Dualmode Transportation Concepts
A new Center for Energy, Environment and Transportation Innovation was started at Texas A&M University in July, 2005. A one-year study of various dualmode concepts was undertaken at CEETI in September, 2006. See the study proposal at their website Their final report was published in April, '08 entitled Dual Mode Vehicle and Infrastructure Alternatives Analysis, 136 pp, by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. It is the most extensive study and documentation of the dual mode concept currently available anywhere in the world. The Executive Summary, Table of Contents and Proposed System Design Requirements are also available on-line.
At present (2011) CEETI is inactive.
Link to article Social Ramifications of Autonomous Urban Land Vehicles, by Tyler C. Folsom, 12/21/2010
Danish RUF system publishes an Investor Prospectus - excellent description of status of system, as of 5/08
A General Transport System Foundation has been established in Sweden - see their 12 page brochure for details, 9/2010
New dualmode system being developed called DAVe (Dual-mode Autonomous Vehicles), 9/10
Bike Metro - new Danish invention features dualmode bike network for sustainable urban travel, video also available, 10/10
Dualmode transportation concepts feature vehicles that can be driven on conventional streets and can also operate on a high speed automated, usually electrified, guideway under computer control. Both passenger and freight vehicles are envisioned. In some systems, vehicles are carried on pallets, on others no pallets are required.
Dualmode transportation was a hot topic in the 1970's in the U.S. One early paper was presented by Professor Dwight Baumann at an Advanced Transportation conference at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1970. The federal govenment funded several R & D projects which lead to a national conference on dualmode, held in 1974. The results from this conference can be found in Special Report 170, published in 1976 by the Transportation Research Board, National Academy of Sciences/Engineering, in Washington, D.C. The Table of Contents from Special Report 170 is available on-line.
A very interesting urban analysis of several dualmode concepts was conducted in 1973 by Peter Benjamin at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA. The urbanized Boston region was used for his case study. The final report consists of four volumes and is very extensive. A summary paper by Benjamin (Analysis of Urban Dualmode Transportation) is available on-line that describes his analytical framework, methods and results. The conclusions are quite positive regarding the potential of dualmode for being very useful in helping to improve mobility and reduce congestion on a metropolitan scale.
An interesting paper by Larry Stern outlines an evolutionary approach to the development of a dualmode systems that would create a new industry as well as dealing with many of the difficult urban transportation problems and negative impacts now produced by the auto-centric system. It was written in 1994 but has been updated to reflect the current situation. Dualmode concepts are also prominent
in the Tomorrow's Transportation report.
For several reasons, mostly political, federal support and funding for this topic dried up in the late 1970's and so there has been little follow-on work done since then. However, during the past 3 years, a number of new dualmode concepts have emerged and have gained substantial visibility around the world so perhaps the topic is coming back into favor. The approaches being taken are quite diverse as are the funding levels available to the various inventors and project teams.
The best funded program was the American National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) - all other projects pale in comparison. However, this funding was recently (late 1997) terminated. See TRB Special Report #253 for some details. A book entitled Automated Highway Systems was published in 1997 and the full table of contents is available on-line.
The paper by Steven Shladover , published in June 2000, provides a recent view of the status of the AHS situation in the U.S. Current work on the topic can be viewed at the Cooperative Vehicle-Highway Automated Systems website. Most recently, a world-wide survey of AHS activities has been published by Richard Bishop, entitled "Whatever Happened to AHS?"
An overview paper by Francis D. Reynolds, entitled Dualmode, the Transportation of the Future, was presented at the New Visions in Transportation conference, held at Aspen, Colorado, in October of 2000. Reynolds has also published a 7-page, illustrated article in the September-October, 2001, issue of The Futurist magazine and an article in EV World, entitled The DualMode EV Revolution (March, 2005). In July, 2006, his ebook entitled The Revolutionary Dualmode Transportation System (22 Chapters) was as posted at this website in July 2006. To read it, go to the Contents page.
The Future of Cars, is intended as a basis for derived works and presentations to legislators. It is intended to become authoritative through expert collaborative and continuous updates.
A MBA Thesis entitled "Customer Response to a Dual Mode Personal Rapid Transit System" by Yonas Jongkind is now available on-line. It was written at Simon Fraser University, located in Vancouver, B.C., Canada in the Spring of 2006.
Listed below are links to 22+ web pages or website links that provide some details and contact information on those dualmode projects that are currently known. "Activity" ratings are based on information available as of June, 2008. The Danish RUF dualmode system and the MicroRail system have managed to get a prototype vehicle and initial test track segment built so far. Version 1 of a RUF simulation program is now available for download and for public use. For best results, read the User's Guide and then try running the program on your computer.
A Dualmode Debate page was initiated in March, 1998, to help stimulate thinking and to identify and record various views as to the pros and cons of some of the dualmode concepts for others to consider. Contributions are welcome and should be sent to Jerry Schneider for posting.
Most Active (alphabetical order)
Automated Transport Systems - identifies preferred standards for an ideal dualmode transport system - extensive website available
Autoshuttle - a German concept that would utilize maglev technology to transport a variety of conventional vehicles in carriers at high speed
Autran - a system with carriers that would carry autos, passenger cabins and freight containers. See U.S. Patent # 5,590,603, January 7, 1997
Blade Runner - uses dualmode vehicles with rubber tires and retractable steel wheels for operation on both conventional highways and steel rail track (March, 2004, update and July, 2004 slide show are available)
Dual Mode Vehicle - a minibus that has both rubber tires and steel wheels for operation on both roadways and rail lines, being developed by JR Hokkaido Railway Company in Japan. Toyota is currently (as of 5/08) involved in the further development of this system. A recent poster provides
considerably more detail on these efforts in Japan.
Electric Highway Vehicle - a concept that uses an electrified highway and electric cars to produce a dualmode transportation system
Flexitrain - small, public, rental or privately-owned electric cars that can be connected into trains for longer trips, being developed in New Zealand
Freedom Transit - a dualmode concept for passenger and freight transportation on electrified guideways, under development in Arizona
Higherway Transport Research - a suspended, dualmode PRT and cargo concept that shows great promise. For a 2007 PowerPoint presentation, click HERE.
Intelligent Multimodal Transit System (IMTS) - developed by Toyota, initial operation at EXPO 2005 in Japan, March, 2005
Japanese automated freight system - uses an automated guideway for long trips (no drivers) and conventional streets for final delivery (or pickup) - an Automated Freight application
MegaRail Transportation Systems, Inc. - (U.S. Patent # 6,039,135, March 21, 2000) This is a dualmode system that uses "carriers" to transport passenger or cargo vehicles that is under development near Fort Worth, Texas. It has also been designed to accommodate electric vehicles that can operate on the guideway without using a pallet. Also see the description of the small vehicle system, called MicroRail and the cargo version, called CargoRail. A dualmode version of CargoRail is called CargoTram. A guideway segment was built in early April, 2002 and static tests conduced (see Press Release). A larger test track is now under construction. Several new slide shows describing MegaRail's various products are available at their website.
At this time (April '10) MegaRail is concentrating development on manually-controlled mass transit and commuter rail trains, but these trains include manually-controlled dualmode trams that consist of short dualmode trains that can leave the guideway and provide BRT type service to locations away from the guideway. This capability will be demonstrated in the full-scale, fully-operational production prototype was completion in 2010. This dualmode tram will be both street and guideway capable and may well be the first real dualmode system to be demonstrated. CargoRail is also generating interest from Port Authorities in Los Angeles/Long Beach, California, and elsewhere. In April, 2009, MegaRail proposed a solution for the very difficult I-70 Mountain Corridor project in Colorado. In November, 2006, MegaRail posted an explanation as to why their cost is so much lower than other elevated systems. Here is a recent MicroRail presentation (September '08) It includes a photo of the first prototype vehicle which is now operational and undergoing a test program. A new 21st century "Superway" presentation was released in July, 2010
Modular Automated Individual Transport - an international group that is developing a system concept. Several projects are currently underway.
Monomobile - a dualmode, suspended small vehicle system being developed in Cincinnati, Ohio. Three prototype vehicles have been built as has a short section of guideway. MonoMobile and MonoFreight Newsletter #4 describes current development funding prospects and joint participants.
PRT-Zest - a dualmode concept being developed in Russia, features a small vehicle with multiple possible configurations, shown operating in an elevated tube, can also be operated on conventional streets
Personal Electric Rapid Transit System (PERTS) - a maglev dualmode concept that uses pallets. It is being developed at the Center for Rapid Transit Systems at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, VA.
Personal Transportation System - a dualmode concept that is described by four patents. The basic patent is # 6,169,954. Subsequent patents are Nos. 6,198,994, 6,249,724 and 6,276,542, issued to Homer T. McCrary of California. See a dualmode station design from the basic patent. For more details, go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website and search for these patent numbers. Now called Qwiklane. A descriptive video is currently available.
Puget Pullway - a novel dualmode concept being developed in Washington State. For two illustrations of this concept, visit this Pullway page.
Railbus - being developed in the Netherlands, can be operated on conventional roads and also on railways.
Rinspeed - Urban Commuter - a Swiss microcar-train combination - forthcoming in 2010
RUF - a Danish dualmode concept that uses electric vehicles on conventional streets and a monorail-like automated guideway for longer, higher speed trips under full system control . A summary presentation of RUF system concepts (as of June, 2004) is available. An update on RUF activities as of August, 2006, is now available, 102 pages, many excellent illustrations, pdf format. In May, 2008, an Investors Prospects was published - it's a good description of current status of system at that time. Link to a June, 2010, report that analyzes RUF's capacity.
SkyTaxi - a small vehicle system being developed by a Russian - quite innovative and not patented as yet
SolaTrek - an American concept for moving conventional cars on a pallet loaded into a moving train, under development in California
Zesttrans - a Russian dualmode concept, features vehicle carriers that run on rails, also multi-passenger vehicles that also
run on rails
TriTrack - describes a vehicle and guideway that would allow automated high speed travel (e.g. 180 mph) as well as slower travel on conventional roadways, under development in Austin, Texas
Conceptual only or Less Active-to-Inactive
Automated Transportation Network (ATN) - a PRT/dualmode concept being developed in New Zealand
Biway - is similar in some ways to HiLoMag, RUF and Flexitrain - very nicely done website.
Carbus/PMT - uses large trucks on the freeway to carry conventional or small electric vehicles as well as bicycles and people
CompuCar - German concept that uses small electric vehicles on an automated guideway, dualmode operation possible later
EELS - Electric Energy Line System - a dualmode concept that uses a wholistic engineering concept
InTranSys (Integrated Transportation System) - a "skyhook" concept that shows how a variety of vehicles could be carried on suspended pallets, using a linear synchronous motor for propulsion.
IMT (Individual Mass Transit) - a concept that is still pretty vague in terms of technology - but the concept description is good as is a preliminary analysis of functional utility.
The National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) is currently inactive in the U.S. However, the recently formed Cooperative Vehicle-Highway Automation Systems group is working on the same issues in the U.S.
MIX - a small vehicle designed for neighborhood use that can also be suspended from a cable for longer, faster trips.
Pallet systems - describes work done at MIT several years ago on the development of pallets for use on an automated guideway, carrying vehicles and freight.
PRISM - a dualmode concept that was developed at the Ford Research Laboratory in Michigan
REV - this is the name of the dualmode concept developed by Francis Reynolds and is described in his book (The Revolutionary Dualmode Transportation System) which is now available on-line. To read it, go to the Contents page.
Segway - uses Smart Carts (pallets) on an automated guideway to carry a variety of vehicles.
Skybikes and Skytrains - describes a concept that combines bicycle and PRT concepts to create a dualmode, high capacity peoplemover.
Speedway: a small-vehicle, dualmode system for fast intercity travel as well as intra-urban travel, from Germany
Transmodal Capsule - a master's thesis done at the University of Washington in Seattle - very conceptual but has stimulated a lot of interest.
Last modified: January 19, 2011