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Public Transport Web

a. Dual Mode Transport

Road Transport
Water Transport
Some Future Concepts
a. Dual Mode Transport
b. Public - Private Hybrid
Reference and Links

            In some regions or countries, there are major public transport routes in which the demand for travel is not predictable or consistent enough to be connected by rail tracks. While relying on public road transport is not economical either. There are areas with significant population that do not have adequate capital to install electric overhead cables for some segments of the city roads (for trolley buses) or rail tracks.

            Therefore, passengers need services without changing vehicles to travel to certain destinations. Such services need vehicles that can operate under different kinds of route conditions. Another benefit that such vehicles can provide is that operators can save as much energy as possible under budget constraints due to the costs of the electric power supply. Currently, there are two kinds of dual – mode vehicles, which are the following:

Dual – propulsion system

            This is a vehicle that can run on power from two different sources, which are overhead cables or ground supply that provide electric power and an internal combustion engine. Currently, there are a number of buses and trains that are dual – mode. Some famous examples include the diesel locomotives that operate in the underground tracks in Manhattan, New York City, where the use of diesel engines is prohibited. So, the locomotives must be able to use electricity from the ground power supply. Note that dual – mode vehicles are different from hybrid vehicles, where dual – mode vehicles use electric power from one source during operation.

            The use of dual – mode propulsion vehicles enables cities or suburban areas to reduce emission figures significantly while only being able to electrify certain route segments. Dual – mode buses can operate in routes that provide overhead electric power supply, thus using electric mode, and in highways by using their internal combustion engines. Such buses are some of the most practical modes of transport linking city centers and airports.

            For trains, it is not a new technology, since railway companies such as the former British Rail have used such locomotives, called electro – diesels, since 1962. However, it is one of the very few railway companies in the world to adopt it since many countries either have a wide network of electrified rail tracks or only several kilometers of them. Therefore, they are operated only on routes where trains can operate on electric mode and must also run on many kilometers of non – electrified tracks.

Dual – mode transit

            For routes where the demand for travel is not predictable enough to be provided with rail tracks, vehicles that can run on existing public roads and rail tracks are needed. Thus, passengers traveling on such routes do not need to change vehicles to their final destinations.

            Certain railway companies have conducted research and testing on this vehicle. One company to be used as an example is Japan Railways (JR) Hokkaido, which are currently performing studies to develop a dual – mode vehicle concept that can run on roads and tracks.

JR Hokkaido DMV

               In the form of a minibus, it is equipped with a set of steel wheels that can be deployed automatically for running on rail tracks. Slip lanes of only several metres must be provided in the stations for guiding the vehicles to the tracks or roads, enabling the vehicle to switch from road to track between 10 and 15 seconds. When running on tracks, only the front steel wheels have contact with the tracks, not the front tire wheels. While both the rear steel wheels and the inner tire wheels to make contact with the tracks, enabling the power drive to be sent to the rear tire wheels, similar to a rear – wheel drive bus. The braking is sent primarily to the tire wheels that still contact the tracks to give more effective braking and less braking time compared to that of conventional trains. This enhanced grip can cut regular stopping distance by more than 50 %, making the vehicle able to avoid railway collision.

            With an estimated cost of around US$ 145,000, its price is 1/7 of a diesel – powered railcar. It will cost about a half of that of a car and a quarter of that of a train, per seat. Its fuel cost is about a quarter and maintenance cost about 1/8 of the diesel railcar.

            Its implementation, as well a similar concept designed in Britain called the Bladerunner, can also benefit rural areas greatly since such vehicles can also run on old tracks, thus reviving those tracks. Rural areas will have the opportunity to offer this service to attract the passing travelers without congesting the rural roads as well as the highways. This can improve the rural areas’ mobility to the main cities, thus enhancing their economy. The DMV in Japan is planned to start test commercial operations in April 2007 along the Kushiro Line in eastern Hokkaido.

Copyright 2007 - Aldi Yuristian