In early August, a prototype of the Transit Elevated Bus -- or TEB -- was tested in northern China.
It is claimed that speeds would eventually reach 40 miles per hour and use rails running either side of the road. Its 300 passengers (1,200, once a few buses were linked together like train carriages) would travel in comfort, in something akin to an airport lounge.
There are claims of investor fraud
According to China's state media organs, previously big boosters of the project, the TEB was little more than a publicity stunt -- one of the dozens of peer-to-peer lending scams that have duped retail Chinese investors in recent years by promising unreal annual returns.
Maybe it is a financial scam. However the claim that important technical questions have been unanswered does not seem to be difficult for me to answer.
How would such a bus pass beneath low bridges?
It could not go under low bridges. There would have to be routes where low bridges and power lines were moved or raised.
There are routes through cities where large objects like houses can be moved.
What if a tall vehicle wanted to overtake it (the clearance was just seven feet)?
Again there could either be a separation of the bus route from truck routes or you increase the height of the bus. The width of the bus may also need to be three lanes instead of two for a taller bus to still be stable.
The standard overpass clearance height is typically 16-17 feet (about 5 meters). In order to not have the route for a Transit Elevated Bus limited to non-bus and non-truck routes, then a Transit Elevated Bus would need to be a little more than double the height to clear 5 meters.
How could it warn cars when it wanted to change lanes?
The safest solution would be to have planned routes that have controlled direction or road changes. Some dedicated bus turning or shifting areas. It would not be a completely free lunch in terms of road and city modifications but it would be far less than a subway.
How could it go round 90-degree bends?
As noted dedicate some area for any turning. You have to build some rails and you have develop the route some. It would still be far lower cost than a subway.
The claim that it would be a way to get more public transportation on routes without subways and for a lot less infrastructure development than a subway still seems to be true. It is strange that there was some kind assumption of near zero alteration to the route of an elevated bus.
I believe that an Elevated bus route could be made to work and be lower cost and faster to implement than a subway line. However, China can build subway lines very quickly and pretty affordably. Established subway line makers with tens of billions of dollars in business and contracts would certainly look to kill a potentially pesky new disruptive approach.
SOURCES- Economist, Bloomberg, New Analysis by Nextbigfuture