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China’s Futuristic ‘Straddle Bus’ Goes For a Test Drive

It looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but China's "straddle bus," which went for its first test drive this week, could have the potential to revolutionize transportation.

The electric bus, known as the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) is 72 feet long and 25 feet wide. Its elevated body, which can fit 300 passengers, allows cars to pass under the bus, keeping the flow of traffic. Four of the vehicles can be linked together, providing the potential to transport as many as 1,200 passengers.

People look at the Transit Elevated Bus TEB-1 run past vehicles as they conducted a test run in Qinhuangdao, north China's Hebei Province. Luo Xiaoguang / Xinhua News Agency / AP

The bus first generated buzz when it was introduced at the China Beijing International High-Tech Expo in May. This week's trial run was its most public outing yet.

Moving along a 300-meter controlled track in Qinhaungdao, located in northeast China, the bus ran on tracks as cars passed under it. The engineers behind the project say it can be built for one-fifth of the cost of a subway system.

People try the Transit Elevated Bus TEB-1 conducting a test run after it unveiled in Qinhuangdao, north China's Hebei Province on Aug. 2, 2016. The 72-feet long and 25-feet wide Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) powered by electricity can carry more than hundreds passengers, is designed to go over the normal traffic to help ease traffic congestion without having to dig new tunnels or build elevated rail tracks. Luo Xiaoguang / Xinhua News Agency / AP

The bus hasn't been on the open road yet, but engineers believe the vehicle can run at a speed of 60 km/hour (37 mph), according to the BBC. While that may seem slow, it could have the potential to be the quickest option in congested urban areas, particularly at rush hour.

Read More: This Bus Might Change the Way You Travel