Urban areas worldwide are feeling the squeeze as more and more people flock to everywhere from London to Shenzhen. In addition to affordable housing (don’t get me started…) transportation is a growing concern. Even cities with reliable public transport systems are struggling to accommodate the growing demand for a ride: existing infrastructure takes time, effort and money to enhance. It’s time to think outside the traditional lane or tunnel.
Traffic? Just straddle it
One exciting and promising idea for coping with traffic and the growing demand for public transport: the transit elevated bus. Traffic jams and road blocks are no problem for this fully-electric 300-person bus that simply straddles existing streets, at speeds of up to 60 km/h, letting traffic pass underneath. Plus, it’s said to be more cost effective than building a new subway.
In August, the revolutionary bus project began testing in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao and, after much media attention, governments from France to India to Brazil also expressed interest in the cutting-edge eMobility project.
While the promising transit elevated bus takes the electric bus concept to a new level, in all likelihood, it won’t be ready for wide-scale rollout anytime soon. The good old electric bus, however, is pulling in to the spotlight in ever more cities. The same route, day after day: sounds like the perfect conditions for driving electric.
Why else are electric busses revving up? Here are three reasons.
1. Wireless charging
The advent of wireless induction charging for busses, which uses the same technology as smartphones and electric toothbrushes to charge the battery, makes the process of topping up incredibly easy and hassle-free. In the case of busses, all it takes is driving over a magnetic charging plate in the road along the route and the battery charges automatically.
2. Better air quality
It’s not breaking news that carbon emissions are a mounting concern. Not only in terms of global warming, but also because the air quality in densely populated urban centres. Assuming a large percentage of a city’s busses go electric, they can help make the air better and healthier to breathe. Great for communities, great for citizens.
3. Autonomous potential
As we’ve discussed before, the driverless car and automated driving are all the rage right now. But there are still numerous hurdles to overcome before cars can truly ditch the driver. Busses, especially electric city busses, are another story because they drive the same route every day, from sunrise to sunset.
For now I’m really excited to see how the electric transit elevated bus fares in trials. We need new approaches and ideas like it to keep traffic flowing smoothly, so we can spend time doing more of what we enjoy, not sitting in traffic.