MANILA, Philippines – When the testing stage of the first-ever homegrown train is completed, the public will be seeing a bigger coach that can accommodate twice as many as the prototype that made its maiden run at the University of the Philippines Diliman on Friday, December 14.
Also called the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT), the train, which is envisioned to be a “fully-automated and emission-free transportation,” can currently carry up to 60 passengers per trip, according to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.
“Results and recommendations that will come out from the test will become bases for designing a regular-sized version of the train,” Montejo disclosed.
The stability, brake distance, and power of the AGT will be tested on a track that stands at an average elevation of 6.1 meters, and stretches 465 meters long from CP Garcia St to Jacinto St near the College of Fine Arts in UP Diliman.
Cheaper than foreign train
Local developers hope the AGT will further propel the development of the country’s railway system and the economy in general.
“Developing the train costs just about one-fifth of the cost of acquiring a similar foreign train. We want to locally fabricate the components to make the vehicle cost-effective and sustainable,” Montejo said.
UP President Alfredo Pascual agreed with Montejo, saying that the development of the train will bring about economic benefits to the country.
“One practically stimulates the economy by reducing costs, speeding up the movement of people, or developing an industry.”
UP plans to conduct a feasibility study on the marketability of the AGT if it is deployed.
One of DOST’s High-Impact Technology Solutions (HITS), the AGT has been developed in collaboration with the UP National Center for Transportation Studies, College of Engineering, and the National Institute of Geological Sciences.
The project was subcontracted to local companies Miescor Builders and Fil-Asia Automotive, and was funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).
Solution to traffic
The AGT is being promoted as a solution to the worsening vehicular traffic in Metro Manila and in other urban centers in the country.
A study conducted by the UP National Center for Transportation Studies revealed that the roads in the Philippines are the most dense in Southeast Asia except Singapore, costing the country nearly 2% of its Gross Domestic Product.
More than 900,000 passenger cars are registered nationwide. In particular, 23,000 buses, 36,000 taxis, and 217,000 jeepneys provide public transport services to Filipinos, 80% of whom commute to work, school and other destinations on a daily basis.
But according to UP-NCTS’ Dr Regin Regidor, who headed the study, the AGT may address traffic problems only in specific locations.
“We have to temper our expectations because we might be expecting that the system will be like Japan’s bullet train. No, it’s not. That would be too much. But if we are able to fix this system, it will really be feasible for airports and CBDs (Central Business Districts),” Regidor told Rappler in an earlier interview.
Based on its maiden journey, the AGT reportedly travelled at speeds of 10 to 12 kph. – Rappler.com
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