A solution for traffic congestion in many cities might lie in one of the most ancient modes of transportation available: the boat.
Looking at how water-buses could be integrated into Stockholm's mass transit system, researchers have a come up with a strong case for a maritime complement to trains and buses -- and not just in Sweden.
Karl Garme, a researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology's Department of Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, says the Waterway 365 project shows that water buses could reduce the load on land-based transit without doing harm to the environment.
In addition to adding capacity to a city's transit system and changing transport flows, the researchers believe water transport could also create an opportunity to increase bicycle commuting volumes. It is easier to load bikes on and off of boats than buses, the report states.
"Boats should nevertheless contribute something, not compete with other parts of collective traffic," Garme says.
The Waterway 365 report's aim was to show that waterways can be used to add sustainable transport capacity in urban systems, and to identify research questions and technical issues.
By teaming with Susanna Hall Kihl of Vattenbussen, the researchers transcended the engineering perspective of their subject and gained insights into market needs and community planners' challenges. "Susanna Hall Kihl has enabled us to put our expertise and knowledge in a clearer context," Garme says.
A city composed of islands, Stockholm seems a natural for the concept of water transit. Door-to-door travel time on at least one typical trip across town, the study shows, could potentially be reduced by one-third.
In order to gauge whether waterways can increase transport capacity in any city, Garme says five basic conditions have to be taken into account.
Waterway 365 was conducted in collaboration with Vattenbussen AB, with support from the Swedish Maritime Administration.
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