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The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway

Just when you think you've seen everything in the transportation world, you encounter something different. That happened to me on an infrastructure tour in Cambridge, England, when my guides showed be this guided busway.

The video only shows a short segment of The Busway, but it's fascinating. The wheels of the bus run between grooved concrete slabs along an old rail line. The system also handles drainage without burdening the sewers: Stormwater is absorbed by the ground.

At 16 miles, the Cambridge guided busway is the longest one in the world. Bus speeds can reach up to 55 mph.

A busy biking and walking path runs right next to the route. You won't find railings separating the busway from the trail. There's no honking or flashing lights like you would find in the USA -- just common sense.

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  • Larry Littlefield

    That really shows what can be done if BRT is done right.

    Eventually, if ridership is high enough to justify multiple unit operation, the logical next step would be to build a subway in the street running sections in town and put down rails. By then the land use would have been created around the ROW to support the high fixed cost of rail transit.

    If they were willing to consolidate mixed highway traffic in the mostly abandoned city of Detroit and repurpose some of the existing roads for something like this, they could have a whole system up and running in five years, complete with local and express routes and bike paths.

  • Joe R.

    I think this concept might work great on some routes in NYC. I particularly like the way they keep cars out of the bus lane. Given the lack of enforcement, plus the reluctance of Albany to give NYC more bus lane cameras, an infrastructure solution to keep cars out of bus lanes is the best way.

  • Matthias

    Interesting. What guides the wheels and keeps the bus from jumping the curb? This looks expensive--why not just use rail?

  • http://walkbikejersey.blogspot.com/ Andy B from Jersey

    Awesome! Princeton NJ needs to see this!

  • Tom McKeown

    You can see the jockey wheels at 39s. They run along the side of the curb and connect to the steering of the bus.

    The rails came out of use in the 60s/70s and had probably been removed. Guide kerbs for buses rather than rails means no special infrastructure at the destinations. Buses leave the guide way and join the road network in Cambridge city, and towns and villages along the route.