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Future of Russian transport goes on display in Moscow

he future of Russian public transport went on display in Moscow on Wednesday (October 29) with an array of sleek and innovative designs on show at the ExpoCityTrans exhibition.

The transport exhibition featuring the latest creations in its field drew around 60 Russian and foreign companies, according to organisers.

Russia's R1 tram, often referred to as an 'iPhone on rails' by its engineers has taken centre stage at the exhibition, featuring anti-bacterial rails, free Wi-Fi and a sleek futuristic design.

The high-tech tram, presented by the Russian company Uralvagonzavod, which specialises in making tanks and trains, is hailed as the future of smart public transport in the country. Makers of the tram, a joint development by Uraltransmash and OKB Atom, say the tram's smooth composite body, made of plastic and glass is meant to reduce noise, increase visibility and is designed to prevent accidents.

The carriages are equipped with electronic displays that show images of stations and display the entire route, as well as enabling geo-location systems.

Maxim Kuzin, a chief engineer at Atom, said that the main objective of the project was to make using public transport attractive to drivers in big cities.

"The problem that is solved with the R1 project is to relieve the metropolis, to reseat people from inexpensive cars instead into a very good and high-quality public transport," Kuzin told Reuters.

R1 developers say despite the R1 tram's futuristic design it will prove more viable than current public transport options on the streets of the Russian capital.

Kuzin says the R1 tram has capacity to be used for travel between cities.

"The construction is modular. For trains of such a class it is economically profitable to make them with greater capacity and larger in size. R1 can be presented in five or seven-section versions. This one has three sections, for the city utilisation. Seven sections have the capacity for 300 to 400 passengers, this is already a train," he added.

Kuzin says the R1 will be on the streets of Moscow as early as the end of August 2015.

Visitors at the exhibition who could walk into the trams and busses on display appeared impressed with the R1, but said it would be an unusual addition to the congested streets of the capital.

"You know it's very impressive. Very unusual, very unusual design, it's even difficult to imagine such a tram in the streets of the city," said Olga Semyonova, who works in the capital's transport company 'Mosgortrans'.

Another resident, Ivan, said he already worried the expensive trams would be damaged on the busy streets of Moscow.

"It is very interesting, of course, (it is) beautiful. It is another variant in life for maybe somewhere warm, where the traffic is not so intense, it would be interesting. But in Moscow, it seems, with such intense traffic and quantity of car crashes, one would feel sorry for the tram."

Chaos rules Moscow's roads at times, with the numbers of cars on the streets on the increase. Traffic grinding to a halt and cars parked alongside pavements on streets are notoriously common sights across the Russian capital, which suffers from heavy congestion.

Organisers of the transport exhibitions say their core objectives are to solve transportation and ecological problems, as well as 'enhancing the urban environment'.

ExpoCityTrans exhibition is being staged at one the All-Russia Exhibition Centre pavilions, which was constructed in the Soviet era to display achievements of the domestic industry.

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