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HRM Launches New Innovative Service Delivery
(Wednesday, April 28/2004) - Halifax Regional Municipality is advancing its visitor service delivery through new cutting-edge technology.
Mayor Peter Kelly officially launched the new service delivery method using a Segway HT (human transporter) on the Halifax waterfront this morning.
The Segway is a motorized, self-balancing human transporter with dimensions no larger than the average adult body. It looks like a pogo stick on two wheels and has a platform large enough to support a standing human. It takes up the same space as a pedestrian, can go in most places a person can walk, and a full turn can be made with a zero radius.
Two units have been purchased to improve how HRM's Visitor Services staff distribute information and provide visitor services. From June to October, Visitor Services staff will be using the Segway HTs daily along the Halifax waterfront's boardwalk. They will enable staff to reach a larger population of visitors to tell them about the things they can see and do while in HRM.
Mayor Kelly says "The Segway HT will allow Visitor Services staff to travel farther, move more easily, and substantially increase the amount of materials they can carry. They are an exciting, innovative and eye-catching way to reach visitors. Essentially, they're Visitor Information Centres on wheels. "
Staff will be equipped with visitor information as well as a cell phone to allow them to fully operate all services through networking with Visitor Information Centres and Check-In Nova Scotia.
"We hope to be able to integrate them into other areas of Visitor Services in the future," added Mayor Kelly. "Also, they will be very useful for our Special Events staff during waterfront activities, such as Natal Day, Canada Day and even Tall Ships this summer.
Introduced three years ago, the Segway is an environmentally-friendly device, battery powered and can travel up to 13-19 kilometres on a single charge. It costs about 10 cents to charge the machine each day.
It has no accelerator or brakes, and can self-balance itself because of a technology called "dynamic stabilization." This involves gyroscopes and tilt- sensors in the unit, which monitor a rider's center of gravity at about 100 times a second. It responds to the change in your body's position: when the rider leans slightly forward, the Segway HT moves forward; and, when the rider leans slightly back, the Segway HT moves backward.
HRM staff have been trained to use the vehicles. Helmets will be worn and there is a limit to the speed they can travel, generally a strolling speed or less.
The Segway HT is catching on quickly and has proven to be successful in other areas. Canada Post is currently running a pilot project now with the Segway.
Mayor Peter Kelly
HRM Corporate Communications officer