Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DOST automated rail transport is back on track



By George Robert Valencia III, S&T Media Service

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) switches on the green light to make way forthe continuation of the development of the first all-Filipino mass transport system in a ceremonial awarding rites on June 19, 2012 at the Traders Hotel.

The awarding of contract to Miescor Builders Inc to construct the 465-meter test tack in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus is part of this year’s celebration of the Metals and Engineering (M&E) Week, according to DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center.

The AGTS will run on a track that curves from the CP Garcia Avenue near the CHED building to the area of the College of Arts building. To construct the track is the Miescor Builders Inc.,a leading construction and engineering company wholly owned by the Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corp.

“The Automated Guideway Transit System or AGTS willbe the future of mass transport systems,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said.

The AGTS is one of DOST’s high-impact technology solutions and is the first among DOST’s several proposed public transportation systems for Metro Manila, Sec. Montejo added.

Composing the project team are engineers from DOST-MIRDC, UP Diliman, and the Project Management Engineering and Design Service Office (PMEDSO). The team aimsto create a fully-automated, driverless electric transportationthat travels on an elevated rail or guideway.

The guideway will stand at an elevation of 6.1 meters supported by high-quality concrete material, while the train bodywill be composed of two adjoining coaches, each having 30-people capacity. Also, the coaches will roll on rubber tires instead of metal wheels to minimize track noise, andwill have bogies to ensure comfort and stability.

According to Engr. Jonathan Q. Puerto, Officer-in-Charge of the office of the Deputy Executive Director of DOST-MIRDC, the test track in UP Diliman will help MIRDC to fine-tune the technology’s mechanisms and operation, which include speed, stability, brake distance and power, among others.

“If all goes as planned in the construction of the guideway, we will be able to initiate the testing in October,” said Engr. Puerto.

Aside from being locally developed, theDOST’sAGTS isenvironmentally soundas it is non-polluting. It is also reliablebecause it is fully automated, and safe because the elevated guideway will not get derailed or cause road accidents. The AGT also helps reduce traffic congestion and its economic costs, estimated at P140 billion annually.
Some countries that are reaping benefits from the AGTS technology at presentinclude the United States, Japan, Singapore and Canada.

“If these countries can do it, so can the Philippines,” Sec. Montejo said.
The AGTS project is monitored by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development.