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Automated rapid transit system to undergo 3-month pilot run by January 2022

A trackless automated rapid transit (ART) could feature in Cyberjaya as the next generation of the city’s public transport system soon.

Sepang Municipal Council president Datuk Abd Hamid Hussain has confirmed to The Vibes that the ART system will undergo a three-month pilot run by January 2022.

He said the pilot project will be conducted along the Persiaran Rimba Permai-Persiaran Bestari route to test the vehicles’ capabilities and demonstrate the use of green technology.

“The three-carriage green vehicle as public transportation suits the council’s vision of low-carbon and smart city concept well, as it offers green mobility,” said Hamid.

Asked if the future of public transport in Cyberjaya is trackless trams, he replied: “It is a possibility.

“The success of the pilot project may help Cyberjaya achieve a reduction of carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.

“Perhaps if everything goes well, we can initiate the test run by the end of this year, depending on the progress of technical discussion and after a memorandum of understanding is signed between the stakeholders, and until all safety and technical issues are resolved.”

Hamid described the ART as a “combination” of buses, light rail, and trams.

The tram is similar to an electric train except that it runs on the road via a virtual track with road markings.

The tram does not need overhead wires and runs on rubber wheels, providing a more attractive option to commuters than conventional buses.

“It is a train that can accommodate up to 307 passengers at a time, travel up to a maximum speed of 70km/h, and be operated automatically (autonomous) or manually by a driver,” said Hamid.

Cyberjaya would be the second city in the country to run the ART, after service provider Mobilus Sdn Bhd completed a four-month trial last Friday for the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), recording more than 2,000km in distance covered in the southern region.

It is understood that authorities in Kuching and the Sarawak government have also expressed interest to test the ART system in 2022.

It is also understood that a vehicle-type approval from the Road Transport Department is among the requirements for the new transportation system to become a permanent feature on Malaysia’s roads.

In 2018, a 53km tram service system to connect Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Bangi and Kajang was announced by the then Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

However, the plan was aborted due to the change of federal government and the dissolution of SPAD.

Cheaper yet same capacity as LRT, monorail

According to the Malaysia Institute of Transport (Mitrans), the ART system costs far less and has better scalability to transport more passengers than a typical BRT system.

“It is likely to be significantly cheaper than traditional light rail, does not require rail infrastructure, and yet is able to carry the same capacity of passengers as the monorail and LRT,” said Assoc Prof Wan Mazlina Wan Mohamed, head of continuous professional development and training at Mitrans.

She opined that the lower cost is due to ART’s green technologies, and its new design of axle and wheel systems.

“The batteries are not expensive, the vehicle is lightweight, and the manufacturing requirements allow it to be assembled locally,” said Wan Mazlina.

“Secondly, the ART service is likely to be the city’s catalyst and will attract urban development around the stations, as it can be a genuine fixed route transit system.”

The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) had presented a paper at the Intergovernmental 12th Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport Forum In Asia in Hanoi three years ago, which described trackless trams as a new transit system generated by crossover innovations from high-speed rail applied to a bus.

“It is neither a tram nor a bus, though it has the speed, capacity, ride quality, and land development potential of a tram, and the cost, lack of disruption, and rapid implementation of a bus,” the UNCRD paper said.

“It is therefore a new kind of transit technology that offers radical and transformative opportunities for cities needing connection across suburbs and electric accessibility, that unlocks urban regeneration – an intermediate capacity public transport solution along direct linear corridors – linking major activity centres.”

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Shahrim Tamrin

Quelle/Source: The Vibes, 02.09.2021

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