Guided buses are buses steered for part or all of their route by external means, usually on a dedicated rights-of-ways, though not to be confused with a busway. This track, which often parallels existing roads or railways, excludes all other traffic, permitting the operation of reliable schedules on heavily used corridors even during peak hours.
Guidance systems can be either physical, such as kerbs;
or remote, such as optical or radio guidance;
or by rail, making the guided bus a hybrid rail/monorail vehicle, retaining the ability to operate independently of the ‘rail’.
On kerb-guided buses (KGB) small guide wheels are attached to the bus, and these engage vertical kerbs on either side of the track-way. The bus is steered in the normal way away from the guide-way. The start of the guide-way is funneled from a wide track to the normal width. The track-way allows for high-speed operation on a narrow guide-way.
Only a few examples currently exist, but more are proposed in various countries. The longest guided busway in the world is the O-Bahn Busway route in Adelaide, South Australia, which has been operating reasonably successfully since the mid 1980s. Sadly, operating performance of the Adelaide KGB has not met expectations and no more KGB is to be built and modern LRT is now the preferred choice to provide urban transit to the city.
As reported earlier…….
…….. the wire guided Dutch Phileas guided bus has also had operating problems in Turkey and the ‘rail-guided’ guided buses operating in Caen has had severe teething problems. The real problem for guided bus is that its installation costs are only slightly less (about 20% less) than light rail, which has much more operating benefits. Due to higher construction costs and operational problems, guided bus has become a niche transit mode, which does not compete with light rail, but with more conventional trolley buses!