train. Rail travel may also not be as efficient as many models suggest due to the energy losses caused by uneven
track. This could influence the rolling friction component proportionately far more than for road tyres
However, most of these arguments are of academic interest only, since the vast majority of passengers and
freight will continue to use road vehicles unless a fundamentally more convenient and economic public and
freight transport alternative is found than we use at present. For example, in the UK 94% of land passenger
km and 88% of land freight movements by tonne km is by road
. It is most unlikely that anything other
than a fundamental change in our transport system can significantly alter these figures.
One radical solution would be to simply replace the commuter and freight lines with dedicated roads for truck
and coach/bus transport. Whilst this may be feasible on some routes were rail freight occupies a small fraction
of the total goods carried, rail freight still transports a significant proportion of the total in many countries which
still retain large centralised industries. Moreover, rail is certainly far more economic and environmentally
beneficial than road for transporting large utilised loads such as bulk freight such as coal, steel and grain directly
between the supplier and user. Therefore, we appear to be left with a congested road system caused partly by
polluting and noisy trucks and a underutilised expensive rail network unable to financially justify its existence
beyond a few commuter, bulk transport, and high speed lines which are busy at peak times.
There may be however a way of reconciling these transport modes to create a more economic and
environmentally sound solution by means of the last remaining main transport concept discussed in this study.
Transport Concept 4: Integrated Infrastructure for Road and Rail Transport using
The INITIATE Concept
There have been attempts to build a more convenient and cost-effective public transport solution using modified
buses that travel along guideways designed to accommodate pneumatic tyres. Some of these guideways have
been built on disused railways, whilst others have been built from afresh. At either end of the guideway the
vehicles can leave the network and continue along the road like a conventional bus.
This system provides
some of the combined advantages of the train and bus since vehicles can travel unobstructed for part of the
journey yet have the flexibility to travel along a normal paved road. However, these guideways are only used
for transporting buses, and the routes chosen are often disused lines between villages and small towns with low
passenger demand. As a result, the capacity of this infrastructure and its economic and social impact has been
The proposed solution is to adapt some the rail infrastructure, starting with disused or underutilised portions, by
fitting similar guideways to accommodate all types of larger road vehicles, and to eventually replace most of the
heavy vehicle fleet with electric vehicles which can be powered and charged from these guideways. This is
called the INtegrated InfrasTructure for road and raIl trAnsporT using Electrification (INITIATE). INITIATE
would build similar guideways as described above, but these would transport trucks and large vans in addition to
buses and coaches.
The vehicle guideway could be built afresh on rail routes or possibly attached to present railway sleepers to
enable road vehicles with pneumatic tyres to access to under-utilised or unused rail space (see figure 27). The
guideway also allows the towing of multiple carriages or trailers by buses or trucks whilst using INITIATE
providing some of the advantages of a conventional rail network.
59 see figures from Transport trends 2008, 2.1 passenger travel by mode, 5.1 domestic freight moved by mode