Dian L. Chu, Economic Forecasts & Opinions
With its rapidly growing rural-to-urban population, China is in the midst of a massive transportation infrastructure upgrade in order to maintain the country's economic growth and development.
Xinhua reported Chinese railways transported 160 million passengers in July, up 12.8% from one year earlier, sending the January-to-July passenger count to 976 million. China also has the world's largest high-speed rail network with 6,920 km of tracks and more than 10,000 km in new tracks being laid.
The current major public transits in China include subway, light-rail train, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and normal bus. The latest addition to the lineup of Chinese public transit system could be the new straddling "3D super bus" (立體快巴), proposed by Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd as a cheaper, greener and fast alternative to ease traffic jams and air pollution.
Discovery News describes it as "a huge bus that operates like a train on wheels," and is tall enough so vehicles lower than 2 m can go through under. According to China Hush, the bus can speed up to 60 km/h carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time. It costs about 500 million yuan to build the bus and a 40-km-long path for it, about 10% of building equivalent subway. It is said that the bus can reduce traffic jams by 20-30%.
Environmentally, each bus can save up to 860 tons of fuel per year, reducing 2,640 tons of carbon emissions. It is powered partly by solar panels on each bus, but it's powered mostly by electricity. Beijing’s Mentougou District reportedly will launch a pilot program in the near future.
According to Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, China now tops the U.S. as the no. 1 in CO2 emissions. As China strives to cut its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40-45% by 2020 compared with the level from 2005, as pledged last November before the Copenhagen Conference, this is just one of the many new initiatives we could expect coming out of China.
More data and statistics are needed to fully evaluate this new system. However, at first glance, it could mean more traffic accidents waiting to happen, but gets A+ for green effort and innovation.
(The presentation in Chinese by Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment is available on YouTube.)
Dian L. Chu, Aug. 8, 2010