The Dual Mode Vehicle is a cute little bus which also doubles up as a train. It uses a quarter of the diesel of a conventional bus, carries 25 people and takes less than 15 seconds to convert between rail and road via a nifty hydraulic system. Having spent a week travelling on the fab Portland tram/train system which moves from suburban to urban transportation without a hitch, I’m thinking this is pretty cool tech.
Combing the versatility of a bus with the speed of a train has allowed Japan Rail to tailor routes and services to the communities it serves. Rather than scuttling service on under-utilized lines, Japan Rail has simply switched to smaller vehicles…Dual-mode vehicles would be a great addition to America’s mass transit infrastructure. It would make rail transit feasible in those areas that don’t have the population density to support a lot of stations, and make mass transit a more viable option for exurbs. Riders could simply hop on at a bus stop in their neighborhood, then ride the rails to their destination.