Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.
Hyperloop Is Bringing Next-Gen Tech to Public Trains
As construction of the first working hyperloop proceeds in the Nevada desert, the technologies being developed for the passenger pods that will operate in the supersonic tube transport system are finding their way to the conventional rails.
Railway Track & Structures reports that Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has launched a partnership with Deutsche Bahn (DB) to develop an “innovation train” that would incorporate features such as augmented reality windows and a digital ecosystem into high-speed conventional trains.
The goal: to make passenger rail transportation more efficient, more enjoyable for the passenger — and profitable once again.
“One of the biggest issues in public transportation is the need for public subsidies,” HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn told RT&S. “New technologies and new ideas can create a better passenger experience while solving these issues through new monetization strategies and business models, with the Hyperloop and all other forms of transportation.”
Development of the Innovation Train will rely on another high-tech process: crowdsourcing. HTT will oversee the community-input and collaboration part of the train’s development, and DB will finance the implementation of the technologies. The partnership aims to have a train incorporating the new enhanced passenger experience features ready for testing and evaluation early next year.
Rio Opens New Metro Line in the Nick of Time
Athletes and officials converging on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games, which begin Friday, will have the city’s newest metro line at their disposal after all.
A security guard stand in a recently completed rail car in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Shanghai Daily reports that Brazil’s interim president, Michael Tener, formally dedicated Line 4 of the Rio metro on July 30.
Work began on the six-station line in 2010, and it now connects the city’s tourist district in the east with the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca in the west, where many of the Olympic venues are located. According to an article on the opening in Railway Gazette International, the line connects with existing Metro Line 1 at its eastern terminus at General Osório station. The six-station line is entirely underground except for a cable-stayed crossing of the Lagoa da Tijuca near its western end at Jardim Oceánico.
The line is expected to carry 300,000 riders a day. During the games, use of the line will be restricted to Olympic athletes, dignitaries, organizers and others with special access to games facilities.
In order to ensure things go smoothly during the Olympics, Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., the subsidiary of China’s CRRC that built the line’s trainsets, will operate the line for the duration.
“Line 4 will contribute to making the Rio Olympic Games the best in history and will become an important legacy for the city, improving the quality of life of the people who live here,” Rio State Transportation Secretary Rodrigo Viera told China’s Xinhua news agency earlier in the month.
Know of a project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.
Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.