They are actually proceeding with this particular idea and I suspect that we will see it in pilot mode. I do not think that they will be able to avoid a guard rail configuration though. Placed at human height to three meters it would consist of a post and beam structure that would not impede pedestrian traffic and the post spacing could be rather substantial as needed for alley access.
One can even provide popup beams for truck access and the like in certain circumstances. At ten feet or even more, you do not interfere with normal cross street traffic.
The challenge is to avoid creating a new barrier if one wishes to deploy this on urban main streets where the traffic is. Post and beam to ten feet surely does this and may be integrated with the lighting standards.
Obviously though, cost will drive this and that will be the main reason this option may be adopted. Plenty of high volume corridors simply do not as yet justify a subway but definitely need way better service.
One excellent application will be center to center movement along existing freeway connections in US cities. Stopping and crossings are not the issue but volume is.
China Will Start Building 186 Kilometers of Track for Mega Straddle Buses by the end of 2010 to Help Reduce Traffic Jams by 25-30%
AUGUST 23, 2010
China is developing mega straddle buses to help solve traffic congestion like a recent 9 day 60 mile long traffic jam.
This bus straddles the road allowing it to pass over the normal road traffic on
’s busy city streets. The buses are 6 meters (18 feet) wide and 4.5 meters (13.5 feet) high which means they take up two road lanes, while still being low enough to get under most of the cities overpasses. China
It can reduce traffic jams by 25-30% on main routes. Running at an average of 25 miles per hour, it can take 1,200 people at a time, or 300 passengers per cart. The straddling bus is that it runs above cars and under overpass. Its biggest strength is saving road space, efficient and high in capacity.
Each of these mega-buses will have a capacity of 1200 passengers while they zip down the streets blanketing commuters. They are electric powered, using a relay charging system that would recharge the bus as it is traveling by maintaining contact with at least one high-power electrical conductor that makes contact with the roof of the bus. The bus will either be on a railway style system, similar typical trolly cars we have now, or equipped with laser sensing cameras using regular tires following a painted line. The cost savings of this opposed to underground methods are over 90%. The Mentougou district of Beijing is beginning to lay out 186km of tracks by this years end for a pilot program
The mega straddel bus will cost about 500 million yuan (USD70 million) to build the bus and a 40-km-long path for it, only 10% of building equivalent subway.
The first 187 kilometer section will be a little over US$300 million.