2: BART 'Light' plus PRT
Although PRT is
generally designed as a web, the ring-the-bay $1.9B 150-station
proposal uses a corridor approach. Here is Alternative 2 from Bob
His diagrams show a PRT web radiating from the end of BART 'Light'
at the Capitol Avenue station in Milpitas. Following his two
attachments are comments/suggestions
The proposed BART/PRT Alternative for the
Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Corridor MIS consists of a seven mile
extension of BART from the Warm Springs station to a Milpitas station
located at the southeast corner of the Great Mall, plus a 91 mile,
117 station PRT network covering the southern portion of the corridor.
Sketches of the physical layout are
provided in attachments 1 [routes]
and 2 [stations].
The design philosophy for this alternative contains the following elements:
1. There must be rapid and convenient
travel from the BART station to downtown San Jose, the Diridon
station, and the San Jose airport. At least four PRT stations with
direct access to the BART platform would be constructed. Several
routes to each destination would be available, with distances to
downtown and Diridon station from six to eight miles, and five to six
miles to the airport. With nonstop travel between stations, and
assuming a line speed of 30 MPH, travel times would average about
fourteen and eleven minutes, respectively. A BART connection with one
or two intermediate stations would probably be not much faster to
downtown, and would certainly take more time to reach the airport.
2. The system must provide access to the
Silicon Valley business community and the residential areas. With 117
stations in both the commercial and residential regions, extensive
coverage is well provided. In addition, there are multiple access
points to the Light Rail and Caltrain systems. With the nonstop,
multiple vehicle PRT capability, no two stations will be more than 30
minutes apart, day or night.
3. Convenient access must be provided from
east San Jose to downtown. Seven PRT lines penetrate east of Capitol
Avenue in both San Jose and Milpitas, and connect directly to
Downtown San Jose. This provides 10 to 20 minute access from anywhere
in the area. The system as presently conceived utilizes one-way
lines, but any resulting increases in travel times would be only a
few minutes. [Editor's Note: Serving well the east San Jose area
would address issues of demand, need, and social equity.]
4. The system must be expandable. The BART
line can of course be extended at any time. The PRT grid can be
Cost: The seven mile BART extension would
be at grade along an existing railroad line, and therefore costs
should be minimal. A figure of one billion dollars would probably be
conservative. PRT costs have been estimated from various detailed
engineering studies, but no system (especially one of this size) has
been built. Again, one billion dollars would probably be a
conservative estimate. Therefore, total cost of the
alternative is estimated to be two billion dollars. A more
detailed study would certainly produce a better figure.
2: Route Layout
2: Station Layout
to Alternative 2
the red X)
I would like to also see PRT as an
alternative to parking garage construction, in the ongoing downtown
study. PRT will boost ridership and negate the need for car parking.
Valley Fair to downtown is a natural. Spartan Stadium to downtown also.
Subj: PRT in Milpitas (was: BART-to-SJ MIS)
Date: 6/19/01 12:59:47 PM Pacific Daylight Time
(Delete the red X)
>Because PRT is so modular and cheap,
we can wade into it slowly. I say put
>up $50 to develop the technology.
Apply it in a simple loop and two station
>configuration, like a connector
between Yosemite and Curtis over the railroad
>tracks. Then start expanding northward
toward the Warm springs station or,
>if necessary, all the way to the
Fremont station. If the system still looks
>robust, expand south from Milpitas.
The starting point between Yosemite and
Curtis actually may have a different advantage.
The next step from there could be a loop
around the Great Mall with several stations on different sides of the
Mall, theaters and parking areas. Also add a transfer connection at
the Great Mall light rail station (to be opened in 2004.)
From there, it would have more ridership
to support additional extensions. I'm thinking the initial model to
get riders on it would be to start as a Milpitas connector between
transit and high-volume locations. So connect next from the Great
Mall to the Milpitas City Center and the VTA Weller/Main bus transit
center. In theory, going to the new City Hall should help get some
Milpitas politicians on board with the plan. It would probably find
support from businesses there, who saw business drop off a lot after
the Great Mall opened.
Next from there across 880 to McCarthy
Ranch with several stations along the way. As with the Great Mall,
add several stations at different areas in the complex.
By that point, such a system should have
ridership. Connections to employers in the area could be prioritized
by who wants to kick in enough money to pay for the construction of
the extension to them. And companies should be able to pool together
the bids for extensions to a cluster of employment sites.
I had some ideas last year about an
additional source of revenue which a PRT system could produce in
order to help support its own business. Since it's putting elevated
structures around Silicon Valley, there's probably an insatiable
appetite for fiberoptic cable deployment on the towers. I did some
research to compare the cost per mile to build elevated PRT with
utility conduits vs the cost per mile of trenching in roadways. At
$1-2M per mile for fiber trenching in urban areas, there's an
opportunity to share construction costs with fiber customers. Dual
ongoing revenue streams could help diversify the business model.
Subj: Re: PRT in Milpitas (was: BART-to-SJ MIS)
Date: 6/20/01 11:31:19 AM Pacific Daylight Time
(Delete the red X)
I think the fiberoptics idea would be most
useful if PRT is forced to be built as a private venture. I think
there's a chance that's how it would have to be done, considering the
way I saw VTA ignore you at the BART-SJ MIS meeting.
But there are examples of local
governments using or neglecting fiber services. VTA already has
significant fiberoptic bandwidth along its LRT lines. Most railroads
do, since they need some bandwidth for rail signaling. For example,
that's how the Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Network overbuilt
its network with fiber and became Sprint. (Bet you didn't know that.
:-) But VTA simply leases its spare bandwidth to AT&T, possibly
throwing some potential revenue down the drain. However, the City of
Palo Alto offers fiberoptic services as a public utility. http://www.cpau.com/fiberservices/
Any city which wants to follow Palo Alto's
lead might have an opportunity to do so on PRT aerial structures
under this idea. Also, large deployments of cable TV or competitive
local exchange carriers (CLECs) such as RCN might be interested in
any way to blanket neighborhoods with fiber while reducing the amount
of street/yard trenching required. Wireless network and cell site
providers could run fiber to access points on or near the PRT towers.
(That depends on the weight of the equipment and the engineering
allowances of the towers. First priority has to be the safety of
The idea still needs work to determine how
telecom and datacom providers would be interested in either sharing
costs of construction, or just setting prices so the construction
cost can be recouped. (BTW, construction costs are never recouped
with current transit modes.) The total cost of PRT per mile is more
than urban fiber trenching alone because PRT puts more on the towers.
But designing in capacity for multiple fiber runs would allow sharing
it with more than one provider, each at less than the cost of
trenching. Now is the time to figure that out while we're in a
downturn in telecom build-outs. Otherwise there might not be time to
make plans once the demand cycle turns upward again.
Ian Kluft KO6YQ PP-ASEL sbay.org coordinator
http://www.kluft.com/~ikluft/ San Jose, CA
"Carelessness and overconfidence are
usually more dangerous
than deliberately accepted risks." --
Wilbur Wright, 1901
Subj: Re: BART/PRT Alternative
Date: 6/23/01 12:56:40 AM Pacific Daylight Time
(Delete the red X)
I think it's a great idea! I think MTS
should support it as the preferred build.
If and when Great Mall to downtown SJ
patronage becomes so great that it warrants heavy rail transit, then
build it. But that won't happen for a long time. Of course, most
people would prefer PRT, unless the BART line would be a lot higher
speed to downtown. But that won't happen with all the stations, the
WP detour, and the right angle turning at 24the St. & Alum Rock
that they propose for the BART line. Only a non-stop, direct (no WP
detour) line to downtown can effectively compete with PRT.
So, we should support the proposal, and
add that in the future a non-stop, direct heavy-rail BART to downtown
can be built when and if patronage and decrease in travel time
(compared with PRT) makes it worthwile.
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