Are trackless trams here to help solve our light rail problems? - Create
external-link 6 minutes It's not a bus and it's not a light rail – trackless trams are a mix of both, and they can bring myriad benefits to  public transport systems in Australia's cities and suburbs.

Benefits compared to buses:

  • Smoother ride. The tram is computer guided on a virtual “rail”, meaning that the driver doesn’t have to actively make micro adjustments to the steering wheel. Gives a train-like ride, no swaying.

  • Because it doesn’t sway from a centred path nearly as much as a bus, a reserved right of way for it can be much narrower. This saves space and materials.

  • This isn’t really a benefit, but just look at it! It’s cool AF!

  • Electric vehicles, as a rule, last over twice as long than engine vehicles, with the exception of the batteries.

Benefits compared to trams/light rail:

  • Very low construction time for the system if you already have a road. Just close off a lane for this thing and you’re good (probably don’t even need to do that if you’re willing to run it in mixed traffic, but honestly fuck cars, this deserves it’s own lane). Compare this to building rails and stations which can take years.

  • A lot cheaper. The article I linked references a paper says it can be as low as 10% of the upfront costs of light rail. Though it does seem to me like an overly generous estimate, if it’s even in that ball park, it would make it basically on par with regular busses cost wise, not that surprising since this basically is a bus with train-like bogies.

  • Flexible routing. This can go basically anywhere, whereas with a tram you’re stuck on existing rails. You can divert in a pinch if a roadway gets closed, and you can easily revise routes as the city changes.

  • Less materials. This is said to be lighter than a tram or a diesel bus so you already have that, and depending on the exact infrastructure it’s run on, you might even use less materials on the infrastructure compared to rails, or use more but have it last a lot longer (still using less in the long run).

  • More energy efficient than rail trams? See this somewhat heated thread on Reddit.

  • A lot less noise than steel on steel.

The disadvantages I can think of are the tire participates that get into the ecosystem, the sustainability issues with lithium ion batteries, and the fact that this would probably be expensive as hell just because it’s new technology.

That’s just a bus with extra steps.


Isn’t that just a dedicated bus-lane with a bus that has an auto-pilot? Seems unnecessary expensive to make a custom system when normal (electric) busses exists and are well proven and cheap technology.


That could actually work.

Disagree with the computer guided argument because you also can guide buses and Trams via Computer, but you anyway need a human to interfere if something goes sideways.

The problem with cold + batteries however remains, which means this is no solution for Russia. Tesla faces a similar issue.

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