Guided bus

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A LiDAR guided bi-articulated bus unveiled in Zhuzhou, China on 2 June 2017. A similar system is used by the TEOR. Yibin ART System 10 15 43 362000.jpeg
A LiDAR guided bi-articulated bus unveiled in Zhuzhou, China on 2 June 2017. A similar system is used by the TEOR.
A Mercedes-Benz O305 bus on the O-Bahn Busway route in Adelaide, Australia Mercedes-Benz O 305 on guided busway in Adelaide.jpg
A Mercedes-Benz O305 bus on the O-Bahn Busway route in Adelaide, Australia

Guided buses are buses capable of being steered by external means, usually on a dedicated track or roll way that excludes other traffic, permitting the maintenance of schedules even during rush hours. Unlike trolleybuses or rubber-tired trams, for part of their routes guided buses are able to share road space with general traffic along conventional roads, or with conventional buses on standard bus lanes.


Guidance systems can be physical, such as kerbs or guide bars, or remote, such as optical or radio guidance.

Guided buses may be articulated, allowing more passengers, but not as many as light rail or trams that do not also freely navigate public roads.



The kerb-guided bus (KGB) guidance mechanism is a development of the early flangeways, pre-dating railways. The Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad [1] of 1809 therefore has a claim to be the earliest guided busway. Earlier flangeways existed, but were not for passenger carrying. [2] [3]

Modern examples

There are a few examples of guided buses around the world constructed since 1980.

The first modern guided busway system was opened in 1980 in Essen, Germany. This was initially a demonstration track, but it was periodically expanded and is still in operation as of 2019. [4]

The first guided busway in the United Kingdom was in Birmingham, the Tracline 65, 1,968 feet (600 m) long, experimentally in 1984. [5] It closed in 1987. [6]

Based on the experience in Essen, in 1986 the Government of South Australia opened the O-Bahn Busway in Adelaide. [7] [8] This is a 12-kilometre guided busway. [9]

In Mannheim, Germany, from May 1992 to September 2005 a guided busway shared the tram alignment for a few hundred metres, which allowed buses to avoid a congested stretch of road where there was no space for an extra traffic lane. It was discontinued, as the majority of buses fitted with guide wheels were withdrawn for age reasons. There are no plans to convert newer buses.[ citation needed ]

The Nagoya Guideway Bus in Nagoya, opened in March 2001 and is the only guided bus line in Japan.

The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway between Cambridge and St Ives, at 25 kilometres (16 miles), is the world's longest guided busway. [10]

Rubber-tyred trams (trolleybuses)

Guided buses are to be distinguished from rubber-tyred systems that cannot run other than along a dedicated trackway, or under fixed overhead power lines.

Guidance systems

Optical guidance

An optical guidance device on TEOR bus in Rouen. Guidage optique Agora L.JPG
An optical guidance device on TEOR bus in Rouen.
Irisbus Crealis Neo, an optically guided TEOR bus in Rouen Rouen bus T2 I.jpg
Irisbus Crealis Neo, an optically guided TEOR bus in Rouen

Optical guidance relies on the principles of image processing. A camera in the front of the vehicle scans the bands of paint on the ground representing the reference path. The signals obtained by the camera are sent to an onboard computer, which combines them with dynamic parameters of the vehicle (speed, yaw rate, wheel angle). The calculator transmits commands to the guidance motor located on the steering column of the vehicle to control its path in line with that of the reference.

Optical guidance is a means of approaching light rail performance with a fast and economical set-up. It enables buses to have precision-docking capabilities as efficient as those of light rail and reduces dwell times, making it possible to drive the vehicle to a precise point on a platform according to an accurate and reliable trajectory. The distance between the door steps and the platform is optimized not to exceed 5 centimetres (2 in). Level boarding is then possible, and there is no need to use a mobile ramp for people with mobility impairments.

The Optiguide system, an optical guidance device developed by Siemens Transportation Systems, has been in revenue service since 2001 in Rouen and Nîmes (only at stations), France, and has been fitted to trolleybuses in Castellon (Spain) since June 2008.

Magnetic guidance

Other experimental systems have non-mechanical guidance, such as sensors or magnets buried in the roadway. [11] [12] In 2004, Stagecoach Group signed a deal with Siemens to develop an optical guidance system for use in the United Kingdom. [13]

Phileas bus Phileas-bus-Eindhoven.jpg
Phileas bus

Two bus lines in Eindhoven, Netherlands, are used by Phileas vehicles. Line 401 from Eindhoven station to Eindhoven Airport is 9 km (5.6 mi) long, consists largely of concrete bus lanes and has about 30 Phileas stop platforms. Line 402 from Eindhoven station to Veldhoven branches off from line 401 and adds another 6 km (3.7 mi) of bus lanes and about 13 stops. [14]

Some years ago, the regional authority for urban transport in the Eindhoven region (SRE) decided to discontinue the use of magnetic guidance system. In 2014 the manufacturer, APTS, was declared bankrupt.

The Douai region in France is developing a public transport network with dedicated infrastructure. The length of the lines will be 34 km (21 mi). The first stage is a line of 12 km (7.5 mi) from Douai via Guesnain to Lewarde, passing close to Waziers, Sin-le-Noble, Dechy and Lambres-lez-Douai. 39 stop platforms will be provided with an average distance between the stops of 400 m (440 yd). A number of stops will be placed on the right-hand side of each lane. Central stops between both lanes will be placed at locations with limited space at the right side. This requires vehicle to have doors on both sides.

On 3 November 2005, a licence and technology transfer agreement was signed between Advanced Public Transport Systems (APTS) and the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI). KRRI was to develop the Korean version of Phileas vehicle by May 2011. [15]

Since June 2013, 3 miles (1.5 miles each way) of the Emerald Express (EmX) BRT in Eugene, Oregon has used magnetic guidance in revenue service on an especially curvy section of the route that also entails small radius S-curves required for docking. The driver controls braking and acceleration. [16]

Kerb guidance

Kerb-guided track and adjacent multi-user path along a disused rail line, on the Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit BusAt-CoolingLane-KerbGuidedBusStop-Leigh-P1400511.jpg
Kerb-guided track and adjacent multi-user path along a disused rail line, on the Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit
Cross-sectional diagram of the parallel direction curbs of the bus lane in Essen, Germany Guided Bus - Essen.png
Cross-sectional diagram of the parallel direction curbs of the bus lane in Essen, Germany

On kerb-guided buses (KGB) small guide wheels attached to the bus engage vertical kerbs on either side of the guideway. These guide wheels push the steering mechanism of the bus, keeping it centralised on the track. Away from the guideway, the bus is steered in the normal way. The start of the guideway is funnelled from a wide track to guideway width. This system permits high-speed operation on a narrow guideway and precise positioning at boarding platforms, facilitating access for the elderly and disabled. As guide wheels can be inexpensively attached to, and removed from, almost any standard model of bus, kerb guided busway systems are not tied to particular specialised vehicles or equipment suppliers. Characteristically, operators contracted to run services on kerb-guided busways will purchase or lease the vehicles, as second-hand vehicles (with guide wheels removed) have a ready resale market.

The kerb-guided system maintains a narrow track while still enabling buses to pass one another at speed. Consequently, kerb-guided track can be fitted into former double-track rail alignments without the requirement for additional land-take that might have been necessary were a disused railway to be converted into a public highway. Examples include the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway and Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit; in both schemes, it has proved possible to provide space for a wide multi-user path for leisure use alongside the kerb-guided double track, all within the boundaries of the disused railway route. Both the Cambridgeshire and Leigh-Salford-Manchester schemes have reported greatly increased levels of patronage (both on the buses themselves and the adjacent paths), high levels of modal transfer of travellers from private car use, and high levels of passenger satisfaction. [17] [18]

Examples of guided busways

Tram-like guided busways include:

See also

Related Research Articles

Light rail Form of passenger urban rail transit

Light rail transit (LRT) is a form of passenger urban rail transit characterized by a combination of tram and metro features. While its rolling stock is more similar to a traditional tram, it operates at a higher capacity and speed, and often on an exclusive right-of-way. In many cities, light rail transit systems more closely resemble, and are therefore indistinguishable from, traditional underground or at-grade subways and heavy-rail metros.

Bus rapid transit Public transport system

Bus rapid transit (BRT), also called a busway or transitway, is a bus-based public transport system designed to have better capacity and reliability than a conventional bus system. Typically, a BRT system includes roadways that are dedicated to buses, and gives priority to buses at intersections where buses may interact with other traffic; alongside design features to reduce delays caused by passengers boarding or leaving buses, or paying fares. BRT aims to combine the capacity and speed of a metro with the claimed flexibility, lower cost and simplicity of a bus system.

Automated guideway transit Fully automated transit system

An automated guideway transit (AGT) system is one type of light transit infrastructure with a track or riding surface that supports and physically guides one or more driverless vehicles along its length. The vehicles are often rubber tired or steel wheeled, but other traction systems including air cushion and maglev have been implemented. The guideway normally provides both physical support, like a road, as well as the guidance. In the case of fixed-route systems, the two are often the same in the same way that a rail line provides both support and guidance for a train. For systems with multiple routes, most AGT systems use smaller wheels riding on the guideway to steer the vehicle using conventional steering arrangements like those on a car.

O-Bahn Busway Guided busway in Adelaide, Australia

The O-Bahn Busway is a guided busway that is part of the bus rapid transit system servicing the northeastern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. The O-Bahn system was conceived by Daimler-Benz to enable buses to avoid traffic congestion by sharing tram tunnels in the German city of Essen.

A dual-mode vehicle is a vehicle that can run on conventional road surfaces, a railway track or a dedicated track known as a "guideway". Dual-mode vehicles are commonly electrically powered and run in dual-mode for power too, using batteries for short distance and low speeds, and track-fed power for longer distances and higher speeds. Dual-mode vehicles were originally studied as a way to make electric cars suitable for inter-city travel without the need for a separate engine. More recently, starting in the 1990s, a number of dual-mode transit mass transit systems have appeared, most notably a number of rubber tyred trams and guided buses.

Guided Light Transit is the name of guided bus technology and associated infrastructure designed and manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. It has been installed in two French cities: Nancy and Caen. As of 2018, only the Nancy system is in operation; the Caen system has been abandoned and now rebuilt as a conventional tramway by 2019.

Transport in Adelaide Transportation network of Adelaide, Australia

The metropolitan area of Adelaide, South Australia is served by a wide variety of transport. Being centrally located on the Australian mainland, it forms a hub for east–west and north–south routes. The road network includes major expressways such as the Southern Expressway, the South Eastern Freeway, the Port River Expressway, the Northern Expressway and the South Road Superway. The city also has a public transport system managed by Adelaide Metro, consisting of a contracted bus system including the O-Bahn Busway, six metropolitan railway lines, and the Glenelg-Adelaide-Hindmarsh Tram. According to a study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Adelaide has the highest passenger vehicle travel to work (84%) and the second lowest proportion of people walking to work (2.9%)–something that is being combated by the South Australian government in an effort to increase citizen ridership and use of public transport.

Translohr Rubber-tired tramway (or guided bus) system

Translohr is a rubber-tired tramway system, originally developed by Lohr Industrie of France and now run by a consortium of Alstom Transport and Fonds stratégique d'investissement (FSI) as newTL, which took over from Lohr in 2012. It is used in Paris and Clermont-Ferrand, France; Medellín, Colombia; Tianjin and Shanghai, China; and Venice-Mestre and Padua in Italy. In June 2012, Alstom Group and the Strategic Investment Fund acquired Translohr for €35 million.

Phileas (public transport) Bus rapid transit developed by Samenwerkingsverband Regio Eindhoven (SRE)

Phileas is a bus rapid transit, developed by Samenwerkingsverband Regio Eindhoven (SRE), Netherlands, along with some other companies for the Cooperation Foundation Eindhoven Region. It is an advanced guided bus intended to deliver tram-like public transport at a very low cost: the infrastructure is much cheaper, because of less maintenance, and there are no rails and overhead lines. The project was initiated in 1998 to keep knowledge about technology and innovation in the region and create jobs. The biggest feature of the bus is the recharging of the battery by means of electromagnetic induction; which means that the battery can be made much smaller, and thus less heavy and environmentally damaging. The project started in the late 1990s; there was a wish to demonstrate the high technology level and technical knowledge in the Eindhoven area and to create jobs. The project has cost more than two billion euros, including infrastructure changes.

Busway may refer to:

Rubber-tyred tram Development of the guided bus

A rubber-tyred tram is a development of the guided bus in which a vehicle is guided by a fixed rail in the road surface and draws current from overhead electric wires.

The TEOR is a bus rapid transit system operating in the city of Rouen, Normandy, France. The service was inaugurated on February, 2001. TEOR was the second BRT system implemented in France.

Los Angeles Metro Busway

Metro Busway is a system of bus rapid transit (BRT) routes that operate primarily along exclusive or semi-exclusive roadways known locally as a busway or transitway. There are currently two lines in the system, the G Line in the San Fernando Valley, and the J Line between El Monte, Downtown Los Angeles and Gardena, with some trips continuing to San Pedro. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) operates the system.

Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit

The Leigh-Salford-Manchester Bus Rapid Transit scheme in Greater Manchester, England provides transport connections between Leigh, Atherton, Tyldesley, Ellenbrook and Manchester city centre via Salford. The guided busway and bus rapid transit (BRT) scheme promoted by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) opened on 3 April 2016. Built by Balfour Beatty at a total cost of £122 million to improve links from former coalfield towns into Manchester city centre, the busway proposal encountered much opposition and a public enquiry in 2002 before construction finally started in 2013. A branch route from Atherton, and an extension to the Manchester Royal Infirmary have been added to the planned original scheme.

BRT Sunway Line

The BRT Sunway Line is a bus rapid transit (BRT) line that is part of the Klang Valley Integrated Transit System servicing the southeastern suburbs of Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. This line is operated by Rapid Bus and was introduced in 2015 to service the high-density areas of Sunway and Subang Jaya, replacing an earlier proposal plan for the now defunct Sunway Monorail extension.

Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit

Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit is a LiDAR guided articulated bus system for urban passenger transport. Developed by CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Co Ltd, it was unveiled in Zhuzhou in Hunan province on 2 June 2017.


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