The pilot program will demonstrate the benefits of vehicle-assist and automation (VAA) applications for full-size public transit buses.
In 2009, LTD was selected to be part of a pilot demonstration project that utilizes a magnetically controlled vehicle guidance system. This exciting project comes at no cash cost to LTD and is hoped to result in exciting transit applications across the U.S. The research team includes the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), AC Transit in Oakland California, the University of California PATH Program, and Lane Transit District. Caltrans provided the cash match for the $2.4 million demonstration project.
Benefits of Bus Guidance
Improved vehicular safety in traffic
Better ride quality and improved passenger cabin safety
May permit narrower dedicated bus lanes
May reduce long-term pavement cost
Aids level boarding; and
Creates narrow horizontal gap at boarding platform to comply with ADA
2009 - Two year demonstration project started in January
2009 - 2012 - System refinement and integration
Fall 2012 - early 2013: public operational testing on a single EmX vehicle
All testing on the vehicle guidance program is currently suspended and under review.
VEHICLE GUIDANCE TECHNOLOGY TESTING VIDEO
Objective: To demonstrate the technical feasibility of lateral vehicle guidance and how vehicle guidance can improve transit agency operational efficiency, performance and service quality.
The Team: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), together with AC Transit in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Lane Transit District (LTD), supported by the University of California PATH Program.
Budget: The total budget of the proposed project is $2.4M, including $1.9 M from the US DOT and $500,000 cash cost share from Caltrans.No LTD funds.
Technology: The vehicle guidance system deployed in Eugene will use the magnetic marker technology only. AC Transit will test the two mutually complementary technologies for vehicle guidance, magnetic marker sensing and Differential GPS combined with inertial sensors.
While vehicle guidance using magnetic markers is new to transit, the technology has been field tested for snowplow guidance and snowblower automated steering applications on the Donner Pass since 1998.Under these most severe operating conditions, the magnets have remained in place through multiple freeze/thaw cycles each year.
This project demonstrates a technology that is unique to transit in the U.S. at this time, and puts Oregon in a national leadership position.When applied more widely, it could provide benefits to transit operations throughout the country. The magnetic guidance for system has been demonstrated on a variety of experimental transit vehicles, but this will be its first application in revenue service and the first opportunity to determine its operational benefits in daily transit service
The lane assist and precision docking capabilities of vehicle guidance have been tried on a limited basis in a few European cities, but are not in use yet in the U.S.They have been developed and tested extensively on test tracks and in 2008 PATH performed a limited implementation on a public arterial boulevard in Oakland, CA during off-hours with an experimental bus without revenue passengers.The technology has advanced to the stage that it is now ready for daily public operation, and the LTD EmX service is considered the ideal environment for that initial assessment because of its variety of operating transitway.