Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Alternative to Metro showcased

Alternative to Metro showcased
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Even as the Government has decided to go ahead with the Metro rail project, a group of city engineers has come up with a faster and cheaper system to solve Bangalore’s traffic problems.

Named Sky Tran, the system is the brainchild of Douglas Malewicki of US. The system involves elevated guideways on which small, computer-controlled, magnetically elevated vehicles provide point-to-point on-demand transit service.

Sky Tran vehicles can travel at a speed of 100 miles an hour within the city and at 150 miles an hour between cities. It costs a tenth of a light train, and one guideway is equal to a three-lane freeway. Further, the system uses electricity and is virtually noiseless and eliminates the possibility of surface traffic collisions. The Sky Tran project, however, has remained a dream since 1990 as no Government has come forward to implement it. This is what provoked Stanley Ravi, who was working as a studio manager with UAE Air Force, to come down to Bangalore five years ago. He started looking for a team of engineers to build a prototype.

Since then Stanly has teamed up with engineers Rajashekar, Nagaraj and Anand. They are building a prototype of the Sky Tran model for the first time in the world, currently being assembled at Precise Engineering Models at Chowdeswarinagar.

The project head says he wants to produce many prototypes of Sky Tran to draw public and government attention to the unique system. The group has pooled in its savings and also received contributions from the public.

The unique system will have citywide off-line stops where you can board a waiting vehicle at the head of a queue. The destination can be selected with the help of a display menu or by voice activation, and payments can be made by credit card or a RFID device.

Before departure, sensors will determine the dynamic position of all oncoming Sky Tran vehicles on the high speed guide-way. At a precisely calculated moment, the off-line vehicle will accelerate and merge safely with mainline traffic. Once on-line, the vehicles go non-stop till the destination is reached.

UniModal Incorporated in Montana, USA, owns the key enabling technologies of the Sky Tran system. (For details call Ravi 93418 81888).

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