This is a round up of the latest news related Personal Rapid Tramsport and Advanced Transport. If you would like to submit a news item please email

The Third Martin Lowson Paper Award

July 3rd, 2017

Atra white logo

The Third Martin Lowson Paper Award

A visionary, inventor and entrepreneur in modern ATN systems


ATRA fosters the development of automation and networking to advance the quality and sustainability of transportation, particularly for our urban areas.


The ATRA academic committee has instituted an annual paper award to recognize contributions in that area. The award, which is donated by the Lowson Familiy, has the objective to recognize high quality, original work that advances the thought and practice of fully automated networked public mobility systems.

The submitted work can consist in a Master thesis or a PhD thesis authored and/or published by students within the last 5 years. To qualify as a student, the person must be enrolled at a degree granting institution either at the time of the authorship or publication/presentation of the work, or time of submittal to the ATRA competition. The work can have been previously published as a paper or have received prior awards. The emphasis in the 2017 award is on Automated Transit Networks toward sustainable urban mobility.


The best paper will be presented at the Podcar City Conference 2017 (, where the winner receives a $500 reward, in addition to a sponsored conference participation.


Contact information:


Rules of the competition:


  1. Submit your thesis or paper to by Friday, September 8, 2017.
  2. ATRA will follow TRB guidelines for a blind peer review and selection process.
  3. The authors will be notified by September 22, 2017.
  4. The winner is required to present her/his work at the Podcar City Conference 2017. The participation at the conference will be free of charge and travel expenses up to $500 will be refunded. The winner must submit her/his work as a regular paper, following the formatting rules of the conference.
  5. The $500 award is handed over at the Podcar City Conference 2017.
  6. ATRA reserves the right to publish all submitted works on its website


History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (5)

August 8th, 2017


History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year

by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

1980 – The Fifth Year.

At the beginning of the fifth year, the ATRA Board voted new leadership. Dr. Larry Goldmuntz was elected Chairman, Bob Maxwell of the US DOT President, the one-man German UMTA Hermann Zemlin Vice President, Tony Yen Secretary, and Dr. Jarold Kieffer Treasurer.

Dr. Goldmuntz w/ his wife and my wife.

Dr. Goldmuntz w/ his wife and my wife.

1980 was very much a year of soul searching for ATRA. Should we exist, what should be our objectives, etc.? We determined to continue to exist and we urged AGT development through the Advanced Group Rapid Transit program, notwithstnding that we knew its defects.

In an Editorial, Bob Maxwell noted that “The lessons learned are that innovation and new technology applications are difficult to achieve and far more costly and time consuming that anyone would have imagined.” Maxwell mentioned that Dr. Kieffer had written a paper entitled “Guidelines for Public Transit . . .”, in which he said “What is needed are public transit technologies that offer real promise of breaking out of the severe service and cost limitations that make and keep conventional technologies so disadvantageous to so much of the public and to the planners.” Maxwell surged that ATRA’a goals were no better outlined than in Dr. Kieffer’s paper.

Dr Kieffer

Dr Kieffer

At the January 25, 1980 Board Meeting, discussion centred on two points: 1) to better define ATRA’s role in advanced transit areas and to find a clear identity, and 2) to examine ATRA based on current interest and strength. The greatest number of potential ATRA members were in the technologies, and ATRA should focus on them for the membership drive.

The world’s first accelerating walkway, in Paris, was anounced in Advanced Transit News, but we have not heard much about them since then.

A planned DPM for Atlantic City was announced, but it did not proceed.

A workshop was held at the Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass., with the objective to develop computer models for performing system operational analyses and to develop guideline standards and requirements for design and use of AGT Systems.

The U. S. House of Representatives voted to continue funding for Advanced Group Rapid Transit (AGRT) development despite Administration attempts to defer the UMTA program. In their justification, they said:

“Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) could with further development offer better service at less cost than current rail and trolley systems. Users and non-users alike are critical of the lack of amenities, infrequent service, unreliability, crowning, and inconvenience characteristic of transit services currently available in most cities. The AGRT program could help address these problems by making transit more attractive through improved trip time, convenience, comfort, flexibility, and frequency of service.”

In ATRA’s Statement on the possibility of AGRT cancellation, they said:

“ATRA deplores the fact that the United States has not been able, for a variety of reasons, to develop a healthy transit industry. This country needs a transit industry that can manufacture reliable, low-cost products. This country needs the most cost-effective approaches that tecnnology can provide to improve transit patronage and productivity.”

Yoshio Tsukio, an ATRA member and Associate Professor at Nayoya University, gave a status report on Automated Guideway Transit in Japan. He listed nine AGT systems under development in Japan and said that seven of them had been deployed. He said that the Ministry of Construction plans to subsidize and strongly suport the deployment of about 200 km of GRT guideway by 1985, and 1000 km by the year 2000.

CVS: The Japanese PRT System

CVS: The Japanese PRT System

ATRA Member Robert E. Johnson wrote an article in Advanced Transit News about the UMTA Automated Mixed Traffic Vehicle program that had been quietly progressing for several years. An AMTV uses inductive guidance and optical censors to operate safely at low speeds on existing rights-of-way shared in places with pedestrians. UMTA had a technology-development program at JPL to develop a breadboard vehicle. They were working on improvement of sensor and controller performance and a vehicle with features that will allow reliable and safe operation in an actual transit environment.

The Office of Technology Assessment conducted a study on the AGRT program. They concluded: “Unless cities adopt forms of transportation that require less energy and space, they face a future of greatly increased traffic congestion and reduced mobility. A technology that could help meet cities future transit needs is AGT, driverless transit vehicles operating on their own fixed guideways. The technologies under development in the AGRT program could be applied to other forms of exclusive guideway transit ranging from large-vehicle urban rail systems to small-vehicle personal rapid transit systems.”

In March 1980, UMTA invited several ATRA members to a two-day conference at the UMTA office in Washington, D. C. The purpose was to identify factors that may slow or stop PRT development. By the end of the conference it was seen from presentations given by UMTA and TSC engineers that PRT development should be encouraged beyond the AGRT program.

In an editorial in the Advanced Transit News, Alain Kornhauser said there is “a realization that the automobile has reached an historical peak, and its perceived costs are rapidly becoming greater than its actual costs. The catastrophic rehabilitation needs of our urban and interurban highway system, manifested by inflation, a fixed revenue rate and a declining base (gasoline consumption), may well bring the automobile to it axles.”

In cooperation with the Committee on New Systems and Technology of the Transportation Research Board, ATRA was to present a session on January 14, 1981 on “The Role of Technolgy in Urban Transportation Barriers to Technology Deployment.”

Proposed system map

A preliminary Environmental Impact Statement was completed on a proposed DPM for Downtown Detroit. A map of the route is shown here. The DPM would operate on a one-way loop guideway 2.96 miles long.   Travel speeds on the loop would range from 17 to 30 mph and the entire loop could be travelled in 14 minutes. Station locations are shown as black rectangles on the illustration shown here. Passenger volumes were predicted to be 71,000 per weekday in 1990 with 11,500 passengers in the noon peak hour.

Vought Corporation released a report entitled “Passive Vehicle Automated Guideway Transit Documentation of Previous Work and Assessment of Impacts of New Technology on this Concept,” which was a small-vehicle AGT called LectraVia. It used passive vehicles operating on an active guideway and was propelled by linear induction motors mounted in the guideway. They concluded that passive vehicles would provide the system reliability neeeded to deploy AGT systems with many small vehicles (12-passenger or less) in applications where continuous high service levels would be wanted such as in business, governmental, medical and educational service areas.

In the September 27, 1980 ATRA Board Meeting the following questions and ATRA’s role in relationship to them were discussed:

What is needed, what is the acceptablility and viability of AGT systems?

What are the views toward advanced systems by users, planners, builders and operators?

Should we consider other forms of advanced transit besides AGT, such as advanced buses and new paratransit systems?

The discussion concluded without definitive answers to resolve the questions.

Henry Najeko, UMTA Associate Administrator for R&D and ATRA Member, explained the UMTA R&D Program. He said that the DOT had undertaken a major review of its R&D efforts. He said that DOT had been underfunding R&D by a factor of 2 or 3 or 4, and that there was more support for looking farther ahead instead of planning just to meet the immediate needs of financially strapped transit properties. He wondered how much R&D would occur in the private sector if the Federal government were to withdraw, and doubted if they would pick up the slack, but suggested that ATRA might want to explore this question. He favored UMTA doing testing of new or improved transit technology to qualify them for capital grant funding.

In the summer of 1980, we were informed that the 12-passenger Cabintaxi project was approved for construction in Hamburg. In December 1980 we learned that a newly appointed Minister of R&D canceled that project. That was the last we heard of Cabintaxi in Germany.


PRT needs to distinguish by performance from self-driving cars – or submerge in them

July 28th, 2017



Will PRT be able to distinguish itself from self-driving cars? Self-driving cars are believed to be able to run on any paved road, on exclusive lanes or on lanes with mixed traffic, with or without a driver, shared or private. This flexibility could open a mass market because there is a smooth transition from the conventional, privately owned car to the automated and shared car of the future.

I believe it is unlikely that shared, fully automated taxis will perform a significant share of urban trips in any foreseeable future. But already the hype, hope and imaginations generated by self-driving cars risk to overshadow, dilute and absorb the concepts and potentials of PRT. Surely, PRT systems, which are already in operation since years, will also profit from the self-driving car propaganda and face better informed clients, less technological skepticism and less regulatory obstacles as compared with the past years.


But what is the main distinguishing feature of PRT? “It is the dedicated guideway” – in the expert’s opinion. However, would this argument be convincing to many clients or potential users, would it make headlines, would it attract investments and open large markets? Probably not. One may even comment that guideways are additional costs and self-driving cars could make use of exclusive guideways too, if necessary.


In my opinion, only if PRT achieved an outstanding performance by making an appropriate use of dedicated guideways then its breakthrough would still be possible: Compared with self-driving cars, PRT would be safer, achieve much high capacities, run faster, be more reliable and energy efficient, vehicles would be lighter and cheaper, and infrastructure would also be lighter and slimmer. Such a PRT system would let self-driving cars look like outdated, heavy and slow technology.


But what is the appropriate use of dedicated guideways? The most important properties of dedicated guideways are that they guarantee a predefined operating environment, the motion of all vehicles is predictable and there exists a small air-gap between vehicle and guideway. These properties can and should be technically exploited; here are some examples:

  • Gripping or squeezing of guide-rails with wheels or brakes: this guarantees decelerations and accelerations, maintains predefined headways and therefore provides high safety levels and reliable operation in most weather conditions.
  • Stabilizing guide-rails: if guide-rails are used to force the vehicle to say on track then speeds can be reliably increased, in particular in curves.
  • Short distance communication devices and sensors: wireless communications and sensing over a few milliliters (between vehicle and guideway) are fast, delay-free and interference-fee; this allows a rapid and precise location of vehicles; further, vehicles can “see” each other through the guideway. This feature contributes to a safely decrease in headways and an increase in capacity.
  • Automated, mechanical coupling: this is a proven and reliable way to couple vehicles together and to form dynamic trains of arbitrary length; such trains would further boost PRT capacity; vehicles with identical destinations or directions could be joined in special stations, as shown in the figure.
  • Synchronous PRT motorways: on high capacity network links, all vehicles would run at high speeds with synchronous motors (with either rotatory motors and a common 3-phase power supply or with linear synchronous motors). Because all vehicles are tied to a common phase, there cannot be a relative movement between vehicles on this link. This means that safety is guaranteed, even at very short distances. Note that with this concept, vehicles need to pre-accelerate to enter the main stream in an asynchronous way, similar to the maneuvers on motorway ramps.
  • Power transmission: the small and precise distance between vehicle and guideway allows efficient power transmission, either through current collectors or inductively; there is no need for large, heavy and costly batteries.
  • Vehicle prediction: in absence of interferences from other traffic participants, the position and future position of all vehicle are predictable with a high precision. This fact allows ultimately to optimize the on-demand services (minimize waiting times) and to reduce or entirely avoid traffic congestion.

Figure: Station where PRT vehicles with a common destination are coupled together to form trains


This list is not exhaustive. Some features are already realized in existing PRT systems, some are new and need a reality check. However, all of these features cannot be easily implemented with free ranging vehicles, such as self-driving cars. It is my conviction that by consequently developing and optimizing most, if not all, of these guideway-related technologies, one would end up with a PRT system that outperforms self-driving cars, as well as medium capacity light rail trains.


None of the features in the above list is science fiction; I claim that it is more difficult to develop cars able to run through traffic-congested cities without a driver than to implement the features in this list.


The suggested developments do need considerable funding. This is why it is important to deliver accurate impact estimations and demonstrate how such a PRT-network would perform against a fleet of self-driving cars in the same urban settings and with the same transport demand. For this purpose, we are working on large scale micro-simulations and build scenarios where door-to-door trips are simulated with different transport scenarios, including walking, conventional public transit, cars, bikes, and PRT.


By: Joerg Schweizer



International Podcar City Conference comes to Las Vegas, USA

July 27th, 2017


International Podcar City Conference comes to Las Vegas, USA

November 8-10 2017 in Las Vegas, USA 

Eleventh annual event focuses on automated mobility for

Smart City, Smart Transit, Smart Energy

Press release – for immediate release

San Jose, CA and Las Vegas, NV – July 27th 2017


The Eleventh Annual International Podcar City Conference is set for Wednesday – Friday,

November 8-10, at the City Hall of Las Vegas, NV. Podcar City will address the importance of

automated mobility and on-demand operations pertaining to energy, cityscape, and livability.

150-250 participants are expected, including city planners, transit planners, consultants,

architects, engineers, investors, developers, elected officials, and academics. Podcar City is

organized by the International Institute of Sustainable Transportation (INIST) of California and

the Advanced Transit Association with support from the Mineta Transportation Institute, San

Jose, CA,

In parallel and culminating at Podcar City, the Urban International Design Contest (UIDC) has

been organized to inspire municipalities and universities to think broadly about their transportation

network. The UIDC takes place from July 1 until October 16 and connects students and city

professionals with the goal to educate, inspire and motivate important stakeholders in how new

modes of sustainable public transportation can be utilized in an urban environment. Independent

judges will score each team on their presentation which must include Automated Transit Network

technology (ATN) defined as self-driving vehicles at grade and/or a separate guideway which

provides transportation for the general public, a real future city/urban project in need of transportation,

and a 4D simulation model. Currently the cities of Sundbyberg, Jacksonville, Las

Vegas, Gävle, Washington D.C and Perth are participating.

Information about the conference and the design competition is available at and

“Podcars are similar to the driverless trains we see at airports and other facilities around the

world,” said Christer Lindstrom of INIST. “But these are built as smaller cars for about six to

eight passengers. Initial systems are expected to fill the need for short trips or for connections

between transit modes. We expect the technology to eventually evolve into larger systems such as

the recently decided 1500 vehicle/100 kilometer system in Ajman, UAE. Elevated tracks will

allow them to operate without impacting street traffic and autonomous public vehicles using

existing roads are already deployed at various locations all over the world. Since the last

conference there has been a tremendous increase in interest and investment in these


The conference will open on Wednesday with a series of workshops and display of various

vehicles and concepts.

International speakers representing government, business, and professional organizations will

come from across the U.S., France, Australia, Sweden, Italy, the UK, Mexico, China and the


Sessions include:

– Industry practice from around the world on autonomous transit systems

– Mobility planning from several cities utilizing live virtual 4D models

– Mobility as a Service (MaaS) & Automated Transit Networks (ATN)

– Global trends and project developments

– Smart city discussions including digital payment, and multimodal connectivity

– New mobility and its relationship to sustainability, energy and climate

– Safety and Security

– Integration of sensoring and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Matthew Lesh, formerly of the U.S Department of Transportation, is pleased to assist with the

organization of Podcar City. “The initiative fits perfectly within our knowledge and experience

on mobility services. Over the past several years we have seen a real convergence of Intelligent

Transportation Systems (ITS), mobile technology, and automation. Ensuring that we use these

technologies in a sustainable and meaningful way will have positive impacts not only on our

transportation networks, but on society, providing more access, greater accessibility, and added


The Mineta Transportation Institute in San Jose, California has been a long-term supporter of

new, sustainable technologies that help address first and last mile challenges. “ATN’s are

designed to reduce congestion, improve mobility, and mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Such technology is a viable alternative in California as we prepare for the advent of high-speed

rail” says Karen Philbrick, PhD, Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute.

Public Works Director David Bowers, City of Las Vegas;

“The city is proud to host this conference as we continue to be on the cutting edge of developing

safe practices that enable automated vehicle implementation, It is exciting to see these

developments and technology finding a home in downtown Las Vegas in the heart of our

Innovation District.”

For information and to register, go to


The International Institute of Sustainable Transportation (INIST) staff and partners have

comprehensive skills and experience in the core disciplines needed to build mobility projects that

dramatically improve quality of life – project management, general design, energy analysis,

innovative transportation solutions, public outreach, and more. INIST does not compete with

traditional consultancy studies. Rather, it provides conceptual designs in collaboration with

students, professionals, and advisors. INIST establishes partnerships with top key professional

organizations for best performance on all levels of a project – architects, developers, transit

specialists, solar consultants, and virtual model providers.


ATRA is a diverse group of people brought together by the common realization that the

transportation systems of the past can not meet the transportation needs of the future, or even the

present. As non-profit corporation, ATRA’s purpose is to encourage the development and

deployment of advanced transportation systems that will benefit society.


At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is

to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of

our nation’s’ transportation system through research, education, workforce development and

technology transfer. We help create a connected world. MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded

through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California

Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas

College and Graduate School of Business.

Media Contact:

Christer Lindstrom                                            Diana Paul

Director, INIST.                                                   City of Las Vegas

+46-735-459179.                                                 +1-702-229-6582



The History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (4)

July 14th, 2017


History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year

by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.


1979 – The Fourth Year


Please see this link below for full article:

The History of the Advanced Transit Association yr4

Texas Southern University – Advanced Research

July 11th, 2017


Texas Southern University Studying Advancing Research of Automated Roadway Vehicles in Public Transit Applications

TSU’s Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR) is working to further research after completing a TRB/NCHRP study of autonomous vehicle transit systems


TSU’s CTTR has completed the work as Principal Investigator for the NCHRP 20-102(02) project sponsored by Transportation Research Board/National Academy of Sciences, which specifically addressed the implications of deploying fully automated roadway vehicle (AV) technology in transit operations. This study’s results will be featured in a TRB webinar later in 2017. The final report, titled Impacts of Laws and Regulations on Automation Technology for Transit, describes how AV transit will be commonly deployed in public transit service within the next few decades, and the resulting impacts on Operations and Policy at the local transit operator level will create a new paradigm for public transit. The NCHRP study assessed the development trajectories for AV transit technologies, considered the lessons learned through the last 50 years of automated guideway transit deployments, investigated the early demonstration projects for AV transit and tapped into the thinking of a number individuals within the transit industry, labor unions, and governmental agencies. Results of the study are an extensive set of findings and recommendations that address the existing laws and regulations, the nature of policy decisions that are made at the local transit agency level and the further development possibilities for the current prototype AV transit technologies now being demonstrated.

A second project now under development by TSU’s CTTR will provide a “living laboratory” of AV transit operations with fully automated vehicles traveling on the ground through pedestrian and vehicular environments within and around the University District in Houston, Texas. The University District AV Transit Circulator System implementation is being developed as a joint endeavor between TSU and the University of Houston – a Tier One research institution. Encompassing an area totaling over 2 square miles, the long term deployment phases will be analyzed in a planning study that is being considered for addition to the region’s Unified Planning Work Program. An Early Deployment Project is also being developed which will interconnect the campuses of TSU and U of H with AV Circulator transit services, and will provide an operational platform for important research studies such as those that come out of the NCHRP 20-102(02) project recommendations mentioned above.

By J. Sam Lott

J Sam Lott

Synopsis of the 1st Smart Self-Driving Summit

July 11th, 2017


Prepared by Lawrence J. Fabian, Trans.21

Please see link below:


How to Reduce Congestion: An Idea that will not Die!

July 9th, 2017


J. Edward Anderson, PhD, P. E.
PhD in Aeronautics & Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Article below:

Self-driving cars will increase road congestion

June 26th, 2017


by Ingmar Andreasson

Many car companies are already testing self-driving cars on public roads. Governments are changing regulations to permit self-driving to support their car industries. In the hype around self-driving, some believe that self-driving cars will solve traffic congestion and eliminate the need for Automated Transit Networks and guideways.

 But manufacturers of self-driving cars will be held liable for traffic accidents and therefore be risk-aversive. Manual cars are driven at unsafe distances most of the time whereas self-driving cars will keep a safe distance. Car manufacturers have a very strong incentive for safety but are not concerned with road capacity. Distances between cars need to be more than doubled to be safe and hence road capacity will be reduced to less than half. Communication between cars does not eliminate risks – the car in front can still have some unforeseen emergency. And it will be a long time before all cars on the road are communicating.

 Not only will road capacity be reduced. Self-driving cars will also generate more traffic. Longer commutes will be acceptable when you can work while travelling. More trips will get made and driverless cars may be sent off empty to park. Some former transit passengers will take a cheap driverless taxi.

 Wherever road congestion is a problem we need to lift trips off the road onto guideways. Driverless taxis on roads or on guideways should always be shared and integrated with other transit modes.

Ingmar Andreasson

Prof. Em.andreasson

The History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (3)

June 12th, 2017


History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year


by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

1978 – The Third Year.

Significant Events


Assessment of Operational Automated Guideway Systems – Jetrail, by George Anagnostopoulos et. al. 280 pp.

            Development/Deployment Investigation of Cabintaxi/Cabinlift Systems, by V. J. Hobbs, W. Heckelmann, N. G. Patt, J. H. Hill, 432 pp.

Over 200 people attended the ACT Conference sponsored by the USDOT’s Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass. The big news was that George Pastor announced that UMTA has selected two AGRT systems instead of one to proceed to phase IIB of the project. The two are Boeing and Otis.   They continued the work till the mid 1980s.

Miami will proceed with its mass transit project that will combine a 3.3-mile downtown people mover with a 16.5-mile elevated rapid transit system.

The Tri-State Regional Planning Commission is applying for federal grant money for an “accelerated walkway system” for Hoboken, NJ.

UMTA is “wait and see” on the Cleveland DPM.

All ten DPM finalist cities will receive preliminary engineering money.

St. Paul DPM Threatened. Consultant’s figures show the cost of building a St. Paul downtown people mover far exceeds the original estimate.

Boeing is building 28 new vehicles for the Morgantown AGT system.


The City is asking for UMTA money to upgrade its existing Monorail as a state-of-the-art DPM by adding 2.7 miles of guideway and five stations.


Boeing Aerospace Company acquired world-wide rights to the ROMAG transit system technology developed by Rohr Industries of Chula Vista, CA. The ROMAG concept is suitable for either low-speed, short-haul urban transit or high-speed intercity transportation. The ROMAG vehicles are magnetically levitated and propelled by linear induction motors.


Berlin, Germany

The government of Berlin commissioned an AGT feasibility study. Three systems: Cabintaxi, C-Bahn, and H-Bahn are considered.


New Specialty Area Subcommittees formed for New Systems Implementation and Deployment:

  • Availability, Reliability and Maintainability
  • Safety
  • Communication/Command and Control
  • Supervisory Systems
  • Implementation Process
  • Operational Process
  • Transit Vehicles
  • Civil Structures
  • Electrification and Electric Distribution

    Dr Kieffer

    Dr Kieffer

Dr. Jarold A. Kieffer led a Board of Directors discussion about how to sharpen debate, based on an article he wrote “To Improve the Quality of Transit-System Analysis, Planning, Design, Information, and Implementation.”

New Publications

The High-Speed Ground Transportation Journal formally becomes the Journal of Advanced Transportation. Spring, Summer and Fall issues are published.


Transit Systems Theory, J. Edward Anderson, a 340-page book with a Forward by UMTA Associate Administrator George Pastor is published by Lexington Books.


City Traffic: A Systems Digest, Horst Weigelt, Rainer Gotz and Helmut H. Weiss. This book surveys the inadequacy of existing urban transit systems, provides an overview of proposed alternatives, modifications and innovations, and explores new developments in the U. S., Europe and Japan.


Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit, by Jack H. Irving with Harry Bernstein, C. L. Olson and Jon Buyan, a 352-page book was published by Lexington Books. This is the result of years of work at The Aerospace Corporation and provides the best ways to advance the Systems Engineering of transit.



First ATRA Conference

“A virtual “Who’s Who” in metropolitan planning and urban transportation tops the agenda for an ATRA international conferenced scheduled in Indianapolis April 25-28, 1978. The conference will explore the theme “Advanced Transit and Urban Revitalization – An International Dialogue.” More than 500 delegates are expected. Special speakers included Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, UMTA Administrator Richard S. Page, American Institute of Architects Executive Vice President David O. Meeker, General Motors Executive Vice President Howard H. Kehrl, English architect and constant Brian Richards, Director of General Planning for Copenhagen Kai Lemberg and Hamberg Transportation Company Board Member Hans Hermann Meyer. U. S. DOT Research and Development Resources Manager Robert L. Paullin is the Conference Program Chairman.

The availability of the Conference Proceedings for $40 was announced.

ATRA Articles of Incorporation were revised to read: “The Advanced Transit Association is organized exclusively for education in the analysis, design, planning and implementation of advanced transit systems.”


For a fee of $300, a Transit Course called “Transit Systems Theory” is offered at the University of Minnesota and taught by J. E. Anderson.

Page letter



Based on attending the ATRA Conference, journalist Neal R. Peirce wrote a two-page article entitled “The Promise (and Pitfalls) of Transit Technology.” He concluded that: 1) advanced technology can provide significant labor savings, 2) well-designed systems could reduce congestion, 3) the USA cannot afford to leave the area to other countries, and 4) if severe shortages in oil develop, the USA will regret not developing every potential. Yet, why so many difficulties? UMTA said that it is necessary to deploy existing systems more gradually. Others argued that it was necessary to do comprehensive systems engineering first and resist efforts to move too fast too soon.

A letter to the Publisher and Editor of the magazine Mass Transit by J. E. Anderson was published in Vol. 2, No. 4 of Advanced Transit News. Here is one sentence from the letter: “Putting any automated system in a downtown simply won’t do. It must be a visually attractive system, economical in energy use in all kinds of weather, capable of excellent service, moderate in cost, and cleanly and reliably designed. To do these things, it must be designed based on fundamental understanding of all aspects of the theory of transit systems, and it must be adequately tested before deployment in a city.”

“A Princeton University Study Compares AGT with Conventional Transit.” The study considered alternatives for the City of Trenton and concluded that, while AGT has a great many advantages over the other transit alternatives, particularly with regard to the level of service, AGT was not sufficiently developed, and hence the authors recommended a bus system until real AGT could be ready.