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Randy Treadway

World's Fair Buses

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Many World's Fairs in the past contracted with a single company to provide inside-the-grounds transportation, sometimes in the form of one, two- or three-person taxis (pedaled or motorized), buses, even up to monorails.

For the buses, sometimes a manufacturer provided something new that wasn't yet available to public transportation authorities.

We've all discussed at length what GM provided for the '64-65 NYWF- something new and not widely seen by the public yet, but something that was beyond the drawing board stages and already in the production pipeline, a 'fishbowl' design which they were just releasing at that time, so it was brand new.

So what if there was a World's Fair in North America today- what 'concept bus' designs are out there that might be prototyped for World's Fair use? It would undoubtedly be some kind of 'green' concept with alternate energy sources, or hybrid or something. But what about the design?

Here are some recent interesting design concepts:

from Isuzu


from GMC. This is really some kind of mobile home, living quarters thing, but thought I'd throw it in anyway.....since it looks worthy of World's Fair display....



and from Honda. This one is 100% green, because it is propelled by 10 runners on some kind of internal treadmill system. I kid you not... :D Wouldn't it be more efficient for the 10 people to just get off the bus and run wherever they want to go? I suppose that would leave the people in the passenger seats above them sitting there without an engine.


A British company named Silvertip has proposed to take the intermodal container rail/highway concept and apply it to passenger applications with a 'car' that could travel on both rail and highway. They call it the 'Blade Runner'. I'm not sure what application that could have within a World's Fairgrounds, but it looks interesting anyway, and another concept worthy of World's Fair display....







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Last month the Altcar Expo 2008 sponsored a Bus of the Future contest with the premise of designing a conceptual new 'Big Blue Bus' for the city of Santa Monica, California (a very eco-sensitive citizenry)

Here were the finalists (descriptions by Autobloggreen]

The three models that have been picked as the finalists in the contest look pretty similar yet are very different.

The Icon Bus designed by Gabriel Wartofsky draws its inspiration from the famous double-decker buses of London. The design has incorporated green features such as positive emissions and use of sequestered CO2. It also has plenty of window space for the view that the city offers.


Giuseppe Fillippone’s Cougar Bus uses a very sleek and cat-like design. The bus has separate pods which ensure that depending on the passenger traffic one can use the pods. This ensures that the model is fuel efficient and also saves on space.


The Clear Volume Bus by Mike Peterson is the final contender, and it really looks fancy with extended windows and a low middle section to avoid passenger rush. All the three models seem to give plenty of importance to the view outside.


The Dark Side:

The Icon Bus is the one among the three that looks the most unrealistic and will probably not make the cut for exactly that reason. While the Clear Volume Bus is blingy, it is a bit dull on the green features. That pretty much makes the Cougar Bus the winner in our eyes as it has a balance of style and substance. Let us wait for the final decision and see if we got this spot on. All three models though could think about solar panel rooftops.

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Scania's current concepts include a working prototype that looks pretty standard from the outside, but is revolutionary on the inside-

it's an electric/fuel Hybrid which is fueled by ethanol.


Supercapacitors on the roof




Driver station




Rear wheel steering


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A Volvo concept bus from 1995.

The ECB has an aluminium body, with built-in reinforcement along the sides and front. The driver sits in the middle and has cameras instead of rear-view mirrors. Although it is smaller than a conventional bus, it can carry up to 80 passengers. It is fitted with both a low-emission gas turbine engine and an electric motor, which produces no emissions at all.The suspension system is highly advanced, and the ECB is very manoeuvrable, with a remarkably tight turning circle.




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I haven't quite figured out this concept, but it looks like it might be interesting:


From Designlaunches.com

"Going by the current trends in traffic conditions, I can safely assume that it's only going to get worse in the future. Even the pedestrian traffic is on the increase, as people are getting wearier of traveling in private transport given the rising fuel costs. The near future foresees or rather demands radical changes in the transport sector that will not only offer environmentally friendly vehicles but also offer convenient commute. The Publi Bus is a concept by Niels Grubak Iversen that is meant for rural areas. It is a driverless concept and the speeds never exceed a walkers pace. Due to its low speeds commuters will be able to alight or climb in at any time they wish, without the bus stopping. I am assuming that a premeditated bus-route will be fed into the vehicles controls and dedicated lanes will be provided. I like that spaciousness of the bus that will be able to fit in quite a lot of people."


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Very interesting stuff Randy. And a topic probably not thought about too often---namely how to provide an interesting and inventive way of providing transportation around a modern World's fair grounds. It would seem like there's not a heck of a lot you can do to make bus travel seem more advanced these days (beyond the whole green thing of course), but these examples show that it (continuing to improve and modernize buses) is an idea still being thought about a lot. I'll tell you one thing, if NASA could get one of those Moonstreams running around a fairground (whether for passenger transportation or just as a moving display) it would certainly get attention and generate buzz for the future moon shots! What a cool-looking vehicle!

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Great topic and cool pix, Randy!

Here's one that popped up in a daily briefing here at the office a few months back... a "horse-powered" form of public transit by a Dubai based firm called FleetHorse. They've dubbed it the NaturBus.




Here's a link to their corporate website-- which also includes a pretty (unintentionally) amusing YouTube sales video link:

Fleethorse Website

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That 'Olympics 2008' bus concept came from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and is said to be designed for a top speed of 155mph. No wonder they proposed it for the Olympics!

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Thanks for posting those!

Many eco-maniacs and, "it takes a village," types see buses as the savior of mankind's transportation needs, and point to "other countries'" use of same like whiny kids point to their siblings' always getting their way. Problematic thinking on both counts. They claim buses are more efficient than cars.

No doubt buses are perfect solutions in many applications. NYC's checkerboard street layout is ideal. Most every Avenue and almost every fifth cross street has a bus route. Miami, not so ideal.

Miami's heat and humidity get me up early to work out. At 5 AM buses noisily strain to push along zero passengers until rush hour. Afterwards they're empty again until evening rush.

I wonder if those who calculate the efficiency of a bus compared to a car per given passenger mile take into account all the time those behemoths burn fuel when empty and whether they consider the big picture, a 24-hour day. At what capacity does it become more efficient and how often is that capacity achieved?

We prefer passenger cars for many reasons. Saving the planets and solar system is fine, but how many times will you tolerate that creep rubbing against you and having to hike in inclement weather when you can drive your car door to door without earth spinning off its axis? Some parts of the "village", you can't take.

PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is a true World's Fair-quality concept that gets little press. UWVirginia has a thirty-year old version that sometimes works. Miami's Metromover is cool to look up at, less a World's Fair experience when it stops dead with no explanation and you're perched inside looking 50' down.

The subject is still active, perhaps relegated to Popular Science magazines in barber shops, themselves becoming harder to find.


Those horse transports are great. I'd like to know what sort of "daily briefing" includes agenda items such as them, and like to be part of it! Nobody tells me anything!

Are there crash-test-horses? http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/new..._test_a_success

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I've heard that cows are the #1 emitter of greenhouse gases, far exceeding carbon-based motor vehicles, but environmentalists don't like to talk about that. Horses can't be far behind.

Here is the report, from none other than the United Nations (before they moved their headquarters to Montreal or Caracas)


I can just see the Dubai horse-propelled vehicle trying to get a California-compliant emissions-control filter attached to the horse's butt.

And filling stations would have to dispense oats.

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When I was working in New Zealand they were studing ways to reduce sheep emissions, as that was the largest source of air pollution there. Things like modifying the diet were being looked at. One group was actually proposing diapers!

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World's Fairs have experimented with moving sidewalks in the past. I'd like to see them brought back. Not paying any attention to efficiency, cost or anything but the coolness factor. Imagine if the NYWF had been outfitted with moving sidewalks (canopied, of course) down every major radial, with the Unisphere as the hub.

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