History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year
by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.
1982 – The Seventh Year.
Dr. Jerry Kieffer, as ATRA Board Chairman, wrote to the Board of Directors as follows:
ATRA Co-Sponsored with the TRB New Systems Committee a Session at the January TRB conference. ATRA Board Member Catherine Burke chaired the session. She asked the speakers to address the following questions: (1) What are the advantages and who will benefit in the technology you present, (2) What are the technological, financial, or other barriers to implementation, and (3) Why do you believe this technology can succeed in being implemented?
James Lawson of Garrett discussed flywheel energy storage in electric buses. Clarence Adriance of Boeing discussed magnetically levitated system. Carl Walters of Lawrence Livermore discussed use of inductive power. George Paster, having left UMTA and joined UTDC, discussed the UTDC intermediate capacity transit systems planned for Vancouver and Toronto. The novelty in this steel-wheel, steel-rail system was that it used linear induction motors for propulsion. John Fruin of the Port Authority of New York discussed accelerating walkways. Bob Dietz of Gannett Fleming addressed problems of cost control in advanced systems. Mike Powells of BAA discussed how new technogies can be attracted to operating properties.
Under the new Reagan Administration, there was no work at UMTA on AGT, hence the Advanced Transit News reported on work on advanced transit-related concepts elsewhere.
Construction of the first line of VAL, the metro system in Lille, France was near completion. For aesthetic reasons, most of the line was underground. When completed, the system was to be able to transport 15,000 passengers per hour in two-car trains. The trains were automatically controlled and ran on 2 rubber tires. Lille was the first city in the world to be equipped exclusively with new-technology equipment.
AiResearch, a division of Garrett, was selected to manufacture a system of flywheel storage funded by UMTA.
A variety of advanced battery systems were subject to strong R&D, but delivery of functioning hardware was at that time nil. General Motors was testing a nickel-zinc battery and a zinc-bromine battery. The hope was to develop a battery with sufficient energy density to be used in buses.
Booz-Allen published a study on the use of hydraulic accumulator technology to regenerate braking energy in transit coaches.
Based on funding from UMTA, Transport Canada, and SNV of West Germany, a Dictionary of Public Transportation was published by N. D. Lea and SNV.
The Center for International Programs at Michigan State University sponsored a conference in London to offer American transportation managers an opportunity to study British modes of transport for people and goods.
The City of Helsinki, Finland, was nearing completion of the first section of its rapid rail transit system. The decision to build was made in 1969 and construction started in 1970. The construction and design of the system was done entirely by Finish firms. Each car has a capacity of 200 people. Train operation was automatic with an attendant present to operate if necessary. Part of the system was elevated and part underground. The total length is 11.2 km.
A 35-km rail line was being planned for Caracas. It would be steel wheel, steel rail, standard gauge, with 1500v DC third rail. They planned nine-car trains ultimately operating at 100 km/h and 4-minute headway. The trains could operate either manually or fully automatic.
The European Conference of Ministers of Transport published the results of a series of studies entitled “The Future of the Use of the Car.” Factors affecting car use were discussed and the relationship between private car use and public transportation were reviewed.
The text “Free Enterprise Urban Transportation” by Gabriel Roth and George Waynne discussed privately-operated, non-subsidized, and profitable public transportation modes operating around the world and analyzed their appliability to the U. S.
The NCTRP released two reports of its activities since its creation in November 1980: “Cleaning Equipment and Procedures for Cleaning Buses” and “Priority Treatment for Buses on Urban Streets.”
On January 13, 1982, an accident occurred on the metrorail rapid transit system of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. A six-car train derailed and collided with the center dividing wall between the main tracks while making an abnormal move at a crossover between stations. Three people were killed and 50 injured. An investigation showed that the cause was improper implementation of manual operating procedures.
In June 1982, the University of Minnesota Patent Office gave me a grant of $100,000 that allowed me, with two graduate students, to spend a year full time developing my new PRT system. By this time five patents had been applied for, two on the switch system, two on the guideway, and one on a novel control concept. Indiana Representative Dick Doyle provided $5000 to build the model shown here. The person on the left in the picture is Doyle and to the right me inspecting the model.