Peoplemovers look to the millenium

first_imgBYLINE: Lawrence J Fabian *BYLINE: * Lawrence J Fabian is Director of Trans21, PO Box 249, Fields Corner Station Boston Massachusetts 02122, USA.Tel: +1 617 825 2318Fax: +1 617 482 7417e-mail: LFabian@ compuserve.comPROSPECTS of an exciting future for automated peoplemovers emerged at the American Society of Civil Engineers’s 6th international APM conference in Las Vegas during April.Maintaining urban rail services has long been an uphill battle, and attracting new passengers seems to be getting even more difficult. As the 20th century closes, many cities around the world are struggling to subsidise rail operations. Most are losing the larger war – an ever-increasing portion of urban travel is made by private car. Even transit optimists find our fin de siècle limited. Others see it as outright bleak.But why such a cloud over mass transit? Too many rail professionals have been, as the old song goes, ’looking for love in all the wrong places.’ We are fixated on dense corridors, whereas today most urban growth is dispersed, making rail transit uneconomic. The debate at Las Vegas centred on harnessing new technologies to serve areas such as airports, shopping malls, office districts, and institutional campuses, or to act as feeders to regional rail. The findings may offer a brighter future for public transport.Service-proven After almost 30 years of vision and experimentation, the APM industry has started to mature. Airports were the first to benefit, with 20 peoplemovers now in operation and 50 more planned around the world. There is a growing menu of proven peoplemover options. Adtranz, Bombardier, Matra, Mitsubishi, and Otis have airport experience, satisfying rigorous, round-the-clock service requirements at costs of over $20 million per km. Now airport peoplemovers are reaching out beyond simple terminal connections to serve remote parking or link to regional rail services, as at Newark and Chicago O’Hare. Five consortia are currently vying for a US$1bn peoplemover network to serve New York’s JFK airport (Table I). With a 12 km main line haul, this will link the air terminals with a nearby subway station and a distant commuter rail hub. Full automation has been specified for steel-wheeled vehicles running on steel rails, offering the prospect of future integration into the Big Apple’s vast rail network.There is a growing number of automated peoplemover projects outside the airport sector. Four driverless metro lines are under construction in France, with others in Ankara, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Torino. Smaller peoplemovers in leisure parks, casinos and other small centres of activity add to the diversity of the industry. In total the current projects in the pipeline are worth some US$6bn.Technology development is reviving: Poma-Otis now has two test tracks operational. Doppelmayr, Garaventa, Leitner, Schindler and Yantrak are bringing new technologies to the market, and even the bus company in Uppsala, Sweden, is testing a marketable peoplemover. Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport will soon establish the Soulé SK technology as a serious player. The cutting edgeHigher-order technology and intermodal projects are also under way. Outside Boston, personal rapid transit is being developed by Raytheon and the Chicago RTA. A prototype vehicle was prominently displayed in Las Vegas, catching the attention of local television reporters. Raytheon is testing three PRT vehicles, in a research and development programme which entails precision engineering, advanced analysis and commercial patience. PRT promises service more akin to automated taxis than light rail, serving flows of 2000 to 3000 passengers/h for any guideway link. Such capacities may seem low for rail professionals, but it should be kept in mind that this is where the real need is – economic ways to serve modest flows and densities. Are PRT advocates looking for love in the right places? Will they bring a reliable, economic product to this potentially vast market? One obstacle to overcome is our fixation on linear corridors. PRT operates as a network. Ingmar Andreasson’s pioneering simulation work in Sweden has established that adding extra links can satisfy any demand that exceeds the capacity of a single PRT corridor. Meanwhile, planning is under way for PRT demonstrations in Rosemont, near Chicago O’Hare Airport, and near SeaTac airport in Washington state. So far no firm customer has materialised, but planners, investors and potential suppliers are watching with great interest.Innovative approachesThe 400 delegates at APM97 also heard about innovative approaches to public-private funding. A prime example is the recently-opened Mystic Transport Center outside Boston. A small, simple peoplemover, with a pair of Poma-Otis shuttles hauling passive cars over rails by cable, is the key to a bigger, intermodal project.The 235m line, elevated above rail yards, links a station on MBTA’s Orange metro line to the parking garage of an expanding office park along the Mystic River. MBTA is delighted that the US$3m privately-funded project delivers more passengers to its trains. The project has been privately funded as part of a larger parking scheme, supported by a long-term public lease of designated Park + Ride spaces. The simplicity and low cost of the project surprised many who gathered in Las Vegas.Leitner is working on a similar rail-to-parking project in Milano, and Doppelmayr has another shuttle linking two rail lines in Wien. In the early years of the next century, PRT, hectos and automated peoplemovers look set to become more and more common as part of the world’s urban rail framework. For many, the gamble of peoplemover innovation that started in the 1970s may finally be paying off. oTABLE: Table I: Turnkey contenders for the JFK airport access projectSupplier Engineer ConstructorAdtranz Kaiser Yonkers/TurnerBombardier STV Slattery/Perini Siemens-Matra DeLeuw Cather Ralph ParsonsAnsaldo-Breda Edwards+Kelcey RaytheonGEC-Alsthom Morse Diesel Fluor-DanielCAPTION: Is it transit? This privately developed peoplemover in downtown Tampa is both a local amenity and a public service. Supplied by Otis Elevator, it opened in 1985CAPTION: Simple and light, the 235m Mystic Center peoplemover outside Boston, Massachusetts, is part of an innovative Park + Ride strategylast_img read more

No decision on Rajasthan CM, Congress stakes claim to form government

first_imgThe suspense over the Chief Minister’s face in Rajasthan will continue for one more day, as the newly elected Congress Legislature Party (CLP) failed to reach a consensus after adopting a one-line resolution in its first meeting convened here on Wednesday. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to take a decision in the matter on Thursday.A delegation of senior Congress leaders drove to Raj Bhawan late on Wednesday evening and staked claim before the Governor, Kalyan Singh, to form the government in the State. AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pande, told reporters that a list of the party’s elected legislators as well as others supporting the Congress was handed over to the Governor.“Some independent MLAs have given us the support in writing… We have absolute majority in the Assembly,” Mr. Pande said. He said the next step for the government’s formation would be taken after getting “guidance” from Mr. Gandhi, to whom the AICC observer would submit his report.The Congress has won 99 of the 199 Assembly seats, for which the polls were held on December 7, and has attained majority with the support of its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal. The front-runners for the post of Chief Minister are senior leader Ashok Gehlot and Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot, while former Union Minister C.P. Joshi is also stated to be in the reckoning.In a one-line resolution adopted at the CLP meeting, the legislators authorised Mr. Gandhi to take a decision on the Chief Minister’s appointment. The atmosphere outside the Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters here was tense, as the supporters of Mr. Gehlot and Mr. Pilot raised loud slogans to outdo each other. The police force was deployed to manage the crowd.Mr. Pande and AICC observer K.C. Venugopal were present at the series of meetings which remained inconclusive. Mr. Venugopal later sought the opinion of each legislator separately, amid reports that the individual opinions would also be referred to Mr. Gandhi as the feedback.Pradesh Congress spokesperson Satyendra Raghav said the name of the CLP leader, who would also be the Chief Minister, would be conveyed to the Governor when the party receives the invitation from Raj Bhawan to form the government. “The Chief Minister’s name will be announced in Delhi tomorrow,” he said.A six-member delegation of Congress leaders, which did not include Mr. Gehlot and Mr. Pilot, left for Delhi late in the night.The Congress has regained its lost ground in the State in a way by defeating the incumbent BJP. In its triumph in the desert land, the grand old party has retained the trend of the two parties alternately coming to power.After a high-voltage campaign, the State had recorded 74.21% polling on December 7. Most of the exit polls predicted a clear majority for the Congress over the BJP, but the seats won by the party on Tuesday were far below the projected numbers. A total of 2,274 candidates contested the polls in 199 of the 200 Assembly seats, as the election Alwar’s Ramgarh constituency was postponed.last_img read more

Pangaea Expanding Fleet with Secondhand Supramax

first_imgzoomIllustration; Source: PxHere under CC0 Creative Commons license US-based shipping company Pangaea Logistics Solutions is to expand its fleet to 22 vessels with a Supramax bulker.The company purchased the 2011-built vessel at a price of USD 14.1 million.The unit would be added to Pangaea’s operating fleet in September 2019.The 58,000 dwt dry bulk unit “fits well into our core fleet and trading activities, and will give us another tool to serve our client’s demanding cargo needs,” Ed Coll, Pangaea’s Chief Executive Officer, said.“This ship, to be named Bulk Friendship, is another step in our effort to renew our owned fleet with high quality and efficient tonnage as we approach the new low sulphur fuel requirements in 2020.”last_img read more