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Old Posted Dec 30, 2020, 10:33 PM
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Trackless Trams May Be The Best Alternative To Light Rail

Trackless Trams May Be The Best Alternative To Light Rail


23 Dec 2020

By Lisa Chamberlain

Read More: https://citymonitor.ai/transport/rai...-to-light-rail

Quote:
.....

The trackless tram, or autonomous rail transit (ART) as it is known in China, combines the best of high-speed rail and autonomous-vehicle (AV) technology with on-street mass transit to achieve a flexible, carbon-neutral and cost-effective urban connector. It is sold as a kit of parts – three cars plus a station – that can be installed about as fast as a city’s permitting process would allow, according to its proponents.

- Planners from Perth to New York City say it is the best possible use of AV tech in the urban context and a critical advancement in the era of climate change and our increasingly crisis-prone world. Others are taking a wait-and-see approach. But as with all innovations, whether trackless trams succeed on a mass scale depends as much on political and business interests as technology and design. “When it’s up and running in Perth, we’ll see,” says Sam Schwartz, a former traffic commissioner in New York City and the founder of an eponymous engineering company. “If it’s successful there, there will be slow exponential growth and then faster as it becomes more widespread. There’s a whole revolution of information technology that the transit industry has been incredibly slow to embrace.”

- Peter Newman, a professor of sustainability at Curtin University in Perth, is a staunch advocate for trackless trams. He was one of the first non-Chinese transit experts to visit the factory in Zhuzhou, China, where such streetcars continue to be developed. After 40 years of rail advocacy, Newman had to acknowledge that light rail is not always the best answer to urban transportation. This became clear to him when Sydney went way over budget installing light rail in its downtown core, disrupting the business district for years. But he doesn’t believe buses are the answer, either. “Buses can’t compete with rail,” Newman says. “They don’t get people out of cars. So I started looking around for alternatives to light rail and came upon an article about this new streetcar being developed in China.”

- He went to Zhuzhou in August of 2018 when the tram was still being tested. “I was convinced with one ride,” he says. “Doing 70km an hour, it rode like a train. The ride quality convinced me this is the future of transit. All of the problems with buses are gone: the jerkiness, the slowness, the vibration.” Upon his return from China, Newman co-authored a study and wrote a series of articles and papers. One paper he co-wrote, published in the Journal of Transportation Technologies in 2019, quantified the significant cost savings of trackless trams compared with light rail. In Sydney, for example, laying 20km of track through the oldest part of the city took five years and cost about $130m per kilometre. By contrast, trackless streetcars can be installed for as little as $10m per kilometre.

.....



An autonomous rail transit system launched in 2018 in Zhuzhou, China. (Photo courtesy of CRRC)


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Old Posted Dec 30, 2020, 11:37 PM
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Looks cool. But, I don’t know.

I would want to lane to be divided from other traffic lanes with a physical barrier.
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2020, 7:08 AM
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Wow! Very interesting! I never see that before! It's incredible!
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2020, 5:53 PM
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aren’t those otherwise known as busses?
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2020, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
aren’t those otherwise known as busses?
No, it's different. It not exactly same as a buses.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2021, 12:19 AM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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Not a good idea to spend public funds on a vehicle that is only made by one company.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2021, 12:27 AM
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No, it's different. It not exactly same as a buses.
What is the difference between a 'trackless tram" and a bus?
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2021, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
aren’t those otherwise known as busses?
I’d say halfway between light rail and bus.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2021, 1:12 AM
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I'll just reiterate what I said in the other thread...

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Kinda cool, kinda weird and kinda stupid sort of all wrapped up into one. If that makes sense.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2021, 1:25 AM
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It is an electric vehicle with its own battery with higher capacity and is automated, but at least with supervision.

Also with no fixed tracks or overhead wires there’s an element of flexibility when it comes to routing. But yes it would only be effective on its own right of way.
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Old Posted Jan 1, 2021, 2:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigs View Post
What is the difference between a 'trackless tram" and a bus?
It's just a long bi-directional bus

Note that it's very difficult to control long vehicles with several cars without a solid guided system, especially with high-speed and curves.
That's why rails exist.

What is proposed here isn't really new. It just seems to be the combination of several things.

Megabus with a tram look
Mettis in Metz, France

Mettis, Metz by Minato ku, sur Flickr


Mettis, Metz by Minato ku, sur Flickr

Bus services with optical guidance also exist since at last two decades.

Rouen in France



TEOR, Rouen 2010 by Minato ku, sur Flickr

Bi-directional bus, Mont Saint-Michel, France
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Old Posted Jan 2, 2021, 11:14 PM
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It could also be a prelude to a trackless train where where they would be easily passable on a transitway and multiple different types of services could be run on the same route.
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Old Posted Feb 19, 2021, 2:56 PM
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Damn, those French examples are awesome transit designs. The French are really the only country that puts that level of style and design into transit vehicles. That bus in Mont-St-Michel is gorgeous, so is the bus in Metz.

These systems are a cool idea but AFAIK they're all vendor-locked/proprietary, which is a serious problem. Monorails always had the same problem. Anytime you want to expand the system, or just make repairs, you have to go back to the same company... and they can charge whatever they want! Your city is now a captive customer. Traditional buses, and traditional rail systems, are well-understood and vehicles, components, etc are supplied by many competing manufacturers.
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Old Posted Mar 18, 2021, 6:58 AM
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As if the tracks are the most expensive thing about mass transit, lol... Nope, but they do make the ride a lot more smooth which is why I'll still with my steel on rail trains any day... Unless we're talking Maglev...
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