Incredible bus is also a tunnel
Chinese designers have come up with an innovative cost-effective public transport system: the tunnel bus.
The remarkable bus straddles two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to drive underneath while it carries up to 1,200 passengers.
It's environmentally sound too because it runs on electricity, using a state-of-the-art charging system. Called relay charging, the roof of the bus conducts electricity and contacts special charging posts as it moves along.
It's cost-effective because there are two ways it could operate: first off, special tracks could be laid into each side of the road, like a tram.
Or secondly, simple coloured lines could be painted onto the road for it to follow automatically on conventional tyres. There'll be a driver on the bus at all times, though.
Elevated bus stops will be erected to allow passenger to embark, or where there's no room for those the bus will have ladders. The emergency exits will be inflatable slides.
And if the straddling bus seems all to futuristic to be true, amazingly it isn't - a pilot scheme involving over 115 miles of tracks in Beijing will begin before 2011.
The trials will focus on traffic management and safety. Managing traffic flow is an issue: how, for example, to guarantee a bus can turn off a road safely while there is no traffic underneath.
The advanced stage of the plan suggests this is not an insurmountable issue. Then who knows - it could revolutionise public transport outside of China. London, perhaps?
While it may look like an idealistic pipedream, China is taking the tunnel bus concept very seriously. Moreover, a pilot scheme involving more than 115 miles of test track will launch in Beijing before the close of 2010.