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I was blown away by this 'straddling bus' idea proposed in China;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv8_W2PA0rQ

Similarly, the new Ultra PRT at Heathrow is very innovative;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epiiPy9kAho



Does anybody know of any other interesting innovative transport solutions? Can anyone see these kinds of solutions being used in our own cities?

I don't know how to post screen shots of these things, but if anybody could that would be great.
 

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Stimarco on the Dartford / Thurrock Thread

QUOTE>>The UK has some of the worst infrastructure development policies known to humanity: it's all sticks and no carrots. There's no means for local and regional authorities to manage their own damned infrastructure without the interminable meddling of Whitehall's egotistical MPs and ministers, most of whom haven't a bloody clue about the subject area they're supposed to be ministers of. (That Lord Adonis was such a breath of fresh air during the last Labour administration merely proves my point: all ministers running major departments should have at least some passing acquaintance with the subject of said departments. They sure as hell shouldn't be given a department in a process that appears to involve names, bits of paper, blindfolding, and a large hat.)

Even piddly little towns in France, Italy and elsewhere have light rail systems, but London's only trams are still tucked away, down there, in bloody Croydon! This is the famous 1960s insult to town planning, yet it has better bloody infrastructure today than both the Square Mile and pretty much every part of London that isn't called "Docklands"!
<<QUOTE

I Couldn't agree more. There seems to be a particular strain of shortsightedness in being a politician.Being unable to see the wider picture, and getting to grip with the concept that make do and mend is always more expensive in the longterm. Spend a bit now and it will save you in the future are also alien concepts. The politicians would doubtlessly bleat about saving money, and cost efficiencies etc. The only cost involved is that of the public.
 

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Even piddly little towns in France, Italy and elsewhere have light rail systems, but London's only trams are still tucked away, down there, in bloody Croydon!
....

I Couldn't agree more.
This appears to be a pro tram move here. Things are moving on. Full electric busses are feasible right now using the fast charge Toshiba batteries. Over 80% charged in a few minutes. An EV bus could run under a pantograph type of arrangement to charge at various points along the route or just at each end, or the driver just plugs in the bus himself from a point, while he waits to fill the bus with passengers on the turn-around. The advantages of running street running buses on rails then is just plain gone - trams are yesterday's technology, dropped over 50 years ago. Modern EV busses are cheap to laying rail lines in streets (and the massive disruption) and ugly overhead wires. Vandals in NZ pull them down for fun.

As can trains and trams, electric busses can run next to raised platforms as they do in South American cities. Lay-bys for busses and platforms is not confined to trams and trains. EV buses can run onto platforms next to urban rail trains for easy changes. EV buses to fill gaps between stations.

To install rail lines on streets would cause amazing disruption for many years. We do not need trams in large cities. BTW, Liverpool city centre had an electric bus circle route in the early 1970s.

The Toshiba batteries are just coming on-line. By the time they are available en-mass, which will be sooner rather than later, they will put trams into the expensive technological scrap heap.

Large cities need to maximise its mothballed, disused urban rail infrastructure laid waste by Beeching - which is extensive, and fill gaps between stations using electric buses, which can use dedicated bus lanes, lanes which can be used by cars after hours, unlike segregated rail & trams tracks. Buses that can run onto adjacent urban rail platforms for easy changes. In short, grab a bus to the nearest station, cross the platform to a rapid-transit train, all using an Oyster type of card. Also any new large developments should have urban rail run in as a matter of course with also a links to the airports.

It is not difficult to see this.

Below: a Shanghai electric bus also using fast charge supercapacitors charging at a station stop.


Below: A supercapacitor/electric bus at a charging point along the way. The bus at the end is normal trollybus using wires.

Below: A supercapacitor electric bus. Note the overhead charging pantograph.

None of the Shanghai buses use the new Toshiba batteries which would improve matters greatly. Toshiba are setting up large plants now and have other companies to also make the batteries. The technology is here that is the point and it is imminently on the market. About the time the Toshiba batteries are available - trams will be antiquated technology instantly. The only point they had was that they are clean running -that has now gone!

Shanghai is running battery/supercapacitor buses right now in service, with no rails or overhead wires. This is no pipe dream. Using the Toshiba batteries the performance improves greatly.

Below: a explanation of the supercapacitor bus - no rails or overhead wires. This is ideal for Liverpool operating between Merseyrail, Tyne and Wear and London Underground stations.

There is no need for trams when full EV buses on bus lanes can do the short hop trips and full urban rail the inter-district mass people shifting.
 

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The super capicitor trolly bus sounds like a good idea, but watching the videos i cant help but notice a number of current flaws.

The most noticable being that its range on capicitors is only 3 miles. It then needs to sit around doing nothing for 5 mins while it re-charges. This would slow a bus service down to an unaceptable degree.
Now i suspect this 3 miles between recharge, is for optimum driving. In heavy traffic conditions it would mean that it would probably run out of juice after just one or two miles.

It has battery backup but again these only have a maximum range of 50miles.
It would then need a proper recharge of the batteries.

As a consequence of all this recharging going on, you would probably need more buses, because periodically throughout the day you would need to swap flat battery buses for charged ones.

More buses means more energy made making them, which means more damage to the environment.

Batteries and capacitors themselves also use exotic materials in their manufacture. These materials need transporting and then processing to make them into the products. This uses large amounts of energy. The exotic materials used are also often highly toxic and need to be disposed of carefully in specialist plants, which need large amounts of energy.

Capacitors and Batteries also degrade in their efficiency over time. Capacitors in particular degrade fast and then need replacing.
This would further reduce the range of the vehicles, and increase running costs.

Clearly if they could solve the battery and capacitor efficiency so that vehicles would have ranges between recharging of say 500 miles then they would become very vyable. However at present they look like only being useful on short hop routes with a low frequency. Something like an airport car park to terminal building journey. This makes them very inflexible.
 

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The super capicitor trolly bus sounds like a good idea, but watching the videos i cant help but notice a number of current flaws.

The most noticable being that its range on capicitors is only 3 miles. It then needs to sit around doing nothing for 5 mins while it re-charges. This would slow a bus service down to an unaceptable degree.
Now i suspect this 3 miles between recharge, is for optimum driving. In heavy traffic conditions it would mean that it would probably run out of juice after just one or two miles.
It is best you look at all the vids before typing. ;)

  1. They are operating NOW and do not run out of juice.
  2. Each bus stop can have the pantograph charger and charge at each stop - a little at a time without a time penalty.
  3. The new Toshiba batteries will improve it considerably.

It has battery backup but again these only have a maximum range of 50miles.
It runs around a big city.

More buses means more energy made making them, which means more damage to the environment.
Oh my God!!!

Capacitors will outlive the bus.

< snip misinformed stuff > :)
 

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She says it clearly every three miles or five kilometres in the modern parlance and it needs charging for five minutes.

That would soon Pishpek most travellers off. Stop start stop start. Nevertheless an idea that will have it's time when the technology improves. Imagine this on one of those double decker bendy buses that I believe exists. The neoplan jumbo cruiser is it's name I think.

It will be like a Zeppelin on the road.

As for the uk. Essentially I can see some attraction for smaller medium sized towns who want a more carbon neutral friendly mode of mass transit. Bigger cities would still benefit from various shades of trams from light to heavy. Not sure if any type of bus would massively persuade drivers to abandon their motors though.

Back to op question. I would suggest the Rotherham sheffield tram train trials. Not innovative for the continent, but they are unique for the uk.
 

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She says it clearly every three miles or five kilometres in the modern parlance and it needs charging for five minutes.

That would soon Pishpek most travellers off. Stop start stop start. Nevertheless an idea that will have it's time when the technology improves. Imagine this on one of those double decker bendy buses that I believe exists. It will be like a Zeppelin on the road.

As for the uk. Essentially I can see some attraction for smaller medium sized towns who want a more carbon neutral friendly mode of mass transit. Bigger cities would still benefit from various shades of trams from light to heavy.

Back to op question. I would suggest the Rotherham sheffield tram train trials. Not innovative for the continent, but they are unique for the uk.
Buses are supposed to stop-start. None have run out of juice. And a point you never got, they can be improved even further using Toshiba batteries. Using the batteries it can do an end to end run and charge at the end for 5 mins to top up, and still charge the supercapacitors along the way at each stop as passengers get on and off.
  1. Biigger cities with urban rapid-transit rail are best using the rail for large people shifts and EV buses between stations.
  2. The EV supercapacitor buses can be like this, and shift larger volumes of people and eliminate trams entirely in cities without urban rail:



Trams are DEAD I fail to see where they have any future at all.
 

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Of course the real innovative public transport schemes would be

A. Free or cheap fares. Nothing else than that would increase patronage.

B. Banning various firms of territorial pissing from chavs playing inane tinny corporate r n b, the insidious glockenspiel ring tone of the I have a message on my blackberry brigade to be suited loons conducting business very loudly on the train. And anyone who smells.
 

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As for the uk. Essentially I can see some attraction for smaller medium sized towns who want a more carbon neutral friendly mode of mass transit.
I beg to differ.

Consider the infrastructure this system will require: multiple bus stops with high-voltage charging facilities. Compared to the typical "Bus Stop" sign-on-a-stick used by traditional buses, it's a hell of an expense. It's expensive to build as you need to run HV cables to each designated charging stop, and it will increase maintenance costs too. Vandals will be able to bring a bus route to a standstill by simply jamming up the charging connectors too.

And for what? There are already perfectly good, tested, alternatives to OHLE right now.

Furthermore, this technology inherently limits the flexibility of the vehicle: it can only travel on routes that are fitted with the necessary charging infrastructure. What's the difference between a bus that has to follow a fixed route, and a trolleybus or tram? Not a lot.

Finally, what happens when buses bunch-up, as they inevitably will? Will there be enough charging facilities at these charging stops for multiple buses? The only way to stop this is to fit GPS-based systems across the fleet, along with a management system that warns buses if they're getting too close to the one in front.

A traditional diesel bus can go literally anywhere. And most small towns have bus routes that run right out into the countryside, serving outlying villages. Some stops will be a damned sight further apart than a few hundred yards!

Reinventing trams isn't worth it. Neither is reinventing the trolleybus. Just fit the damned wires and be done with it. If you don't want wires in your precious tourist-trap town centre, use an induction system instead, with wires further out. Both are proven technologies.

Any completely new transit technology needs to offer a radical improvement over existing modes, or it really is just going to end up as a very niche market.
 

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Buses are supposed to stop-start. None have run out of juice. And a point you never got, they can be improved even further using Toshiba batteries. Using the batteries it can do an end to end run and charge at the end for 5 mins to top up, and still charge the supercapacitors along the way at each stop as passengers get on and off.
  1. Biigger cities with urban rapid-transit rail are best using the rail for large people shifts and EV buses between stations.
  2. The EV supercapacitor buses can be like this, and shift larger volumes of people and eliminate trams entirely in cities without urban rail:



Trams are DEAD I fail to see where they have any future at all.
Those artist impressions look cool, however dont allow yourself to get pulled in by marketing spiel and hype.

The reality at present re electric buses is as follows:-



These potter around the shopping centres of my home town. They were originally planned to operate some regular bus routes but were soon relegated to being free town centre shuttle buses, after their failings became apparent.
Currently 5 of the 6 are out of service due to mechanical problems. They were only introduced in 2002.

Personally think the future is more the duel powered trolly buses. Ive seen these in Eastern Europe and they are great. In city centres they operate via overhead wires but then resort to normal engines when away from the wires.

Here is one OFF wire



and one under the wire

 

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Those artist impressions look cool, however dont allow yourself to get pulled in by marketing spiel and hype.
No. Real buses. They can be electric, hybrid or diesel. The NY bus is not an impression. A real bus pic...



That small hopper bus is 9 years old. State of the art eh?

The last two pics are trollybuses not EVs. Pay attention please.
 

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I don't. The stops would be much more expensive to build and maintain than the usual passive stops you see in smaller towns and their surroundings as many will clearly require charging facilities to be fitted.
Not all supercapacitor stops would be charging stops. The Toshiba batteries make matters very different.

(And what happens when buses bunch-up?
The same as when street running trams bunch up.

Will there be enough charging facilities at these charging stops for multiple buses?)
EV buses consume NO energy when not moving. These buses work in a highly congested city RIGHT NOW!! They work!!!!! They carry people and all that.

Trams ARE dead New technology kills them for good. Laying a new tram network and all the disruption or rail and pylon laying, is a no, no. EV/supercapacitor busses, of any type, has made railed trams with associated electric pickup redundant. It is FAR cheaper to buy the new technology buses and have them on bus lanes. Lanes that can be used out of hours by other road vehicles, and during hours by taxis. EV busses can be used pretty well immediately. Batteries are improving all the time, so a battery set change in 10 years would mean the bus is transformed.

Even if all bus stops are supercapacitor charging stops, it would still be far, far, cheaper than laying rails and wires in streets. You need stops anyhow.
 

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@MarineMan: Bus lanes? In England? Not even London has consistent bus lanes that manage to run continuously for an entire bus route without any interruptions! For the most part, the problem is that it's simply not physically possible to squeeze them into narrow, horse-and-cart road networks that can barely manage one lane each way. Most of London—and almost every town and village in the UK—fits this description. Outside the central core of cities like London, you're saddled with ancient, winding country lanes and village high streets that are now forced to act as major arterial trunk roads. ALL road-using vehicles are a problem on this kind of infrastructure, not merely trams or whatever vehicle you happen to hate this week.

It's congestion that's the problem in most British towns and cities, not whether the damned things run on diced Cheddar and fairy dust. Powering a bus' air conditioning, lights, and flashy destination boards isn't free, no matter how much you'd like to believe otherwise. (And yes, you do still have to power all that stuff when the vehicle has stopped.) That power also has to come from somewhere. In the UK, that's usually a fossil-fuelled power station, so all you're doing is shifting the pollution elsewhere. You're solving nothing aside from local pollution, but you can do a much better job of reducing pollution by simply making that traffic flow more easily. It's all that stop-starting that causes much of the problem.

I agree that trams don't really solve the problem either in cities like London and Newcastle, although they do have some advantages if you have a lot of disused or little-used rail infrastructure lying around, as Croydon did (and, in Manchester's case, still does). But trams are perfectly fine in cities, and newer towns, which have suitable space for them. Milton Keynes was designed with trams in mind, for example. They're far from dead, but they're not a universal solution either.

For horse-and-cart urban areas like London, a suspended monorail system makes the most sense. This lets the vehicles fly above congestion, in much the same way underground railways go under it. The advantage is that suspended monorails are dirt cheap and quick to build, and can be run at street level in areas where this makes sense. They're also much easier to incorporate into new buildings. This technology has been in use since the late 1800s for precisely this purpose. Just ask the Wuppertal region.
 

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Congestion? Well segregated transport is the way, either above or below grade. Redundant rail lines are best for well...rail lines for urban rapid-transit, as Liverpool is full of and London has some.

If you are running street running passenger transport, well trams now offer nothing more than EV/supercapacitor buses. London does have decent bus lanes that are quite free. Other cities may not offer such convenience, so that applies equally to a rail track in the road or a segregated rail track.

For street running passenger transport trams offer nothing more than the new EV busses - NOTHING! Trams are ridiculously expensive implement. The only advantage of trams, the clean running is now negated.
  1. Do you want big passenger capacity? You can have it with EV busses.
  2. Do you want tram-like platforms? You can have it with EV busses.
  3. Do you want tram-like segregated running? You can have it with EV busses.
Liverpool's tram network is now fully dead and gone. Well they never needed it anyhow having Merseyrail. The city lost its way. Liverpool, Newcastle and London just need feeder EV busses between stations.
 

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Milton Keynes was designed with trams in mind, for example.
I'm curious if there's any evidence for this statement.

What I do know about transport economics and the planning of Milton Keynes suggests quite the opposite. It was designed squarely with the car in mind.

If you're building a high-capital, fixed-infrastructure project such as a tram system, you need to be able to concentrate transport demand into defined corridors to justify the investment.

Short of trying to run a it in somewhere like rural Wales, the low-density, grid planning of Milton Keynes is the worst possible environment for something like a tram system.

One good indicator is that if it were able to sustain tram system, it should have a healthy bus service. It does not - last year it was identified as the worst place in the UK for public transport.
 

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I'm curious if there's any evidence for this statement.
None at all. MK was designed 100% for the car. An American designed it. There is no congestion so public transport is little used.
 

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I'm curious if there's any evidence for this statement.
A very good question. I've seen it reported on various websites and even in two encyclopedias, but I cannot, for the life of me, find the original Master Plan online anywhere. (I've found an option to buy it on CD, so I guess they must be pretty sizeable.)

That said, there was a previous plan that included multiple monorails—I'm not kidding!—which the newer Master Plan deliberately tried to bury. So it's possible there's been some confusion.

The actual layout MK ended up with wasn't the one originally in the Master Plan. (Based on this thesis, which has some interesting diagrams from the original plan.)

Oddly enough, I can find no hard evidence for explicit planning for future tram / monorail services other than the Wikipedia entry on MK, and on this site. Reading between the lines, I suspect the wide verges and reservations were probably intended for future road widening schemes as the car really was the future as far as that period's architects were concerned.

What I do know about transport economics and the planning of Milton Keynes suggests quite the opposite. It was designed squarely with the car in mind.
Given my researches, agreed.

But that doesn't mean it couldn't be adapted...

MK may actually be an ideal site for the first "city-wide" PRT network, come to think of it. Those verges and reservations are ideal for that kind of infrastructure, with PRT stations in the centres of each 'block'.

Alternatively, a monorail solution could work well as it would be much easier to thread through the centres of each 'block'. A traditional tram or light rail system would likely be limited to mostly following the grid roads.

The problem with MK's buses is that they're forced to go into each 'block' as there's apparently not much point in them stopping on the grid roads. The upshot is that every bus route ends up going "round the houses", which makes for long, unattractive journey times. Buses have to use the roads, so they can't take shortcuts the way, say, a monorail or PRT system could.

(That thesis I linked to earlier explains why the bus services in Milton Keynes have proven so unsuccessful: the original plan envisaged services—local shops, take-aways, etc.—facing onto the grid roads, with those roads having normal traffic light junctions and 30 mph. limits. This allowed for more side streets joining the grid roads, and a safer pedestrian environment. Clearly this plan failed to survive contact with the enemy!)
 
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