China's straddling bus design has been floating around for a some time, and while it looks amazing, there's always been the caveat that it's only a concept, far from becoming a reality - but not anymore.

The China Xinhua News reports that the transit elevated bus TEB-1 has just completed its first road test in Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, where the brakes and power consumption were put through their paces on a track measuring almost 1000 feet.

The bus runs on rails laid alongside ordinary roads. It's able to carry up to 300 passengers 15 feet above the ground inside the 72-foot long by 25-foot wide body. Its high legs allow any vehicles under 6.5 feet in height to travel underneath it, even when it is stationary.

Not only does the sheer size of the TEB mean it could replace 40 conventional buses, but it's also environmentally friendly. Being powered by electricity reduces fuel consumption by some 800 tons and carbon emissions by nearly 2,500 tons every year, chief engineer Song Youzhou told Xinhua.

The straddling bus can travel at up to 40 mph, which would enable commuters to get around a lot faster than if they were driving through China's notoriously busy city roads. Future versions of the TEB could be a lot larger and carry over 1000 passengers, easing congestion on a massive scale. Best of all, they can be built for about 16 percent of what constructing a subway would cost.

The TEB still has some way to go before it's ready for everyday use, but other countries such as France, Brazil, India, and Indonesia have expressed an interest in the technology.

Image credit: Xinhua