Chinese trackless trains: a solution for Stockton?

China's robo-train.

The city of Zhouzhou, China has launched a prototype autonomous “trackless train” that uses sensors to follow painted street markings.

“In essence,” writes CityLab, “trackless trains hit every objective high-quality transit systems should: They fit lots of people, run in dedicated lanes, are electric-powered, and are relatively cheap and easy to build.”

These battery-powered babies hold up to 300 passengers, go up to 43 mph and cost 1/5 as much as a subway, CityLab reports.

As for calling them trains, what’s in a  name? The story detours into all the baggage that comes with the word “bus.”

“Operators are behind the wheel for now, but the idea is that they won’t be needed by the time the city builds a network larger than the 3.1-kilometer test track,” the story says.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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