Bus Compromise

Innovations in bus design could improve our commutes, and make city traffic less congested. Source: Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment

So you’re driving to work and you get stuck behind the dreaded bus that stops: Every. Single. Block. You think to yourself, I wish that bus would get out of my way.

You’re on the bus, doing your part for the environment, and you’re stuck in the worst bumper-to-bumper traffic. You can see your bus stop just five cars up, but the driver won’t let you off until then. You think to yourself, “I wish those cars would get out of my way.”

 Well, what if both your wishes could come true?

Last year, China came up with a solution by designing buses that drove on the road, but which had room underneath for cars to drive below and through it. The company, Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment, is also responsible for other space saving
technologies such as the “eco-car parking kiosk”, and “non-stop lane and bicycles (rental) car pavilion”.

The Advantages

These are the specifications and advantages that I got from the Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment website:

  • Allows vehicles under 2.1-2.2 m to drive beneath across two lanes;
  • Does not require existing bridges to be changed as it drives below their 4.5 m height;
  • Drives using electricity (with the possibility of using only solar power);
  • Only requires 0.6 m road widening to install tracks rather than a full bus lane;
  • Requires single lane closure during construction for a year to construct 40 km of track versus 3-6 years full road closure for subways;
  • Does not require a lot for the buses to park when not in use;
  • Speeds up to 60 km / h;
  • Carries more than 300 passengers per bus;
  • Costs only 10% of what it would cost to build subways; and
  • Estimates traffic jam reduction of 20-30%.

 The Disadvantages

These are the questions that the media, as well as interested parties, thought of as major disadvantages:

  •  If an accident occurs in the middle of the road, it will create a large traffic jam;
  • You cannot change lanes from under the bus (this could be a major issue for those that need to turn);
  • New infrastructure would need to be built to accommodate passengers loading on the second level; and
  • Cannot reroute buses if there is a road closure.

While it appears this design has faded from the media, and no recent updates have been placed on the designer’s website, I believe this design, or a similar one, would be beneficial to traffic congested cities everywhere. Generally, the pros outweigh the cons for this project. I think it’s a fantastic idea for any city and it could encourage more people to take
transit.

Lauren Wingham-Smith is a Municipal Peer Review Team Project Assistant with Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited, acting on behalf of the Municipality of Port Hope. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering, specializing in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Economics. This multidisciplinary background allows Lauren to view both the environmental and human effects of engineering projects. She is also passionate about green innovation and design.

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About Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited

Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited (HSAL) is a multidisciplinary strategic planning and public affairs consultancy, focused on environmental and land use planning, stakeholder relations (including communications, facilitation, public consultation and engagement), socio-economic impact assessment, communications, engineering and related services. We have the expertise to predict and decipher technical and public policy issues, and significant experience mitigating them, building consensus and attaining even the most complex approvals. For more information, visit www.hardystevenson.com
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