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To achieve a comparable journey experience with trams, much thought has been given to guidance systems. Mechanical and optical systems only achieve slightly less roadspace and docking at convex stops - our view is that Kassel kerbs and driver training achieve all that is needed.

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Designing installations that achieve congestion and pollution reduction by providing an attractive alternative to the car have found that dedicated road or tram ways create a real journey time advantage that has led to madel shift. To be cost effective and provide climate gas reduction, a decision needs to made on the advisability of including guidance.
Part of the thinking behind the most prestigous trolleybus schemes in recent years has been a percieved view that a rubber tired tram needs to be used. This hasn't led to great success. The Bombardier system in Nancy and the Translohr system in China have both endured accidents, due in part to their single rail guidance. Although now operating successfully, these mechanical systems have been disproportionately expensive, especially if they are to considered as a city wide solution.
The Siemens Optiguide system has been installed in Castelleon on a short route and at Bologna, using Irisbus Civis vehicles. The camera to read the dotted white lines is installed above the windscreen. The claimed advantage is driverless and repeated accurate docking. There are concerns about maintaining the road markings, especially in snow, and allowing unguarded roadways with partially driverless vehicles.
But is active guidance necessary? Road space could be gained with special kerbed arrangements. Kerbed islands at stops could enforce tight alignments. Kassel kerbs are now installed all over Europe. With designs to ensure close stopping at the kerbside, this solution answers all the requirements of guidance. Combined with the special ability of electric traction vehicles to provide 100% low floors and wide aisles, there is no need to employ kneeling mechanisms to achieve level boarding of 50mm vertically and 50mm horizontally; the same boarding requirement as trams. Not only does this facilitate wheel chair users but adds considerable convience to all passengers.

updated 6/5/10

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updated 24/8/07