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Santa Clara/Alum Rock Downtown Photosimulations

VTA, Santa Clara County, California.

The design study for the Valley Transit Authority (VTA) Santa Clara/Alum Rock BRT/LRT Environmental Assessment (EA) compared Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) services to downtown. The study was conducted to develop a preferred alternative from these among these options.

POITRA was selected to create a series of images comparing the alternatives in the context of the actual route running in a combination of dedicated median and curbside configurations for both BRT and LRT alternatives and illustrating numerous neighborhood stations.

VTA Engineers also desired to illustrate the disproportionate impacts associated with construction of each option. Implementation of a BRT line has a shorter construction schedule and less physical impact along much of the mainline.

Photo-simulations proved to be the best medium for accurate evaluation and for confident presentation to public stakeholders.

POITRA used its custom Kinkisharyo LRT model vehicle and created a new custom model of a Bus Rapid Transit vehicle. VTA color and marking schemes were applied to both.

POITRA often creates custom transit vehicles at no cost to the project.

Photo-realistic photo simulation and design visualization services by POITRA Visual


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Mouse-over images above to toggle between the existing photo and the photosimulations.

The Downtown segment of the line was to use the side running configuration. POITRA modified the Engineer provided photograph simply by removing of moving cars and restoring the background and adjusting the pavement markings using traditional digital painting techniques. This provided the base photograph to use for all versions of the simulations.

A fictional BRT vehicle was created by POITRA modelers per the direction of VTA Project Manager. A detailed technical model of VTA's preferred Kinkisharyo LRT vehicle had already been created directly from manufacturers specification sheets. VTA colors and markings were applied as they are on existing vehicles in the VTA fleet.

left quotation markThe POITRA modelers are capable of creating very accurate vehicle models. We are often able to create in model form the vehicle that a transit authority intends to acquire for its system, often at no cost to the project.”

M.P., POITRA Visual
Visual Simulations Project Manager

Modelers at POITRA then created a 3D site model to set the layout for the BRT simulation. This required only the POITRA 3D model VTA BRT vehicles. The site model of the LRT alternative required rails, concrete track bed, LRT catenary system and the POITRA model VTA LRT vehicles. These models were camera matched, lighted, rendered and composited with the base photograph to produce a simulation of each alternative.

POITRA also illustrated the construction stage impacts for the LRT alternative using a combination of 3d elements and digital painting methods. The BRT alternate had virtually no impact at this location. Before establishing POITRA Visual Poitra principals have had actual construction management experience which was of great help in representing construction in progress.

The simulations were used in meetings between VTA and the city, the public and other stakeholders. The simulations also appear in the public EA document.end of article

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