This is the “virtual train” that Mayor Carlos Gimenez is touting as a cheaper alternative to rail for Miami-Dade County.
Gimenez recently showed WLRN an article about the Autonomous Rapid Transit (Art) that was unveiled in Zhuzhou, China. The mayor claims that “the passenger doesn’t know it’s not a train.”
The vehicle uses rubber tires, so it resembles a bus more than a train. It runs slower than both buses or trains however, with a top speed of 43 miles per hour.
Instead of a driver, the vehicles run by following painted lines in the roadway – especially helpful for Miami Dade Transit, where over 20% of workers don’t show up every day. They also operate on battery, with a 10-minute charge said to be good for 15 miles.
A 4-mile track is scheduled to open in Zhuzhou in 2018.
In Miami, Gimenez sees the possibility of these vehicles on the north corridor, which runs from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Metrorail Station through Miami Gardens to the Broward County Line. It could also be used on the south corridor, from the Dadeland South Metorail Station to Florida City.
The mayor says they would be given dedicated lanes and automatic green lights.
Gimenez says that northeast corridor is still planned with actual trains on the Brightline tracks, although he has called rail a “19th century technology.”