New Transit Model Needed In Reserve

The classic model of a train stopping at different stations along its track is no longer feasible in a state as densely populated as New Jersey. Technology is now at a point where we can adopt a model that has been suggested for decades in different forms, but until recently, it was not technologically feasible. The electric car model of having the batteries and motors built into the floor of the vehicle would allow each train car to be its own engine. This would allow a train to be planned such that the last car in each train will stop at the first station. With each subsequent train car stopping at the next station along the line. This would allow for each car to stop at a fraction of the stations. This fraction would be dependent on many factors including but not limited to: number of cars, ridership data, time of day, time of week, and recharging schedule. This would make each passenger's commute shorter by reducing the number of delays for stops at stations, and allow some passengers to go directly to a station that required other stops to get to with the current model.


There are also a number of technological advancements for this concept as well. First, even if the train cars are not trusted to be fully autonomous, that same autonomous technology would be able to communicate and coordinate with the other cars on the line and link up as needed; or run closer schedules by alerting each other to their respective locations, speeds, and directions. That means that a car leaving a station can pull out behind another train and link up to that train. This would allow for lowering of air resistance through drafting. It would also allow for train cars to arrive and depart faster because of the coordination. Thus, more trains would be on the tracks at a given time without the need for additional tracks. Second, using battery power would reduce the demand on electrical lines. While those lines should still be used where they are available to lesson the needed recharging stops, the batteries would allow for the trains to continue operation when the electric lines are inoperable, or under maintenance. Third, since each car will be its own engine, they will each be capable of having regenerative braking. This will conserve power, as well as, allowing increased braking capability without increasing the wear on replaceable break pads.


With all the emphasis on the age of the current cars, now is the perfect time to look at new railcar technologies. One set of cars could be purchased and run on one series of stations as a pilot. Once the data from the initial runs is collected and analyzed, decisions would be made as to if and how to expand the program.


Even if the only implemented program is the use of battery and electric cars used to keep service running in the event of a power outage or maintenance of power lines, it will still be a benefit to the passengers to have the trains continually running.

Idea Submitted by Gary Vetro

List your Agency /Division / Bureau, County, City Univ. or Other Department of Transportation

Idea Champion - Who at NJDOT, NJ Transit or NJ Motor Vehicle? (if known) NJ Transit

Why is this a priority and what are the benefits for the State/County/City?

Trains are overcrowded and electrical problems have frequently caused delays to increase that overcrowding. New technology is needed to allow for more cars to pickup more passengers without the need for expanding infrastructure. Having trains that could coordinate with each other to run closer together, and/or minimize stops passengers have to endure will increase efficiency and give passengers a better overall experience.


Archive: 2018 Ideas
Archive: 2018 Ideas
Idea No. 60