China is officially #1. The #1 producer of greenhouse gases and the world's largest energy consumer that is.
The Asian powerhouse overtook the United States in both categories earlier this year, but China is starting also to think outside the box when it comes to reduce their pollution.
Their newest plan? The "Straddling Bus"—a space-age vehicle straight out of the Jetsons (only it doesn't fly). The Chinese government is seriously looking into the production of these vehicles in an effort to "go green" and relieve congestion on roads in packed cities such as Beijing. I visited Beijing in April of 2009 and I can confirm that traffic is a major issue—so much so that residents are only permitted to drive on designated days that correspond with their license plate number (odd numbers on certain days and even numbers on the others).
The "Straddling Bus" is being developed by Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company, who is currently calling it the "3D Express Coach" or "Three-Dimensional Fast Bus."So how will it work? The bus will allow cars less than 2 meters high to travel underneath the upper level of the Bus. The upper level will be carrying passengers. The bus itself will be six meters wide and will be powered by a combination of electricity and solar energy and will be able to travel at speeds up to 60 km/hour carrying as many as 1,400 passengers at a time.
The crowded streets of Beijing will be the testing grounds for the Bus with the first 115 miles of track set for construction in the city's Mentougou district starting later this year. And the transport of the future doesn't cost as much as you might think. The price tag for this modern wonder is only 500 million yuan (about US$73million) and Huashi Future Parking Equipment boasts that construction will be completed in only a year.