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Santa Clara/Alum Rock at Jackson Station 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 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.

A location at Jackson Street was representative of a full size station on a median running segment of the line. POITRA modified the Engineer provided photograph by relocating existing streetlights, widening the roadway, removing a tree and replacing sidewalks. Previously hidden signs and storefronts on the existing market building were restored. This resulted in a base photograph to use for all 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.

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

POITRA then illustrated the comparative construction stage impacts for the both alternatives. Before founding 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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