China’s tests out world’s first driverless train that runs on virtual rails

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Look Ma, No rails! or Medians!

The Hunan city of Zhuzhou is currently testing out an unmanned train that doesn’t run on rails. You know, like a bus.

The Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) is being dubbed by Chinese state media the “world’s first smart rapid rail bus,” whatever that means. The train/bus (trus?) was first shown off in June this year. It uses sensors to determine the dimensions of the road and make a virtual track for itself to ride along…(more)

This kind of technology may be the best argument for putting a halt on new projects while we finish the ones underway now. Eliminating the rails, medians and other “traditional” infrastructure elements costing billions of dollars now, could be the cheap public transportation answer in the very near future. Give the public a break while the technology catches up.

 

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CA bullet train authority postpones critical $30M contract award

Kim Slowey : constructiondive – excerpt

Dive Brief:

  • The California High Speed Rail Authority has postponed awarding a key, $30 million operations and management contract for the first leg of its new rail line through the state’s Central Valley region, according to Courthouse News Service. CHSRA was scheduled to award the contract at its monthly meeting Thursday.
  • The CHSRA had planned to tap DB Engineering & Consulting USA, a subsidiary of German rail company Deutsche Bahn, for the project, but Spain-based bidder Renfe protested the decision at the last minute. Renfe objected based on its scoring process, during which the company said it received high marks in two out of three categories.
  • The CHSRA’s reluctance to move forward with an operations contract led some meeting attendees to suggest that the authority was dragging its feet at a “critical time” in the bullet train’s schedule. The agency, which is already late in delivering the first segment of the high-speed rail by eight years, will address the contract award issue at its next meeting in November…

Dive Insight:

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times published a June CHSRA report that said the 119-mile line through the Central Valley cost $1.7 billion more than originally forecast, which raised the total price tag to $8 billion. The CHSRA chalked up the increases to the rising cost of land, the cost of utility relocation and negotiations with freight companies over the logistics of running high-speed trains near their tracks. It is unknown whether this add-on will raise the entire projected cost of the rail past its current budget of $64 billion… (more)

Technology CA: LA, Orange County Transit Agencies Seek their Own Ride-Sharing Services

By Sandy Mazza : masstransitmag – excerptri?ai=3698298f-25b6-4057-97a8-d487ae9f7aa7&ts=1fHU9MXxwaWQ9NTM3MDY1MTcxfHJpZD1iODEwZGFjOS1kOTkzLTQ0YWYtYjQxYy03YzUwZjlmNzY2NWV8cnQ9MTUwODg2OTUzNXxhdWlkPTQ5ODMwMnxhdW09RE1JRC5XRUJ8YXVwZj1kaXNwbGF5fHNpZD0xMDc5MjZ8cHViPTQzNzN8cGM9VVNEfHJhaWQ9Y2M3YjQyNjctNmVjNS00NTk0LWJiNTAtZmY5ZGRiMmJiZTQ4fHJzPTF8YWlkPTUzODQ3MjY4OHx0PTF8YXM9MzAweDI1MHxsaWQ9NTM3ODAyOTUwfG9pZD01MzczNDk4ODZ8cD0wfHByPTB8YXRiPTB8YWR2PTQ2NjF8YWM9VVNEfHBtPVBSSUNJTkcuQ1BEfGJtPUJVWUlORy5HVUFSQU5URUVEVk9MVU1FR09BTHxsaXQ9Vnx1cj1WVFphNDdTckt5

Public transit agencies in Los Angeles and Orange counties announced Monday that they’re seeking private-sector partners to operate new door-to-door ride-sharing programs.

The proposed “micro-transit” programs would begin operating in selected areas this summer, offering cheaper door-to-door rides than Uber and Lyft — as low as $5 per trip with free transfers to buses and rail lines.

The service would be designed to boost ridership and to keep up with private-sector technology innovations, said Joshua Schank, chief innovation officer at Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or LA Metro…(more)

REALATED:

Holding Company behind Motivate is Bikeshare Holdings LLC. By most counts this is not a neighborhood friendly organization(more)

BART’s new cars finally pass safety tests, on track to roll by Thanksgiving

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

BART’s sleek new railcars finally passed safety tests over the weekend — months behind schedule — and are on track to start carrying commuters around Thanksgiving, transit officials said Monday.

John Garnham, project manager for BART’s new fleet, said the first 10 new cars, which have undergone rigorous testing and subsequent fixes for the past year and a half, completed the last of a lengthy checklist of tests and requirements on Saturday… (more)

Menlo Park: Council splinters on grade separations

by Kate Bradshaw : Almanac – excerpt

The Menlo Park City Council’s answer to the nearly $400 million question – “One grade separation, or three, at Menlo Park’s Caltrain crossings?” – will have to wait.

About the only thing the council, minus Councilwoman Catherine Carlton, could agree on, following a lengthy discussion at its Oct. 10 meeting, was to table a vote on the matter until she was present..

A two-year study has yielded two options, from which the City Council was asked to pick one for further study:

● Option 1: Tunnel Ravenswood Avenue about 22 feet beneath the Caltrain tracks at an estimated cost of $160 million to $200 million and an estimated construction duration of three to four years. Access to Alma Street from Ravenswood Avenue (a popular route to the Civic Center) would be eliminated.

● Option 2: Raise the Caltrain tracks and lower the roads to allow vehicles to pass beneath the rails at three crossings: Ravenswood, Oak Grove and Glenwood avenues. The estimated cost is $310 million to $390 million. Estimated construction duration is four to five years. This option would require creating an above-ground berm that the train would travel on. At its maximum, the berm would be 10 feet high at Ravenswood and Oak Grove avenues, and about 5 feet at Glenwood Avenue… (more)