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Metro Next - 2040 Vision

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On 3/3/2020 at 12:45 PM, samagon said:

 

let the richie riches in River Oaks feel some of the through traffic love for once.

 

 

 

I cut through there coming back from work sometimes, and as much as I would love this, I think they contract with the sheriff or constable offices because they have these officers just sitting at the most inopportune (for people like myself) places just watching traffic for speed and other violations. *Shakes fist at sky*

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Looks like the Metro Next rollout will have to wait a month

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Eyeing-COVID-fallout-Metro-moves-slowly-on-next-15154639.php?utm_campaign=CMS Sharing Tools (Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral

Quote

Houston-area transit officials will wait out a little more of the coronavirus crisis before soliciting bids on five of the first projects in their $7 billion construction bonanza for bus and rail upgrades.

“Moving this by a month does not hurt anything at all,” said Sanjay Ramabhadran, a Metropolitan Transit Authority board member.

Board members on Tuesday delayed approval of the procedure for selecting engineering, architecture and design firms for what could be more than $1 billion in bus and rail projects along key routes.

 

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Apparently in China they have created battery powered buses which have the same form as trams. To charge themselves they have pantographs and there are small sections of overhead power conduit along the route or at stations, but for the most part all they need is a conventional street to drive one.They use markings on the pavement to drive themselves.

 

Wouldn't this be cool as hell to upgrade our BRT corridors with? Not really much of a difference between light rail and bus. However with fixed service I think steel rail may offer superior ride quality and not wear out as quick as pavement and tires, especially if these vehicles still operate along the same route in the same position on the street.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_Rail_Rapid_Transit

 

Photo Credit: N509FZ. wikimedia photo page.

CRRC_Autonomous-rail_Rapid_Transit_train

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Posted (edited)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRobrIlwrr0

^ For those who want to see it in action, here's 40 minutes of it. I keep thinking of it as a train that's how good it looks on the outside and inside. Our BRT still just looks like a bus unfortunately.

 

EDIT: BTW, they even call it rail over there. The translation is Smart Rail.

Edited by paul2834

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very neat, but the paint would need to be re-applied every few years. not that this isn't easy to do, it would be a thing though.

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The biggest thing is keeping dedicated ROW.  That's also the hardest part

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, zaphod said:

Apparently in China they have created battery powered buses which have the same form as trams. To charge themselves they have pantographs and there are small sections of overhead power conduit along the route or at stations, but for the most part all they need is a conventional street to drive one.They use markings on the pavement to drive themselves.

 

Wouldn't this be cool as hell to upgrade our BRT corridors with? Not really much of a difference between light rail and bus. However with fixed service I think steel rail may offer superior ride quality and not wear out as quick as pavement and tires, especially if these vehicles still operate along the same route in the same position on the street.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_Rail_Rapid_Transit

 

Photo Credit: N509FZ. wikimedia photo page.

CRRC_Autonomous-rail_Rapid_Transit_train

 

It's BRT with electric vehicles, but apparently without even having level boarding.  IMO, the quick-charge battery powering is the coolest part about it. 

While it is theoretically "autonomous" (self-driving).  It appears they do not operate them without drivers.

Edited by Houston19514
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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, samagon said:

pretty sure the level boarding is a simple fix with higher platforms.

 

It appears they built the thing with platforms that do not provide level boarding.  Once built, building higher platforms is hardly a "simple fix".

Edited by Houston19514

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What are you basing that on? There appears to be a single, consistent floor level inside the bus and the doors are about as low as they could be - they look like a reasonable boarding platform height. 

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From the linked wikipedia page:

Quote

The entire train has a low-floor design[8] from a space frame with bolted-on panels to support the weight of passengers.

 

Following one of the source links, they have some pictures

https://www.engineersgarage.com/egblog/china-unwraps-worlds-first-driverless-rail-transit-system-with-autonomous-technology/

China_Driverless_Rail_Transit_Interior.jCRRC_Rail-Rapid-Transit-testing.jpg

 

Also this explains why there's room for a driver - it's semi-autonmous, more like a Tesla than the little autonomous bus Metro is running around TSU

Quote

Just like any other autonomous vehicle, this transit features advanced functionality which, in turn, reduces manual efforts on the part of the driver.

 

The doors look about the same height as your typical light rail, and the "tracks" should allow it to align close enough to a platform to allow for level boarding

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3 hours ago, Texasota said:

What are you basing that on? There appears to be a single, consistent floor level inside the bus and the doors are about as low as they could be - they look like a reasonable boarding platform height. 

 

3 hours ago, cspwal said:

From the linked wikipedia page:

 

Following one of the source links, they have some pictures

https://www.engineersgarage.com/egblog/china-unwraps-worlds-first-driverless-rail-transit-system-with-autonomous-technology/

China_Driverless_Rail_Transit_Interior.jCRRC_Rail-Rapid-Transit-testing.jpg

 

Also this explains why there's room for a driver - it's semi-autonmous, more like a Tesla than the little autonomous bus Metro is running around TSU

 

The doors look about the same height as your typical light rail, and the "tracks" should allow it to align close enough to a platform to allow for level boarding

 

I'm basing it on what I see in the video.  Carefully watch the portions of the video where they show passengers boarding.  The floor level of the vehicle is higher than the level of the station platform.   That wouldn't be ADA compliant and is not what would we call level boarding. Pretty difficult to board in a wheel chair.

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Posted (edited)

Sure, but that's not a technical limitation. It's just a failure of implementation. Metro could use these exact buses and fix that with platforms a few inches higher. It doesn't even look like the platforms would need to be much if any higher than those built for the LRT or uptown lines.

Edited by Texasota

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

It appears they built the thing with platforms that do not provide level boarding.  Once built, building higher platforms is hardly a "simple fix".

 

sorry, I wasn't talking about the current China solution, frankly, I don't care how they implemented it there, or whether they could fix it easily.

 

if it were implemented here, it would be a 'simple fix' to build the platform 3" higher to accommodate the height of the floor in the ride vehicle.

 

hell, a kneeling ride vehicle could fix it too. ultimately, it doesn't matter. in a new build, designing the platform height to be the same as the floor of the ride vehicle is not that hard.

 

I agree that going in after everything is built and adding 3" of height to the platform so it is level with the ride vehicle isn't easy, but as it relates to Houston, how could this matter?

Edited by samagon

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I don't think METRO would even consider buying that exact vehicle. I'm just saying, maybe someone else could make a similar design for the US market. It's the idea that's neat, IMO, take what is good about trams and apply them to electrically powered buses. With self driving technology you could have a long articulated vehicle intelligently steer around corners and have cameras to show an operator what would be in their blind spots. It could be double ended so it wouldn't have to turn around, and could instead reverse like tram.

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