The key to attract private car travelers to public transportation is to offer privacy and door-to-door service. The solution to this is CabiBUS, a new minibus for on-demand ride-sharing with a private cabin for each passenger. With 6-8 cabins, available through 3-4 doors on each side of the minibus, it is small enough to reach small streets and roads and to be self-driving when that technology is ready. CabiBUS is truly an innovative vehicle. It is the prerequisite for a public transportation solution that provides unique advantages against existing systems. But it's not to be seen as a competitor to public transit, on the contrary, it must be a part of the public transportation system and not a private run system. CabiBUS has a better total efficiency than todays bus and trams since it takes the passenger a much shorter way without changes between routes. Few people live by a bus/tram stop and work at another stop along the same route. Today buses have to follow the route and schedule they are assign to even though the buses may be empty. CabiBUS adjust to changes in transportation demand resulting in higher utility of the vehicles and also the streets and roads.
CabiBUS is more convenient, safe, reliable and environmentally friendly than any other means of travel. The vehicle needs no special tracks, lanes or stops to be built which provides a low initial investment and good scalability. It can be produced in vastly larger volumes than buses and trams which provides economies of scale and low cost per seat. The vehicle is compact, as opposed to larger buses, and it can move on all navigable roads and streets across the region and offer real door-to-door transport. CabiBUS personal cabin will be the only way most passengers will accept to travel when driverless public transport is introduced, eliminating possible threats from other passengers and allowing them to work, read, make phone calls, sleep, use the Internet without being disturbed.
Each cabin have a big touch screen where the passenger can see the road in front of the vehicle to prevent motion sickness, use Internet, select temperature and light and get trip information. Individual filtered ventilation eliminates the risk for infections and airbags protects in case of accidents.
IT systems for booking and route optimization allows travelers to order the trip by telephone, Internet or an app. You can also subscribe to regular trips to and from work. Such systems are available and also developed by new companies like Uber, Didi Chuxing and Lyft. A new study led by Professor Daniela Rus at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) found that 3,000 ride-sharing cars could transport 97 percent of New York's taxi customers—with just one third the current traffic. And if carpooling was done with 10-passenger vehicles, just 2,000 vans could replace the 14,000 taxicabs in New York City.
CabiBUS will be a highly connected vehicle that use mobile Internet connection for a number of features:
Electric drive is the key to sustainable transport, reducing the traffic pollution in cities. It will also ensure lower transportation and maintenance costs. Autonomous driving technology will add a substantial cost reduction and make CabiBUS the most cost effective system for public transport in and around cities.
Most CabiBUS vehicles are used in weekdays, mornings and evenings, for the daily commute to work, school and daycare. During off-peak hours the vehicle can transport different types of goods/packages. When you book a shipment you simply put the package in one of the cabins and when the door is closed the system will only allow the receiver to open the door at the final destination. In that way 6-7 different shipments can be transported safely at the same time.
The system can only be used with shipments that fit the size of the cabin and a requirement is that the one booking the shipment must leave the package in the cabin and the receiver must collect the item.
The system could help make the goods transport more effective in the central city area. And of course, reduce fossil fueled transports.
CabiBUS is basically a compact electric minibus with 3-4 doors on each side for a total of 6-8 passengers. Each passenger has a separate compartment (cabin) with space for hand luggage, independent climate control and other facilities to make the trip efficient and comfortable. It also has a rear cabin that can be booked for a wheelchair passenger, baby stroller, foldable bike or luggage. This will greatly improve the mobility possibilities for wheelchair users.
In front of each passenger is a large display for information, Internet, work and entertainment. The display can also show video from a camera in front of the vehicle if the passenger is more comfortable with that. When the CabiBUS stops for a passenger to exit, the display shows video from a camera in the back so that approaching vehicles can be observed.
Airbags in each cabin will provide a much higher passenger safety in case of an accident than in buses and trams.
Online booking and payment
An IT system is used for travel booking and door-to-door journey planning. Pick up bookings are made by phone, mobile app or the Internet. The payment system is simple because no changes are made, the traveler can get to know the price in advance, even if the price is based on length of journey. Low risk of vandalism because each traveler's check in to his compartment with public transportation card, debit card or other type of identification.
Autonomous CabiBUS will offer a substantial reduction in public transportation costs while also increase the safety. Until the self-driving systems are fully developed and certified, CabiBUS can be fitted with one driver cabin and used for starting up services. When self-driving system is available the driver cabin can be replaced with a passenger cabin. Since a control center will run the system, autonomous level 5 will not be required, level 4 with remote control can take over if the vehicle needs assistance.
The infrastructure needed is charging stations (which is already on
track to be built for electric cars). Tesla has demonstrated an
automatic charging solution for their cars.
Wireless Internet and other telecom solutions are also required.
Most large urban areas in the world need drastic improvements in their public transport systems in order to reduce the overwhelming problems with pollution and traffic congestions. Authorities must address these problems and find new solutions. In Sweden 7 of 21 regions have set a goal to double the number of trips and market share for their public transport and another 6 regions mentions doubling in their plans.
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden with a population of 550 000 and has an active plan, together with the region Västra Götaland, to double the market share for public transport to 2025 making it a suitable place for a CabiBUS pilot project. Currently the region is investing $35 millions in sustainability development projects in four areas, one of them is public transport. CabiBUS is one of 10 private suggestions for future public transport selected for presentation on the regions website. With a successful pilot project as a reference and results from research and simulations to back it up it is time to start direct contacts with public transport authorities and automotive companies globally.
Trams in Gothenburg
There is a huge global market for public transport solutions. According to Navigant Research, the global smart urban mobility infrastructure and services market is expected to grow from $5.1 billion in 2015 to $25.1 billion in 2024.
But new solutions and technology must compete with the traditional ways of transportation. One example is in the city of Göteborg, Sweden, where the municipal assembly has decided to build a 5-mile, three-station subway for USD2.5 billions with start in 2018. The decision has met a massive local resistance on the grounds that it is a very expensive way to transport just a few 1000 passengers a day. The lack of a subway now is due to the soft ground on which Gothenburg is situated. Tunneling is very expensive in such conditions and the critics also claim that there is a large risk for damages to city and buildings during the 9 year construction time and after.
An interesting comparison is to make the same investment for a CabiBUS solution. As an example, start with the 7 passenger Tesla Model S 90D with All-Wheel Drive and Range Upgrade to 270 miles (EPA) total cost $91 000. A CabiBUS version with three doors on each side, 6 cabins, will probably have the same, or lower, price if a city orders 27 500 of them for $2.5 billion. With an occupancy of 5 passengers during traffic peak hours they can transport 137 500 passengers simultaneously. If all of these previously were single private motorists it means that traffic is reduced with 110 000 cars. Based on a medium occupancy of 3 passengers and trip time of 30 minutes they can deliver 2 million trips/day and exceed the doubling goal of public transport for the whole region with a wide margin.
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CabiBUS with one passenger compartment (cabin) for each passenger is a truly innovative vehicle. It is the prerequisite for a public transportation solution that provides unique advantages against existing systems.