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  #61  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2020, 5:48 PM
roger1818 roger1818 is offline
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
I don't think Calgary or Edmonton would ever shrink to the size of the Saskatoon cities which are 1/5 their size. No city (metro) of over 1 million in modern history has lost 80% of its population.
And we have never had a disease in modern history that has spread from its first case to 1.5 million cases and 95 thousand deaths worldwide in less than 5 months. Just because something never has happened doesn't mean it never will.

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I think that frequent train service is definitely viable between the two cities, but I don't think it will be run by VIA rail. I think that a private operator, backed by the government, with the ability to redevelop station areas will probably be the ticket. It'll basically be a real estate development company masquerading as a rail service (which is fine).
Possibly. There certainly is an argument that corridors (not just routes) that are entirely within a single province should be a provincial responsibility. It could be private or public.
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  #62  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2020, 9:00 PM
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Replying to posts from the VIA Rail thread.

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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
Calgary at least has a line and room for a potential station right in the heart of the city.
Even Calgary is a bit of a compromise as the track loops east and south of downtown before heading north and west to get to the station.


From RAC Canadian Rail Atlas

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Originally Posted by swimmer_spe View Post
My concern would be that the 2 lines would not be connected. Maybe Whyte Ave is the terminus normally, with 1 train meeting the Canadian when it goes to the current station.
So you are suggesting they spend $5+ Million dollars for a tunnel that would be used once a day at most?
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  #63  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 3:16 AM
lio45 lio45 is online now
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Seems clear that it won't work - even for the Calgary-Edmonton corridor - unless we move "closer to Europe" on a bunch of factors: ~$3 a liter gas, lots of expensive tolls on AB Hwy 2, high car registration fees discouraging ownership, and much better urban transit and walkability making being on foot in Calgary/Edmonton not such a chore.

I often go (from my main base of downtown Sherbrooke QC) to Montreal for business. Used to be about $20 in gas for the round trip (probably $15 nowadays). I'd consider taking the train instead if it were as fast (1.5 hour max) AND nearly free. (To make up for the great inconvenience of being on foot at my destination.)

If the round trip costs $15+ with the train, then there's absolutely no way that'll interest me. (In fact, even if it were a free service, it wouldn't be worth it to me; but as a cheapskate and generally somewhat of a greenie, I would likely take it then just for principle.)
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  #64  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 3:36 AM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
I often go (from my main base of downtown Sherbrooke QC) to Montreal for business. Used to be about $20 in gas for the round trip (probably $15 nowadays). I'd consider taking the train instead if it were as fast (1.5 hour max) AND nearly free. (To make up for the great inconvenience of being on foot at my destination.)

If the round trip costs $15+ with the train, then there's absolutely no way that'll interest me. (In fact, even if it were a free service, it wouldn't be worth it to me; but as a cheapskate and generally somewhat of a greenie, I would likely take it then just for principle.)
I find your viewpoint rather strange. Whenever I need to go to Montreal (from Ottawa) for business, I almost always take the train. I find the time on the train productive and Montreal is an easy city to get around by either foot or transit. On the flip side, time spent driving is a total waste and the combination of parking and traffic make driving in Montreal laborious.
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  #65  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 2:56 PM
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Originally Posted by roger1818 View Post
I find your viewpoint rather strange. Whenever I need to go to Montreal (from Ottawa) for business, I almost always take the train. I find the time on the train productive and Montreal is an easy city to get around by either foot or transit. On the flip side, time spent driving is a total waste and the combination of parking and traffic make driving in Montreal laborious.
I guess it boils down to where your final destination is. For business travellers doing a downtown to downtown thing, not having a car is no big deal. But if you're going to visit your aunt deep in the suburbs or wherever, suddenly having a car matters. But I would imagine that on the whole, downtown to downtown will probably be the most convenient option for the greatest number of people.
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  #66  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 3:47 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
I guess it boils down to where your final destination is. For business travellers doing a downtown to downtown thing, not having a car is no big deal. But if you're going to visit your aunt deep in the suburbs or wherever, suddenly having a car matters. But I would imagine that on the whole, downtown to downtown will probably be the most convenient option for the greatest number of people.
In my work, it was far more practical to take the train from Ottawa to Toronto or Montreal and then rent a car or grab a uber to get to the final destination.
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  #67  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 4:01 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
I guess it boils down to where your final destination is. For business travellers doing a downtown to downtown thing, not having a car is no big deal. But if you're going to visit your aunt deep in the suburbs or wherever, suddenly having a car matters. But I would imagine that on the whole, downtown to downtown will probably be the most convenient option for the greatest number of people.
I agree, but I was replying to lio45's comment about when he often goes "to Montreal for business" from downtown Sherbrooke QC he would only consider taking the train if it were "nearly free." My only guess is he has never taken modern train to know what it can be like.

Relating back to his comment that Calgary/Edmonton need "much better urban transit and walkability", I am not sure about Edmonton, but Calgary's old train station is only a couple hundred meters from the C-Train, and when I visited it, I found the streets quite walkable. The biggest impediment are the tracks, but if they had station entrances on both sides, that isn't an issue for those taking the train.
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  #68  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 4:22 PM
ghYHZ ghYHZ is offline
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Using Ottawa Station as an example and ever since I started travelling there in the 1980s.....I've always found it so convenient. First with frequent, easy connection on the BRT 'Transitway' and more so now with the LRT 'O-Train'. And if I was driving or someone was picking me up or dropping off.....the exit on the Queensway with access from across the city with lots of parking at the station.

Not saying the old station site right downtown wouldn't be convenient......but a suburban station with good transit and easy road access has certainly worked well for me.
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  #69  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 6:38 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
I guess it boils down to where your final destination is. For business travellers doing a downtown to downtown thing, not having a car is no big deal.
Exactly. In my case, it often involves picking up my friend and business partner who lives car-free in the Mile End, and then going places together (for business) in my car. In other cases, it involves visiting suppliers or clients on the South Shore or in Laval.

In every single case, being on foot in downtown Montreal would be problematic. I guess that if I could teleport instantly to Montreal for free, then yeah, maybe then it would make sense to use transit there, or then rent a car for a few hours...

... but even then, I can drive from my doorstep in Sherbrooke, listen to the radio (the whole trip on Freeway 10 is within range of NPR, which is a treat to listen to - high-quality news and programs compared to CBC) and be in Montreal 1.5 hour later. Also while bringing tons of stuff with me (which is sometimes needed). Boxes of paperwork, tools, etc.

I don't see the train ever coming close to beating this, unless gas is $3 a liter, there's lots of tolls on the 10, speed limit on it gets lowered to 50, and Montreal gets even more gridlocked than it is. Then yeah, okay, I'll take the train then.
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  #70  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 6:42 PM
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Originally Posted by roger1818 View Post
My only guess is he has never taken modern train to know what it can be like.
Took it plenty of times, but in Western Europe. As a kid in the late 1980s we took it from Sherbrooke to the Gaspe to visit my grandparents there, back when there was passenger rail service.

If you don't count the subway in Montreal, or the SkyTrain in Van, then I haven't taken trains in Canada since the 1980s. In other words, it's true that I haven't taken inter-city rail in Canada since the 1980s.
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  #71  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 6:46 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
But I would imagine that on the whole, downtown to downtown will probably be the most convenient option for the greatest number of people.
Convenient for anyone whose starting point is being on foot in downtown Edmonton and who's fine with being on foot in downtown Calgary, or vice versa.

I'm sure that's the case for some people - the question is, are they numerous enough for a HSR business case.

My guess is "clearly, no", but I could be wrong.
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  #72  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 6:51 PM
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I think driverless cars will kill off a lot of shorter train routes in the future, unless you set up bullet trains that give a substantial time savings. Door to door travel times are what really matter.
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  #73  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 6:57 PM
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Originally Posted by logan5 View Post
I think driverless cars will kill off a lot of shorter train routes in the future, unless you set up bullet trains that give a substantial time savings. Door to door travel times are what really matter.
Since you have obviously not bothered to read the last few posts, where exactly the same point has already been made:

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Originally Posted by jawagord View Post
I think it’s a safe bet to say the technology of the last century is not going to be the technology of the next century. These VIA threads should be re-titled, “Beating a Dead Iron Horse”. Western Canadian passenger rail isn’t coming back, it’s been obsolete for decades. Autonomous vehicles will obsolete most public transit systems in the next half century.
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Originally Posted by Urban_Sky View Post
[...]

As to your prediction, this is exactly what the automobile industry has been promising us for the past 80 years:

Quote:
In 1939, the concept of autonomous vehicles first gained mainstream exposure at GM’s Futurama exhibit. The exhibit was a vision for 20 years into the future that contained an automated highway system and illustrated how the United States could be connected in a widespread network of highways and freeways.
https://futurama.io/history-of-autonomous-driving/

I’ll gladly admit that making a prediction in the 2020 that this will happen by 2070 is certainly more realistic than making the same prediction in 1939 for 1959, but you are betting on a by then 180 year old transport mode to eclipse a 230 year old mode of transportation - what would this world do without innovators like yourself, which are willing to think outside the box...?
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  #74  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 6:57 PM
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Originally Posted by logan5 View Post
I think driverless cars ...
Exactly what I think too. That's why I made sure to mention that I enjoy listening to NPR on the Sherbrooke-Montreal drive.

Driving to Lévis is much more of a chore, as it's outside the broadcast range of NPR. In a driverless car, I'd be able to read... would be a pleasant time - comfy in a seat, with a good book and hot beverage.
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  #75  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2020, 8:04 PM
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First time in this thread. I’m no expert but I’d still like to share my opinion on this. My personal opinion is that it’d be nice if feasible, but it needs to fast enough and as economical as equivalent plane tickets.

I think it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that as of now, travelling by plane for long distances is faster that travelling by trains. Given that most people would like to travel as fast as possible, it’s necessary to make travelling by trains fast enough. To do this, high-speed rail seems to be the only feasible option in this case.

Consider Calgary-Winnipeg. The distance between two cities is around 1300km. A regular flight between the cities is about 2 hours. If we assume that the future passenger train could potentially go 300km/h, at least 4 hours is required. If technology to go 400km/h can be acquired, then it’d be a bit over 3 hours. These times don’t include things like time spent stopping at stations, waiting for signals, etc.

Future innovations in rail transport can possible make it as fast as a plane.

The second important factor is that it should be cheap. A train ticket should be worth the same or even less than a plane ticket for it to be economically attractive. Considering all the infrastructure investments for a high-speed railway, either ridership needs to be big, or government needs to make big subsidies.

The fundamental reason seems to be that Western Canada is not densely populated. If all major Canadian cities were in, for example, a piece of land equivalent to Manitoba in terms of land mass, I’m sure rail transport would be the superior way. Density is the reason why European countries, Morocco, and some Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea have them.

I personally believe that rail transport (electrified) is much cleaner than planes, so it’s good for mitigating climate change. But some challenges need to be addressed first.

Open to criticism.
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  #76  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2020, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by logan5 View Post
I think driverless cars will kill off a lot of shorter train routes in the future, unless you set up bullet trains that give a substantial time savings. Door to door travel times are what really matter.
A proper intercity train transportation strategy in 2020 would actually include driverless trains which would make a driverless cars obsolete. A proper intercity train transportation strategy in Canada would aim to reduce domestic air travel. Personally I think that it is totally on the government as to why the second largest country in the world doesn't have a convenient intercity train network. Perhaps the airlines are in the HOC's coffers?

Driverless cars are just not there yet when it comes to any kind of transportation strategy. Right now, they can only go at lower speeds (like <50km/hr, IIRC). Besides, you would need driverless cars to go 100km+ to attract more ridership for a route like Calgary > Edmonton and I am not confident that driverless vehicles would ever get to that level without being compared to train services.


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Originally Posted by EspionNoir View Post

The fundamental reason seems to be that Western Canada is not densely populated. If all major Canadian cities were in, for example, a piece of land equivalent to Manitoba in terms of land mass, I’m sure rail transport would be the superior way. Density is the reason why European countries, Morocco, and some Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea have them.

I personally believe that rail transport (electrified) is much cleaner than planes, so it’s good for mitigating climate change. But some challenges need to be addressed first.

Open to criticism.
One of the key reasons to building rail transit in Canada would be to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions. One of the top polluters in the world is the shipping industry and the airline industry.

Personally I think that intercity rail (HSR or otherwise) in Western Canada can only be justified for a Calgary > Red Deer > Edmonton route ATM for two reasons:

1. Edmonton and Calgary are both one of Canada's largest cities that actually commute to each other fairly often.
2. Laying down tracks in BC is going to be hella expensive as it would have to cut through the mountains.
3. Laying down tracks in BC will reduce speed because of the topography and may make it better to just fly from BC eastwards.
4. SK and MB would probably not have the ridership to justify the infrastructure.
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  #77  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2020, 2:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
Exactly what I think too. That's why I made sure to mention that I enjoy listening to NPR on the Sherbrooke-Montreal drive.

Driving to Lévis is much more of a chore, as it's outside the broadcast range of NPR. In a driverless car, I'd be able to read... would be a pleasant time - comfy in a seat, with a good book and hot beverage.
If you own a smartphone and you are smart enough to not rely on Apple, chances are good that your phone can play the same FM stations as your car radio. In fact, I have eagerly tuned in to AFN (American Forces Network) from my Siemens C45 when I still lived in Germany (so more than a decade ago) and wanted to practice my English (as this was the only English radio station):

Quote:
I've never heard of being able to get radio through my phone. How's it work?

You can easily turn your phone into an FM radio if it has an embedded chipset and the proper circuitry to connect that chip to an FM antenna. All you need is an app like NextRadio, which lets you tune into the signal, and something to act as an antenna, such as headphones or nonwireless speakers.

[...]

Which devices can get FM?
Many phone makers, including Samsung, LG, HTC and Motorola, have enabled FM radios in the chipsets. FM radio app NextRadio has published a list of devices and carriers that support its software, and you can download the app here. Once you've downloaded it, the app will discover the activated chip.

The one big name missing from the list is Apple.
https://www.cnet.com/news/everything...on-your-phone/


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Originally Posted by scryer View Post
A proper intercity train transportation strategy in 2020 would actually include driverless trains which would make a driverless cars obsolete. A proper intercity train transportation strategy in Canada would aim to reduce domestic air travel. Personally I think that it is totally on the government as to why the second largest country in the world doesn't have a convenient intercity train network. Perhaps the airlines are in the HOC's coffers?
We are still far away from driverless trains on non-segregated railway networks (unlike the Vancouver Skytrain or certain Metro networks like in Torino/Italy), but just installing ATP (Automatic Train Protection) to get rid of the second locomotive engineer would reduce labor costs significantly...

Quote:
Driverless cars are just not there yet when it comes to any kind of transportation strategy. Right now, they can only go at lower speeds (like <50km/hr, IIRC). Besides, you would need driverless cars to go 100km+ to attract more ridership for a route like Calgary > Edmonton and I am not confident that driverless vehicles would ever get to that level without being compared to train services.
You are touching the key issue which prevents the widespread implementation of driverless cars: they can communicate efficiently with each other and therefore predict each other's movements, but they are clueless when it comes to predict the actions and reactions of a human driver. As a result, driverless cars will be limited to speeds where the breaking distances are rather short and that indeed means <50 km/h, unless there was a road infrastructure which was dedicated to automatic cars and this is highly unlikely to happen given the high economic cost of duplicating a meaningful road network for automatic cars and the high political cost of banning the owners of non-automatic cars (which represent some 80-90% of the electorate in any developed country) from existing roads. This is the same reason why High Speed Rail has succeeded, but Hovertrains or Maglevs have failed, just like the Hyperloop will inevitably fail (even if it ever managed to overcome all the technological challenges, which still look insurmountable): because HSR was able to offer much faster travel speeds on dedicated rail infrastructure, but still use the conventional tracks of the legacy rail network, while Hovertrains, Maglevs or Hyperloops rely on every meter of their route to be built to their specifications.

That does not mean that driverless cars will fail, but they will only be suitable for trips which don't require high speeds, thus trips on urban or suburban roads, such as:
  • Short commutes to work.
  • Short trips to school, shops or for errands.
  • Short trips to visit family and friends.
Luckily (for manufacturers of automatic cars or the programmers of their software), these trips account for the vast majority of the average car owner, which means that the dramatically lower operating costs of an electric car will still be a strong incentive to ditch their conventional car completely and to cover the few trips which would require Highway speeds (or higher) with car rentals, taxis, trains or planes.

However, the most dramatic effect of driverless cars will be that it allows the like of Uber to lower their costs that owning a car (even an electric one) will become a luxury which is pointless for the average household (a bit like owning a caravan for the 1-2 camping trips you do per year). The car in the garage will be replaced by a "Mobility as a service" provider, which you will be able to book like an Uber and which will arrive in the size you require (i.e. small car for trips alone or a van for family trips).

This will completely destroy the status of the car as the by-default mode of transport and drive people towards planning their travel chains with the modes of transport which best suit their needs. And given the slow speeds driverless cars allow, they will preferably use them to access the next transit station: People will book with their App the train departure they want catch and the App will tell them when their driverless Taxi will pick them up. In order to reduce costs further, the Taxis could pick up on the way other passengers for the same train (just like UberPool). Tranist would be limited to frequent rail or (very-limited-stop) bus services and driverless Taxis would pool and shuttle passengers between the transit station and their homes.

Therefore, I strongly believe that driverless cars are a massive opportunity rather than threat for public transit and intercity trains, especially if the authorities exploit the data generated by driverless cars to introduce congestion pricing for using congested streets (which will strongly discourage the demand for driving all the way from the suburb to downtown)...
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  #78  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2020, 3:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Urban_Sky View Post
You are touching the key issue which prevents the widespread implementation of driverless cars: they can communicate efficiently with each other and therefore predict each other's movements, but they are clueless when it comes to predict the actions and reactions of a human driver. As a result, driverless cars will be limited to speeds where the breaking distances are rather short and that indeed means <50 km/h...
There are cars on the road right now that can drive themselves on the freeway at over 100 km/h, and for 2021, Cadillac's will have lane changing ability. Imagine what these cars will be able to do in 10 years. These cars will be able to do 160 km/h + no problem.
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  #79  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2020, 3:18 AM
Urban_Sky Urban_Sky is offline
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Originally Posted by logan5 View Post
There are cars on the road right now that can drive themselves on the freeway at over 100 km/h, and for 2021, Cadillac's will have lane changing ability. Imagine what these cars will be able to do in 10 years. These cars will be able to do 160 km/h + no problem.
Automatic driving is not the same as driverless (i.e. without human supervision) driving...
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  #80  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2020, 6:54 AM
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We are still far away from driverless trains on non-segregated railway networks (unlike the Vancouver Skytrain or certain Metro networks like in Torino/Italy), but just installing ATP (Automatic Train Protection) to get rid of the second locomotive engineer would reduce labor costs significantly...

I should of made myself clear that I was indeed talking about automated trains on a segregated network if it were to ever happen. No way in hell would I trust people to operate heavy vehicles alongside with machines operating heavy vehicles independent of human supervision.

I would imagine that if one were to build a Calgary > Red Deer > Edmonton line that you would need to construct new railroads anyways (?). So why not make it electric, automated, and fast?


Quote:
they can communicate efficiently with each other and therefore predict each other's movements, but they are clueless when it comes to predict the actions and reactions of a human driver.
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Originally Posted by Urban_Sky View Post
Therefore, I strongly believe that driverless cars are a massive opportunity rather than threat for public transit and intercity trains, especially if the authorities exploit the data generated by driverless cars to introduce congestion pricing for using congested streets (which will strongly discourage the demand for driving all the way from the suburb to downtown)...
You kind of kill your own point here because since automated vehicles can only communicate with each other effectively (machine to machine) then they would need their own segregated right-of-way to operate on any kind of distance.

It just isn't simply setting aside some lanes on a highway for driverless vehicles. Let me break it down:

1. You would have to construct some form of grade separation whether it would be a separate road or an elevated path (if you want to get fancy). With driverless ANYTHING, you absolutely CANNOT have the machine interact with the human-driver. Oh and don't forget to make barriers for any wildlife hazards that could interact with the vehicle on the journey.

2. Next you would have to construct grade-separations at every intersection (assuming that you follow the Queen Elizabeth Hwy route) it crosses along the path. These can be tunneled or elevated - your choice. And when these driverless vehicles get to their destined city, they will continue to need grade-separation until their final destination.

3. These vehicles will then need to park themselves somewhere. This will require a glorified parking lot or a parkade of some-sort. And don't forget that we need to make these parking structures accessible as well, so we need elevators, escalators, bathrooms, and good lighting. We also will need a good connection to intracity transit of some sort.

4. Speaking of which, the vehicles will also come at a cost as well. In this fantasy, are people sharing rides with each other or are they paying to just auto-drive themselves (like 1 person per vehicle)? Because now you need a fleet that is able to handle an anticipated capacity.

I say all this because at the end of the day, you are pretty much paying for the same infrastructure that a train system would require ANYWAYS. Except with an intercity driverless vehicle system you move less PPHPD. The train technology that we have available to us now can cleanly sustain the route demand for an extremely long time. I personally like automated trains that would travel at high speeds but there are plenty of options out there. I lean towards fast travelling automated trains only because if the tracks are separated anyways then we may as well cut our operating expenses by using automated systems. Of course if the tracks are shared with other rail services then that would change my opinion.

Even if the trains had drivers, the amount of driverless vehicles that you would need to purchase for this route would be extraordinary. I know for a fact that part of the appeal of driverless vehicles is that it is a private form of transportation. With that said, I also understand that they can accommodate up to (I think) 4-6 people? It's still less PPHPD than what a train of any technology would deliver.

If Edmonton or Calgary had amazing driverless dedicated roads that this intercity driverless system could connect to then this would be a very different conversation. However no city (to my recollection) has got a driverless vehicle system operating, nevermind a driverless car network that has them travelling 150 km/hr+ without human supervision. This isn't Tron lol.

If you want AB to be make innovative steps forward then a high speed (automated) rail link between Calgary and Edmonton would serve the region for well over 50 years with minimal operating expenses.
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Last edited by scryer; Apr 12, 2020 at 7:33 AM.
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