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Oct 24, 2010

Malé: Traffic problem solved! Well, almost.

Hello.

For years, if not decades, we have been talking about the population and traffic congestion problems in Malé and government authorities have been brainstorming about a suitable public transport system to ease the traffic condition on our narrow roads.

Lack of public transport in the city and availability of motor vehicles for monthly installment has made the number of vehicles on the road intolerable, resulting in all arterial roads becoming almost dysfunctional. Riding a motor bike in Malé is not easy. Driving a car is a nightmare. Parking is impossible!

Recently, there were newspaper articles and TV interviews about introduction of buses in the city to combat the current traffic crisis. The news was well received by the public who is in dire need of any public transport system, not so well by taxi drivers. However, some people are pessimistic if the current road condition can accommodate the introduction of these large vehicles.

Turns out, there is a cheaper, greener and faster alternative. Introducing the somewhat weirdly named, Straddle Bus. This is no ordinary street bus, this transit bus travels along an elevated plane, straddling on street level tracks on either side of the road, leaving ample room for vehicular traffic to pass clean underneath. Cool concept, right?

The project was exhibited in May this year at the Beijing International High-Tech Expo by the Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co Ltd.

Its creators claim this bus could reduce traffic jams significantly, by moving along on top with the normal street traffic underneath it, rather than being one more vehicle on the road. They also claim these buses would require much less infrastructure investment than digging a subway tunnel or a dedicated rapid-transit lane. This would enable existing roads to transport more people while adding little if any to traffic congestion.

While I appreciate the out of the box thinking and this transportation ingenuity, adopting this futuristic concept in our small city may give rise to its own set of problems. But this is expected when adopting any new technology anywhere. There are no perfect technologies or ideas which can be rolled out everywhere without adaptation or modification. Localization is necessary.

How will people board these buses? Passengers can wait for the bus on elevated platforms constructed at bus stops. This will minimize bus stoppage time and help in maintaining the schedule.

Can we trust the current drivers on the road to navigate through? While I trust my skill set to safely drive and negotiate a traffic jam, I do not know how I will react to a huge vehicle overtaking me few feet above my head. Given the current attitude of drivers on our roads, I expect a few exquisite catastrophes.

Here is the link to the original article. Here is a youtube video demonstration in english.

I do not know if the positive attributes of this concept are enough to warrant we dedicate our resources to building this system, but I know for sure, it is worth a look.

One has already decided. Beijing’s Mentougou District will see construction before the end of the year. A route of 186 kilometers have been mapped out for the pilot project.

Laterx.

7 comments:

Ahmed said...

this is a very cool innovation!! Someone should show this to President Anni.I think this is the only solution for this crowded city.

//Sub/Corpus said...

Ahmed ::
This a cool innovation, i\I'll give you that ...
But this may not be the only solution ...
Lots of options out there you know ... :)

ieccco said...

I was even thinking about this and the only thing that came to my mind was having something like the Monorail. It doesn't take up space since it doesn't occupy road space but only pillars that holds it up.
This is the first time I'm seeing this and its really cool like Ahmed mentioned. It costs less and is ideal for the narrow streets of Male'.
But you said this is not the only solution, but the question is, will anything like this be adapted in reality in the Maldives? Anytime soon or Ever?

//Sub/Corpus said...

ieccco ::
i dunno much about mass transit engineering ...
but i think monorails are not articulated to operate in spaces which require tight turns ...
I think public transport isn't going to take off in malé ... not anytime soon anyways ...
the public mentality here is quite different ...
hulhumalé seems promising though ...

.mini said...

do we have space on the road for this? the roads are so narrow, even majeedhee magu.
even if this doesn't work, i hope something does, and soon! its hell walking out there.

//Sub/Corpus said...

i don't know if we have space or if this bus would fit anywhere in malé ...
I'm just talking about the concept ...
seems everyone hates walking on the streets these days ...
i wonder if any of you girls will actually use public transportation if it was introduced in malé ...

gowithsmile said...

Bro! again nice stuffs brought by u!
We can make a concept like this in Majeedhee magu so! but it will take time and will cost lot! Anything can with these mighty Chinese :P

For public transport in Male' i didnt see it coming!
i have some better ideas(many will not agree) and its gonna be huge project!
We can make Male' for a commercial city and No living stuffs in Male' and we can all transfer to Hulhumale' which we have a mass land! and can build some flats and give away to all the residents in Male' and others those who live in Male' and make a bridge between Hulhule and Male' and all working population can come to Male for work by using bus or their own vehicle! (and im not talking about no population in Male' but talking about limited population! like 30000 peeps only!)
Somewhat i know no will consider this idea! we will need huge project to happen this! but its just a thought of mine!

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