Business and Industrial Parks
Business and industrial parks are agglomerations of companies in physical proximity. Their accessibility is not only related to their transit connections, but also their location. Where industrial parks are typically located at the periphery (where multiple transport modailities coincide: highways, railroads, airports and rivers), business parks are also making the switch from city centers to the periphery. The main motivations: deteriorating accessiblity of cities, space limitations for new developments, a focus on car-accessibility and lower costs of land.
However, specifically business parks are recognized for their high intensity of labor and visitors, contributing to road-based commuter and business transport. Consequently, their accessibility by environmentally friendly means of transit is vital for the environment and the economy. To accommodate the high transit demand of business parks located at the periphery, new transit solutions to provide suitable (connections to) public transportation are required.
Where the external accessiblity of business and industrial parks is determined by their relative location within the region and urban (or rural) area, the internal accessibility is determined by the parking policy and facilities. For the service-sector parking was even named as the most important criterion for location choice (over car-accessibility, 2nd and public transportation, 7th). Companies thus desire ample parking, while (real estate) developers want to minimize space wasted and (local) authorities use parking policies as an instrument to influence location choice (by imposing parking norms). Centralizing parking (and creating efficiencies of space) or interconnecting multiple de-centralized parking facilities, ensures the demands of all parties are met (to a degree) and a pleasant, car-free working environment is created.
A trend is the development of sector-specific business and industrial parks. Although relatively common in the automotive industry for years, other businesses are now being organized in sector-specific parks as well. These parks are set-up to stimulate and enhance interactions to ensure the maximum synergy is achieved. To facilitate the inter-company contacts, while ensuring people do not resort to their car, an on-site integrated transit system is required (providing quick connections).
Automated People Mover Systems are an interesting alternative for these connections. As an additional advantage electronically guided systems can easily be integrated on site.
Business parks are transforming into small cities, often featuring dining (and entertainment) venues. Accessibility, both external and internal, is becoming increasingly important. A well-integrated (PRT) system can help improve both – by connecting to public transportation nodes (improving external accessibility) and interconnecting the facilities (strengthening internal accessibility).
PRT stations generally have a small foot-print, allowing them to be constructed in front of the main entrance or be integrated into buildings – providing easy access to passengers. The (loop) network typology ensures short, direct connections optimizing the service to passengers. The trip time (waiting time + travel time) is reduced to a minimum, allowing for easy trips to other companies or facilities in the business park. A well-integrated PRT system can make the business park a more attractive location for companies to be based.
Without an internal transportation system most trips would most likely be undertaken by car; creating massive parking issues and (adding to the) congestion on the perimeter roads of the business park. An integrated internal transportation system ensures superior accessibility, while allowing for direct and (time-) efficient connections and a more pleasant working environment (park-like environment free of traffic). At the same time it avoids the negative side-effects (parking and congestion) of other transit systems.
As a result of their location on the periphery of cities, business and industrial parks are often deprived of good public transportation connections. Establishing a connection with public transportation nodes is necessary because of the high labor intensity and the resulting high transit demand faced. The ParkShuttle Group Rapid Transit System is well suited to function as the missing link to realize a transportation chain.
The ParkShuttle can be installed as a line-connection system (through a central corridor, comparable to the Rivium application) or as network (optionally in loop configuration). During rush hours the system will typically run on-schedule, synchronized with the arrival/departure of other transit modes; optimizing transport capacity. In off-peak hours the system can operate on-demand, optimizing passenger service.
The system is typically installed at grade, operating on a dedicated track with crossings for other traffic. Routing of the system is dependent on the spatial planning of the area and its surroundings. In some cases a short extension will allow the system to service the adjacent neighborhood as well – providing residents with an additional alternative for transportation, while increasing the number of potential passengers for the system.
Alternatively the Group Rapid Transit system can also connect to a (remote) parking facility. Connecting to an external parking facility increases the total number of parking spaces available for the business park, while avoiding increasing the traffic intensity (congestion) to it. In this case the ParkShuttle would also be the last link in the transportation chain.