Design and Operational Elements of LRT
Discuss About The Challenges New LRT System Are Investigated?
Commonly, Light rail transit (LRT) is a beneficial, well accepted electric urban rail service. The design and operational elements in a typical LRT include traffic signal priority, off-board fare payment and level boarding. This system should be designed to operate at agreed high speeds to serve for high volume corridors than a local bus or any other streetcar service. Establishing and updating the service standards, evaluating the transit line performance, accessing the capacities of new signalling and control technologies are the usual ongoing activities in any rail transit systems.
In any new project design, the conceptual design phase ensures that the project is innovative, marketable and will be within the acceptable budgets and cost. The conceptual design phase gives enough ideas to the project investors and other stackholders in deciding whether to go ahead with the project or not. Urban Corridor zone of Australia is the selected place for the new LRT system. The conceptual design phase of a LRT system will be analysed. Challenges in the new LRT system will be investigated in this report. Types of trackway system will be studied. The platform and station design and clearances will be reviewed. LRT system requires a stable traction electric power infrastructure. Investigation on the traction electric power infrastructure design will be conducted. Signalisation and communication infrastructure design’s characteristics will be studied. The rolling stock fleet and facilities Requirements will be analysed. Finally, the suitable recommendations will be suggested.
Urban Corridor zone of Australia is the selected location for the new LRT system. Generally, the Light rail transit service is used for various reasons. This service provides the significant services like fastest land based transport facility. It operates from early morning to late night. The transport service is often available and it is direct too. The light rail transit system is more convenient than regular bus service. The light rail systems have a long history in many older cities. And after that, it becomes more popular now. Before the LRT services, the transportation research board was in to two types. One is first generation systems, which are based on the operation from earlier trolley and tramway lines and another one is a second generation systems. These systems are designed afresh. The characteristics of LRT services include direct service along major corridors; it is a long span service when compared to older services. LRT service runs eighteen hours a day or more. It provides the fastest service, frequent service, typically for every five or ten minutes or better than that. The differences between LRT services and street car services are as follows. LRT stations are spaced farther apart than streetcar stations. The Light rail service operates with two or more car trains. But the streetcar service operates with a single car trains. LRT services provides longer distance services. But, the streetcar services offer shorter length services. These are typically in the range of 2 to 3 miles. LRT is in the range of up to 15 miles. LRT is designed to provide a higher volume of passengers, the stations are larger and usually more elaborate when compared to streetcar service stations. The main ideas of the needs for LRT services relies on the lower per capita operating cost, higher ridership, and other related developments. LRT provides more service qualities like it is faster, more convenient, more attractive than street bus services (HASSELL Studio, 2017). It is also more comfortable.
Conceptual Design Phase
The challenges of LRT are related to implementation cost, required density, and availability (Goldcoast.qld.gov.au, 2017). The implementation cost of this system can cost upwards of hundred million per mile. In the case of riders density, most cities have a density of thirty residents per area. LRT becomes a cost-effective one when ridership numbers are high. Designing a new LRT system got a lot of challenges, and a suitable conceptual system design gives effective solutions for the challenges.
In conceptual system design, a common framework is designed for implementing user's requirements and problem solving in the analysis phase (Myrup Andreasen, 2016). As said before in any new project design, the conceptual design phase ensures that the project is innovative, marketable and will be within the acceptable budgets and cost. The conceptual design phase gives enough ideas to the project investors and other stackholders in deciding whether to go ahead with the project or not.
- Finding the alternatives of the design
- Design specification preparation
- Report for conceptual system design
Fare collection system is one method used in LRT systems, which can significantly impact some aspects of the infrastructure like, stations and communications. Also, the vehicle equipment like fare box or onboard ticketing devices.
There are different types of track way set-ups available
Light rail transit (LRT) can operate within the urban street system. And it is a quite flexible rail transit mode. The routes of trackway systems depend on railroad alignment and subway alignment. In most of the cases, the LRT is typically based on surface running state. Trackway alignment with double-track is preferred for the LRT services (National Association of City Transportation Officials, 2017). There are several common alternatives are used.
- Single tracks for each direction on parallel streets
- Bidirectional single track and interlaced track.
Examples of single track include full performance LRT in Portland, San Diego to Phoenix. In the bi-directional single track LRT, traffic for each direction is interconnected in a double track alignment, with a single track alignment. These single track section has controlled by a single system. In the case of bi-directional track, one train must wait until a train occupying the section clears it. In LRT the headways are not extremely short, and the area can be cleared instantly. In the case of interlaced track, the configuration similarly works like a single track section (Workshop, 2016). In this track, no switches can be used and then the rails are laid side-by-side (interlaced), and also the rails are crossed.
LRT system can have four types of fare collection options
Fare collection by the operator (Onboard):
Passenger may use fare box to pay by cash or pass card
Ticket vending machines and proof of purchase (station-based):
Proof of Purchase system involves passengers purchasing tickets from station based ticket vending machines. The use of station-based ticket vending machines, improves the efficiency and convenience the passenger. It imposes extra expense and ongoing security consideration.
Ticket vending machines and proof of purchase (Onboard):
Proof of Purchase system for lighter-traffic services, such as streetcar lines. Passengers buy tickets onboard from the ticket vending machine, not in stations.
Turnstile access (station-based):
To purchase tickets, the passenger uses ticket vending machine and then inserts the ticket in automatic turnstiles, to access platforms.
The track way itself, the most visible features of an LRT system is the station. Modern LRT systems have platforms for fast, easy and safe passenger boarding. To satisfy Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (and Canadian equivalent), level boarding in platforms must extend approximately 15 inches above the top of the rail, 8-11 inches are used when bridge plates.
Stable electric power is the main advantage of LRT operation. For providing power to LRT cars and trains, Traction Electrification System (TES) and an Overhead Contact System (OCS) are essential.
Substations: Initially the electric power needs to be delivered to the OCS using power substations. Small facilities that take the high voltage AC power from the public utility grid and convert it into the nominal 750 volts direct current (VDC) and used it for LRT train propulsion.
Electric power is supplied to the LRT, via a trolled wire above the track, which has a device at the top of the railcar, and it contacts the trolley wire. A catenary is a specific type in OCS, and it is suspended by hangers from horizontal arms attached to the TES poles. A straight connection wire under the catenary works particularly better for higher speed operation. Communications signalisation is used commonly. Besides that, many other functions rely on to compete for tent, secure communication system. This system may be wireless, wired or a combination of both.
Signal and communication systems are very much essential for efficient and safe train operations. Some simple understanding of these systems functioning in a railway setting would be highly useful in conceptual LRT planning.A vital element of the signalisation is Train to Way-sider Communication (TWC), a variety of means by which trains communicate with the fixed system.
Some important communication function include the following:
Platform and Station Design
Radio communications- facilitating communication among operator, enteral control, supervisors, maintenance workers and security personnel
Public address system- helping passengers informed of special situations.
Variable message board (VMB) communications- PID - Passenger Information System CCTV which means closed circuit television system observing station platform and other public areas.
Automated fare collection- Handling the necessary dataflow of fare transactions.
Automatic vehicle location (AVL) - GPS based system that tracks locations.
This interfaces with both the central operations/ dispatching centre and the VMB system to inform passengers of train schedule, Variable message board (VMB) communications- PID - Passenger Information System CCTV, which means closed circuit television system observing station platform and other public Ares.
Selection of their type and configuration of an LRT is important in conceptual planning, with some assumptions (Su and Zhu, n.d.).
The recommendation states that, the proposed plan assumes rolling stock confirmations, which confirms to the widespread the down floor standards. A floor height approximately 14 inches above the top. Modern LRT car wheels rolling stock have articulated car bodies (Railway Technology, 2017) (Bic.asn.au, 2017).
Type cars also typically double-ended, with articulated but shorter car bodies, ranging from 66Ft. Long steer cars are available as much as 98 ft, and even longer.
Type steer cars are the popular choice for new systems in some communities.
Estimating Rollin Stock Fleet’s size:
Estimating Rollin stock fleet’s size involves the assumption of passenger capacity per car and average speed.
The following assumptions are performed for finding the passenger capacity
Full=performance LRT car, 90-96 ft.
Streetcar, 66 ft.
Average schedule speed depends on numerous variables, particularly the number of station-stops and their spacing.
The following assumptions are performed for the different configurations
Full-performance LRT, mostly urban - 15 mph (24 mph)
Full-performance LRT, largely exclusive railway alignment - 20 mph (32 mph)
Streetcar, predominantly urban arterial alignment-12mph (19kmph)
Streetcar, downtown urban arterial circulator-12mph (19kmph)
Below this light rail transit (LRT) services the overall goal of transportation system should be developed for efficient, safe and affordable for all peoples. In the case of multimodal transportation systems that serve for many neighbourhood communities.
The following objectives must be considered, to achieve the required process:
1) Particularly at hub stations, pedestrian activities along routes require promotion.
2) This process reduces the physical environmental impacts.
3) More route segments are required.
Urban Corridor zone of Australia is the selected zone for the new LRT system. The LRT system should be designed in such a way that, it will give door step access to most of the important areas in the way. The important places can be convention centres, exhibition centres, museums, casino centres and so on.
- The number of stopping points should be well planned and decided.
- Installation of CCTV surveillance cameras in all the stopping points is required.
- For good cost savings, LRT systems should be manufactured within the country.
- For active use of LRT systems in the selected region, 2-4 trams should be paired up together, and the maximum passenger capacity should be around 700 (Saulwick, 2017).
- The wheels of the bogies should be axles free. Gearless hub motors also should be used.
- The LRT system should not over swing on curves (Straszak and Tuch, 2014).
- The power supply should be 750v overhead supply. The trams should be bi-directional in most of the places.
- Seating should be changed to accommodate more passengers.
- Each bogie should have 4 doors each side. Obstacle detection systems should be installed at correct places.
- On street, signalling need not be there. Ground signals should be there at important places. The allowed speed of the LRT system should be shown in correct signals.
Urban Corridor zone of Australia is the selected zone for the new LRT system. The conceptual design phase of an LRT system is analyzed. The challenges in any new LRT system is investigated. Types of trackway system are investigated. The platform and station design and clearances are studied. LRT system requires a stable traction electric power infrastructure. The investigation of traction electric power infrastructure design features is completed. The signalisation and communication infrastructure design aspects are studied. The rolling stock fleet and facilities Requirements are analysed. Therefore, the suitable recommendations are suggested.
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Hassell Studio. (2017). Hassell | Project - Gold Coast Rapid Transit Corridor Study Phase 2. [online] Available at: https://www.hassellstudio.com/en/cms-projects/detail/gold-coast-rapid-transit-corridor-study-phase-2 [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].
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Straszak, A. and Tuch, R. (2014). The Shinkansen High-Speed Rail Network of Japan. Elsevier Science.
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