Greenville County considering installing elevated rapid transit - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville County considering installing elevated rapid transit system

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Greenville-Mauldin Rapid Transit Corridor (March 1, 2015/FOX Carolina) Greenville-Mauldin Rapid Transit Corridor (March 1, 2015/FOX Carolina)
Councilman Payne (March 1, 2015/FOX Carolina) Councilman Payne (March 1, 2015/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - The Greenville County Economic Development Corporation is taking bids from companies who could build an elevated rapid transit system in Greenville.

The GCEDC, which oversees the railroad right of way that parallels Laurens Road from Pleasantburg Drive to Mauldin, is seeking bids from an external company or firm that will “fund, design, manufacture, build, install, operate, maintain and support a 100 percent privately owned, operated and maintained on-demand automated transport network (ATN) system, also known as personal rapid transit (PRT) system, as a public transportation utility in Greenville County,” according to documents posted on the county's website.

The ATN will involve "on-demand automated driverless vehicles" that will travel on “an elevated and interconnected network guideway infrastructure of approximately 20 miles (to be built in phases) with off-line stations and automated driverless vehicles or pods for passengers.”

The first phase of the plan would construct a 4-mile section elevated guideway above a section of abandoned railroad tracks along Laurens Road and end in the Washington Street area. The first section of the elevated railway could connect Clemson's ICAR campus with downtown Greenville. Additional tracks would likely connect to Greenville hospitals, parking garages, and other key areas.

Per county officials, a consultant has indicated that a PRT in the area would attract more than three times the ridership that buses in the area attract. The consultant expected annual ridership to exceed half a million by the year 2020.

The county is in talks with four companies that are expected to provide bids by May 1. Greenville County Councilman Fred Payne said each company will have to bring its own private financing plan to the table.

All PRT systems proposed must meet include all the features/precautions listed below, according to county documents.
  • Is customized to be user friendly to all riders (both physically and virtually) and safely accommodate seniors as well as people with disabilities, students and the general public, including operational systems such as ticket purchasing (e.g., reusable smart cards or smart phone scanners) through kiosks and/or the Internet.
  • Is capable of withstanding impacts to the supporting infrastructure from conventional vehicular traffic with minimal service interruption to the ATN system.
  • Blends aesthetically with its surroundings.
  • Has off-line stations that are safe, automated and strategically located to provide multimodal transportation access and connectivity with existing modes; handle a continuous flow of passengers and automated vehicles efficiently; have the potential of increasing the surrounding area's livability and economic development; accommodate ancillary services to passengers; and capable of being integrated into buildings.
  • Has a system that can safely evacuate passengers in the event of a complete system failure.
  • Has a propulsion system that is stable, reliable, and accurate due to the short headways between the vehicles and a braking system that is reliable in all weather conditions.
  • Has a control and communications system that provides the entire ATN network with a high degree of safety, speed, and accuracy.
  • Has a fast and reliable switching or guidance allowing driverless vehicles to navigate through interchanges from off-line stations safely when merging with traffic on the main line without compromising headway and/or speed of the merging and traveling driverless vehicles.
  • Has a redundant power system capable of maintaining the system operational in case of primary system failure.
  • Supports and complements traffic congestion solutions such as park and ride facilities that could be built along the ATN corridors.
  • If feasible, accommodates certain utilities, e.g., power, telephone, or cable lines, within the infrastructure.
Read more at Greenville County's website.

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