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    Jerry Schneider: An Academic Ahead of his time

    October 5th, 2016



    A founding member of ATRA and an academic in the research area for many years, Dr. Jerry B. Schneider won the ATRA award for his Outstanding Contributions for creating the world’s leading source of information on innovative transit technologies, thereby attracting interest in transit solutions for livable cities and a better world.

    His website, Transportation Technologies” describes all kinds of PRT/GRT/ATN/DualMode systems together with relevant papers, reports and presentations. It attracts more than 16,000 visits each day, has three times been ranked among the top 50 of all websites, and now contains over 650 megabytes in over 2 700 files.

    He began Innovative Transportation Technologies website after retiring from the University of Washington in Seattle where he held a joint appointment in two departments, Urban Planning and Civil Engineering.
    Creating a website seemed to be the perfect way to continue and expand my academic research and teaching interests in unconventional (there-fore innovative) transport concepts and their potential applications. It offered the possibility of interacting with thousands of people instead of just a few. The focus on innovative technologies that appear to offer potential for both people and freight mobility needs within major urban regions (i.e. intraurban travel). This is where the most acute problems of accidents, congestion and air pollution have arisen and are continuing to grow rapidly in all of the world’s major cities. All of the technologies on his website share some important attributes. Nearly all are electrically propelled, all are either fully- or partially-automated using some form of computerized control and nearly all utilize some type of exclusive, often elevated, guideway. They all have the potential to be financed, built and operated by either public agencies or private companies or through some type of public-private partnership. The scope was limited to small companies and individual inventors whose concepts offered some compelling attributes but lacked visibility and significant levels of development funding. The materials on passenger systems provided at this site have been grouped into three broad categories. The first includes technologies in which the vehicle is supported from below by an elevated or ground-level guideway. The second includes systems in which the vehicle is suspended from an elevated guideway. The third category includes a variety of related topics regarding the history, design, planning, deployment, information resources and overall, compara- tive assessments of the technologies included.

    The ITT website has attracted visitors from around the globe who are studying or working in a wide variety of fields such as urban planning, environmental protection/enhancement, real estate development, intermodal passenger and freight transportation planning, intelligent transportation systems planning, transit systems design and planning, architecture, auto-free cities and sustainable transportation advo- cates. The content of the website is not highly technical and provides considerable attention to the many non-technical issues that often present very significant barriers to their proponents. Some important his- tory has been included to help minimize the tendency among inventors and young people to reinvent the wheel. These transportation systems offer the potential for reducing auto-dependence and urban conges- tion which is a goal of great importance if we are ever to achieve more sustainable, resilient and adaptive cities and economies – worldwide. There is much to do to help prepare our cities to deal with the adver- sities due to global climate change and the necessary transition to 100% renewable energy sources. Continued work needs to be done to improve the energy efficiency attributes of the transport sector during this transition into fully automated transportation. We can all work together to achieve more livable and sustainable cities.

    By Assistant Professor Shannon McDonald, AIA

    jerryProfessor Andreasson making the award speech.