5 thoughts on “Cambridge Automated Metro

  1. Hi Mark – might you ring me about this?

    best regards
    Chris Elliott
    Cambridge News

  2. Hi this is an amazing idea….. what would you say would be the cost and expense of travel. Please do email me if you wish to reply.

    • I haven’t done the numbers as I know little about the costs involved in providing each journey – I suppose there are still many undecided variables (someone familiar with the DLR’s construction could help to take this to the next stage…or I could do some more unpaid research eventually). I’d hope that the price charged would be competitive relative to other forms of transport, with typical pricing mechanisms for rapid transit used:
      – A zone system not unlike Dublin’s Luas would be necessary to ensure that journeys exclusively outside Cambridge (zone 3), in outer Cambridge (zone 2) and between these two zones would be cheap for users but journeys through central Cambridge (zone 1) would be more expensive for users (many people would otherwise have to switch bus, deal with congestion or traffic restrictions).
      – One-time users (tourists, visitors) would be charged more via a charge for the smart card necessary for travel or increased alternative ticket prices.

      My aim would be for the price of ‘cheap’ journeys to be comparable to (or undercut where they’re silly) the price of competing bus services. Hopefully we’ll find out how realistic this is. London Underground doesn’t do too badly despite an ageing system.

  3. At last some progressive thinking on a problem that will only get worse over time. Thanks for stimulating the thinking on this – a project that would have cost about £10M if left to the council to do a initial pilot study and would likely achieved less.

    A few problems I envisage:

    * Underground – I can imagine this would take forever in terms of archeological investigations. Also objections from people on environmental grounds, I’m sure underground trains create vibrations and no doubt there are people in Cambridge especially sensitive to that sort of thing.

    * Cover South of Cambridge – seems that all investment in infrastructure tends to be in the North of Cambridge nowadays.

    Why couldn’t this be implemented via tram ? It always strikes me why Cambridge doesn’t have a tram system. Far more aesthetically pleasing and less noise than double decker buses.

    • Archaeological investigations would certainly be an inconvenience. However, the University of Cambridge recently did this for the North-West Cambridge site in a reasonable time frame. Does this have to be funded by the developer? I wonder if some grants could be attracted as Cambridge is bound to have some interesting archaeology.

      Trams (similar to Dublin’s Luas, for example) could be subject to the same congested roads that make most other forms of transport in and around the city poor. It would be a good option if it could be made to work. In central Cambridge there isn’t too much traffic due to the bollard system though running overhead wires near any historic areas probably won’t be allowed. Outside of central Cambridge what would we do to avoid simply running along roads? Green space loss would need to be avoided and there would undoubtedly have to be a lot of underground or elevated sections to get through the suburbs. This would make the tram solution effectively similar to the underground system or the monorail proposal. The latter would involve controversial skyline changes, which is why I prefer the former.

      I did consider the idea of simply closing most of the roads and using them for trams instead as an alternative in the blog post featuring this image.

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