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15 June 2018


Elevated light rail transit is coming to Astana

Astana plans to implement a light rail transit (LRT) project (in Russian). Light rail is a cheaper version of a railway or metro, targeted to urban use. The feature of a light railway in Astana is that it will be entirely aboveground. SkyWay offers similar solutions. At the same time, the SkyWay transport would save government money and provide Astana with another unique attraction.

The decision to build an elevated light railway was taken in February 2016. The project will be implemented by a consortium of three Chinese companies. It defeated its competitors from Spain, France and Turkey. The project cost is USD 1,887 million. The length of the lines with access roads is 22.4 kilometers. The LRT system will include 18 state-of-the-art closed stations, 19 rolling stock units and a depot. A similar SkyWay project would cost about 30-40% cheaper.

Elevated light rail transit is coming to Astana

It is planned that each unit of rolling stock will consist of four cars with a total capacity of up to 600 people. Its maximum speed will be 80 kilometers per hour, average speed - 40 kilometers per hour.

Elevated light rail transit is coming to Astana

It is worth noting that Kazakhstan has no standards for the construction of light rail transport systems, so Astana's LRT will be built under Chinese standards. The string transport also faces the same situation. Today there are no corresponding definitions in the regulations. But if LRT in Kazakhstan uses the ready-made Chinese regulations, the string transport forges its way in Belarus on its own: for example, Anatoly Yunitskiy has recently sent a petition to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, in which he noted the need to introduce standards for the string transport in the law "On Road Traffic".

The state generously subsidizes the construction of a large-scale LRT infrastructure project in Astana, so the fare will be fairly democratic (about 0.60 USD), "We expect a fare within 200 Kazakhstan tenge. We believe that this is not a high cost, and it is a very affordable price for the safety and service that we will get here," said Talgat Ardan, Chairman of Astana LRT LLP. He told that to pay a fare in a new mode of transport, it would be possible to use e-pass, which would be introduced for the public transport by the completion of the LRT construction.

Elevated light rail transit is coming to Astana

The scheduled period for launching LRT in Astana is summer 2020.

The opportunities for light rail transportation are widely discussed in Russia: similar projects are being considered in Rostov and Voronezh (in Russian). Urban development experts point out that in many situations the cost of building more expensive public transport options such as metro is inappropriate, and LRT can be the most optimal solution in this case. At the same time, this type of transport is too expensive for some regions: for example, recently the Ministry of Transport of Russia admitted that the LRT project connecting St. Petersburg with new buildings in the Leningrad region is too expensive (in Russian). Instead of the light rail, it was decided to use a conventional train.

Today, the LRT systems are used worldwide. One of the most developed countries in this respect is South Korea. Some light rail lines of up to 24 kilometers carry about 176,000 people a day. Such transport systems operate both on overpasses and at-ground together with motor transport.

The use of LRT is a trend. The elevated transport is becoming more urgent, and the market of such transport can become extremely significant in the long term. SkyWay can become a large player in this market, considering that today the technology has a number of advantages, the main of which are a relatively low cost of construction, manufacturability and sustainability. The infrastructure of SkyWay is multifunctional, the rolling stock is suitable for solving a wide range of tasks - both in transportation of passengers and cargo. An extra silver bullet will be a high-speed transport.

SkyWay EcoTechnoPark

The elevated transport stops being a sci-fi feature, but gradually becoming a sign of a "smart city". And over time, this approach will spread everywhere. The real life requires new solutions in the face of growing cities and population.

A clear evidence that the transport of the future will not share the road with cars and pedestrians is the interest of the UAE in SkyWay technology. This richest Arab country tests all promising innovations. "The Emirates are, one can say, a new country, with new infrastructure. Compact, open to innovation, especially to the "green" infrastructure," said Anatoly Yunitskiy in his interview. "According to our estimations, the United Arab Emirates is the place where we can have a great start with our transport infrastructure technologies".

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