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Old May 24th, 2013, 09:49 PM   #1
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MISC | Guided buses

BRT systems systems are being built across the world at a furious pace especially in the developing world. They have proven themselves to be reliable, cost effective mass transit systems which are much easier, faster, and far cheaper to build than LRT systems. Despite what the LRT advocates and rail industry has stated, they have also proven themselves to be popular and can lead to TOD.

What I'm curious about is guided bus systems. The electronic guided systems in France have pretty much proved themselves to be unreliable and I can imagine they would be even worse in cities that get a lot of snow or ice. What I am talking about is the curb guided systems like the new one in Cambridge England or the existing ones in Essen and Adelaide's O-Bahn.

Has anyone ridden on those system and I'm curious what the ride is like?
I've understood they are smooth and quiet as they use rubber tires that run on concrete tracks. I'm also curious if there are any elevated systems like monorails and are there any that run on steel tracks. What I mean is no at grade bedding but rather pillars supporting steel tubes for the tires as I would think those would be easier to build as almost all the work would be done off-site and the tracks needn't be highly elevated but a meter of 2 to avoid building the bedding.

The advantages of guided buses over exclusive busways is obvious as they require less land and make level bordering at stations the same as any rail line.They also, unlike all other forms of transit using track, get rid of the dreaded "last mile" problem which inhibits many from taking transit.

I think LRT has become flavour of the month with huge amounts being spent on systems with low ridership especially in the US. Some cities seem to be building them for no other reason that "everyone else has one" which is an incredibly poor way to develop a transit system and can cost the taxpayers a fortune for little in return except a ribbon cutting ceremony.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 07:28 AM   #2
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In Australia, Brisbane's unguided busway system is vastly superior to Adelaide's for frequency of service (especially outside of peak hours), passenger carrying capacity, ride quality and the absence of technical/compatibility issues.

The major advantage of Adelaide's O-Bahn is that it is FAST, ie speeds of up to 100kph for large stretches of it. The highest speed anywhere on Brisbane's busway network is 90kph and it is generally lower.

Adelaide's seems to suit it fairly well because the passenger and direct service catchment is much smaller compared to the busway network in Brisbane. Adelaide also has a much larger proportion of articulated buses in its fleet than Brisbane, which comes down to the O-Bahn being older and Adelaide's rail network being much more paltry and largely useless than even Brisbane's, which itself is not exactly stellar. The bus system does more heavy lifting in both cities than the rail network, but where in the Brisbane metropolitan area the proportion is about 2:1 in favour of buses, in Adelaide it is closer to 5:1.

Having said that, it's manifestly obvious that Brisbane's is now massively overcrowded and confusing, and should have been a railway from day one.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 08:19 AM   #3
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Yes, I understand that Brisbane has built itself an excellent BRT busway system much like Ottawa's Transitway.

I know the O-Bahn is rather old but I am surprised to hear the ride quality isn't as good as the standard busway. I know guided buses cannot run on standard asphalt/pavement as eventually it wear the roadway out quicker and the road begins to sage due to the buses always being travelling along the exact same spots. This is one of the many failings of the electronic guided systems in France and Holland and one which they were not expecting. It has cost both places a small fortune to repair the system.

The regular physically guided buses like Cambridge and Adelaide seem to be far more practical and reliable than the electronic guided systems which are also proprietary unlike
Adelaide/Cambridge/Essen which are just standard buses with small controlling wheels added at the boogies for guidance. They are just off the shelf buses with a minor add on------------no big deal.

Are there any systems that run on metal tracks or is that even really doable with buses? I would think it wouldn't be an issue as that is all some rubber tired Metro systems are like Montreal's Metro. It's basically just rubber wheels running inside steel tubes.

I think the idea of guided buses is an excellent one because they have the reliablity and boarding ease of any rail system, take up less room than a standard busway, and, unlike any other tracked system, can get rid of the "last mile" problem.
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Old April 3rd, 2016, 02:40 AM   #4
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Manchester (UK)'s Guided Busway opens today.

It's been extremely controversial due to the traffic issues caused during the construction. The buses look extremely posh... for buses Worth a look:

Manchester, so much to answer for

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