Improved Bus Service on Ten Times less Energy

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Microvehicles can move people in the city as fast as cars or buses, but use an order of magnitude less energy. A self-driving taxi weighing less than the riders could form the backbone of an urban transportation system. No one knows how long it will take to realize this dream by developing artificial intelligence that is better than human drivers. In the meantime, we propose keeping the bus driver, but replacing the vehicle with a road train of fully-automated, electric two-person vehicles. At a bus stop, riders would select a destination, pay their fare, and board their own pod. The pod will accelerate to join onto the road train as it passes; thus, the bus never needs to stop for passengers. All vehicles would be small enough that a standard traffic lane can be divided into two half-lanes, leaving an outer through lane and an inner accelerate/decelerate lane. Less energy means smaller batteries that can be easily swapped and do not need a new charging infrastructure. 

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