The O-Bahn system, developed in the Federal Republic of Germany in recent years, consists of conventional diesel buses equipped with a special guidance mechanism that can be extended or retracted. The vehicles thus can run on regular streets or on special guideways that have two simple vertical guidance surfaces. The O-Bahn concept is intended to combine the advantages of low-investment bus operation on streets in low-density areas with the advantages of narrower right-of-way and greater highway safety of guided-mode operation on higher density route sections. However, because the basic vehicle is the standard (or articulated) diesel bus, the most important advantages of guided modes--high-capacity vehicles, ability to form trains, electric traction with a number of superior aspects, and fail-safe running--are not captured. A systematic analysis of all characteristics shows that the O-Bahn is much more similar to semirapid bus (bus lines that use busways and other separated ways on individual sections) than to light rail transit (LRT). In comparison with semirapid bus, the O-Bahn offers the advantages of narrower right-of-way, somewhat greater comfort and safety, guaranteed permanent retention of the exclusive right-of-way for buses only, and greater suitability (O-Bahn with dual-traction vehicles) for operation in tunnels. These advantages must be weighed against the higher investment cost and lower capacity and operating flexibility of the O-Bahn, which is due to the inability of O-Bahn vehicles to overtake or bypass each other on the guideway. O-Bahn represents a higher cost, higher quality system than semirapid bus, which may be advantageous for use in such special cases as areas with narrow rights-of-way. It is not suited for lines that require high-capacity, low-cost transit systems, which are typical of cities in developing countries.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 8-15
  • Monograph Title: Advances in bus service planning practices
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00454950
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309038235
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1988 12:00AM