Car ownership in China is soaring, with an estimated 20 million new drivers hitting the roads each year. Cities there can expect no shortage of air pollution and hellish traffic jams. While local governments are hoping that parking regulations and plate restrictions will ease congestion, engineers and designers are trying to find relief in technology.
What if there were a city bus that could carry more than a thousand passengers from one point to another without taking up any space on the road?
As fantastical as that sounds, it’s a solution that Chinese cities like Beijing are actually considering. Participants at the 19th International High-Tech Expo in Beijing this weekend watched excitedly as a tiny “straddling bus” gobbled up cars and spit them back out as it glided above the traffic in a model city. It’s a replica of what could be the future of China’s public transport.