Look up – a bus is overtaking you!

Unless you work at home or very close, you’re unlikely to enjoy your commute to work. Traffic, sink holes appearing on the track and other endless delays leave us frustrated and exhausted before we have even sat down at our desks.

But all that could be about to change with some innovative ideas to revolutionise the way we commute being developed across the world.

The beginning of August saw the trial of a two metre high Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) on a 300m-long controlled track in the north-eastern city of Qinhuangdao in China. The electric powered bus is designed to straddle cars driving on the road allowing them to pass under it – like driving through a moving tunnel. It will be able to carry up to 300 passengers in its 72ft long and 25ft wide body and reach speeds of up to 60km per hour, running on rails laid along ordinary roads.

“The biggest advantage is the bus will save lots of road space,” said Song Youzhou, the project’s chief engineer, in an interview with China news agency Xinhua earlier this year. Each bus would replace about 40 conventional buses, he claims, saving more than 800 tonnes of fuel. However there’s no start date for the TEB to rolled out across China.

If you prefer your commute more high flying, then a new aerial pod system could make your day start with a smile. The skyTran system is a network of computer-controlled, 2-person jet-like vehicles using Magnetic Levitation technology, to run along metal tracks some 20ft above the ground. It’s being developed by American based skyTran, and Israel Aerospace Industries and should be tested sometime this year in Tel Aviv in Israel.

Also travelling above existing traffic is the proposed Hyperloop. Originally developed by Elon Musk, the brains behind Tesla and PayPal, Hyperloop will transport passengers and freight in pods through low pressure tubes typically sitting on stilts above the ground. A number of companies are battling it out to bring a working version to market – with promises, for example, of reducing the time it takes to get from Helsinki to Stockholm, some 300 miles and currently a 17 hour ferry trip, down to just 28 minutes, with pods travelling over 1,000 km per hour.

For the more adventurous, the Martin Jetpack will be available from late 2017. Developed for both commercial and personal use, and there is even a Jetpack Golf Cart, you can commute for up to 30 minutes at a time in your own private jet pack, leaving the traffic below you. But this kind of style doesn’t come cheap with a price tag of $200,000 (£153,000) upwards!


The Hyperloop high-speed rail network would take just 30 minutes to go from Edinburgh to London.

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