Greater Greater Washington

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Transit


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.


Guangzhou's wireless tram. Photo from China Central Television.

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.

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Bicycling


Weekend video: World's biggest bike share

Capital Bikeshare is the largest bike sharing system in the United States, but do you know where the world's largest is? Paris, with 20,600 bikes?

Nope; it's in Hangzhou, China, and this Streetfilm shows how the Chinese are using its 51,500 bikes to take 240,000 trips a day.

Hangzhou is smaller than New York City, so a 50,000 bike sharing system would be a good and entirely achievable goal for New York. Meanwhile, Hangzhou is striving to grow to 175,000 bikes by 2020.

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Transit


China proposes car-straddling buses (or are they trains?)

Many, many people have sent in tips about this project in China to build huge buses the width of two car lanes, which can run on guideways straddling the road and travel above the cars:

But wouldn't it be easier just to dedicate a bus lane? Via the Huffington Post.

Update: Several commenters have also pointed out that, despite the Huffington Post headline, since this will run on rails it's really a train, not a bus.

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