Saturday, September 22, 2007

Magic Bus - Oakland's hydrogen-powered experiment

This very detailed and informative article from the Cleantech Blog describes what may be the most sensible and adaptable solution yet for lowering local carbon emissions from transportation. AC Transit - one of the East Bay's main public transit providers - is setting an example with a remarkable new integrated system called Hyroad that includes cutting edge vehicles, sensible fuel sources and smartly-used solar power generation.

Emitting only water vapor, there are three of these buses in operation now. Twelve such buses are projected to be operating by 2012, carrying five thousand people daily.

Cleantech presents a good argument for favoring buses - especially these buses - over light rail systems.

Buses can move millions for a fraction of the cost of light-rail. Bus routes can be easily changed as cities grow, change in shape, and alter in transportation demands. Light-rail tracks are likely to be fixed for over forty years; bus routes may change annually. For most major cities, the ideal is intermodal solutions that include both bus and light-rail.
Potential CC-caused sea level rise will probably put today's main bayside traffic arteries out of commission. Other potential impacts like floods, slides and fires could close other thoroughfares. Buses can route around these. Light rail is fixed. I'll have to cross the Bay and take a test ride on the Hyroad.

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