Technology challenges infrastructure limitations
Fast growth countries and established ones have a similar challenge with infrastructure. Infrastructure improvements require investment; anything that enables it to be built cheaper, faster and with less disruption is a major benefit. The old adage time is money is particularly apt in the infrastructure world.
For example, fast growth economies need transport options quickly so as to facilitate labor mobility, to avoid over-population and resource saturation. For more established nations they also need the same thing, but have legacy systems that are challenging if they need reinvention.
Technology is a facilitator of global advancement and once again I am astounded by what creative minds, engineering genius and a can-do spirit can achieve. China is particularly challenged with its transit problems. There was a traffic jam there recently that lasted nine days and stretched 100 kilometers. One new system mooted in China to improve the situation sees an innovative plan for a straddling bus system that rides on wheels over traffic. It utilizes existing roads and uses the air space above them. In a go-go gadget world this project seems futuristic but is already heading toward reality. It could also be adapted to places like Europe and the US too.
So here’s a fascination public transport idea that we’ve never seen mooted before – giant super-buses that roll on stilts on small tracks between lanes of traffic. So they roll over the top of stopped traffic, and when they stop to let passengers on and off, they don’t interrupt the flow of traffic below.
Far quicker and cheaper to build than a subway or monorail system, the Straddling Bus system simply requires modification to existing roads, and the creation of a network of elevated bus stops. The road mods can either comprise inlaid rails – at a 30 percent energy saving due to lack of rolling resistance – or simply a painted colored line, which the buses can be programmed to follow autonomously as they roll on regular tires. Clearly the latter would be exceptionally cheap to deploy, requiring almost no disruption to the road.
Where there’s no room to build an elevated stop, passengers can get in and out using a built-in ladder.
The fully electric buses charge themselves in a new and unique way – which is called relay charging. All along each route, there are charging stations positioned in such a way that there is always a charging post in contact with the bus. The roof of the bus is itself an electrical conductor, so as it brushes against one of these charging posts, it’s juiced up as it runs