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14 February 2017


Dealing with misconceptions about SkyWay

One cannot simply take and implement an innovative transport in a major industrial city. A Yekaterinburg resident Olga addressed a Sverdlovsk ombudsperson Tatyana Merzlyakova with a statement against the construction of SkyWay along the route Uktus - Khimmash - Koltsovo - Aramil.

— Once the appeal was received, we shall deal with it, - stated officials at the office of the Commissioner on human rights in Sverdlovsk region, "Yekaterinburg online" reports (in Russian).

How is this phenomenon called?

NIMBY is an acronym for the English phrase "Not In My Back Yard". It is a pejorative characterization of opposition by residents to a proposal for any new buildings close to their homes, a term introduced in 1980. Nimby and its derivatives, such as nimbyism or nimbyists, refers directly to the condemnation of the development in general or in particular cases. The concept implies that development opponents have a selfish and narrow vision of the situation.

We are surprised and upset a bit by this phenomenon in the heart of the industrial Russia - Yekaterinburg. To make it all clear, let us comment on Olga's fears step by step.

SkyWay noise insulation

Recently conducted studies have shown that the noise of the SkyWay urban transport does not exceed the noise level of a normal conversation between people. This transport technology includes the use of special technologies for noise absorption both in vehicles and in the track itself. Unlike a conventional, "classical" railway, famous for its sonority, SkyWay transport rails have a special concrete mix inside that actively absorbs noise.

Clean environment

The most dubious assertion is an imaginary threat to the environment. Environmentally friendly electric SkyWay Transport goes not on the ground, but above it; thanks to it this technology has no dusting and eco-hazardous embankments and excavations and it does not prevent the migration of animals in the countryside. These vehicles have no exhaust emissions, de-icing salt, products of tyre and asphalt pavement wear; it is comparable to a conventional tram. At the moment the SkyWay rolling stock is passing the stage of certification at the "Scientific and technical Center under the Research Institute of GorElectroTransport".

Traffic safety

First, in principle, SkyWay transport entirely excludes collisions with any ground modes of transport and pedestrians. Second, the high stability of the rolling stock is achieved by a special anti-derailment system and independent suspension on each wheel. The side rollers bump up against the side-rolling surface of the rail and hold the designed track gauge. If we assume that tomorrow a man-made catastrophe starts and a tornado of unprecedented strength rushes over Yekaterinburg, the SkyWay transport will take off the rails not before the "White House" or the "Olympic" complex do it. It is impossible.

Plans and comments from regional coordinator

Project coordinator in Yekaterinburg Arkadiy Biryukov explained that people just did not understand what kind of transport it is:

— I had a meeting with the regional Minister of transport. Primarily we have agreed on the route from the village Koltsovo past the airport, residential boroughs Svetliy, Uktus of Left Bank and Botanica. In perspective: the Academic district, Broad River, up to "Mega". We decided to link the project at Botanica with the transport-transit hub, which "Malysheva, 73" plans to build. All modes of transport including the subway can be linked at one point.

The project is international, the design office is situated in Belarus at the EcoTekhnoPark test site, where all types of developed tracks will be demonstrated. They will include high-speed types of up to 500 km/h speed, cargo, passenger, urban and intercity routes. It is possible to use hybrid sources of energy outside the settlements - not only electricity, but also diesel. We are developing currently projects for India, up to 20 lines are planned there. Certification should be completed in spring/summer this year. We are ready to start constructions this year, provided the government supports us. We will be ready to demonstrate various versions in operation by May-June.

Rings of bureaucracy

The ideas of SkyWay technologies are known in Yekaterinburg for several years by now. The Deputy General Director of SkyWay Technologies Co. Victor Baburin comments on the situation:

— We see the problem in the fact that involved experts often do not sufficiently study the background of the issue. We have to re-explain or get from the archives ready and effective solutions. The technical infrastructure proposal for Yekaterinburg was successfully completed in 2007: there is a free access to technical proposals for monorail and double-rail UST (in Russian), pre-project proposal for cargo route (in Russian) of monoUST for the town of Berezniki. Today, we suddenly face the rhetoric about some obscurity of this transport. The transport the city has studied long ago.

Experts do not carry out the analysis of SkyWay transport, but announce their ideas about it based on various documents posted on the Internet often with an unknown origin. None of them bothered to conduct a real analysis, to arrive to the Company, to talk to the Director or engineers in Design Bureaus. A good example is our Australian colleagues, who personally analyzed the technology and now through their efforts, its certification is planned by the National Rail Safety Regulator.

SkyWay technologies have the potential not only for a city but also for an entire region. More information can be found in the journal of multidisciplinary scientific publications "Eco-Potential" No. 3 (7) of 2014. It published an article by the Doctor of geographical sciences, associate Professor, Head of the sector on allocation and development of productive forces under the Institute of Economics, Ural branch of RAS V. Litovskiy "On the fundamental priorities on creating infrastructure in the Urals on the basis of innovative technical solutions and developments by Anatoly Yunitskiy" (in Russian).

We continue a detailed analysis of all the appearing problems as they are received and we see a huge potential in addressing transport issues in an open interaction with representatives of local communities and authorities. In addition to Yekaterinburg in the Urals and all over Russia such urban system is in need for many, many cities that would be able to reduce traffic and emissions. Do we really have no desire to live in better and cleaner conditions?

P.S. A video response to speculations on the operation of SkyWay transport in winter:

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