These Combination Vehicles are Changing how Buses Function

Dual-mode vehicles that transition from bus to train are the newest transportation innovation.

Young passenger listening to music during her commute.


It’s a bus! It’s a train! It’s superman! Okay, maybe not superman, but Japan’s new bus/train combo transportation system is still super cool.

The world’s first dual mode transport
If you are a train commuter, you may be able to sympathize. The train itself is fast and smooth, but getting to the train can be anything but.

Rural and suburban residents may live a full bus ride away from the nearest train station. Transferring from a bus is a good option, but Japan’s new system saves riders’ time by eliminating the need to transition from one vehicle to another.

Interesting Engineering reports, deploying in scenic Southern Japan, the bus/train combination transportation system can pick up its maximum of 21 passengers from city streets while in bus form.

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When the rubber-tired bus reaches the tracks, steel wheels that are fitted to the railway deploy, with the whole bus to train transformation taking only 15 seconds! 

Shigeki Miura, the CEO Of Asa Coast Railway hopes the DMV (dual mode vehicle) will make it easier for the aging population in Kaiyo, Japan to take advantage of scenic train views and will connect small towns.

During a Reuters interview he explained, “Especially in rural areas with an aging population, we expect it to be a very good form of public transport."

More Japanese transportation innovation
Of course the dual model vehicle is hardly the only transportation innovation to emerge from Japan’s train-enthused culture.

Urban Transport News reports on another example of how Japan is changing the world one train at a time. The country, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, just unveiled its first hydrogen- powered train.  

The carbon-free, Hybari train system was developed by the East Japan railway company in partnership with Toyota and Hitachi. The Hybari trains aren’t yet servicing passengers as Japan tests their speed, safety, and effectiveness. 

Japan is also making upgrades to its famous Shinkansen high speed and scenic bullet trains. 

Railway Technology explains: the iconic maglev trains that span the island country are going driverless. These Shinkansen trains use magnets to elevate trains in the air and push them forward at high speed. Now automated maglev bullet trains are being trialed in Niigata county in Japan.

So what’s next for transportation in Japan? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, Japan’s transportation industry is going full steam ahead into the 21st century.

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