Diesel Hybrid Smart Trams Proposed as Tool for Revitalizing City Centers
15 November 2005
|The proposed SMRrTRAM|
Village Technology is promoting its smart tram technology (SMRrTRAM) as a means to revitalize central business districts by making them as convenient to visit as shopping malls, while reducing gasoline consumption and emissions.
The SMRrTram is a wheeled, bus-like series-hybrid or fuel-cell vehicle that operates at street level and provides continuous, high capacity, two-way transport along a single, dedicated guide lane. Two trams always arrive together at each stop, from opposite directions, and the next pair is never more than two-and-a-half minutes away.
SMRrTRAMs move in both directions along the single lane, coordinated by a sophisticated synchronization logic (Auto Bidirectional Synchronization Logic (ABS-Logic)—the core intellectual property of the company). The logic ensures that trams only meet at boarding stops and that oppositely moving trams always arrive at boarding stops at the same moment.
ABS-logic maintains this synchronization even though each SMRrTRAM in the system will be experiencing random delays—interactions with pedestrians, or turning vehicles, crossing the SMRrTRAM lane that cause the safety-driver to slow down or stop.
The continuous synchronized movement creates three high-convenience dynamics that, in an analogy favored by the company, makes SMRrTRAM as easy to use as a horizontal elevator:
Very short headway: At maximum capacity, a pedestrian only has to wait about 150 seconds for the next pair of SMRrTRAMs to arrive.
Bidirectional service: a pedestrian can step on a SMRrTRAM going in either direction from the same stop-boarding area.
Continuous movement, even during peak traffic hours: SMRrTRAM doesn’t get stuck in traffic congestion.
|The tram car|
Village Technology is proposing a biodiesel-fueled diesel series-hybrid powertrain for the tram cars. In some systems, a contactless inductive charging system could replace the genset.
Drivers do not steer. The cars are steered by an automated four-wheel-steering guidance system which tracks a target in the guidelane. At stops, the guidance system docks the trams in an exact location, within an inch of the designated curbside boarding area.
In the Village Technology concept, satellite cark parks feed riders into the smart tram loops, which are overlaid across the targeted business district at grade level.
The company is working with stakeholders and interest groups in several communities to develop and evaluate potential SMRrTram Solutions:
Downtown Baltimore, Maryland
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
To date, none are in implementation.
We’ve priced out the system, and it costs less than half of what the least expensive comparable systems do. We’ve established that it can be retrofitted into virtually any existing streetscape—without eliminating traffic lanes. We’ve even lined up a Canadian manufacturer to build the trams.
All the pieces are in place. Now, it’s up to business people like you, who see the value of this system, to step forward and make it happen.—John Alt, in a presentation to the Canadian Parking Association’s annual conference
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