The US is known to be addicted to cars. Census data shows that only 2% of commuters use rapid transit such as the subway, and rail projects in the U.S. can cost billions of dollars and take decades to complete.
“Cities around the world are offering light rail systems that are either being scaled back or not happening at all because of the cost of putting rail in the roadway. It’s very devastating to the business community,” said Lisa Chamberlain, head of communications. for the Global Center for Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. “It’s very expensive for the residents.”
A Chinese company has a radically new solution. It is a hybrid of a train and a bus that moves on rubber wheels but follows a predetermined track. It is called the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) and is manufactured by CRCC, a Chinese manufacturer of mass transit vehicles.
“So I went there thinking it would be something hidden, like a bus,” said Peter Newman, a professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. “It will look like light rail, but it’s actually a bus. But when I rode it, it was completely different. I felt like I was riding a train.”
The ART car costs about $2.2 million and is estimated to cost about 1/5 the cost of a traditional streetcar system per mile. It uses stabilization technology such as an active suspension system that helps make it more stable than a city bus.
Watch the video to learn how ART works and how it can benefit US cities.