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Irving, Texas:
Las Colinas Peoplemover (APT)

History and Description

Las Colinas is a planned community which has been under development since the early 1970s in Irving, Texas, about ten miles (16 km) northwest of downtown Dallas. Its central business district is the Las Colinas Urban Center, whose master plan includes a 5.5 mile Area Personal Transit (APT) system, an elevated, automated peoplemover system similar in principle to systems that have been built in Morgantown, West Virginia, Detroit, Michigan, and Miami and Jacksonville, Florida.

The APT is maintained and operated by the Dallas County Utility and Reclamation District, a governmental body which is responsible for much of the Las Colinas infrastructure.

The first 1.5 miles of the elevated guideway was built during 1979-1983. Beginning in 1986, it was equipped with four cars and power and control infrastructure by AEG-Westinghouse. Service began on 18 June 1989 over two routes serving four stations.

However, the real estate market in the Dallas area suffered a major downturn in the late 1980s. Development of the Las Colinas Urban Center slowed, and there has been no need to extend the APT system beyond its initial 1.5-mile segment. Ridership was so low and financial problems became so severe that the system shut down completely from July 1993 to December 1996.

Since its re-opening, the APT has operated only from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm on weekdays, with two cars, one for each route. Operation is now completely manual, with cars running on demand. An operator in each car uses controls intended for emergency or maintainance use, that are normally hidden behind a panel in the seats. A third employee in the former automated control center monitors video cameras in the stations and notifies the car operators via hand-held radios when passengers arrive.

Only one of the stations (Bell Tower) is generally accessible to the public. The other three are inside private office buildings. Most of the traffic seems to consist of employees in those buildings traveling to and from the Bell Tower for lunch at one of the nearby restaurants. On my visit, the car operators took me on quick tours of the two routes, but always stopped short of actually entering the other stations.

Pictures

These pictures were taken during a brief visit on 24 June 2002.

[picture] Exterior of the Bell Tower station, alongside the Mandalay Canal. Water taxis and buses once served the canal and Lake Carolyn, but those services ended in 1999.

[picture] On the platform at the Bell Tower station.

[picture] A couple of blocks south of the Bell Tower, the guideway drops to ground level and ducks underneath Wingren Road.

[picture] Looking north from the Wingren Road bridge, we see the guideway rising towards the Bell Tower station (out of sight behind the building to the left).

[picture] Just north of the Bell Tower station, the guideway runs along the roof of the shops which line the Mandalay Canal.

[picture] Looking north along the Red Route towards the Xerox Centre, from a parking garage just north of the junction of the two routes.

[picture] North of the Xerox Centre, a line of support columns extends into an empty field, Stonehenge-like, awaiting extension of the guideway.

[picture] Interior of a car, showing the operator.

[picture] A view out the front of a car, looking west along the Blue Route. The right half of the guideway is an empty shell, awaiting power and guidance equipment for an as-yet unbuilt route.

[picture] A car waits in front of the maintenance center at the south end of the Red Route before beginning its runs for the day. Note the extra guideway supports for future expansion.

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This page was last updated on 10 April 2003, and reviewed on 16 May 2005.


Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Irving


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