Friday, January 22, 2016

ENVISIONING ADVANCED TRANSIT

Some twenty professionals and enthusiasts at the Technix workshop organized by ATRA at the University of Maryland on January 9 engaged in a charrette for several hours divided into three teams, each assigned to think out to 2040 and modern mobility in three different settings. Beforehand ATRA president Peter Muller described elevated guideways as one of the basic advantages of PRT but they can also be a problem.  He added, “There is no silver bullet,”. Chair Alain Kornhauser spoke of the potential of ride- and road-sharing. Curiously none of the teams saw classic elevated PRT as a significant solution for the following three scenarios. 

Environmentalists, alarmed at the effects of the rise of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere, are pushing harder for sustainable cities.

WHITE OAKS 
A MD Growth Zone in Megalopolis

Near I-95 just north of the chronically congested DC-Beltway, White Oaks may  more than double in size. Two BRT lines are in early  planning stages, unlikely to be quickly built nor effective. Uncertainty clouds investment. The Technix team recommended an Uber solution. (Curiously, no mention of R&D with guideway section to expand if and when justifiable was made.)


HISTORIC ANNAPOLIS
A dense, walkable district hugging MD's Capitol and US Naval Academy

Not much will change in terms of density and infrastructure, although freight issues demand improvement. Elevated guideway would meet strong opposition. The Technix team envisioned street-level PRT (“automated taxis”) and a gondola over water.  A circumferential PRT with car intercepts (parking) and transit connections might be possible outside the historic core.


Elevated transit can be part of the solution.
- courtesy of Ecolvia
DOWNTOWN DC: 
A 10 Block X 7 Block Growth Hub North of the Capitol

As a national and global district, significant densification seems likely, anchored by several metro stations and restricted in height. It has great potential to be a “trendy, spendy” zone with strong international dimensions. The Technix Team prioritized rehab of metro performance and capacity, and programs to tame and reduce vehicular traffic and enhance pedestrian and bike circulation. Bus enhancements also will help, and maybe in the future PRT networks can fill gaps.


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