• Oct 9, 2006
As we're all well aware, magnetic-levitation (maglev) trains have come under fire recently for being unsafe at high speeds. There are other alternatives, however, for next generation public transportation that's both fast and environmentally friendly. The Superbus is a project for a futuristic public bus that runs on electricity (either batteries or fuel cells) and can reach speeds of 155 mph on dedicated "supertracks". It's the brainchild of designers and engineers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and has received €9 million in government funding and additional €1 million from local bus company, Connexxion.

The Superbus may look longer than a football field, but it's actually the same length and width as a normal city bus. It looks extra long because it's only 5.6 feet high, or about the height of an average SUV. That means that passengers can't stand up inside the Superbus, but they won't need to since each of its 30-some seats has an individual door.

Read more about the Superbus and see more pictures after the jump and click here to see a quick video of the project...

Thanks for the tip, Arthur!

[Source: TU Delft via Economist.com]



In order to make the Superbus a viable alternative to maglev trains, the engineers at Delft are also working on "supertracks" that they claim would be very easy to build into existing roadways and allow the bus to reach 155 mph while being piloted by computer. To make this possible, the bus would include sensors that scanned the road ahead up to 300 meters for dangerous objects and a suspension that memorized the roadway for changing conditions and particular bumps.

You wouldn't catch a ride to the bus station to hop on the Superbus, either. Developers plan to have the bus eschew traditional stops in favor of door-to-door deliveries via intelligent routing technology. Riders would be able to text-message the bus their location and have it meet them for pickup. Presumably a central computer would work out the most efficient route to pick up and drop off passengers that are constantly texting for transportation.

Currently the university is developing a working scale model of the Superbus, but the next major milestone will be the debut of a working prototype at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


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  • 47 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      i like the idea, its like a train but you end up much closer to your final destination than is possible with a train. it would only work with a dedicated highway.

      its at least 50 years away if it happens at all but its an interesting idea.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A giant caterpillar?..

      No, its the Batmobus!
      • 8 Years Ago
      As a longtime commuter train, and occasional bus commuter, one question remains unasked:

      What if you need to use the bathroom?
      Gary
      • 8 Years Ago
      Looks like a Gansta Rappers dream limo .
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Can the Superbus revolutionize public transport?"

      No.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "As we're all well aware, magnetic-levitation (maglev) trains have come under fire recently for being unsafe at high speeds."
      What does that statement has to do with the accident in Germany? There is nothing that would link this accident to an unsafe condition at high speeds. The accident occurred because of human error.
      Karim
      • 8 Years Ago
      As long as you have a mode of transportation with humans operating things - there's always going to be the margin for serious error. On the other hand, any mode of transportation that lacks the human guiding hand on board is inevitably a system we are inclined to not trust and not travel. It's a double edged sword. A quandary we have yet to solve - anyone recall the genius idea of the MTA to take a conductor off on of it's trains in NYC and the uproar that followed?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Did some of you actually read the article, a couple of items:

      can reach speeds of 155 mph on dedicated "supertracks".

      "supertracks" they claim would be very easy to build into existing roadways and allow the bus to reach 155 mph while being piloted by computer.

      It does not use existing road ways to run on, simply the right of way of existing road.

      It has already gotten funding:

      €9 million in government funding and additional €1 million from local bus company, Connexxion

      As to payment #16 hit the high spots and there might be passes you buy through your cell on the web whatever.

      http://www.economist.com/science/tq/displayStory.cfm?story_id=7904103
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Superbus
      http://www.answers.com/topic/wubbo-ockels

      Lets see, Europe has:
      Fast trains
      Maglev trains
      Pretty good public transportation
      They've spent money to fund this to at least try and see if it will work
      They have a potential customer

      And we have???

      We'll see it, but it won't be here, that's for sure, we may use some the technology (borrowed) and make an amusment park ride out of it.

      Being shortsighted never gets anything done.



      James
      • 8 Years Ago
      This superbus looks like an extra long Batmobile! Nothing like any bus I have ever seen! But, hey, if they can get all the kinks and other crap all worked out BEFORE they put it on the road, (er, tracks, or whatever it'll ride on...), I'm all for it. And with a door for every seat, the easiere it will be fdor people to get on & off the thing. They won't have to walk past all the other people sittin g or standing on the bus and can get in, get out, and get to business. I'm all for it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The website you linked to looks like a middle schooler designed it and a business majow wrote it. I'd rather invest in a time traveling Delorean than this crap. How can a "superbus" travel safely at 150 MPH when some people and most accidents happen under 50? And don't get me started on the "radar that detects bumps in the road".
      Maria
      • 8 Years Ago
      OK everybody is being really mean about am idea!!!! If they came up with a really cool idea and people bangged on that they will feel bad but i,think superbus is SUPERGOOD!!!! it is a new cool and fun way for public transpotation not seem as bad as people think it is! Though i dont ride the bus myself it would deffintly try to ride superbus!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Okay 155 miles an hour! UMMmmm So that means 155 people killed in one time when this computer navigated driven vehicle micro chip fails to recognize or be prgramed for snow or snowy conditions. I believe in technological advancement but society is beening encroached upon by technological advancements that in some places are not needed.
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