Bus Rapid Transit: MAN exhibiting innovative natural-gas BRT bus with energy-saving lighting concept
- Many cities are growing at a rapid pace. So rapidly, that their transport systems are hardly able to keep up. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems enable cities to optimise their transport infrastructures for local public transport relatively simply.
- At the IAA, MAN is exhibiting a BRT city bus with a modern ticketing system and five double doors for exceptionally smooth boarding and alighting, an energy-saving lighting concept and an engine powered by natural gas.
The BRT version of the MAN Lion's City GL is designed for operation on inner-city routes with a particularly large number of passengers. The 18.75-metre articulated bus has five doors in double the normal width - one door more than the standard articulated bus. This ensures that even with a high passenger volume, the flow of passengers is optimal and the stops are very short. In addition, the interior seating architecture has been conceptualised for short distances and time-saving boarding and alighting. The forebody is equipped with folding seats, enabling the driver to react flexibly to passenger volumes and demand for seats by increasing either standing room or the number of seats available. In the rush hour, the driver is able to block the row of folding seats mounted lengthwise in the entrance area of the front doors in order to reserve more standing room. The seating architecture provides 41 seats and standing room for 100 passengers, plus three blockable folding seats. The flexible arrangement of seats and standing room provides more space in the bus in rush hours, for parents with baby carriages, for example, or passengers with shopping carts.
Field tests with the five-door vehicle from MAN and a typical number of passengers showed time savings of around forty percent: the time to board and alight required by forty passengers, for example, was reduced from 26 to 16 seconds. The comparison was made using a four-door bus on the identical route. Furthermore, the trial also showed that the larger the number of passengers, the more time is saved. In modern BRT systems, buses pull into the stops just minutes apart. During rush hours, the time between buses can be even shorter. This makes clear how important it is for the procedure at the bus stop to run smoothly.
Innovative solutions for comfortable interiors
BRT systems also accelerate passenger flow thanks to the simpler and faster purchasing of tickets and more efficient access control. The cashless purchase of tickets at any time of day without having to queue is not just time-saving but far more convenient. The vehicle being shown at the IAA is equipped with a total of nine ticket-validating machines located at the doors and at the driver's workplace. These machines are also able to scan tickets bought electronically by smartphone. This is one of the ways in which BRT systems accommodate the changing habits of many urban bus users.
This also applies to the high-quality, modern design of the interior. The seats have light-coloured shells and are upholstered with a new type of material in carbon-look. The floor covering is white, the side-wall cladding is a high-class mineral black, while the ceiling panels are in a contrasting, lighter colour. Stainless steel was selected for the uprights with the stop-request buttons.
As much natural light as possible together with specific lighting effects generate a pleasant atmosphere for the passengers on board the MAN Lion's City BRT bus. Their subjective perception is one of safety and high quality - this was ascertained in passenger surveys carried out on behalf of MAN dur-ing the "European Bus System of the Future" (EBSF) research project.
The bus is equipped with innovative lighting on its ceiling: four light strips with more than 1,500 LEDs (energy-saving light-emitting diodes) illuminate the compartment, giving it a friendly, evenly-lit look. Two extra bright, pure white LED strips in the center of the ceiling provide the vehicle's basic illumination, while two more LED strips running the entire length of the bus are able to generate defined colours. They act as backlights to ceiling elements made of translucent polycarbonate, whose entire surfaces then take on the respective hue. Cooler and warmer shades in various lighting and weather conditions make it possible to create a pleasant atmosphere in the bus.
The technical implementation of the lighting has a noticeable effect on energy requirements and heat dissipation in the passenger compartment. In the BRT bus, the LED lighting reduces both: the LEDs in the ceiling along the entire length of the bus draw less power, which means that less generator output is required. The driver's workplace, cash desk and entrance are also illuminated by light-emitting diodes. Headlights equipped with LED daytime driving lights and rear lights employing the same technology make additional contributions to energy saving. Having less in the way of conventional lighting also means that the passengers feel more of the air-conditioning system's cooling effect because the LEDs radiate hardly any heat at all into the compartment.
What is more, the driver keeps a very cool head behind the Thermocontrol anti-heat insulation windscreen. The side windows along the entire length are also tinted for heat insulation. Three glass roof hatches allow plenty of natural light into the bus, at the same time permitting an upward view. Moreover, they can be opened electrically for natural ventilation. The articulated bus owes its unique spatial effect to its transparent bellows, which similarly admits daylight.
Sustainable drive technology for BRT buses
The propulsion system of the bus, an MAN E2876 CNG engine that can be powered by either natural gas or biogas, four-speed automatic transmission with SensoTop control and integrated retarder, is synonymous with exceptionally eco-friendly local public transport in cities. The horizontal six-cylinder engine delivers confident acceleration, the front axle with stabiliser ensures the recognised steering precision and the electronically controlled air-suspension system ECAS contributes to the low level of vehicle noise. The gas-powered engine delivers a maximum torque of 1,250 Nm across a very wide band of engine speeds, from 1,000 to 1,700 rpm. With a volume of 2,050 litres, the CNG tanks on the vehicle's roof enable a long operating range.
All the model-refinement measures carried out on the new MAN Lion's City generation, such as the weight-optimised air-conditioning system, segmented side-walls and new electronics structure are also integrated in the BRT version, making this bus an especially efficient vehicle with low TCO for daily operation.
Passenger information and network access
Passengers are increasingly using means of communication on the go, via both mobile radio and WiFi. For this reason, the BRT vehicle offers its passengers a free WiFi hotspot for Internet access.
The objective of a BRT system is to transport as many people as possible from Point A to Point B in the shortest possible time. To achieve this, it is important for the departure times within a network of routes to be coordinated with one another. And it is important that the passengers can obtain information about departure times and connections quickly. This is why the information needed by passengers for changing buses is displayed on big, high-resolution monitors in the bus itself. The display on the front of the vehicle is similarly high-resolution and in colour, giving the bus operator a significantly greater number of visual display options.
The technical data of the BRT CNG city bus on show at the IAA 2012
|Length / width / height||18,750 / 2,500 / 3,370 mm|
|Wheelbase, forebody / afterbody||5,875 / 6,770 mm|
|Seats / standing room||41+1 / 100|
|Engine||MAN E2876 LUH03 Euro VI CNG|
|Cylinders / capacity||R6 / 12,816 cm3|
|Output||228 kW / 310 hp at 2,000 rpm|
|Maximum torque||1,250 Nm at 1,000 to 1,700 rpm|
|Exhaust-gas cleaning||Three-way catalytic converter|
|Transmission||Voith D 864.5 automatic gearbox with Sen-soTop and integrated retarder|
|Suspension||Front axle: rigid MAN axle with stabiliser
Center axle: dropped rigid axle, mainte-nance-free control-arm bearings
Driven axle: MAN-ZF portal driven axle,
ECAS electronically controlled air-suspension system
|Wheels||Front axle: 275/70 R22.5
Rear axle 1: 275/70 R 22.5
Rear axle 2: 275/70 R 22.5
|Permissible gross vehicle weight||28,000 kg|
MAN competence: Bus Rapid Transit systems
Bus Rapid Transit systems are relatively easy to integrate into existing urban structures. They enable the modernisation of a city's transport infrastructure without the need for extensive construction work on putting in underground lines, for example. This makes them the most efficient local public transport systems by far in terms of their overall CO2 balance, which takes into account the building of the transport infrastructure, the manufacturing of the means of transport and the actual conveying of the passengers. Moreover, BRT systems ensure with a great degree of certainty that passengers will get to their destinations on time: buses are more flexible and can make detours when the unforeseen happens - blocked streets on their route, for example.
The following characteristics are typical of BRT systems to a greater or lesser extent. The backbone is formed by modern city buses with high passenger capacities and interiors whose layouts are optimised so that the flow of passengers is unobstructed. Other possible characteristics are: separate lanes and platform stops where tickets are sold and access is automatically controlled – i.e. before the bus is boarded, in order to optimise the passenger flow. BRT systems also offer intelligent traffic management by, for example, transmission of the current positions of the buses or prioritisation at traffic lights.
The wide range of bus chassis and complete buses from MAN forms an excellent basis for any BRT system. On top of that there is MAN's recognised competence in providing individual vehicle solutions with the reliability that only a major manufacturer of large-scale series can offer. In several Chinese cities BRT routes are serviced by buses made under licence from MAN / NEOPLAN. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in part on bus-only lanes, buses from MAN / NEOPLAN transport thousands of people smoothly and fast to their destinations every day - MAN and its service partners also ensure the eco-nomical, round-the-clock availability of the vehicles. In 2013, two BRT sys-tems will go into operation in Haifa and Tel Aviv, with more than 170 futuristically designed BRT articulated buses based on 18.75-m MAN floor assemblies for low-floor buses.