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Media Advisory

Sept. 5 automated bus demo to showcase magnetic vehicle guidance on city streets

02 September 2008

ATTENTION: Transportation and general assignment reporters and editors

Contact: Sarah Yang, Media Relations
(510) 643-7741 scyang@berkeley.edu

Demonstration of the Automated Bus Guidance System developed by transportation engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, through the California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) program. Researchers will show how a 60-foot research bus can be steered automatically through a system of permanent magnets embedded in the roadway that are read by sensors on the vehicle.

This will be the first test of the magnetic guidance system on a bus route in the midst of city traffic. The test track runs one mile along E. 14th St., between 138th and 150th avenues, in San Leandro.

The bus guidance project was funded by Caltrans. AC Transit will join the partnership for the next stage of the research as it expands by 2010 to routes along I-880 and the San Mateo Bridge.

9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 5. Members of the media may begin setting up at 8:30 a.m. After a brief presentation, reporters will be invited to board the bus for part or all of its route.

15015 E. 14th St. (at the corner of 150th Ave.), San Leandro. The media tent will be set up in the corner parking lot north of La Bella Italia Restaurant. Reporters may park in the lot south of the restaurant, entering on E. 14th Street. There will also be street parking on E. 14th Street. A route map with the event location and bus stops marked is online at: http://www.path.berkeley.edu/PATH/Publications/Media/Automated_Bus/Routemap.html.

Speakers will include:

  • Wei-Bin Zhang, UC Berkeley's California PATH transit research program leader and principal researcher of the Automated Bus Guidance System
  • Larry Orcutt, chief of the Division of Research and Innovation, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
  • Chris Peeples, president of the AC Transit Board of Directors

PATH researchers invented magnetic guidance technology for use in the automated control of vehicles. Researchers and transit officials say that applying this technology to an automated bus guidance system has the potential to help bus transit become as efficient as rail systems, but at a much lower infrastructure cost.