For most dense cities with dense traffic and congestion problems, there is a constant struggle to attract the car users to the public transports. Buses contribute much less than cars to the congestion and is mostly the preferred alternative to increase the efficiency of city transports.
For São Paolo the ambition is to raise the profile further by introducing 200 hybrid buses (Read more here,in Portuguese)
The modern hybrid bus brings not only environmental advantages that I written about before. In addition the attractiveness for the passengers is raised a lot by:
-Large windows allowing a lot of light
-Open lay-out that brings space and room for integrity simultaneously
-Seating that is easy to access for physically challenged
-Low level boarding that allows easy access and rapid transit
-Silent engine that allows passengers to communicate readily during the ride
-Electrical take-off that allows silent and emission free start to the benefit of the passengers waiting at the bus stop
Volvo 7700 Hybrid now running in São Paolo.
It is easy to understand why more and more cities in the world now turn to modern public transport by combining Bus Rapid Transit with hybrid feeder lines.
The development of public transports in Latin America has by far exceeded the efforts in most other parts of the world. When visiting Mexico last week at the Latin American Public Transport Congress, it became evident for me how much more has been achieved with far less resources.
Interestingly, resource efficiency, energy efficiency and maximised environmental impact actually coincide in the Latin American public transports. The BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) lines, with high capacity transports to a minimum of environmental load is the Trachea and the Bronchi of the public transports (using the metaphor of the lungs as they do here in Latin America).
In addition to the BRT lines efficient feeder lines are used to move the travellers to the high capacity BRT lines. This is where the hybrid bus will provide the “missing link” in Latin America.
Volvo 7700 Hybrid Bus, arrived just in time to demonstrate the worlds most energy efficient public transport.
Volvo Bus Corporation, was a sponsor of the Latin American Public Transport Congress. And, I got to speak directly after Antanas Mockus, presently most known for being a president candidate in Colombia. Mr. Mockus, has historically been a big promoter of public transports, with emphasis on the green profile as facilitated by BRT systems.
Last week I had the oportunity to visit our factory in Tultitlan close to Mexico City. I have by now had the oportunity to visit seven Volvo factories in five countries and no doubt Tultitlan shows one of the finest production facilities I have seen. As environmental director I imediatly recognised the avareness on the waste management.
First, the minimal amounts of scrapped material and secondly the sorting of the few remaining scraps. I was told that several employees changed their behaviour at home, aswell. By sorting, plastics, from metal from paper from combustibles etc. A lot of environmental load can be decreased. During daytime large roof windows allows the production facilities to be flooded by light, from the sun, an almost investment free use of solar power!
Local production and local sourcing is in general also positive for the environmental load. At Volvo Buses we have nine factories distributed globally. By applying common environmental guidelines for the purchasing globally Volvo can contribute to promote the use of less hazardous substances all over the world, aswell.
I spoke at a seminar for investors in green technology recently. One of the questions I got concerned the capacity of bus routes. How high is the capacity of a standard bus route and a route with dedicated lanes?
For the standard buses we know that the upper limit in real traffic at real city traffic conditions is 3 minutes between the buses and about 75 persons per bus. This makes out 1500 persons per hour.
However, a lot of measures can be made to increase the capacity.
For the bus:
Separate lanes, priority at traffic lights, bridges and tunnels by-passing dense traffic zones, central traffic control. I.e. using the same principles as for Metro and rail.
For the passengers:
Easy access by boarding at the same level as the bus floor, wide doors, interior lay-out making the access easy for the passengers, pre-paid tickets, clear signs for guiding the passengers.
My colleague Jorge Suarez gave me the reference to “Movilidad Amable” Numero 4; Septiembre 2007, where capacity data is found for some well known examples of high capacity bus routes: (Read it here)
|Capacity: Journeys per direction per hour
This should be compared to normal maximum capacity of rail by 7 000 trips per hour and direction for rail or 40 000 for the Manilla light rail system that has been developped to allow exceptionally high capacity and is considerd to have the highest capacity in the world, among raillines.
The commercial speed is restricted by the distance between the bus stops. For “Pure bread” express buses the speed is higher while for buses that covers the central business districts the speed is lower.
|Commercial speed km/h
Some BRT systems operate with fare prices as low as $ 0.25 per fare. However, the higher the capacity costs some more. Still, in our example below, Bogota with the highest capacity has the lowest price per fare.
|Price per fare US$
In Europe some say that trams or metro are required to increase the capacity. This is not supported by the recent advancement of the bus rapid transit systems.
Fact is that the measures made to secure the high capacity of the rail bound vehicles applies equally well to bus systems, and to a much lower price for the traveller.
And, as I previously written concluded in the blog, bus systems have lower environmental impact than the rail bound public transports