A: ULRT is the only low cost, high ridership model. The result is profitable operation. Buses are low cost low ridership. LRT's are very high cost high ridership. Streetcars are not acceptable because they block traffic and cannot pass.
A: ULRT benefits from three features that combine to shatter the cost barrier.
1 - It's the only rail system that uses bus chassis instead of rail car chassis. This means the vehicles are light enough to operate on existing road beds and the cost or laying an extensive concrete foundation is removed.
2 - ULRV's use flash charging for power from station to station. This eliminates the overhead pantographs and catenary wires that are an enormous cost to engineer, fit into the built environment, and construct.
3 - Our on/off rail technology eliminates the need for switches and allows the vehicles to uses all existing infrastructure like maintenance barns and shunting yards. The on road capability means the vehicles can pass each other, other traffic, go door to door, climb hills and deal with snow the same as a bus.
A: All technologies used in the ULRT system are existing and proven. It's the combination of the existing technologies that breaks through the bus vs LRT dilemma.
A: The long planning period for rail systems is due to the need to construct the items identified above. Rail foundations, pantograph wires, dedicated signage and signals, crossings and intersections, need to be 'fit' into the built environment. ULRT at it's simplest fits right into existing bus routes. The rails get laid and the ULRV goes on. With a few flash charge stations and a lot of secure climate controlled stops, operation can be within a year of go ahead.
If the ULRT goes underground, which it can, the savings from the surface costs can go to tunneling. Of course, this would add to the planning time.
MTS suggests low cost simple adoption immediately. Then with profit from the surface routes, identify tunneling routes to take the whole system to the next level of efficiency.
See Q4 answer above.
A: Only ULRT reduces, reuses, and recycles.
1 - Reduce: Vehicle weight, construction materials, time, traffic disruption, long term maintenance of track and road, long term vehicle life, vehicle use per dollar spent.
2 - Reuse: Vehicle kinetic energy, existing roads, signs, built environment, maintenance facilities, marshalling yards.
3 - Recycle: Extensive use of steel over concrete, ultra capacitors over batteries.
A: By avoiding concrete and reducing construction time an enormous amount of carbon is saved. Savings continue with the super high efficiency flash charging power system. Finally, over the 100 year service life of the rails, future maintenance and repairs carbon is saved.
A: The on/off rail technology has the ULRV riding on steel wheels on a steel track while the 'tire' rotates with the steel wheel but not touching the ground. It hoers over a 'trough' that is about 1/2" below the tire. When the track comes to a major intersection the trough gets shallower and the tire takes over from the wheel as the track disappears.
A: The track is a 1.5" depression in the road that is about 10" wide. It is less problematic than streetcar tracks because bicycles and motorcycle will not get 'caught' in them. Cars and trucks can traverse them with no impact other than the sensation of running over a ridge in the pavement. Snowploughs run parallel to them and even if impacted perpendicularly, the edges are at an angle that would not catch the leading edge of a snowplough.
A: See Q9 answer above.
A: Existing pantograph and third rail systems fit the grid now. But at the cost of needing a pantograph or third rail which costs years and billions. The move to electric buses is the grid issue. Electric buses use batteries that store electricity electro chemically. Batteries need time to be charged and they take time to discharge. However, charging a fleet becomes a load on the grid that is not manageable with existing infrastructure.
Flash charging uses ultra capacitors which are an electromechanical device. Capacitors can accept a charge instantly. By flash charging, our vehicles use the energy all day, and during the day like a pantograph powered vehicle, but without the pantograph. Because they can accept a charge instantly, we capture 100% of the braking energy. Batteries can't do that. So a flash charged ULRV requires much less energy to get station to station than an ebus. Even when compared to an LRT, ULRV's are more efficient due to significantly lower vehicle weight per passenger.
A: ULRT's in their simplest form can operate in place of a regular bus but on tracks for the smooth fast and comfortable experience that drives a good portion of ridership. With a phased in project the timing can go:
Phase 1 - Within 2 years of go ahead: Lay rails, install flash chargers and stop platforms.
Phase 2 - Prioritize signals, dedicate lanes for specific areas that phase 1 shows as bottlenecks or delays.
Phase 3 - Purchase property for dedicated right of ways and shunts that improve efficiency. With dedicated right of ways comes special signals etc. But the community is benefitting already from the improved system.
A: Research has validated that railed vehicles have higher ridership by 20%. The data is irrefutable. So a 20% improvement over tired buses is the starting point. By making all stops pay-to-access, environmentally controlled, and secure, an extra measure of ridership is expected. Finally, by offering a door to door solution, in lieu of Uber or Lyft, another level of ridership will apply. Taking these features into account we plan for 20% but expect 30% improvement in ridership over established numbers on any given route.
ULRV's will not be a bus on rails. They may use a bus chassis, but they have the latest propulsion system in the flash charger and a futuristic appearance with whisper quiet operation.
A: The 100 year service life applies to the rail foundation. Rails will have to be replaced as a matter of wear and tear, but in doing so, the whole road does not get torn up. The rail gets removed from the rail frame and replaced. The steel foundation is engineered for a 100 year service life but like the El's in Chicago, which are already up to 130 years old, steel lasts.
A: Over the road buses are designed and engineered for extreme stresses like potholes, curbs, undulations that cause side to side rocking. When the same chassis is used for a ULRV, it sees none of those stresses. Therefore life of tires, brakes, shocks, undercarriage components like ball joints and suspension bushings will be drastically extended.
A: The ability to get off the rails and back on again is how ULRV's pass each other.
A: To climb hills the ULRV rail trough disappears and transitions to drive on the tires until it's at the top of the hill. Then the trough reappears and the ULRV transitions back to the rail.
A: Prior to the existence of electric buses/vehicles, the need for a pantograph or third rail to deliver electricity to the vehicle was an unavoidable requirement. Only now can those massively expensive and complicated features be avoided and the paradigm be broken.
A: Because ULRT systems can be planned, budgeted, financed, engineered, constructed and operated within an election cycle, the democratic process can make a decision, deliver on the decision, and get the benefit of delivering progress to the electorate by getting re-elected. This is a reality of government today. Because LRT's are so long to plan, engineer and construct, they are vulnerable to being cancelled or changed by new governments that come into power often before a shovel goes in the ground.
A: It can be depending on the use of dedicated lanes and rights of way. LRT capacities reflect dedicated right of way systems which cost billions. Because ULRT shares the road with vehicles, a dedicated lane can provide 90% of the benefit for 10% of the capital cost.
A: The ULRT system uses two different vehicles. A stop to stop vehicle which is 40 to 65 feet long and a door to door vehicle which is 24' long. They share the same rails but the door to door rides are more circuitous. Rideshare software, over a few weeks, will identify the regular pick ups and drop offs and optimize the routes to maximize efficiency and minimize travel times.
ULRT turns tight corners on it's tires. There is no way that rail to wheel resonance, also known as squeaking or screeching, can happen. To minimize the clacking associated with rails where they join, ULRT systems will use a compound mitered/radiused joint that will minimize any noise that could be created as the wheel transitions from one rail section to the next.
For route sections lined with theatres, cafes and museums ULRV's can transition to tires on rails which is the quietest of all. Patrons of the movies and museums need never hear the rumble of a passing train.
A: Door to door service closes the gap between typical public transit and the mobility challenged community. For those in need of assisted service, the ULRT system will dispatch attendants on the door to door vehicles within the rideshare software so every community can experience the ULRT system benefits.
A: ULRT's are smoothest due to lack of switches in the rail infrastructure.
Speeds are limited by local speed limits. Inter city speeds, when on dedicated rails unencumbered by roads will peak at about 70 mph.