Amusing ride

While many cities, including Reno, putter around with ideas about better bike lanes and light rail for energy-efficient public transportation, Japan will be testing what’s basically a roller coaster. The tests of the “Eco Ride” are scheduled for October and are being developed by Senyo Kogyo and Senyo Kiko companies, who are better known for building amusement facilities. The train tracks are to be placed at different heights, using drive units to pull the cars up in some places and allow it to use potential energy to keep going on the way down. The developers claim these design principles make the train 10-20 percent cheaper than other trains and reduce the amount of land needed for it. A research group is looking into whether the idea is marketable.