China may have figured out wireless trams
This December, wireless streetcars will start carrying passengers in Guangzhou, China. The new trams will run using supercapacitor batteries instead of overhead wires.
Cities around the world, including Washington, have been increasingly interested in wireless streetcars ever since Bordeaux, France started using them in 2003. But Bordeaux's trams use an underground third rail that's proven too expensive for widespread use.
The Guangzhou system will use batteries that automatically recharge from an underground power supply at passenger stations. One recharge takes 10-30 seconds, and powers the tram for up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles).
And a similar system is in the works for another Chinese city, Nanjing.
That's good news for DC, where laws prohibit overhead wires at key locations near the National Mall. Streetcars like Guangzhou's could solve that problem.
It's not clear how much extra this type of wireless tram would cost. Expense doomed the Bordeaux method, so that is a serious concern. But if the price is right, the technology finally seems to be there.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
- This building is way too short
- Petworth residents complained drivers are speeding. DC says it's true, but "acceptable."
- Chicago has examples of a cheap way to bring rail transit to more people: infill stations
- Here's where a protected bikeway could go on the east side of downtown
- Metro wants to connect Farragut North and West with a tunnel
- A dedicated bus lane and 30 other ways to improve bus service on 16th Street
- NTSB recommends the federal government take over safety oversight of Metro