The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced on Monday, April 15, two new transportation projects ? the ?Road Train? and the remodeling of the Philippine National Railway (PNR)?s idle trains ? as part of DOST?s Advanced Transport Program.
DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo introduced the new projects during the demonstration run of the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) with Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III at the AGT test site in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.
The Road Train is a composed of up to five interconnected coaches traveling on rubber tires similar to normal vehicles.
It is designed to run on major highways like EDSA to complement the city?s existing commuter traffic system.
Although the Road Train?s functions are similar to tramways in other countries, it is mainly powered by a hybrid diesel-electric system, hence, it is not dependent on electricity and will not require the usual suspended cables used in trams.
The Road Train will also have a wide, fully air-conditioned interior that can carry up 120 passengers per coach. A new Road Train system can accommodate up to more than 650,000 passenger trips per day of operation if fully implemented, according to Montejo.
?[The Road Train] simply harnesses [railway] trains? effectiveness in moving people and applies this principle to road transport,? he explained.
In addition, the DOST chief announced a partnership with PNR last year to retrofit 40 idle trains donated by the Japanese government.
DOST engineers are now remodeling the coaches? bogies and also overhauling their power systems to reactivate the trains and also make them suited for PNR tracks.
Both transport projects are scheduled to produce prototypes by the end of 2013.
Meanwhile, the AGT is considered the first Filipino-developed train. Its prototype in UP Diliman is being developed into a fully-automated or driverless people mover by DOST in consultation with UP experts.
The elevated, electrically driven train came two years after Aquino announced a research and development (R&D) collaboration between the DOST and UP to produce ?a new train system? during his 2011 State of the Nation Address.
AGT?s bigger, regular version in Bicutan, Taguig City is also scheduled for completion by year-end, said the DOST chief.
?This AGT (in UP) is still a light version of the intended mass transport. The regular version is comparable to our present rail systems MRT and LRT, capable of carrying up to 120 passengers from 30 per coach,? he said.
?True to the vision, our development of the AGT has produced two new advanced transportation systems that can solve our vehicular traffic problems,? said Montejo. — DOST-STII