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Innovation, comfort and guidance

Passengers have been found to appreciate 'level loading', where the kerb is flush with the Trolleybus floor. Improved 'Kassel' kerbs can achieve this. If Trolleybuses can be 'guided' to attractive road stations, with service information and if necessary, fare payment facilities, then more road users are likely to give up their cars. The design of the pavement and the height of the Trolleybus floor is critical - options vary from conventional, additional kerb height and lower floor to ultra low floor.

Apart from attractions of zero emissions and low running costs, Trolleybuses can benefit from particuarly suitable innovations, for instance, guidance systems, electric traction and power electronics technologies.

A test of Kassel kerb use

A proposal for a low cost guidance system

Guidance comparison chart (Excel)
Full guidance has advantages of reducing the road width if needed, as well as automatic and precise pulling up at stops.

The claimed advantages of guided Trolleybuses are -  
- precision stopping at raised kerbs for shoppers, mothers and disabled users
- narrower busways, allowing better implementation of cycle lanes
- higher service speeds and smoother journeys on dedicated surfaces
- clear junction priorty layouts
- higher service headways, up to 3 minutes
- passenger perception of service 'permance'
- less construction disruption compared to light rail
- optimum overhead layout
- reduced Trolleybus driver stress

Related pages -

Promoting quiet, clean urban transport using Overhead Electric, Zero Emission Trolleybuses -
email The Electric Tbus Group

updated 1/2/06


Previous technologies -
There have been five guidance contenders, costing perhaps 50% of equivalent light rail schemes. All have been developed abroad by national and multi-national companies. They have been developed over the last five years, although aspects of their technolgies go back much further. It's in the combination of ideas, in attempts to combine advantages of more traditional forms of urban transport that these systems are new. Some, like the 'Civis/Crisalis' use optical recognition system of guidance. Some, like the 'Stream' combine guidance with new ways of collecting power. Some, like the 'Bombardier', have been built and tested, some are now being built and some have yet to be constructed. All aim to 'seduce' the car loving public back onto street transport.
Neoplan N6121 - Used in Lusanne with diesel generator set. Also proposed as the N6141 DET bus tramway, a 4axle, 21m version with conductor loops 20-30mm below road surface that create magnetic fields for guidance with AC current.
Cegelec AEG - Promoted for Liverpool, the 'MRT' would have used buried cables that guide the Trolleybus by induction. Conventional Trolleybus overhead supplies the tractive force.
Renault/Matra Civis/Crisalis - Uses painted lines on the roadway seen by a computer recognition system to steer the Trolleybus. Propulsion said to be by operator choice, although double overhead is more realistic than a battery or diesel option.
Ansaldo-Breda Stream - The most complex system, but with the potential to replace inferred visually disruptive overhead. Used a magnetic pick-up to collect power, from a flexible conductor in a 300mm x 600mmm trench.
Bombardier GLT - The most tram-like device, but with rubber tyres. Utilising conventional rapid transit overhead but a guiding and current returning buried mono rail, this Trolleybus has been installed with trolley overhead, using the rail for guidance only, in inner city locations.