Experimental Singapore Bus Stop Aims to “Make Waiting Fun”

Experimental Singapore Bus Stop Aims to “Make Waiting Fun”

Generally speaking, bus stops aren’t known for being places that people look forward to visiting.

Instead, these small, spartan shelters serve as waypoints on the path to bigger and better destinations. In many cities, however, commuters spend a significant portion of their work weeks waiting for rides at bus stations.

That’s why transit officials in the Jurong Lake District of Singapore decided to create a bus stop loaded with amenities to provide commuters with an extra measure of comfort and convenience while they wait.

After coming up with the idea for a bus stop that could “make waiting fun,” Singapore officials recruited local design firm DP Architects to bring their vision to life.

At first glance, the prototype bus stop doesn’t look too different from the extended platforms you might see on a bus rapid transit route or an elevated subway station. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll find that this bus stop is anything but average.

On top of the bus station sits a vibrant rooftop garden and an array of solar panels for power.

Beneath the canopy, commuters can access free Wi-Fi service and charging stations for phones and other mobile devices.

  • There’s a bookshelf with free reading material that bus riders can take with them on their trip, and a digital panel where they can download ebooks by scanning QR codes.
  • There’s also an interactive journey-planning and bus-tracking board where commuters can find new routes around the city.
  • There’s even a swing for the bus system’s younger patrons to enjoy while they wait.

The designers at DP Architects hope that their creation will help community members to see how a bus stop can be “an extension of their social environments,” and “inspire the community to take greater ownership in shaping their own environments.”

The bus stop has been operational for six months now, and Singapore officials plan to revisit the design in the fall to see if its amenities could be adapted to other waiting areas in the city as well.

To see the innovative bus stop for yourself, you can check out the photos here from CityLab.

Baltimore to Install Bus-Friendly Traffic Light Sensors

Baltimore to Install Bus-Friendly Traffic Light Sensors

Rush hour traffic is certainly frustrating for commuters in cars, but it can be especially disruptive to public bus services.

When buses are caught in gridlock and forced to sit through multiple light cycles, it can cause a phenomenon known as “bus bunching,” wherein the next bus in line catches up to the bus ahead of it. This can wreak havoc on bus schedules, sometimes leaving commuters left in the lurch while they wait for buses that might be hours behind schedule.

This issue has been particularly problematic in Baltimore, where the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) has been struggling to correct its inefficient and unreliable bus service.

That’s why the city is investing $11 million in an effort to install traffic light sensors that prioritize bus traffic over other types of vehicles.

Once the sensor system is in place, traffic lights will stay green for six to 10 seconds longer when a bus is approaching, and the duration of red lights will be shortened by the same amount of time when buses are waiting to move.

Each of the city’s 200 buses will also be equipped with sensors that allow them to communicate with the sensors on upcoming traffic lights. City officials don’t expect the new system to disrupt car and truck traffic, but if it does the light timers can be easily adjusted to account for slowdowns and backups.

  • The MTA is also moving 19 bus stops to the far side of their intersections so that buses don’t have to stop and wait for a light twice when dropping off and picking up passengers.

In conjunction with the new sensor system, this change could make bus traffic far more efficient on some of the city’s busiest roadways. For the residents of Baltimore who depend on public buses to get to and from work, these updates could make daily commutes a whole lot less stressful.

Transit Buses in Las Vegas Get Free Wi-Fi Service

Transit Buses in Las Vegas Get Free Wi-Fi Service

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has made some big changes to its bus service in recent months.

Late last year, the RTC released a mobile app which allows riders to find bus stops, track buses in real time, and purchase transit passes right from their smartphones.

The app was designed to make RTC buses as convenient and accessible as possible.

Now, the RTC has made another upgrade that promises to add yet another level of convenience to its bus fleet: free Wi-Fi service.

In early February, RTC General Manager Tina Quigley announced that the transit commission had invested $504,487 in an effort to outfit all 400 of its buses with free wireless Internet.

Now, commuters can check emails, watch videos and more on their daily bus rides without having to rely on their own data plans. The Wi-Fi networks will also allow the RTC to provide more accurate information on its new mobile app.

“This helps us to both provide a value-added service for our customers in today’s connected world and more accurately tracks the vehicle locations so we can provide real-time information,” said Quigley in a statement to the RTC board of directors.

Whether or not the new Wi-Fi networks will increase ridership rates on RTC buses remains to be seen. In any case, the RTC appears intent on providing added incentives for people to use its bus service in the future.

Hopefully that will lead to an overall improvement in the quality of service that makes the transit service in Las Vegas better and more reliable than ever.

London Ditches Diesel Buses

London Ditches Diesel Buses

In December of 1952, a cold weather system descended on London and caused a buildup of factory smog so severe that visibility was reduced to just a few feet. Now known as the Great Smog of 1952, the event forced London officials to finally take steps to alleviate the city’s ongoing air-pollution problems. Since then, London has made sweeping reforms that have significantly improved the city’s air quality.

London’s air quality might be a whole lot better than it was in the 1950’s, but there’s still room for improvement. City officials estimate that roughly 9,400 premature deaths happen every year as a result of illnesses caused by long-term exposure to air pollution. That’s why mayor Sadiq Khan is planning to phase out diesel buses and replace them with hybrid-engine and zero-emission models over the next four years.  Starting in 2018 the city will stop adding diesel models to its iconic fleet of red double-decker buses. Furthermore, all new single-deck buses in the city will be zero-emission models.

“I want London to become a world leader in hydrogen and electric bus technology,” said Khan in his announcement speech. “Transforming London’s bus fleet by accelerating the introduction of zero-emission buses is important and I plan to work with bus manufacturers, other cities, the European Commission and the C40 Climate Change Leadership Group of Cities to move this agenda forward.”

Khan made the announcement in conjunction with the unveiling of a new hydrogen-powered bus that will begin trials on London roads next year. Currently, London has a total of 79 zero-emission buses in service, 51 of which are battery powered. The city also maintains three fully-electric bus routes.

After earning a reputation for being one of the most polluted cities in the world during the 20th century, London has found itself at the forefront of the movement to improve urban air quality worldwide.

French Startup Raises $34M for Its Autonomous Electric Bus

French Startup Raises $34M for Its Autonomous Electric Bus

Although we deal in buses powered by conventional fuels, we always like to stay informed when we hear of a cool company making new waves in the electric bus industry. Today, we’re here to tell you about a French startup that recently raised a whopping $34 million to fund the development of its autonomous electric bus.

Navya, a research company based in France, has been developing its self-driving bus, the Arma, for a full decade. The bus finally debuted in October of this year in its first trials in Lyon, France.

In its first test run, passengers were treated to an autonomous bus ride that sped up to 28 miles per hour, covered five stops and lasted about 13 minutes from the first stop to the last.

Navya’s self-driving technology relies on a series of sensors that are embedded into the bus’s infrastructure. These sensors are what allow the bus to interact with and respond to its environment. While the current test path does not include obstacles like crosswalks, regular traffic, or lots of pedestrians, the success of the test will be a good indication as to whether or not this service will fit Lyons’s commuter needs.

In their latest round of funding, Navya has raised over 30 million dollars to expand their project internationally and continue additional research and development.

They’re now collaborating with a number of other companies to see how they can adapt this bus technology for use in other major cities.

We’ll have to keep an eye on Navya’s progress to see how their next phases of testing go.

In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a bus that still requires a human driver, head on over to our inventory page to see what’s available.

Proterra Reveals New Electric Bus With 350-Mile Range

Proterra Reveals New Electric Bus With 350-Mile Range

Little cars aren’t the only ones getting in on the electric vehicle action. This fall, Proterra, an electric bus maker that’s become one of the most recognizable names in zero-emission bus design, will release its latest model, the E2 Max.

According to Electrek, the E2 Max was designed to handle the “daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. mass transit route on a single charge,” which means these buses can be implemented even in the busiest cities where buses trek many miles back and forth on a single route. The newly designed battery pack in this model can store between 440 and 660 kilowatts of power, which translates into a range of about 200 to 350 miles, depending on terrain. Proterra has reported, though, that they’ve managed to drive one of these buses more than 600 miles on a single charge!

Proterra’s previous battery pack was only about 330 kilowatts, so the extra power in the new model will definitely give it an edge in the market. The larger battery in conjunction with a lightweight design and a “regenerative braking system” is what gives the bus the ability to travel such great distances on a charge.

While new electric cars and buses may someday revolutionize environmentally-friendly transportation, they won’t come cheap. This list price of an E2 Max is about $799,000, which is about twice what you’d pay for a brand new fuel-powered bus of the same size.

Proterra hopes to see many of these buses on the road in the coming years, and they’re already on the right track in Los Angeles. LA’s Foothill Transit has announced that it will be 100 percent electric by 2030 to help reduce the amount of pollutants in the air, and the Proterra E2 Max is one of the buses LA public transit riders may see on the road early next year.

For more information on Las Vegas bus sales, call us today at (877) 456-9804, or check out our current inventory online.

Study Finds Transit Riders Value Service Over Amenities

Study Finds Transit Riders Value Service Over Amenities

In recent years, transit companies all across the country have begun installing a variety of amenities such as Wi-Fi routers and charging stations in buses to try to incentivize ridership. It’s a strategy that makes sense in theory, given our ever-increasing dependence on handheld electronics and Internet connectivity. In practice however, it may not be as effective as transit services would hope. According to a new report from research group TransitCenter, Wi-Fi routers might be nice frills, but it’s fast, reliable service that riders really want.

The researchers surveyed more than 3,000 respondents from 17 regions throughout the country about what kinds of improvements they’d like to see from their local transit services. Options included power outlets, Wi-Fi connections, shelters designed for bad weather conditions, cheaper fares and more frequent service.

The survey found that the two most important determining factors in rider satisfaction are service frequency and travel times. Real-time ride updates and improved shelters were also high on the list for many respondents. Wi-Fi connections and power outlets, on the other hand, were the least important factors for rider satisfaction.

While this doesn’t mean that transit companies should abandon amenities like Wi-Fi service altogether, it does suggest that they would have better luck increasing ridership rates by investing in service improvements first. Commuters don’t expect much in the way of bells and whistles from their buses and subway systems. What they really want is a service they can count on to get them where they need to go, when they need to be there.

Mercedes-Benz Reveals Its Take on the Self-Driving Bus

Mercedes-Benz Reveals Its Take on the Self-Driving Bus

Even luxury automakers are taking a stab at the autonomous vehicle market these days. Mercedes-Benz is the latest to throw their hat in the ring with an eye-catching design appropriately named “Future Bus.” Featuring sleek lines and expansive window panes, the design truly does look like the bus of tomorrow. Leave it to Mercedes to make a great-looking vehicle.

But the Future Bus is about more than just aesthetics; it’s built to be uncommonly efficient as well. The Future Bus uses Mercedes’ proprietary CityPilot technology that was originally introduced two years ago for the company’s self-driving Actros truck. CityPilot is capable of detecting and recognizing different objects on the road and communicating with a city’s local infrastructure. This means that the FutureBus will not only be able to predict when traffic lights are going to change, but also provide cities with valuable data about wear and tear in their roads.

In the FutureBus, CityPilot is programmed to automatically stop at bus stops along its route. The designers at Mercedes-Benz note that their self-driving software offers a gentle, smooth ride that allows riders to comfortably stand on the bus during busy commutes. The bus has a top speed of 70 km/hr (about 45 mph).

In July, the FutureBus passed its first major road test when it navigated more than 20 kilometers on complex section of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route in the Netherlands. While a driver had to be at the wheel in order to maintain legal compliance, the bus was able to gracefully complete the route on its own. The next step for Mercedes-Benz will be to start implementing the FutureBus on select BRT routes in Europe for further testing. Meanwhile, other companies are trialing similar technologies here in the United States as well.

There’s a New Bus in Town on the Streets of D.C.

There’s a New Bus in Town on the Streets of D.C.

While transit officials in the Washington, D.C. have been working overtime to repair the city’s aging subway system, a new kind of bus with some serious personality is making its debut in the nation’s capital. It’s called Olli, and it’s got the brain of IBM’s Watson computing system.

Olli might be smaller than other buses in the city, but it’s a whole lot smarter. So smart, in fact, that it doesn’t need a human driver. Passengers can hail the little bus from an app similar to Uber or Lyft. Once Olli picks them up, they simply ask the bus to take them to their destination, and off they go. Using an array of 30 sensors and its Watson-powered brain, Olli is able to continually collect and analyze transportation data, allowing it to make quick decisions and get better at navigating busy city streets.

Olli was created by American automotive startup Local Motors – a company that focuses on innovative open-source vehicle designs. Rather than build Olli with conventional manufacturing processes, Local Motors chose to 3D print most of its components instead. This allows replacement parts to be printed at local shops, rather than shipped in from elsewhere. The company has built “micro factories” to accomplish this goal in Germany, Arizona, Tennessee and Maryland.

According to EcoWatch, Local Motors is currently working with cities in at least 50 other countries who are also interested in Olli’s unique approach to bus transit. You can learn more about this smart little bus in the video from Local Motors below!


Detroit Reveals Plans to Revitalize its Ailing Transit System

Detroit Reveals Plans to Revitalize its Ailing Transit System

In the first half of the 20th century, Detroit was one of the foremost hubs of industry and engineering in the United States. For decades, the Motor City manufactured millions of automobiles for drivers all over the world. Then, the energy crisis of the 1970s forced American automakers to scale back their operations, and the city fell on hard times.  Since then, Detroit has struggled to curb an economic collapse that left the city in bankruptcy in 2013.

City planners in Detroit have long identified a slow, fragmented public transit system as one of the chief obstacles to the city’s economic renewal. In 2012, the Michigan State Legislature approved the creation of a Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to bridge the gap between Detroit’s two independent transit services – the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). Now, four years later, the RTA has unveiled its plan to overhaul Detroit’s transit system to make it faster, more accessible and commuter-friendly.

The RTA’s plan focuses primarily on revamping Detroit’s bus service. New cross-county routes will be implemented to connect separate SMART and DDOT routes, eliminating the need for riders to transfer between lines and wait for multiple buses. In addition, commuter express routes will run during rush hour between the city’s most populous areas and the places with the most employers. Finally, the RTA plans to construct dedicated lanes for a bus rapid transit service to quickly move people around the city and surrounding suburbs.

The RTA is expected to ask voters to approve a $1.2 million tax levy to fund the project later this year. Many of Detroit’s residents hope that fixing the broken transit system will be a significant step forward in the city’s recovery.