TRANSIT TECHNOLOGY: THE SOFT REVOLUTION

ALTHOUGH REVOLUTIONARY CONCEPTS EXIST FOR IMPROVEMENT IN URBAN TRANSPORTATION "HARDWARE", EMPHASIS IS PLACED ON "SOFTWARE" PROBLEMS, ESPECIALLY DEFINITION OF OBJECTIVES. NOT EVERYONE BENEFITS EQUALLY FROM PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS - THE SUBURBAN COMMUTER, THE IN-CITY TRAVELLER, THE AGED, THE POOR, THE PROPERTY OWNERS. THREE OBJECTIVES OR GOALS ARE CHOSEN AS IMPORTANT, ALL SHORT-TERM AND HIGH- PRIORITY (1) IMPROVEMENT OF QUALITATIVE ASPECTS OF URBAN LIFE WITH HIGHER AMENITY TRANSPORTATION, I.E., BETTER ESTHETIC DESIGN AND MORE COMFORT; (2) INCREASE OF ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY, I.E., COST SAVINGS WITHOUT DEGRADING SERVICE; AND (3) IMPROVEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST - THOSE WITHOUT THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE. REDUCING HIGHWAY CONGESTION IS A WORTHWHILE GOAL, BUT IT SHOULD BE TREATED AS A BY-PRODUCT OF THE MAIN PURPOSE OF IMPROVING TRANSIT WHICH IS IMPROVED MOBILITY FOR THE DISADVANTAGED, EITHER PHYSICALLLY OR ECONOMICALLY, AND GREATER ATTRACTIVENESS FOR OPTIONAL USERS. GIVEN THE SET OF GOALS, THE QUESTION OF HOW TECHNOLOGY MIGHT BE APPLIED TO ACHIEVE THEM IS DISCUSSED, FIRST CONSIDERING RAIL TRANSIT SYSTEMS, THEN BUS SYSTEMS. MEETING OBJECTIVE 1 WITH RAIL TRANSIT WOULD MEAN RELIEVING PEAK HOUR CROWDEDNESS, NOISE, DIRT, FUMES, ETC., BUT INCREASING ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE RAIL TRANSIT WILL INCREASE PEAK HOUR CROWDEDNESS AND/OR INCREASE NUMBER OF RUNS WHICH INCREASES COST. NOW OBJECTIVE 2 OF ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY MUST BE CONSIDERED. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE EXISTING RAIL SYSTEMS IS TO APPLY OPERATIONS RESEARCH TECHNIQUES TO MAKE THE SYSTEM MORE EFFICIENT. THUS THE TECHNOLOGICAL THRUST SHOULD BEGIN WITH SOFTWARE NOT HARDWARE. BUS SYSTEMS OPERATIONS ARE DEPENDENT ON TRAFFIC CONTROL AND OPERATIONS. IMPROVED SERVICE CAN BE PROVIDED BY SEPARATE LANES, OR BY SOME KIND OF PRIORITY IN TRAFFIC FLOW. THE METHOD OF METERING VEHICLES INTO THE NEW YORK - NEW JERSEY TUNNEL WHICH RESULTED IN INCREASED HOURLY FLOW AND LESS CONGESTION AT THE APPROACHES IS CITED AS AN EXAMPLE OF TRAFFIC PLANNING. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT BUS SYSTEM TRANSIT CAN BE IMPROVED, NOT WITH HARDWARE, BUT THROUGH EXPERIMENTAL USE OF A CONCEPT REFERRED TO AS "PEOPLE-ACTUATION", I.E., TRAFFIC SIGNAL CONTROLS THAT FAVOR BUSES ACCORDING TO NUMBER OF PEOPLE THE BUSES CARRIED. THIS CONCEPT NEEDS FURTHER PLANNING AND EXPERIMENTAL WORK TO DETERMINE HARDWARE NEED. AS A LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO URBAN TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS, AN ENTIRELY NEW SYSTEM IS DESCRIBED, THE DEMAND-ACTUATED ROAD TRANSIT (DART). THE SYSTEM USES VEHICLES SIMILAR TO A MINI-BUS, HAS NO FIXED ROUTES OR SCHEDULES, BUT PICKS UP PASSENGERS AT THEIR DOORS OR AT DESIGNATED SPOTS SHORTLY AFTER CALLS. COSTS WOULD DEPEND ON LEVEL OF SERVICE. THE SYSTEM IS ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE; IT COMPRISES SEVERAL HUNDRED DART VEHICLES, AN AUTOMATED SYSTEM FOR VEHICLE LOCATION, AND A CODED SIGNAL SYSTEM TO ADDRESS VEHICLES VIA A KEYED TRANSMITTER WHICH CAN ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THE SIGNAL AND RELAY IT TO DATA CENTRAL. IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE SYSTEM WOULD BE OPERATIONAL WITHIN 5 YEARS.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Paper from Future Directions for Research in Urban Transportation, 158p.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

    2, rue André Pascal
    Paris,   France  75775 Paris Cedex 16
  • Authors:
    • Myers, S
  • Publication Date: 1969

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00239248
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: pp 27-38
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 27 1970 12:00AM