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Mineta institute releases study on "automated transit networks"

Reducing crew sizes is contentious for U.S. freight railroads and labor unions, but when it comes to urban transit systems, cities should seriously consider cars without crews according to a 256-page document released by the Mineta Transportation Institute on Sept. 16.

Titled, "Automated Transit Networks: A Review of the State of the Industry and Prospects for the Future," the report outlines benefits of using driverless systems. Report writers define these as "fully automated vehicles on exclusive, grade-separated guideways provide[ing] on-demand, primarily non-stop, origin-to-destination service over an area network… ."

Burford Furman, Ph.D., is the principal investigator on the project that was sponsored jointly by the California and U.S. departments of transportation. He says the report is necessary because most urban planners are unaware of automated transportation and potential affects on a community.

"This report should find multiple uses nationally as the U.S. contemplates the future of highway infrastructure, plans out a sustainable energy future, and accommodates historic demographic shifts back to growth in urban cores," Furman says.

A PDF of the report is available here:

Mitsubishi regeneration system contributes 60 households-worth of electricity

A regenerative braking system installed at Tokyo's Myoden Station routinely re-coups enough electricity to power 60 average households, says Mitsubshi Electric Corp. in a recent news release.

Tokyo Metro installed Mitsubishi's Station Energy Saving Inverter in June after witnessing a demonstration version. So far, the regenerative inverters produced as much as 576 kWh per day on weekdays and up to 661kWh per day on holidays in revenue service. This is enough, the Japanese company says, to power 60 homes a day.

Takahiro Kikuchi, a Mitsubishi executive officer and group president for public utility systems says, “We have already productized traction inverters for railcars ... enabling efficient use of the regenerative electricity produced by braking. [The new inverter system] builds on that to realize an energy-management system for railways that directly delivers the surplus regenerative electricity to station facilities for significant energy savings.”

Station Energy Saving Inverter Specifications:

Input voltage:                      1,500V, 750V, 600V DC

Output voltage:                    210V three-phase AC, 50Hz/60Hz

Rated output:                       200kW for 30 seconds, two and a half minutes pause

Cooling system:                   Self-cooling

Usage environment:              Outdoors (generally at end of platform or by rail tracks) 

More information on the regenerative braking system is available here:


NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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