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Obama’s bullish on high-speed rail

Jeff Siegel | Friday April 17th, 2009 | 4 Comments

high%20speed%20rail.jpg
In an effort to relieve traffic congestion, save energy, and clean up the air, President Obama has called for the swift development of a high-speed passenger rail system.

The President said that this was not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future, and that the country could not afford not to invest in a major upgrade to rail travel. Certainly we couldn’t agree more. But thanks to decades of complacency, this, like many other desperately needed projects, will not be easy.


The fact is, rail is one of the cheapest and most fuel-efficient forms of transportation available today. But the unfortunate truth is that our current rail system is nothing short of an absolute joke when compared with the rest of the world. Running primarily on diesel, and with limited destinations, we are significantly behind the eight ball on this.
So yes, our rail system needs a major overhaul. But will the Obama administration, and all those heavily-funded oil-loving bureaucrats in Washington offer more than just rhetoric? We certainly hope so. But we also have to be realistic. The $8 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the $1 billion a year for five years which is requested in the federal budget, is not going to cut it.
To truly transform our rail system, it would likely cost trillions of dollars over the next few decades. Just to lay high-speed rail between the major cities in California would cost roughly $40 billion. And that’s just one system. Of course, it would still be worth every penny. A high-speed train system in California (one that would run from Fresno to Los Angeles in less than an hour and a half), would…
* Create about 160,000 construction-related jobs, and about 450,000 permanent jobs.
* Generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue surplus
* Reduce air pollution and related health care costs
* Reduce auto accident fatalities and injuries
* Relieve traffic congestion – which, by the way, costs about $20 billion a year in wasted fuel and time lost.
Of course, we still can’t lose sight of that $40 billion price tag. This isn’t chump change we’re talking about here. But to serve all those travelers using the high-speed train system, California would have to build almost 3,000 lane-miles of freeway, as well as five airport runways and 90 departure gates by 2020. This would cost more than double the price tag on the high-speed train system.
The integration of a high-speed rail system in this country would truly be an economic and environmental winner. And for all those folks that get all fired up over foreign oil reliance, this is one of your best solutions! The question, however, is will the new administration’s desire to upgrade our rail system be matched on the state and local level?
You see, the administration has urged states and local communities to develop plans for a network of corridors (between 100 and 600 miles), that will compete for federal money. The grants will then be decided upon by the end of the summer. But beyond those grants, even more capital will need to be raised to accomplish such a lofty and necessary goal.
So lets hope those on the local level don’t allow outdated misconceptions and personal prejudices about high-speed rail to impede some much needed progress. Because if this is done right, not only will we eventually have a way to displace billions of barrels of foreign oil without having to make any major sacrifices – but we will also have a system that will ultimately generate revenue while enabling us to provide a stronger, cleaner transportation infrastructure for future generations.


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  • WK

    In England, they have more rail than we have roads, things are starting to change. Las Vegas inner city rail system, mainly around the strip,and expandind beyond that, San Jose downtown moved completely to rail replacing congested bus transit.

  • Demetrius

    I didn’t believe in high speed rail until I visited Japan and saw how amazing it could be. I think high speed rail is a no-brainer. Getting a bunch of commuter cars off the roads to free them up for trucks and other commercial transportation and significantly reduce shipping costs is just invaluable in the long term. Just like the interstate highway system before it, high speed rail is expensive, but worth the investment. Infrastructure is the lifeblood of industry.

  • sloane

    I would love to have high-speed trains…but I’m skeptical… I would rather go for broke. If we’re going to get trains, I would rather go massively, head-over-heels into debt and hope that the war-level spending will stimulate the economy and create jobs and leave us with something useful…rather than a train that barely goes faster than my car–but provides less convenience and costs more….
    John Tantillo has a marketing and branding blog on which he publishes weekly brand winner/loser post. Last week, he named “The Train To Nowhere” the loser, and he makes some very good points, asserting that it does not respond to any real need but instead follows the “build-it-and-they-will-come” model adopted by the now infamous American automakers. But with the added side-effect of disincentivize the development of alternatively-powered vehicles, with any (unlikely) success also putting further strain on already-struggling airlines. Since the supposed “high-speed” rail would not even be considered as such in other countries, Tantillo characterizes this proposal as greenwashing: “Thus another sin against marketing: window-dressing your brand as something it is not.”
    Full post: John Tantillo’s Brand Winner… And Loser: The U.S. Navy and the Train To Nowhere.

  • Jake Bailey

    Perhaps this would be of interest:
    1403 Leeward Road Anderson, SC 29625-5927 20 November 1997
    Public Affairs Officer
    FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 400 Seventh St. SW
    Washington, DC 20590
    Re: Safety Suggestion: Development of RAILBLAZER, a Robotic Pilot Vehicle System for Railway Train Safety
    Gentlemen:
    As a retired engineer and part of the citizenry of this nation, I have become very concerned about the terrible railway accidents occurring here and in foreign countries and the carnage left in their wake. I wish to propose a solution, which is well within the state of the art today. For reference, I have dubbed it RAILBLAZER.
    DESCRIPTION: RAILBLAZER REFERS TO A SELF-CONTAINED UNMANNED ROBOTIC VEHICLE SYSTEM OPERATING, THROUGH A SOFT INTERFACE, IN CONCERT WITH A MAIN RAILWAY LOCOMOTIVE TO WARN OF EN ROUTE TRAVEL HAZARDS WHICH WOULD ENDANGER THE CONNECTED TRAIN SYSTEM OR OTHERS.
    RAILBLAZER, RUNNING AHEAD OF THE LOCOMOTIVE-TRAIN SYSTEM, WOULD BE THE PILOT VEHICLE OR TRAVELING SENTINEL, SENSING ABNORMALITIES AND OBSTRUCTIONS AND WARNING THE FOLLOWING MAIN LOCOMOTIVE OF ACTUAL OR INCIPIENT HAZARDS. THIS MANDATES THAT IT PROCEED AHEAD OF THE TRAIN AT A DISTANCE EXCEEDING THE LOCOMOTIVE’S STOPPING ABILITY, WHICH VARIES WITH ITS SPEED, WEIGHT, BRAKING ABILITY, AMBIENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, AND OTHER FACTORS. THIS DISTANCE WOULD NOT BE REDUCED BY THE OUTREACH OF ITS SENSING SYSTEMS FOR IT WILL BE CONTINUOUSLY MONITORING CONDITIONS AT ITS INSTANTANEOUS LOCATIONS AS WELL. THIS VEHICLE WOULD BE DESIGNED TO DETECT HAZARDS, ALARM THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE, AND TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT ITSELF IF POSSIBLE. OTHERWISE, IT WOULD SERVE AS A SACRIFICIAL VEHICLE, TAKING THE HAZARDOUS ENCOUNTER IN SUBSTITUTION FOR THE MAIN TRAIN SYSTEM.
    RAILBLAZER WOULD HAVE TO REMAIN IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE. IT WOULD HAVE TO SENSE OBSTACLES, PHYSICAL OBSTRUCTIONS, OUT-OF-TOLERANCE TRACK OR ROADBED CONDITIONS (VIZ. TRACK MISALIGNMENTS, MOVEMENTS, SPACING, ETC.), ITS OWN UNSCHEDULED OR ERRATIC MOTIONS, OR ANY OTHER ABNORMALITIES. ALARMS AND CRITICAL DATA WOULD HAVE TO BE COMMUNICATED (IN ALL WEATHER, DISTANCE, AND TERRAIN CONDITIONS) TO THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE, EVEN INITIATING THE AUTOMATIC STOPPAGE OF THE TRAIN SHOULD THE OPERATOR(S) NOT REACT SOON ENOUGH.
    THE VEHICLE STRUCTURE SHOULD BE DESIGNED FOR LIGHT WEIGHT TO PROVIDE FUEL ECONOMY AND TO MINIMIZE COLLISION DAMAGE TO OTHERS, YET PROTECT THE COMPONENTS AND FACILITIES HOUSED WITHIN. THIS SUGGESTS A FRANGIBLE STRUCTURE TO SOME DEGREE. THE WEIGHT COULD BE MINIMIZED BY A PROVISION FOR IN-TRIP REFUELING FROM THE MOTHER LOCOMOTIVE, REDUCING THE REQUIREMENT FOR STORAGE OF LARGE QUANTITIES OF FUEL. THE OUTER SHAPE AND FAIRING SHOULD BE AERODYNAMICALLY STREAMLINED. RAILBLAZER
    MUST BE MORE MANEUVERABLE THAN THE MAIN TRAIN SYSTEM IN ORDER TO ADJUST ITS POSITION FOR STATION KEEPING (RUNNING AND RE-FUELING) UNDER PREVAILING CONDITIONS SUCH AS; GRADES, WEIGHT, ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, ETC. WHICH AFFECT MOMENTUM AND BRAKING EFFECTIVENESS.
    THIS VEHICLE WOULD HAVE TO SENSE ITS OWN MOTION (BASIC AND DERIVATIVES) IN ALL AXES AND PROVIDE ALARMS ON THAT BASIS. IT WOULD HAVE TO KNOW IF IT WERE UPSET OR TUMBLING BECAUSE OF SOME OBSTACLE OR ACTION AND BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE TO A HIGH DEGREE DURING SUCH TIMES.
    THIS ROBOTIC VEHICLE COULD HAVE SOME TRACK CLEARING CAPABILITY IF FEASIBILITY PERMITS.
    ALTERNATIVELY, OR IN EARLY DEVELOPMENT PROTOTYPES, ON-BOARD PROVISIONS COULD BE MADE FOR A HUMAN OPERATOR TO OBSERVE AND ASSIST IN THE OPERATION AS AN ADDITIONAL PRECAUTION. THE OPERATOR OR HUMAN MONITOR WOULD BE PROVIDED WITH MONITORS, CONTROLS, VOICE COMMUNICATIONS, SAFETY SYSTEMS, AND ESCAPE DEVICES. OTHER THAN THESE PROVISIONS, THE BASIC VEHICLE DESIGN WOULD BE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME AS FOR THE UNMANNED VEHICLE. IN THIS CONCEPT, ONLY ONE HUMAN WOULD BE EXPOSED (IN A MORE CONTROLLABLE VEHICLE) AS CONTRASTED WITH THE PRESENT SITUATION WHERE AN ENTIRE TRAINLOAD OF PEOPLE ARE VULNERABLE.
    For my own edification, I have Written some outline design-development criteria. I would be most happy to polish that up and send it to you if it would help your evaluation of my suggestion.
    My hope is that this proposed state-of-the-art vehicle would avert some of the tragic accidents happening on the railways of this country and in foreign countries. With the advance designs of train systems in the works, it is unfortunate that safety is sacrificed just because our train systems don’t know the hazards which lurk ahead. All of the regular periodic maintenance inspections of the tracks and roadbeds are of little value if a mudslide engulfs the tracks or a high voltage power pole falls across the tracks. There are so many things which can immediately turn safe conditions into hazards. This is not just a performance improvement program which I am suggesting, but a humanitarian effort. I’d like to see the U.S.A. take the lead in this.
    Thank you for your consideration of my suggestion.
    Sincerely,
    y2A / /2/’t¬ß;
    ,Jake S. Bailey
    TEL 864-262-6433 FAX 864-2622-0727
    Copy: Mr. James E. Hall, Chairman
    NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD 490 L’Enfant Plaza SW
    Washington, DC 20594
    National Transportation Safety Board Washington, D.C. 20594
    Office of Railroad Safety
    Telephone: 202-314-6430 Facsimile: 202-314-6497
    January 16, 1998
    Mr. Jake S. Bailey 1403 Leeward Road
    Anderson, South Carolina 29625-5927
    Dear Mr. Bailey:
    Thank you for your November 20, 1997, letter recommending the development of “Railblazer,” a robotic pilot vehicle system for railway train safety. While we share your concern regarding rail accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board’s mission is to determine the probable cause of transportation accidents and formulate safety recommendations to improve transportation safety and prevent similar accidents from occurring. The Safety Board does not have enforcement or regulatory authority.
    We are aware that you have also submitted this information to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which is the appropriate agency to address your concerns. You may be interested to know that on November 20, 1997, the FRA published in the Federal Register (Volume 62, Number 224) a proposed order of particular applicability to your concept. The proposed order addresses automatic train control and advanced civil speed enforcement systems for Northeast Corridor railroads.
    Your concern about en route travel hazards is justified. The Safety Board is cognizant of the risks posed by en route hazards and has aggressively addressed the issue of Positive Train Separation (PTS) since 1970, when two Penn Central trains collided head-on in Darien, Connecticut. I have enclosed a copy of our most recently published report which addresses the Safety Board’s position regarding PTS.
    Sincerely yours,
    £~~~~//
    Robert C. Lauby Director,
    Office of Railroad Safety
    Enclosure
    jake bailey
    FILE: RAILBLAZ.DOC
    BASIC REQUIREMENTS
    RAILBLAZER
    23 NOVEMBER’1997
    RAILBLAZER REFERS TO A SELF-CONTAINED, UnMANNED ROBOTIC VEHICLE SYSTEM OPERATING, THROUGH A SOFT INTERFACE, IN CONCERT WITH A MAIN RAILWAY LOCOMOTIVE TO WARN OF EN ROUTE TRAVEL HAZARDS WHICH WOULD ENDANGER THE CONNECTED TRAIN SYSTEM OR OTHERS.
    PERFORMANCE CRITERIA
    RAILBLAZER, RUNNING AHEAD OF THE LOCOMOTIVE-TRAIN SYSTEM, WOULD BE THE PILOT VEHICLE OR TRAVELING SENTINEL, SENSING ABNORMALITIES AND OBSTRUCTIONS AND WARNING THE FOLLOWING MAIN LOCOMOTIVE OF ACTUAL OR INCIPIENT HAZARDS. THIS MANDATES THAT IT PROCEED AHEAD OF THE TRAIN AT A DISTANCE EXCEEDING THE LOCOMOTIVE’S STOPPING ABILITY, WHICH VARIES WITH ITS SPEED, WEIGHT, BRAKING ABILITY, AMBIENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, AND OTHER FACTORS. THIS DISTANCE WOULD NOT BE REDUCED BY THE OUTREACH OF ITS SENSING SYSTEMS FOR IT WILL BE CONTINUOUSLY MONITORING CONDITIONS AT ITS INSTANTANEOUS LOCATIONS AS WELL. THIS VEHICLE WOULD BE DESIGNED TO DETECT HAZARDS, ALAPM THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE, AND TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT ITSELF IF POSSIBLE. OTHERWISE, IT WOULD SERVE AS A SACRIFICIAL VEHICLE, TAKING THE HAZARDOUS ENCOUNTER IN SUBSTITUTION FOE THE MAIN TRAIN SYSTEM.
    RAILBLAZER WOULD HAVE TO REMAIN IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE. IT WOULD HAVE TO SENSE OBSTACLES, PHYSICAL OBSTRUCTIONS, OUT-OF-TOLERANCE TRACK OR ROADBED CONDITIONS (VIZ. TRACK MISALIGNMENTS, MOVEMENTS, SPACING, ETC.), ITS OWN UNSCHEDULED OR ERRATIC MOTIONS, OR ANY OTHER ABNORMALITIES. ALARMS AND CRITICAL DATA WOULD HAVE TO BE COMMUNICATED (IN ALL WEATHER, DISTANCE, AND TERRAIN CONDITIONS) TO THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE, EVEN INITIATING THE AUTOMATIC STOPPAGE OF THE TRAIN SHOULD THE OPERATOR(S) NOT REACT SOON ENOUGH.
    THE VEHICLE STRUCTURE SHOULD BE DESIGNED FOR LIGHT WEIGHT TO PROVIDE FUEL ECONOMY AND TO MINIMIZE COLLISION DAMAGE TO OTHERS, YET PROTECT THE COMPONENTS AND FACILITIES HOUSED WITHIN. THIS SUGGESTS A FRANGIBLE STRUCTURE TO SOME DEGREE. THE WEIGHT COULD BE MINIMIZED BY A PROVISION FOR IN-TRIP REFUELING FROM THE MOTHER LOCOMOTIVE, REDUCING THE REQUIREMENT FOR STORAGE OF LARGE QUANTITIES OF FUEL. THE OUTER SHAPE AND FAIRING SHOULD BE AERODYNAMICALLY STREAMLINED. RAILBLAZER MUST BE MORE MANEUVERABLE THAN THE JVIAIN TRAIN SYSTEM IN ORDER TO ADJUST ITS POSITION FOR STATION KEEPING (RUNNING AND RE-FUELING) UNDER PREVAILING CONDITIONS SUCH AS; GRADES, WEIGHT, ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS, ETC. WHICH AFFECT MOMENTUM AND BRAKING EFFECTIVENESS.
    THIS VEHICLE WOULD HAVE TO SENSE ITS OWN MOTION (BASIC AND DERIVATIVES) IN A.LL AXES AND PROVIDE ALARMS ON THAT BASIS. IT WOULD HAVE TO KNOW IF IT WERE UPSET OR TUMBLING BECAUSE OF SOME OBSTACLE OR ACTION AND BE ABLE TO COJVIMUNICATE TO A HIGH DEGREE DURING SUCH TIMES.
    THIS ROBOTIC VEHICLE COULD HAVE SOME TRACK CLEARING CAPABILITY IF FEASIBILITY PERMITS.
    ~/-
    jake bailey
    FILE: RAILBLAZ.DOC
    23 NOVEMBER’1997
    ALTERNATIVELY OR IN EARLY DEVELOPMENT PROTOTYPES. ON-BOARD PROVISIONS COULD BE MADE FOR A HUMAN OPERATOR TO OBSERVE AND ASSIST IN THE OPERATION AS AN ADDITIONAL PRECAUTION. THE OPERATOR OR HUMAN MONITOR WOULD BE PROVIDED WITH MONITORS, CONTROLS, VOICE COMWJNICATIONS, SAFETY SYSTEMS, AND ESCAPE DEVICES. OTHER THAN THESE PROVISIONS, THE BASIC VEHICLE DESIGN WOULD BE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME AS FOR THE UNMANNED VEHICLE. IN THIS CONCEPT, ONLY ONE HUMAN WOULD BE EXPOSED (IN A MORE CONTROLLABLE VEHICLE) AS CONTRASTED WITH THE PRESENT SITUATION WHERE AN ENTIRE TRAINLOAD OF PEOPLE ARE VULNERABLE.
    DESIGN-DEVELOPMENT CRITERIA
    ICC – INSTRUMENTATION, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATION SUBSYSTEMS
    MPF – MOTIVE POWER AND FUEL SUBSYSTEM
    PMR – POSTMORTEM RECORDING SUBSYSTEM
    CMP – TIME-SHARED AND BACK-UP COMPUTER SUBSYSTEM WITH SELF-DIAGNOSTICS
    RAILBLAZER
    STRUCTURAL
    TRACKWORTHY
    WEATHER WORTHY HOUSING FOR ALL SUBSYSTEMS
    SUPPORT MPF
    PROTECT INTEGRITY OF ICC, EVEN DURING UPSET
    PROTECT PMR
    LIGHT WEIGHT
    FRANGIBLE TO MINIMIZE COLLISION DAMAGE TO OTHERS
    AERODYNAMICALLY STREAMLINED
    ENVIRONMENTAL COMPATIBILITY
    NON-NOXIOUS PARTICULATE OR LIQUID EMISSIONS
    NON-OFFENSIVE LIGHT AND SOUND EMANATIONS
    NON-OFFENSIVE ELECTROMAGNETIC OR THERMAOL EMANATIONS
    jake bailey
    MANEUVERABILITY
    FILE: RAILBLAZ.DOC
    23 NOVEMBER-1997
    ACCELERATION AND SPEED EXCEEDING THAT OF LOCOMOTIVE
    PRIMARY: RAPID DECELERATION USING ELECTRO-DYNAMIC BRAKING
    BACK-UP: NON-LOCKING MECHANICAL BRAKING
    STATION KEEPING RELATIVE TO THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE
    NORMAL OPERATION (EXCEEDS THE STOPPING DISTANCE OF THE TRAIN) ADJUSTED FOR SPEED CHANGES OF LOCOMOTIVE (CRUISE, CONGESTED AREAS AREA, ETC.)
    EMERGENCY SLOWING
    IN-TRIP REFUELING
    AUTOMATIC SPEED CHANGES OR SELF-STOPPING FOR HAZARDOUS SITUATIONS
    MOTION CORRECTIONS WHEN INCIPIENT HAZARDOUS SIDJATIONS ARE PREDICTED
    INSTRUMENTATION
    ALL-WEATHER MULTI-DIRECTIONAL OBSTACLE SENSING RADAR (SEARCH AND TERRAIN)
    VIDEO IMAGING
    IR
    PANNING SCANS AS NECESSARY (ARTICULATING ANTENNAE)
    SENSE ROTATIONAL RATES, DIRECTIONS, AND DERIVATIVES (ACCELEROMETERS, GYROSCOPES, ETC.)
    SENSE LINEAR SPEED AND DERIVATIVES (ODOMETERS, ACCELEROMETERS, TERRAIN RADARS, ETC.)
    SENSE TRA.CK TOLERANCES; GAUGE, ALIGNMENTS, .JOINTS, CURVATUHE, IRREGULARITIES,
    ICE BUILD-UP, MOVEMENT, ETC.
    CHECK CONDITION OF MOVEABLE TRACK SEGMENTS (SWITCHED) AND TRACK INTERSECTING SEGMENTS FOR TOLERANCE, ALIGNMENT, MOVEMENT, ETC.
    SENSE ROADBED IRREGULARITIES
    SENSE SAFETY SIGNAL PERFORMANCE AT INTERSECTIONS, ETC.
    SENSE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS
    SENSE STATION KEEPING WITH LOCOMOTIVE
    SENSE MALFUNCTIONS IN ELECTRONIC SUBSYSTEMS
    SENSE MALFUNCTIONS IN HOUSEKEEPING SUBYSTEMS AND MPF
    SENSE ALL OTHER EMERGENCY AND TROUBLESHOOTING ALARMS
    SENSE STABILITY AND PROXIMIITY OF VEHICLES ON ADJACENT TRACKS
    jake ba.i ley
    CMP CONTROL
    FILE: RAILBLAZ.DOC
    23 NOVEMBER-1997
    ALL COMMUNICATIONS AND SUBSYSTEM COMMANDS
    ALARMS AND INITIATORS FOR STOPPING THE LOCOMOTIVE
    PROVISION FOR OVERRIDE BY LOCOMOTIVE (OPERATOR OR SYSTEM)
    DATA: CONTROL SIGNALS, ALA~IS, AND IMAGES
    COMPUTER HANDSHAKES
    DATA CHECKING (PARITY .. DUPLICATION, ETC.) AND CORRECTING
    COMMUNICATIONS
    MODULATED RF CARRIER SYSTEM WITH REDUNDANT CHANNELS
    TRACK CONDUCTOR
    TRACK-SIDE & OTHER STATIONARY TRANSCIEVER SYSTEMS
    SATELLITE RELAY
    ALL-WEATHER OPERATION
    ALL-ATTITUDE VEHICLE (TUMBLING) CONDITIONS
    CODED AND NON-TAMPERABLE
    5 MILE MINIMUM LINK UNDER OBSTACLE CONDITIONS CURVES
    TUNNELS
    MOUNTAINS
    BOULDERS
    LANDSLIDES
    WEATHER
    EMI
    PMR
    ALARMS
    FOUR-LEVEL:
    HEED (NOTEWORTHY) CAUTION (ALERT) WARNING (CRITICAL) DANGER (PANIC)
    AL.ARM CONDITIONS DETERMINED OR PREDICTED BY ON–BOARD COMPUTER
    SENT THROUGH COMWJNICATIONS LINKS
    OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS FLARES
    jake bai ley
    ROCKETS SPOT LIGHTS
    FILE: RAILBLAZ.DOC
    23 NOVEMBER-1997
    SIGNALS TO OTHERS OF APPROACHING TRAIN
    OMNIDIRECTIONAL VISIBLE AND AUDIBLE FOH ONE UNOBSTRUCTED MILE
    ENVIRONMENT PENETRATING
    ARTICULATING/FLASHING WARNING LIGHTS
    BELLS/WHISTLES
    ON-BOARD
    READ DATA FROM SUBSYSTEM INSTRUMENTATION
    PROCESS DATA ON-BOARD CHECK VALUES TOLERANCES
    TREND ANALYSES
    COMPARE TO MATHEMATICAL MODELS OF PERFORMANCE PREDICT OUTCOMES
    CATEGORIZE DATA
    CATEGORIZE ALARM LEVELS
    INITIATE CONTROL ACTIONS
    FORMAT AND SEND ONLY CRITICAL PARAMETERS TO THE LOCOMOTIVE SYSTEM
    LOCOMOTIVE
    IN ADDITION TO BASIC STATE-OF-THE ART DESIGN FEATURES INCORPORATED INTO THE MAIN LOCOMOTIVE DESIGN, THE FOLLOWING WOULD BE ADDED:
    INTERFACE WITH RAILBLAZER
    VIA THE COMMUNICATION LINKS THE LOCOMOTIVE WOULD HAVE A COMPATIBLE INTERFACE WITH THE CONTROL, INSTRUMENTATION, AND MONITOR SUBSYSTEMS CORRESPONDING TO THE THOSE ON BOARD THE ROBOTIC VEHICLE AND NECESSARY TO RESPOND TO, VERIFY, VALIDATE, SUPPLEMENT, COMMAND, OVERRIDE, CONTROL, AND ADJUST THEM.
    jake bailey
    MONITORS:
    FILE: RAILBLAZ.DOC
    23 NOVEMBER~1997
    VISUAL MONITORS OF ITS INSTRUMENTED DATA RELATED TO THE RAILBLAZER MISSION
    COMMUNICATION SYSTEM STATUS STATION KEEPING STATUS RAILBLAZER OPERATIONAL STATUS
    VISUAL PRESENTATIONS OF ALL VIDEO IMAGING BY RAILBLAZER
    VISUAL MONITORS OF CRITICAL DATA AND ALAlli~S FROM RAILBLAZER
    VISUAL SCHEMATIC-TYPE PRESENTATION OF PARAMETERS AND ALARMS
    AUDIBLE ALARMS
    CONTROLS
    COMMANDS AND OVERRIDES FOR ROBOT
    COMPATIBLE RESPONSES TO RAILBLAZER INITIATED ACTIONS SUPPORT NORMAL OPERATIONS
    EMERGENCY STOPPING
    CRITICAL MALFUNCTION OR FAILURE IN RAILBLAZER SUBSYSTEMS OTHER PANIC SITUATIONS
    CMP
    PROCESS DATA COMMUNICATED FROM RAILBLAZER DATA BIT VERIFICATION
    FORMAT DATA FOR CORRESPONDING SUBSYSTEMS FORMAT DATA FOR COMMANDS
    TREND ANALYSES
    VALIDATE DATA BASED ON MATHEMATICAL MODELS
    DETERMINE AUTOMATIC RESPONSES
    DETERMINE STATION KEEPING STATUS & COMPARE WITH RAILBLAZER DATA