**Response to J. Richard Guadagno's comments on Jörg
Schweizer's InTransSys Critique **

**March, 2000 **

I would like to thank J. Richard Guadagno for his response and additional data on the Integrated Transportation System (InTranSys). Nevertheless I see the need for clarification of a couple of issues, such that the interested reader can better spot common points and differences between my opinion and the one of Mr. Guadagno. In particular, I am still not sure whether the logistic problem is solved. Therefore, I propose a simple model in order to estimate the probability that a local system failure propagates across the network.

Let me first mention the common points:

- There is no doubt that natural energy resources on earth are limited and that it is a
challenge today, as it has been in the 70's, to shift our energy production (in shorter or
longer terms) to renewable energies. On the other hand, the number of other problems has
increased, such as land-use problems, traffic congestion, air and noise pollution inside
cities (at least today it is more perceived as such), urban sprawl and waste disposal ( in
Europe most of these problems are more apparent than in the US). I believe that the
technological core of InTranSys (i.e. LSM as the control principle, central
computers, centralized high capacity track) are typical results from problem solving
approaches used during the 70's. In the mean time, the decrease in size and price of
microprocessors has opened new dimensions in system design, and in particular in control,
logistics and process communication. One has the possibility to design cost-effective
light, distributed and flexible systems that respond better to the spontaneous and mobile
life-style of today's society.
*InTranSys may indeed solve many problems, but there may be better ways of doing it...*

- There is also agreement that InTranSys can reduce energy consumption per (person or
freight) km with
*respect to the present transportation alternatives (cars or trucks)*,*including heavy and light freight.*

- I further mentioned that ``synchronous control (of Linear Synchronous Motors, LSM), is
robust, simple and reliable''
*if the system is operated only in a single line operation.*http://www.maitint.org/

- There have been no claims that InTranSys has a logistics problem
*if the traffic density on the guideway is ``sufficiently'' low.*

- I recognize that InTranSys can be ideally combined with the private car, providing both, door-to-door transport and energy efficient automated transport using electrical energy.

The core of my critique can be summarized as follows:

- InTranSys
*needs to be compared with other alternative transportation concepts*and not with the reality of present transportation. There are plenty of proposals such as PRT,*light weight*Dual mode concepts and pallet type systems. Most of these approaches, are cabable of transporting efficiently persons and light freight and can be seen as competitors for InTranSys because:- the guideways are slim and inexpensive. They are smaller and more flexible compared with InTranSys and can be better matched to traffic demand patterns. With InTranSys stations every 400m, the guideway width is double for the largest part because of the required acceleration lines (exact dimensions of the figures are not provided at the InTransSys website). This means approximately 20m of width for a bidirectional line and 10m for a one-way system, not including the space for the stations.
- PRT vehicles are designed at a smaller scale, lighter and less expensive. The weight estimates of InTranSys carriers given on the website appear to me rather optimistic: the carrier, able to transport cars, urban buses, and light freight should weight less than 1000kg (and cost in the range of about $25,000).

Considering the dimensions of InTranSys the investments will be huge, but there are reasons why the market share may be small (and the average system usage too low to pay back investments):

- Approximately 85% of all (European) vehicle km are used for person transport and could therefore be provided by one of the above mentioned light PRT sytems. The idea to load PRT vehicles on InTranSys carriers does not make sense to me since InTranSys carriers and the heavier InTranSys guideway would only introduce extra costs (depending on the applied PRT technology, travel speed and throughput will not change considerably).
- A large part of the freight transport of the remaining 15% could be either carried by small vehicles or distributed among several small vehicles. Another part of the freight is even too heavy or too bulky for InTranSys. This type of freight needs still to be transported by trucks or trains. Hence, a minimum road or rail infrastructure needs to be maintained in any case. If there is no longer any gasoline, trucks will run with gas, hydrogen, or other synthetic, energy storing, chemicals. Trains, equiped with modern electrical engines are almost ideal for heavy freight. Therefore, also the freight market segment may not be too large for InTranSys.

Logistic problems may occur

*if there is high traffic density on the InTranSys network*. But what does this imply?*If the traffic density is high*then there is a high probability that a local network breakdown or failurewill propagate over the entire network. Below, I will show in more detail the relation between traffic density and the probability of a global system breakdown.*If the traffic density is low*, then the overal system performance is low and the system operates below capacity. In this case the argument that a bidirectional InTranSys line can transport the same amount of traffic as nine four-lane freeways is no longer valid.

There may be a couple of other problems that I cannot further consider because I have not enough information about the InTranSys design or, with which assumptions certain quantities have been determined. Two of these problems are: the high required construction energy of the entire system, air friction of the vehicles because of the large vehicle cross section. It further appears that InTranSys does not satisfy the brickwall criteria for speeds at 200 kilometers per hour with a throughput of 36,000 vehicles per hour. And if so, what is the maximum failure deceleration? I do not insist on the brickwall criteria but in order to compare capacities of different transportation systems, one has to apply the same safety criteria.

I will now present a simple model that allows one to *quantify*
the logistics problem of InTranSys, such that the interested readers can make themselves a
picture of how likely it is that a local failure can propagate and block large parts of
the network.

First I define the *traffic density* on the InTranSys by means of the probability *p*
that a time slot is occupied by a carrier. A *time slot* at a certain point in the
network, is the time that a moving block (with or without carrier) needs to pass that
point. A moving block includes the space for one carrier plus the necessary safety
margins. If the system is operating at its capacity limits then all time slots are
occupied by a carrier and *p=1*. If the system is operating at 50% of its capacity
then, on the average, only half of the time slots are occupied and *p=0.5*. It is
further assumed that the timeslots are occupied *independently*. This assumption is
reasonable since the starting point and departure time are chosen independently by the
system users. The system could pre-allocate timeslots for certain origin-destination pairs
(whether they are used or not) but this would only result in an a priori limitation of
capacity. Therefore, the possibility to occupy time-slots independently is an adequate
assumption and, in fact, the logistics of InTranSys seems to take advantage of an
independent slot allocation. If this should not be the case I wonder what the alternatives
are. For sake of simplicity it is assumed that the time-slot occupation is equally
distributed over the entire network, which is unlikely, if not impossible. However, it is
straight forward to extend the presented theory and to use different probabilities *p _{m}*
for each considered merge process. The equal distribution assumption is actually
influencing the results in favour of InTranSys.

Before the carrier can start (or resume) a trip, it needs to allocate such a time slot for
all points along the desired path. Or, in other words, to book a block on the guideway
that moves from origin to destination. The allocation is successful if it is assured that
no other carrier will use this time slot during the entire trip. In the case where the
allocation is not successful, the carrier must wait and check if a later time-slot is
available. Whether the allocation is successful depends on the number of merge points on
the trip. At a simple merge, the time-slots of two input-lines are merged into one
time-slot on the output-line. Obviously, only one time-slot at one of the input lines can
be occupied. When a carrier is approaching a merge point then the probability that the
other input line is not occupied equals *1-p*. At the second merge point, the
probability that the time-slot of the other input line is not occupied again equals *1-p*.
Because the two merge events are independent, the probability that the time-slot at the *first*
and the second merge points are free equals *(1-p)*(1-p)=(1-p)^2*. Therefore,
if a trip encounters *m* merge points, the probability of a successful allocation
equals *(1-p)^m*.

This means in practice that one has to wait in average *1/(1-p)^m* time slots before
a trip across *m* merge points can be allocated. If the system is operating at 50% of
its capacity and the planned trip crosses *m=5* merge points then one has to wait an
average of 32 time-slots. With *m=10* merge points the average waiting time is
already at 1024 time-slots. At traveling speeds of 100 kilometers per hour, a capacity of
14,400 vehicles per hour has been claimed, which is equivalent to a time slot of 0.25
seconds. Thus, one must expect a waiting time of 8 seconds for a trip with 5 merge points
and 256 seconds (=4.27 minutes) for a trip with 10 merge points. This may be at the limits
of acceptability but so far, there is no logistical problem.

The allocation problem may become more serious in the following situation: one branch of
the network breakes down or gets blocked (in the following called the dead branch). As
this event occurs almost every day with the railway network it may also happen to a
nation-wide InTranSys network from time to time. There is nothing to worry about as long
as the failure remains restricted to the dead branch of the network. This is why I try to
determine the probability that the failure in the dead branch will propagate to other
brances of the network.

Let me first introduce *n* as the total number of vehicles that have already left
their station at the time when the failure occured and that allocated time-slots within
the dead branch. In other words, all vehicles upstream of the dead branch that are already
on their way to pass through the dead branch. These are all the vehicles that need to be
``shunted off to stations'' or whose path needs to be rerouted (reallocated), where
``shunting off'' means simply a rerouting to the nearest station with available parking.
Considering just one vehicle, vehicle *i*, we know from previous results that the
probability of a successful allocation equals *(1-p)^m _{i}* where

Please note that in the present case none of the vehicles can wait for
the next free time slot. Either there are free time slots for all concerned vehicles or at
least one vehicle needs to be stopped before it enters a merge with an already occupied
time-slot. Clearly, *P* is the probability that *non*e of the concerned vehicles
needs to be stopped and *1-P* is the probability that at least one vehicle needs to
be stopped on the track, blocking another branch of the network. This, in return, would be
a necessary condition for a propagation of the initial local failure.

Now, to get a "feeling" for the meaning of this equation, one can replace the
variables by numbers to calculate the probability that another branch of the network will
``die''. If we take for example again *p=0.5* (system is operating at 50% of its
capacity) then 7200 vehicles would pass through a dead branch, which is blocked for one
hour. Let us assume only 10% of these vehicles began their trip before the failure
occurred (this is the amount of vehicles, coming from remoter origins; the other 90% would
not start but remain in their stations until they find another time-slot with an
alternative path). Anyway, *720* vehicles need to be rerouted on the fly or shunted
off to an alternative station. Let us further assume that even 90% of these vehicle can be
shunted of to a station without passing a further merge point, and the other *72*
vehicles find a free station after passing only one merge point. Finally, with *n=72*
vehicles, *p=0.5*, *m _{i}=1* for all

which is appoximately zero, and the probability *1-P* is quasi
one. Therefore, it is almost sure that a failure in one branch will block at least one
other branch (which will certainly block at least one other and so forth). This
probability of failure propagation is only reasonably low if the traffic density is very
low (*p* close to zero). This means InTranSys has a huge (theoretical) capacity, but
for logistical reasons, it cannot take full advantage of it.

In conclusion, InTranSys, with its present design, may be efficient as container, car or bus transportation system in single line operation or with only few interchanges.

**Last modified: August 13, 2002**