December 2006 The concept of a dual-mode vehicle that will run on tram or train tracks and is also capable of driving on the road is gaining ground with the news that Japanese rail firm JR Hokkaido is poised to launch its dual-mode bus and rail vehicle we previewed two years ago. The company will begin conducting commercial tests in April 2007 and preliminary trials suggest the vehicle’s fuel cost is about a quarter of a diesel vehicle, and maintenance cost about one-eighth, while offering the flexibility to extend railed systems. Similarly, the European AutoTram concept is also gathering a following. The Autotram can be up to 36 meters long, can carry as many passengers as a streetcar while being as versatile as a bus. One of the key aspects of the Autotram is its flywheel energy storage system that facilitates a regenerative braking system and signficiantly cuts operating costs. The Bladerunner concept is another dual-mode transport system.