Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation

I can't believe it's not a tram!

Are you less likely to miss the bus if it's the size of three buses? Does a bus the length of a blue whale make traffic better or worse?

Dresden's Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure will soon be able to answer those questions. The Institute has unleashed the world's longest bus, the Fraunhofer IVI AutoTram Extra Grand. Like an insect, this beast is composed of three connected parts. Unlike an insect, the three parts are buses and the entire thing is a hundred feet long. It can haul over 250 passengers around town, as long the streets are wide enough (and the blocks long enough) to accommodate its lingering tail. Best of all, patented multiple axis steering ensure that the back of the bus perfectly follows the front, meaning driving the Extra Grand is no harder than driving your standard 35-footer.

The English-language German newspaper The Local talked to Institute Director Matthias Klingner about the new record-breaking mass transit. "There is a lot of know-how invested in it -- the computer is driven by a pretty clever steering algorithm," he told the paper. "There's no problem with the maneuverability and stability, but we have to see how such a long bus affects normal city traffic."

Indeed we do. Klingner said the Extra Grand could be a good option for cities that want trams but can't afford the investment -- the complete infrastructure required for a new tramline can cost more than $20 million dollars a mile. The new Extra Grand isn't on the market yet but it figures to be substantially cheaper than that. It will be road-tested in Dresden in October, but probably won't be of much use there: "There is already a pretty well-developed tram system here," Klingner told The Local.

H/T Greater Greater Washington.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

  2. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  3. photo: A Lyft scooter on the streets of Oakland in July.
    Transportation

    4 Predictions for the Electric Scooter Industry

    Dockless e-scooters swept cities worldwide in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, expect the battery-powered micromobility revolution to take a new direction.

  4. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  5. photo: Dominque Walker, founder of Moms 4 Housing, n the kitchen of the vacant house in West Oakland that the group occupied to draw attention to fair housing issues.
    Equity

    A Group of Mothers, a Vacant Home, and a Win for Fair Housing

    The activist group Moms 4 Housing occupied a vacant home in Oakland to draw attention to the city’s affordability crisis. They ended up launching a movement.

×