AAI's Suspended LRT Concept

A suspended light rail system (SLRT) is under development by AAI, a large defense contractor located in Maryland. AAI was one of three companies that participated in the Suspended Light Rail Technology (SLRT) competition held by the Federal Transit Administration in 1992-93. AAI worked with the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) and the Port of Oakland (California) to do a feasibility study of a connector between a BART station and the Oakland International Airport. The distance to be covered was 3.24 miles.

To date, no prototype or operating scale model of the technology has been constructed. The concept utilizes an elevated suspension guideway made of prefabricated tubular steel truss sections. The vehicle would be a single car body suspended beneath the guideway by two bogie assemblies, each containing four vertical and horizontal rubber tire wheels. The vehicle would be 40 feet long by 9 feet wide and would provide 20 seats along the perimeter. With standing passengers, its normal capacity would be 55 passengers and their luggage. Each bogie has four load-carrying wheels, two of which would be driven by high efficiency, low maintenance electric motors.

The guideway would be constructed of triangular trusses of welded tubular steel, supported on steel cross arms attached to reinforced concrete columns. Maximum column spacing would be 140 feet. The estimated capital cost of the airport connector was $136.9 million (1993) dollars. Total annual operating and maintenance costs were estimated to be about $2.1 million (1993) dollars.

A videotape that includes a short computer animation of the system in operation is available from AAI . The following sketch shows what the vehicle and guideway might look like:

[sketch of airrail

Further information about this technology might be obtained from AAI but, so far as is know, they are no longer working on this project.

AAI Corporation , York Road and Industry Lane, Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030-0126 Ph: (410) 666-1400 Fax: (410) 628-3215

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Last Modified: April 04, 2004