free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 285. STREET CAR!

Friday, April 14, 2006

285. STREET CAR!

Continuing my series* on what the future looks like, I thought you might get a kick out of this real-life street car which I ride sometimes to a friend's house. It's a popular ride here in Osaka, where people call it the "Chin-Chin Densha".

Here the Chin-Chin Densha pulls into the station to get a new load of passengers. Note the pantograph on top. These cars have been around for decades, but they're actually trendy EVs (Electric Vehicles).


Mellow folks riding:


Two EVs passing each other on the street:

Outdated fossil fuel vehicles driving over the tracks:
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*)156. BICYCLES IN JAPAN, 144. YOUR BUDDY: THE SPACE HEATER
-- by JD

12 Comments:

At Friday, April 14, 2006 at 5:26:00 AM PDT, Blogger Rembrandt said...

As if Japan is the only one with these things... In Holland we also have some transportation networks build 20 or 30 years ago based on this concept. Although it has not been very popular during the years there are still some cities using it.

The trend at the moment is to change public transportation towards electricity + natural gas + biofuels. Busses will soon start driving on natural gas and biofuels more and more. Within 10 or 15 years all public transportation in Holland will probably be oil free

 
At Friday, April 14, 2006 at 12:42:00 PM PDT, Blogger John Markos O'Neill said...

We have some streetcars (MUNI rail) in San Francisco, too, although the system isn't very large and doesn't extend to all neighborhoods. They're building the Third St. rail line about a mile from my house.

One thing about them though, they're *slow*. I can get wherever I'm going in about half the time on my bike. Are they faster in Japan?

Also, rail on streets is kind of dangerous for cyclists if you're not careful.

 
At Friday, April 14, 2006 at 4:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

That kid in the first picture had better get off the tracks! :-)

Down in Melbourne they have an awesome tram system — just like big reticulating buses but on electricity:

Yarra Trams

Trams in action

Up he're in Sydney they're have a small light rail network like that in the city centre, but they're talking about extending it down to where I live. 75 years ago trams went all the way from the Eastern beaches to the city, and I really hope they bring them back.

 
At Friday, April 14, 2006 at 6:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger dub_scratch said...

Electrified trams in high density urban environments are a far more energy efficient mode than the auto/sprawl paradigm that dominates North America. The only problem is that there seems to be too much resistance to changing the rules to allow such a thing to be developed here in the US. The vested interests are well funded and seem to influence our government and the press greatly. Plus the previous investment in so much car-sprawl infrastructure has become a huge impediment to change. Here in California, we have a whole slue of environmentalist who are working hard on bringing the coal powered EV to reality. It's crazy.

I just don't see this strong opposition to transit going away until the US until the economy collapses and the cars can't go any more. But then there won't be any money to build such any alternative systems. It just seems to me to be hopeless.

Does anybody see an alternative scenario here?

 
At Friday, April 14, 2006 at 7:04:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

I just don't see this strong opposition to transit going away until the US until the economy collapses and the cars can't go any more. But then there won't be any money to build such any alternative systems. It just seems to me to be hopeless. Does anybody see an alternative scenario here?

Yes. Oil gets more expensive, people drive less, vested interests lose power and transit becomes popular.

Why do you assume there will be an economic collapse so severe that there won't even be enough money to build a tram?

Society adapts. It's happened before, it'll happen again.

 
At Friday, April 14, 2006 at 9:22:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jon said...

We rode the street car in Hiroshima that goes from the Train Station all the way down past the A-Bomb Dome and to the little dock that goes to Miyajima. It was impressive how many people used that thing.

Only issue with it was that it stopped every 20 feet or so for awhile it seemed.

 
At Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 1:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger DC said...

Sprawl is reaching saturation. Folks are actually fleeing back into the urban centers. Gas prices are markedly higher relative to the CPI. The Internet is a tremendous logistics facilitator. The workplace is becoming virtual. In short, much has changed in this decade already that I think will decrease the barriers to creating a more comprehensive, robust mass transit system in some parts of the US whose value will rival any additional value derived from personal transportation. Commerce will adjust to suit this new paradigm without necessitating an economic meltdown, even if it involves shuttling the service workforce into and out of the new, glitzy urban centers that they've been priced out of every day. A perfect harbinger is what is happening in the Keys.

 
At Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 7:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger St Peter's RC High School said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 7:16:00 AM PDT, Blogger St Peter's RC High School said...

We had those in the UK too when I was a kid. Electric trams were then being phases out to make way for increased car ownership. Plenty of European cities still have a tram system. Heres a couple in Frankfurt.


http://people.freenet.de/tram/209_211_uni.jpg

 
At Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 10:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger Glenn said...

Sometimes old ideas are good ideas. Trolleys are a 100+ year old.

 
At Sunday, April 16, 2006 at 11:19:00 PM PDT, Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

Why would trolleys be an improvement over modern buses? Buses have more flexibility, can be intermixed with other vehicles more easily, rerouted more easily, don't rquire fixed investment, etc.

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 at 12:09:00 AM PDT, Blogger John Markos O'Neill said...

Tonight I was looking through a picture book of historical photographs from my neighborhood (Potrero Hill). I found a picture of two electric street cars passing each other. They were powered by lines over the street like the ones in this post: they weren't cable cars like the famous ones we have downtown. The picture was from 1916, the year my 89 year old grandmother was born.

 

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