Here at Portland Transport, we (both editors and commenters) frequently like to engage in a bit of technical speculation, hoping for future improvements that will allow transit agencies to do more with less. There’s lots of talk around here about electric buses, of driverless vehicles, of different vehicle configurations, and even more exotic concepts like Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and bus/train hybrids. And it’s a tradition ’round these parts to announce groundbreaking new transit technologies the day following March 31st. :)
We also discuss the merits of bus vs rail a lot, and the various types thereof: Local bus vs various grades of Bus Rapid Transit. Streetcar vs light rail vs heavy rail (high-platform long-consist trains found in many large-city subway systems) vs commuter rail. Some of these debates can get spirited.
Today, I’m going to discuss some utterly speculative technology that might help bridge the operational gap between large rubber-tired passenger-hauling vehicles running on paved roads (“bus”) and steel-wheeled vehicles running on steel rails. Since I’m not aware of any existing, well-used name for the technology I’m about to discuss, I shall call it a Bus Multiple Unit (BMU).
More after the jump: