Monday, March 12, 2012

Not waiting for trains: Superbus

When Google started really driving their autonomous cars around, I wondered if trains of autonomous cars on existing road infrastructure could replace plans to develop train infrastructure in the US.

This Dutch concept Suberbus, is another take on that idea. They would use dedicated roadways and an improved bus concept to provide high-speed public transportation.

It just makes sense to me, to tweak our use of existing automobile infrastructure in order to provide the same service as an entirely new rail infrastructure. Because, really, the goal isn't trains, it's increased mobility and increased connectivity.

Perhaps sensational smart cars and stretched supercars are only distractions that prolong an unsustainable model of personal transportation, a la GM and electric streetcars. But I really like the idea of mass transit innovations that are available now. I also like how flexible autonomous cars and the Suberbus are. It wouldn't cost millions/billions to change routes and it could be done immediately.

Of course, it actually is available now, and has been for a while down in Brazil, in Curitiba. If they can so handedly substitute buses with dedicated lanes for subways, why couldn't we do the same thing for interstate rail?