Reactions to the Comments by Hopkins Regarding a National Dualmode System with Respect to the UTI Dualmode Concept


Jim Beregi, BCS, Inc.; 863-207-4743

May, 2000

I have read with great interest your comments on the dualmode HiLoMag system. My company also has proposed/designed a dualmode system. The design is based on a systems approach to provide solutions for many of the problems becoming critical in current transportation systems.

Unfortunately, revolutions are sometimes necessary before progress can be made. There are limits to how far a system can be adapted. Are the long slow morning and evening commutes bad enough, is the air polluted enough, are the costs high enough, to warrant a revolution? Just as the horse and buggy were replaced by the automobile. It is time for the gasoline automobile to be replaced. Current automobiles are too heavy and do not have the reliability, or the power, or the backup systems required of the dual-mode guideway vehicles described below.

The requirements for the new system are basically to eliminate traffic congestion, provide safer travel, at a substantially lower energy cost, provide correspondingly lower green house emission, and be as convenient/more convenient than the person car.

The resulting system design produced a completely redesigned personal electrically powered vehicle. These electric vehicles have a new energy management motor design that eliminates many of the heavy components and complexity of conventional cars. The simplified vehicle design means they can be manufactured for substantially less then current cars.

An levitated guideway system is used to provide local low(50-60)MPH speed transportation and a region to region high speed(140-160)MPH automated travel. The guideways are made of pre-stressed pre-fabricated concrete sections trucked to the site. Because the guideway is not for heavy trucks the size and weight of each section is much less than conventional elevated roadways. The cost of the complete guideway (provided they use existing rights-or-way) will be about the cost of a signal lane conventional road. Because the guideway is elevated, it will not be subject to the normal ground movement which destroys conventional roads so, maintenance will be much less.

To simplify control strategies a distributed approach was used to assign responsibilities as close to the action as possible. The designed strategy allows very tight spacing between vehicles with very high reliability and fail-safe features. Tight spacing allows a single lane (10 foot wide) guideway to handle the same volume of traffic as four lanes of interstate highways

The real impact of this system is economic. Because energy costs per trip are much less than conventional cars, a portion of the fares can be used by state and local governments for social programs, education, etc. without increasing the out-of –pocket expense to the public. This amounts to found money, a substantial amount of it.

What we propose is a national set of standards for vehicles and guideways. As long as the standards for maximum sizes, reliability, and control systems are followed the vehicles can be customized much as conventional car manufactures do now. The national standards would allow the system to expand as need and allow for compatibility between regions.

In Arizona, the city of Phoenix and surrounding communities, put together a study of transportation needs and costs. This was a wonderful source of information on transportation. The information was use to study different transportation proposals. The rules of the study precluded untested transportation systems however. The data was published and used here to create an economic justification for our dual mode PRT system.

The assumptions for the economic analysis are as follows.

The estimated 10 year amortized cost of the guideway portion is:

* Guideway portion of cost only, EV's are privately funded.

Electric Vehicle (EV) assumptions and costs

The EV assumptions are as follows:

** Private ownership of street legal vehicles is expected

Annual gross revenue $50,409,000.

Annual gross operational costs: $5,041,000.

Annual gross capital costs: $37,496,000.

Annual net operational costs: ($7,872,000.)

Annual net capital costs: $0.

Annual gross energy cost (peak rates): $58,811,000.

In the fifth year of operation it is estimated up to 40% of the Phoenix area trips could be handled by the system. If this level is reached the State and local governments could pay off the original investment and have as much as $500,000,000.00 per year available for local government without increasing taxes. The money would come from the reduced energy costs per trip over gasoline-powered cars. This would be a significant redirection of money into the local economy.

The details of system design and the economic justification are available. Based on this description would you consider recommending such a system? For more information and a narrative description of a typical trip, see my UTI description.

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Last modified: May 28, 2000