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New Elevated Train Concept


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Just read a write up of a mass transit idea some one in Boston came up with.  It's an elevated train, but the track is much less physically imposing than typical (Chicago "L") style.  The supports almost look like the decorative arches in Uptown.  


The guy's goal would be to replace all trains AND buses with this - basically any major road would have one of these lines over it.  It could be partially funded by selling bus depots, transit centers, etc.  He's quite vague on pricing though, and it is just a rough concept.


Wired article:



Design firm's website:










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They could just run the power lines and telephone lines along the side of the arches


I would be curious to know how expensive this would be to actually build.  The track looks inexpensive (as infrastructure goes) but the station is definitely more than a raised concrete curb with an awning 

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Seems like a good concept for a place like Houston where ROW's are difficult to come by outside of existing streets. It would seem that you could create stations on the side of the streets as opposed to over intersections. Would depend on the required distance bewteen posts. Can't see Houston being the guinea pig.

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I could see Houston being the 3rd city to do it - after one city tries it out and finds all the flaws, the second proves a cheaper, more reliable version, and then we implement it on a Texas scale (I'm imagining replacing the frequent bus network that Metro is so proud of with these almost everywhere inside 610 and even some outside 610)

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Yeah it doesn't really go into detail on what the tracks would be made out of, or the trains them selves.  The whole design hinges on the trains needing to be light weight I suspect


I went to the site and read their assumptions about structure and assembly and such. They're living on Fantasy Island. As shown, this wouldn't resist a gentle breeze much less a loaded car - even one made of an ultralight material would still have the load of the people inside. Looks like a 2nd year student design project. Conceptually interesting in any case.

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It could be partially funded by selling bus depots, transit centers, etc.  He's quite vague on pricing though, and it is just a rough concept.


Hahaha, no. First off, to do that, you'd have to build the new structure first, then get rid of buses, and there's no way even if you sold every bus (taking into account depreciation values) and P&R area would you have even close to funding it. Looking at it raises far more questions than answers:


1) With traditional rails, you could switch tracks easily to allow for things like a breakdown, reversing direction, or express trains. How are these supposed to do any track switching except at the transportation center?

2) Why do those two lines cross but neither intersect with each other? What's the turning radius on these things? 

3) Wouldn't poles like that either block the sidewalk with an imposing foot-plus diameter or be so flimsy that disaster strikes every time a car hits one? I mean, just bumping one of those things at that diameter would either be incredibly damaging to the car (seeing how they're not breakaway) or the system?

4) If one of those poles fails, would lack of redundancy kick it and have the whole system gradually collapse, killing/injuring everyone unfortunate to be on the sidewalks, roads, or mass transit?

5) Unless they're using incredibly strong electromagnets (which poses major problems in itself, such as electronic devices being messed up, or a collapse if the power goes out?), how can the top car be heavy enough to stay on the track and not be affected by wind, while the bottom car doesn't pull the whole system down?


Yeah. In addition to being way too expensive under any circumstances, the "risk for complete and catastrophic failure" seems too much to ignore.

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