Improving Travel Times for the Light Rail Green Line

Updated: 09/03/2014 6:45 PM
Created: 09/03/2014 4:11 PM
By: Tim Sherno

Metro Transit says it continues to work on improving travel times for the Light Rail Green Line.

Spokesman Drew Kerr says it’s been an on-going effort. "Forty-eight minutes in published schedule is our goal, and we've been working since the opening of the line to get to that goal," Kerr said.

A system called predictive priority is being tested at three intersections in St. Paul: Victoria, Chatsworth and Grotto streets. Kerr says the tests are going well. "Since that started we have seen really positive results. Trains are moving more freely through those intersections, seeing some reduction in travel time."

The system predicts a train's arrival at an intersection and gives trains priority over traffic.

Kerr says it's possible that predictive priority system could be applied to more intersections in the future.

Local inventor Rick Musachio says he has created a better system, called Always Green. Musachio says if implemented trains would no longer need to make stops with automotive traffic.

"Absolutely, you could run that all day it's never going to stop; it's never going to stop at a red light. Never," Musachio said.

According to Musachio, lights would be timed and set at predicable intervals, trains would then be given real-time information about travel speeds that would allow a train to make a green light. In other words, trains would adapt to lights traveling at optimal speeds to blend into traffic.

Musachio estimates his system would cost $40,000 per intersection, but argues the cost is small compared to the price-tag of lost productivity and fuel costs.

Metro Transit has not connected with Musachio.


Photo: KSTP/File

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