become major concerns for Chinese motorists. About 400 traffic police officers are on duty to maintain order and to prevent further accidents.

Some critics attribute the worsening congestion to poor road planning and lack of proper implementation of regulations. “If there’s no traffic jam in the city, that would be news,” said Niu Fengrui, director of the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“Our government should pick up the pace of urban infrastructure construction and spend some of its budget,” he said.

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