What does Bimodal mean? Bimodal means operating in two distinct ways or modes. Our bimodal transportation system consists of vehicles which operate on glideways which are fully automatic, all electric, elevated, safe, fast, and economical. They also operate in a street mode traveling on existing roadways just like conventional vehicles.
Would a bimodal vehicle be necessary to use the glideway? Yes, only specially configured BiModal vehicles have the additional capabilities of operating on the glideways. These additional features include separate propulsion, suspension, full automatic control subsystems, and quick automated testing at every onramp.
Can older vehicles be upgraded to be bimodal? No, not initially. However, with experience and testing this may become practical.
ABOUT BUILDING THE GLIDEWAY
How much would it cost? We do not know the exact costs. This requires extensive modeling which has not yet been done. We are confident that the cost would be considerably less than for single lane elevated railroads or highways. This is due to several factors when compared with conventional highways including
- lighter structures
- less material
- fewer ramps
- less land
How long would it take to build? The time to build a bimodal system over and between two major cities will be much shorter than building a new or widening an existing highway between them. Most materials, molds, rails, special construction equipment, etc., can be pre-assembled at the site. The construction site itself can be located along the glideway route at a location which is least intrusive to the community. Using railroad and highway technology the glideway can be extended from the initial construction site in opposite directions until completed.
What about rights of way? Glideways can use portions of existing rights of way where feasible. Any new rights of way will be acquired by working with elected officials, highway and railway departments, and the public - including neighborhood and environmental groups.
ABOUT OPERATING THE GLIDEWAY
What if a vehicle breaks down on the glideway? The glideway can shut down electrically giving an emergency warning all passengers and simultaneously initiating emergency procedures. This problem should be very infrequent because 1) each vehicle is tested at every on ramp before it enters the glideway, 2) all critical elements are redundant, and 3) any vehicle which does not pass the testing is not allowed to enter the glideway.
If a vehicle totally breaks down all vehicles stop in place and await instructions. This prevents anyone getting electrocuted and permits an evaluation of the problem. If the vehicle has a driver and the situation is not life threatening, the disabled vehicle and all vehicles in front of the disabled vehicle can move quickly to the next off ramp under emergency power and return to the surface street where they will be met by emergency crews. If the disabled vehicle is a driverless vehicle, a special bimodal emergency vehicle can enter an off ramp to retrieve the disabled vehicle. All traffic behind the disabled unit can be directed to the last off ramp if required.
Alternatively, in case of a total vehicle breakdown, the emergency vehicle can proceed to a position directly beneath it. From there a platform can be raised which engages the vehicle’s street mode wheels. All of its glideway appendages can then be retracted. This disengages it from the glideway so that it can be lowered to the bed of the emergency vehicle and returned to the street.
ABOUT DUAL MODE TRANSPORTATION STANDARDS
Does the Bimodal Glideway system satisfy generally accepted system requirements? Yes. It meets the requirements as compiled from the literature by Christine Ehlig-Economides and Jim Longbottom of Texas A&M University. For the requirements and how the BiModal Glideway meets them, click here to go to our Requirements page.