Have you ever heard of a vehicle that can ride on paved roads or railroads? A small Japanese transportation company has spent time developing a dual-mode vehicle, and it may soon be up and running.
The vehicle is a modified version of the regular minibus with space for 23 passengers. Asa Seaside Railway Corp is being developed and tested in Tokushima prefecture, Japan.
At the touch of a button, the vehicle can change bus mode and train mode. A couple of wheels for the train tracks come out about 15 seconds below the vehicle and it becomes a small railroad track that is easy to ride on the railroad tracks.
On railroad tracks, a dual-mode vehicle can have speeds of up to 30 kmph on six wheels, including two rubber tires on the rear and two pairs of iron wheels. In addition to reducing maintenance costs, it claims to save up to 75 percent on fuel.
The vehicle is being developed to encourage tourism in the area as well as to help the locals travel without having to switch between buses and trains.
The dual-mode vehicle was first tested on the line between Awa-Kainan station and Kaifu station in December last year. The dual-mode vehicle (DMV), which can be driven on roads and moved by roads, is expected to be included in the ASA Sea Rail.
If all goes well, this special public transportation will start at the Tokyo Olympics. When launched, it would be the world’s first commercial vehicle for dual-mode vehicles.