How New York City is Using AI to Improve its Mass Transit System
New York City is one of the most populous cities in the United States, and its public transportation system is essential for its citizens. However, the subway system is outdated and costly, and the bus system is often unreliable.
To improve the public transportation system, the city is looking into Autonomous Rapid Transit (A.R.T.), a train-bus hybrid that could be faster and less expensive than the subway.
The Cost of Convenience – What Goes Into Building a Subway System
The subway system in New York City is one of the oldest in the United States, and it is in need of an upgrade.
The most recent metro line, the Second Avenue Subway, is only partially complete and would cost upwards of $17 billion if it were to be fully funded.
The Bus Bump – What’s Wrong With the Status Quo?
The bus system is also unreliable, with only 2.3% of US commuters using it. This is due to the poor ride quality. Despite having 200 bus routes compared to 28 subway service lines, New Yorkers still prefer to travel by subway.
The current public transit system in the US is inadequate for the needs of the population. Mass rapid transit systems, such as subways and elevated railways, are expensive to build and require a lot of funding and legislative approval.
Buses, which are the most widely used alternative, are uncomfortable and unreliable. Autonomous Rapid Transit (A.R.T.) is a mid-tier transportation system that is being considered as an alternative, but it is still expensive and requires dedicated lanes and priority over cars.
The current metro system in New York City is outdated and unable to meet the needs of the population. All of these issues make it difficult to provide adequate public transportation in the US.
The ART of Transit – A New Way to Connect Cities
The city is looking into Autonomous Rapid Transit (A.R.T.) as an alternative to the subway and bus systems.
A.R.T. is a fully electric train-bus hybrid invented by CRRC, a mass transit manufacturer in China. It has been deployed in three Chinese cities and is being considered in many cities across the world.
A.R.T. is autonomously guided and equipped with sensors, cameras, and stabilizing technology, giving it a smoother ride than a bus. It is estimated to cost around one-fifth of the price of a traditional tram system per mile.
The first A.R.T. system opened in Zhuzhou, China in 2017, connecting the city to much of the country via high-speed rail.
The semi-autonomous system follows distinct painted lines on the road, so routes can be changed much easier than a light rail.
The vehicle itself costs about $2.2 million.
The Trackless Tram – The Pros and Cons of Autonomous Rapid Transit
For A.R.T. to operate efficiently, it needs to have consistent traffic flow or designated lanes and be given priority over cars. This is to ensure that people can get to the station quickly and easily.
New York City has the fastest metro system in the United States, but certain areas have become outdated and need to be rejuvenated.
Proposed BQX using ART in New York City
The proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) line in New York City is a proposed 16 mile streetcar line. The line that would run along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts from Sunset Park to Astoria. With 16 proposed stops, each stop would be able one mile apart.
The stops would pass by the following neighborhoods:
- Long Island City
- Brooklyn Navy Yard
- Downtown Brooklyn
- Brooklyn Heights
- Cobble Hill
- Red Hook
- Sunset Park
The estimated cost of the project is $2.73 billion. Construction expects to start in January 2024 and is targeted to be complete by 2029.
The BQX will be able to travel at speeds of up to 25 mph, and will be able to carry up to 90,000 passengers per day.
The BQX will be able to provide access to areas that are currently underserved by public transportation. The project is expected to create thousands of jobs and spur economic development in the area.
The Future of Mass Transit – How We Can Move Forward
Autonomous Rapid Transit is a promising alternative to the subway and bus systems in New York City. With the success of the A.R.T., we will be one step closer to a fully autonomous train.
It is estimated to cost one-fifth of the price of a traditional tram system per mile, and it is equipped with sensors, cameras, and stabilizing technology for a smoother ride.
A.R.T. is being considered in many cities across the world, and CRRC is sending a couple of the locomotives to Perth, Australia later this year to demonstrate the system.