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Crosstown LRT | Metrolinx

robmausser

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[sigh] Makes me upset that the above-ground portions have to contend with traffic at intersections, and that ATC can’t be used above ground.

I am hopeful that in the next little while some kind of ATC-like technology for streetcars and trams will become common. I mean, we almost have driverless cars, surely the same technology can be adapted for something that doesn't even need to steer.

Maybe could be a later modification to the system down the road.

But we need traffic priority signaling first. We don't even have that yet and its existed for decades.
 

Johnny Au

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Caledonia station on April 13, 2021:
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The REAL

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I am hopeful that in the next little while some kind of ATC-like technology for streetcars and trams will become common. I mean, we almost have driverless cars, surely the same technology can be adapted for something that doesn't even need to steer.

Maybe could be a later modification to the system down the road.

But we need traffic priority signaling first. We don't even have that yet and its existed for decades.
I agree with all. Supposedly the traffic priority signalling is something the city refuses to let the TTC have for some reason we don't know.
 

jordanmkasla2009

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I agree with all. Supposedly the traffic priority signalling is something the city refuses to let the TTC have for some reason we don't know.
The reason why the surface sections can't have ATC right now is that the intersection crossings and guideways are all essentially unprotected and subject to incursion by pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles. Trains don't stop on a dime so automation is almost completely reliant on grade separation.
 

NoahB

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The reason why the surface sections can't have ATC right now is that the intersection crossings and guideways are all essentially unprotected and subject to incursion by pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles. Trains don't stop on a dime so automation is almost completely reliant on grade separation.
We are not asking for ATC/full automation on the grade portions, we are asking for lights to turn green for LRT vehicles 100 percent of the time based on headways instead of almost never because it is based on 'if the train is more than 5 minutes late behind schedule' as cuurently set up.
 
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aquateam

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I am hopeful that in the next little while some kind of ATC-like technology for streetcars and trams will become common. I mean, we almost have driverless cars, surely the same technology can be adapted for something that doesn't even need to steer.

Maybe could be a later modification to the system down the road.

But we need traffic priority signaling first. We don't even have that yet and its existed for decades.

I think that the case ~15 years from now will be that all the buses will be autonomous, but the streetcars will still be manually driven. Self-driving vehicle technology (from personal cars and commercial semis) will percolate into buses.

But buses have a large production volume to spread out the R&D spending, and the fleets are regularly refreshed (since buses are basically driven into the ground over 12 years.) For once-in-a-generation replacement of the ~260 streetcars and other LRVs that Toronto has, it'll take much longer before our existing fleet is replaced with autonomous trams (and there will probably be a larger price premium for it.)

The irony is that streetcars are much easier to control autonomously, since there is no lateral movement and they stay on fixed routes. Path planning algorithms would be orders of magnitude simpler. All they really need to do is correctly identify if they need to brake because of something in their path. They get dedicated signals too so they don't even need to be concerned about unprotected left turns, which are one of the main challenges with ADAS systems.

Although, really, I think that for an expensive new-build metro line like Eglinton (or even TYSSE) ATC and PSDs are international design standard features that any new system in Asia or Europe would have. But it's not worth rehashing that debate about the on-street segments.

EDIT: Just saw @W.K.Lis 's video. Surprised I never heard about that project when I was working for Siemens. Maybe because I left around the same time as that video came out.
 
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TheTigerMaster

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But buses have a large production volume to spread out the R&D spending, and the fleets are regularly refreshed (since buses are basically driven into the ground over 12 years.) For once-in-a-generation replacement of the ~260 streetcars and other LRVs that Toronto has, it'll take much longer before our existing fleet is replaced with autonomous trams (and there will probably be a larger price premium for it.)
I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that retrofitting our LFLRVs with autonomous tech might not be too difficult once the autonomous technology is available on the market. As long as the LRVs are fly-by-wire, it should be pretty straightforward to connect an autonomous driving system to the controls of the LRV.

The more difficult parts might actually the upgrades that would be needed elsewhere in the network. For example, all the network switches would need to be electronic, as they'll be no drivers available to manually move the switch. This won't be an issue on the Crosstown, but it will be an issue on the legacy streetcar network.

Electronic communications between Transit Control and the LRVs would need to be improved as well, as failed communications system would be catastrophic under autonomous operations. I'd image that some combination of cellular networks (4G, 5G, etc...) and mesh networking (essentially the streetcars wirelessly relaying messages between each other) would be sufficiently reliable. These solutions are proposed for use in autonomous automobiles as well.

It's exciting to think about the service improvements that would be delivered by autonomy. Operating costs would be significantly lower, which means we can afford to run additional trams. And without having to manage people, you'd no longer have to deal with layovers to switch drivers.
 
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W. K. Lis

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I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that retrofitting our LFLRVs with autonomous tech might not be too difficult once the autonomous technology is available on the market. As long as the LRVs are fly-by-wire, it should be pretty straightforward to connect an autonomous driving system to the controls of the LRV.

The more difficult parts might actually the upgrades that would be needed elsewhere in the network. For example, all the network switches would need to be electronic, as they'll be no drivers available to manually move the switch. This won't be an issue on the Crosstown, but it will be an issue on the legacy streetcar network.

Electronic communications between Transit Control and the LRVs would need to be improved as well, as failed communications system would be catastrophic under autonomous operations. I'd image that some combination of cellular networks (4G, 5G, etc...) and mesh networking (essentially the streetcars wirelessly relaying messages between each other) would be sufficiently reliable. These solutions are proposed for use in autonomous automobiles as well.

It's exciting to think about the service improvements that would be delivered by autonomy. Operating costs would be significantly lower, which means we can afford to run additional trams. And without having to manage people, you'd no longer have to deal with layovers to switch drivers.
We'll still want people to be on the trains to handle arguments, fights, emergencies, and tourist information (never know when a 905er may come into the 416 for a visit).
 

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