St. Louis Transit X

All the ways we move people and things: trains, planes, automobiles, biking, walking, etc.
So some talk is starting as to whether or not allow a private company to invest money into a public transit system that is elevated, run by solar power and requires no public subsidies to be completed. It would be privately financed by Transit X, a company based in Boston. According to them, they are going to begin building a pilot route in the suburbs of Atlanta. Transit X hopes for it to be a great alternative to MetroLink but also something that improves Metro. The first route will be 54 miles (that's if its completed) and fares will be pretty cheap. Transit X would cost $6 Million per-mile to build while MetroLink North-South will cost $40.7 Million to build.

Other highlights...
- $319 Million total for started line
- 15% of population to be within walking distance is stations (5 minute walk)
- No public subsidies
- Can be easily expanded
- Full route could be built in one year as construction can be "mile a week"- $30 Million pumped into local economy off of fees and taxes.

Opinion STLToday Piece: https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/column ... bC810oa83g
Mine (CityScene STL) piece: https://www.cityscene-stl.com/news/an-a ... -transit-x
Official Proposal: http://transitx.com/proposals/Transit_X ... sWC_2DpRKc
If it sounds too good to be true...
It could definitely fill holes in the timeliness and experience of using the bus. I still think N/S has a place in St. Louis though.
Monorail, monorail, monorail....
Private or not, still better than MetroLink. I’d be fine with East West Gateway building this instead.
bwcrow1s wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:29 pm
It could definitely fill holes in the timeliness and experience of using the bus. I still think N/S has a place in St. Louis though.
The North-South line will have it's place, if built, and I think this will help it out more.
wabash wrote:Monorail, monorail, monorail....
I guess it is sort of like a monorail but I also understand your Simpson's reference here. :D
framer wrote:If it sounds too good to be true...
I know how this goes, "If it's too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true". I guess we will see how this goes in Atlanta's suburbs and, potentially, Cincinnati.
I believe their systems in Abu Dhabi and the UAE are actually closer to construction than Atlanta or Cincinnati.

Map:

https://cdn.fbsbx.com/v/t59.2708-21/501 ... ECEF5&dl=1
Is there any evidence a pilot project has actually been built anywhere? Because there are a lot of reasons this wouldn't be practical and that it won't operate as advertised. Makes me think there's something fishy going on somewhere. (Rather like the "townhouses" that were to replace the little half timbered over brick buildings recently demolished downtown.) This smells very off.
Here’s the test track https://vimeo.com/298603717

Groundbreaking in Atlanta later this year.

Here’s another one built by a similar company https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lwzcBt8Rnhs

There’s a similar system in West Virginia that’s ten miles and a newer one near London.
The 64 corridor would be an excellent place for an initial line especially west of Kingshighway. A lot of huge employers and large institutions along the route. Transit X spoke of stations being built right into office buildings, would be perfect for the clusters of offices that wouldn't be easily reachable from centralized stations. This has the ability to be huge.
First link: That's not a test track. It's a mockup that moves. It's maybe a hundred feet long if we're generous and the pod is moving at about four miles an hour. The materials appear too light. It has that stage set feel. There is literally no way to tell from that video how it's powered, but it's quite clear the power source is not in the car, thus it has to be in the track. Quite likely it's a cable pulling the thing along like a drape. (That's how things like that in the real world usually work, as it's cheap, practical, and reliable.) Even if the track provides some kind of magnetic propulsion (doubtful, given the lack of safety precautions and light weight) it's not as though that is really enough to prove anything beyond a concept which we already know works. Magnetic propulsion has been around a little while now. Monorails have been around a VERY good while. What needs proving is not the propulsion system, but the entire concept, to prove that it scales up and actually works at advertised speeds and costs. Test tracks of that sort are measured in miles, not feet. That's not a test track. It's a very theatrical sales pitch.

Second link: The setup is a little different in some significant ways. First, the cars are large enough to be practical and have a real capacity. (Small, but useful.) They're big enough to have a propulsion system of some kind, such as an electric motor. Second, the track appears to be a truss system that's actually heavy enough to carry people legally and safely. It's not utility poles. It's not what amounts to curtain track. And it will cost quite a lot more than theatrical traveler track. I'll get you a quote if you want. I worked a fair few years for a company that makes and sells quite similar truss systems. (And I've installed both those and quite a lot of traveler track.)

I'm very sorry, but at best Transit X is vapor from well meaning but ill informed novices. At worst it's a straight up scam. Literally everything you see is time tested technology. The stuff is used in amusement park rides. It's used in technology fairs and futurist settings because it looks neat. Similar things have been since the late nineteenth century. Never in all that time has anyone made a successful transit system with the stuff because it simply doesn't scale up. Even heavy monorails capable of carrying a hundred people in a car are rather rare, as the track is complicated and expensive and they're hard to stabilize as fully as more conventional two rail transportation systems. This isn't real. We do not need dreams of magic transit delaying real transportation projects.
^ You're probably spot on. Really all those links showed to me is it's just a glorified gondola system (as you said), which have in practice tended to be nothing more than gimmicky maintenance hogs (outside of some more practical and limited applications like on mountains where they're a necessity). There's a reason why lots of places that used to operate them no longer do. I highly doubt it would work as a real mass transit option.

Though if someone wanted to build a full size suspension railway in St. Louis like in Wuppertal or several Japanese cities, I can't say I'd complain - I'd love those views :)
The Wuppertal railway is quite pretty, I confess. And the Shonan example is also fun, and I want to say one of their cars has a section with a glass floor so you can look down and see what's going on below you. That would be super-cool.
There are functional systems near London (2.6 miles) and in West Virginia (10 miles) already that serve people every day. ULTra, built near London, may have a 72 km line built soon in UAE: https://www.connectedtoindia.com/ajman- ... -2016.html

However, given that Atlanta is to supposedly break ground this year on theirs, we will of course be smarter to wait and see how well theirs goes.

There are at least five other similar companies I can think of off the top of my head as well, so we shall see what happens with them over the next year or two. One of them, skyTran, is supposed to have a system up in a year as well In Netanya, followed by Tel Aviv soon after. Theirs was engineered by NASA, and Reliance just purchased a 12.7% stake in the company.
Image

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You can see some similar technologies in this Modern Marvels episode regarding the NYC Subway planning and design all the way back in the 1800s (actually a cool watch if you're into real mass transit).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S8C9cYx7V4

There's a reason this stuff never catches on. When Atlanta or Cincinnati or some other American city shows this can be done cost effectively and can efficiently move thousands of people per hour, I may bite. Until then I'm tired of listening to these tech bro dweebs (looking at you and your tunnel for Teslas, Musk) attempting to undermine public transportation. To me that's what these are, ways to potentially kill off real mass transit. I understand some here have said it would compliment MetroLink, but the two op-eds linked here were some of the more anti-Metro things I've read in awhile. St. Louis has invested billions in a mostly successful LRT system, that system should continue to expand and build upon what we know works (obviously Metro has some issues to work out, but we'll leave those for the Metro thread).

According to the "official proposal" they are only in the stage of "creating a legal framework that enables Transit X to build and operate podways." Open that up and look at the stages they HAVEN'T touched on yet. So I think it's quite safe to say they are years, and years away from even getting into the details on actually building this in existing rights of way in an urban area. I understand that MetroLink N/S may take years to build, maybe even a decade, but the study is done, it's moved into the environmental phase, and it's voter approved with a funding source. Let's focus on that.

Symphonicpoet hit the nail on the head.
symphonicpoet wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:35 pm
I'm very sorry, but at best Transit X is vapor from well meaning but ill informed novices. At worst it's a straight up scam. Literally everything you see is time tested technology. The stuff is used in amusement park rides. It's used in technology fairs and futurist settings because it looks neat. Similar things have been since the late nineteenth century. Never in all that time has anyone made a successful transit system with the stuff because it simply doesn't scale up. Even heavy monorails capable of carrying a hundred people in a car are rather rare, as the track is complicated and expensive and they're hard to stabilize as fully as more conventional two rail transportation systems. This isn't real. We do not need dreams of magic transit delaying real transportation projects.
THANK you. I wish Elon Musk had just stopped with Space X. Now every wanna-be entrepreneur is trying to "disrupt" technologies that trained professionals have already been thinking about for decades. I had to LOL at the suggestion that these stupid pods will just run on tracks attached to street light posts. Transit X is on par with Musk's stupid idea that cars driving single-file on underground roads constitutes the future of transit. The entire point of transit is to move people efficiently–that is as many people as possible as quickly as possible in as little space as possible. An extensive elevated infrastructure carrying two people per pod is worse than ride sharing as a form of mass transit. Ugh this sh*t makes me angry. :)
The Mayor wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:55 pm
Until then I'm tired of listening to these tech bro dweebs (looking at you and your tunnel for Teslas, Musk) attempting to undermine public transportation.
Ah! Beat me to it. Great minds...
urban_dilettante wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:38 pm
The Mayor wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:55 pm
Until then I'm tired of listening to these tech bro dweebs (looking at you and your tunnel for Teslas, Musk) attempting to undermine public transportation.
Ah! Beat me to it. Great minds...
I don't want to get too far off topic, but regarding Musk's project, he himself said the final goal is to transport 4,000 per hour in his little Tesla tunnel. A subway car can hold 100 or so people, with 10 cars per train and 30 trains per hour, that's 30,000 people per hour. Grade separated light rail? 8,000 and change per hour. At grade or street running light rail? 4,000 and change per hour. You don't even have to build tunnels to get that kind of efficiency!

I would file all of these under "solutions in search of problems."
What's almost worse is that even the projects in the link fall short based on the information in the article itself. That pod system in London? It's reported to be a people mover at Heathrow that's carried just 1.5 million people in six years. New York MTA's subways carries more than five million people every day. That London system isn't a system at all. It's an experiment at an airport. A time tested and failed experiment, if all you can manage at six years at one of the busiest airports in the world is a million and a half passengers. I doubt you'd have to wait six years to get more than a million and a half Lyft riders out of Lambert. Again, these things have their uses in very limited and specific applications. Automated airport people movers are a bit of a special case where frequency is potentially much more important than capacity; if you have a few hundred people a day making a particular connection between terminals spaced a few miles apart this could 'be the bee's knees since you could nearly always have a vehicle waiting. But when you get it into applications with larger distances and volumes those kinds of numbers just won't cut it. 900K passenger km a year isn't going to make a dent in traffic in even a very small city. My personal car will have done well more than a thousand passenger miles this weekend and the only person in it was me.