ULTRa set for take off in Cardiff!
February 24, 2002 3:51 PM   Subscribe

ULTRa set for take off in Cardiff! Urban Light Transport is finally here, and trials are under way in Cardiff, Wales for these four passenger driverless cars. It is estimated that the cost of implementation ($60m) will be 1/3 to 1/2 of that of a comparable light rail system.
posted by Why (10 comments total)
Good link.
posted by Why at 3:53 PM on February 24, 2002

As trams are increasingly becoming a feature of many towns and cities in the UK, driverless carriages are the logical next step.

I can only hope that corners haven't been cut in the safety department. There are obvious implications regarding the ability of machines to cope with track vandalism and avoiding idiots on the tracks.

Also, in Manchester there are being difficulties with youths riding on the back of the trams, yes actually on the back, with their fingers slipping and sliding on the roof. Without staff to watch for infringements like this what are the chances of a good, workable service?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:59 PM on February 24, 2002

25mph? that's not really workable for many large cities i wouldn't think.
posted by rhyax at 3:59 PM on February 24, 2002

Previously discussed - and there have been similar systems for a long time, by the way.
posted by whatnotever at 4:00 PM on February 24, 2002

25mph? that's not really workable for many large cities i wouldn't think.

Maybe not, but it's faster than the average train journey. My intercity express train home is forever getting stuck behind the local service and ends up going at less that 25. More like 15.
posted by feelinglistless at 4:01 PM on February 24, 2002

we are getting a train in houston only for the olympics, it's sad, it will only go between the stadiums. i wish the us had more/any trains
posted by rhyax at 4:05 PM on February 24, 2002

According to a load of adverts that Ford put on the Jubilee line tube trains in the year 2000 (part of their sponsership of the Journey zone at the Dome)

Average Speed in London:
1900 - 15mph
2000 - 15mph

So 25mph seems quite quick, certainly for crawling down Oxfrod Street or a comparative area.
posted by hugsnkisses at 6:05 PM on February 24, 2002

Generally quicker than the average car journey in cities also. Most urban streets have a speed limit of 30 mph. This mean that your peak speed between waiting for stoplights is 30 mph when you calculate in traffic congestion and a stoplight or stop sign on almost every corner, the actual speed drops quite a bit. Personally I find public transit to be frequently more convenient than driving because playing the parking game can add an extra 20 min. to my commutes and I still end up having to walk the same distance.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:04 AM on February 25, 2002

I live near Cardiff, and shop there quite often. The trouble I can see with this system is that Cardiff bay is quite far away from the city centre, a few miles at the least, so if they ever do get around to extending the system to the rest of the city the 25mph speed would mean it would take a long time to get anywhere else. Plus there's already a (admittedly sparse) train line servicing the same area - this may be 1/3 to a 1/2 cheaper, but a tram system with drivers would still seem to be a better option to me.
posted by jzed at 10:44 AM on February 25, 2002

Why not just invest $60 million in cheap, eco-friendly busses and taxis? 60 mil will get you a lot of subsidised journeys, licensed taxi drivers and zero emissions for everyone, (and they'll even go to the less gentrified areas too!)

How long before one of these becomes a burned-out shell in Penarth?
posted by fullerine at 12:58 PM on February 25, 2002

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