Third Personal Rapid Transit Test Track Commences Operation

Modutram recently opened the station portion of their new full-scale test track in Guadalajara, Mexico thus becoming the third PRT supplier to have an operating test track. The system is currently running with one vehicle and successfully demonstrates switching capabilities.

Station and associated test track

Station and associated test track

The Modutram program is funded by the Mexican Government and is undertaken with university cooperation. The intent is to develop and commercialize a PRT system ideally suited to Mexican applications but capable of also being deployed elsewhere. The focus is on costs and $6M per one-way track-mile is the approximate cost target.

Vehicle approaching station

Vehicle approaching station

A variety of vehicles is being planned with the initial vehicle being designed for slow, short trips with standees. A hybrid vehicle is used in order to reduce the number of expensive batteries required. Electric motor and internal combustion engine options can function completely independently of each other. Vehicles have four-wheel steering and closely follow guideway sidewalls which are constructed to a 2mm lateral tolerance. Sidewall following is accomplished by two guide wheels mounted just ahead of and behind each road wheel. Physical following was selected over remote sensing in order to reduce development time. Remote sensing could be added at a later date.

Hybrid vehicle

Hybrid vehicle

A unique operational feature is that the vehicles will keep moving slowly through stations without completely stopping. This operation has proved successful when tested with handicapped passengers. Passengers alight as soon as the vehicle enters the station while others board just before it leaves the station. If no one boards, or if boarding is incomplete, the vehicle will stop in the station. Stations are arranged so as to keep boarding and alighting passengers separate (even to the point of having separate staircases).

System characteristics

System characteristics

 

Elevated track. Note superelevation.

Elevated track. Note superelevation.

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