Dualmode Transportation Concepts
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.
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 (2012) CEETI is inactive.
Link to a website for the Public Automated Cart Transportation (PACT) concept, a dualmode, switchable, maglev concept from India, (Cart = Pallet), 9/2/2012
Elways - Swedish electrified roadway concept - dualmode capabilities, funds obtained for a test track in Sweden, 3/3/2012
New dualmode concept description and video, called BiModal Glideway, 2/6/2012
New dualmode concept description: Tubular Guideway Transit, by Jon Bogle, 1/15/2012
Video: New dualmode concept called AutoMate from Israel, and Website, 11/1/2011
New book: The Third Generation Roadway: Metropolitan Transport for the 21st Century, by Roger Davidheiser - quite inspirational, good graphics, paperback, 287 pp. - describes and assesses a visionary dualmode concept, Information about the content of the book is available here. 4/20/2011
Link to article Social Ramifications of Autonomous Urban Land Vehicles, by Tyler C. Folsom, 12/21/2010
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
Danish RUF system publishes an Investor Prospectus - excellent description of status of system, as of 5/08
History of dualmode concepts and descriptions of major studies of the topic
Listing of Active dualmode development efforts
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 February, 2012. The Danish RUF dualmode system and the MicroRail system have managed to get a prototype vehicle and initial test track segment built so far. Several RUF simulation programs are now available for download and for public use. For best results, read the User's Guides before running the programs 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 existing dualmode concepts for others to consider. Contributions are welcome and should be sent to Jerry Schneider for posting.
Most Active (alphabetical order)
Automate - a dualmode system that offers a chassis exchange capability for making the transition to an automated guideway, being developed in Israel, video presentation also 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
Bimodal Glideway concept - provides for high capacity, hi-speed travel in a variety of application types.
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. More detail and photos are provided in a Wired article, published in 2008.
Electric Highway Vehicle - a concept that uses an electrified highway and electric cars to produce a dualmode transportation system
Elways - Swedish electrificed roadway concept - dualmode capabilities - funds for test track in Sweden obtained in 2012
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 More details in 30 page paper, and a 1 page WhyFT? statement
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 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.
Skyway - concept for an electrified roadway for dualmode vehicles - being developed by a group in Texas
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.
Tubular Guideway Transit - concept description
Last modified: June 01, 2013