Innovative rail system ‘has real potential’

SkyWay light rail Flinders
A $13 million elevated, automated, driverless train known as SkyWay is planned for Flinders University, with promoters seeking foreign and private sector investors to advance Australia’s rail industry with the new technology.

Flinders University is keen to work towards a world-first autonomous rail transport system that has the potential to make its Bedford Park campus more accessible then ever before.

SkyWay is a low impact, rechargeable battery-powered, elevated rail concept that could make it easier for an expected one million passengers a year to get around the Flinders precinct.

Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling says if the system proves feasible it would complement the newly announced extension of the Tonsley rail line, by linking the final half-kilometre between the new Flinders Station next to Flinders Medical Centre with the University’s central hub.

Developed in Russia, and introduced to Australia by experienced transport and infrastructure consultant Rod Hook and Associates, SkyWay purports to be a super efficient solution that will traverse Flinders’ hilly terrain with minimal environmental footprint.

‘We look forward to working with Rod Hook and Associates to see whether this unique transport system can meet the State’s engineering and regulatory requirements,’ Professor Stirling says.

‘If it is feasible, it has the potential to be a drawcard for South Australia and a fantastic community amenity. Not only would it address a practical need, but it would be an attraction in itself as there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

‘It has great potential and speaks to Flinders’ enterprising spirit. We think it would be most fitting to be the home to world-first technology that would create further opportunities for people to access a world-class university renowned for its innovation and research excellence.

‘It also confirms the benefits to flow from the State and Federal Government’s very welcome announcement of an $85 million extension of the Tonsley rail line, a vital infrastructure link that is demonstrably generating development interest.’

Swift, seamless transport is the catalyst for development, Professor Stirling says.

‘It supports our vision for an innovation precinct spanning from Bedford Park to Tonsley, the development of accommodation that will enable us to welcome more international students, and a regeneration of urban vibrancy and amenity as business and retail is attracted to service the growing students and community population.”

update

Flinders University has shifted its focus to exciting developments in autonomous vehicles, which can take advantage of existing infrastructure, as its preferred on-campus passenger transport solution.

While Sky Way has the potential to provide real benefits for passenger and freight transport in congested sites, autonomous vehicles don’t require its specialised infrastructure and represent a more flexible solution that better suits Flinders’ transport demands.

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