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    The ATRA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Advanced Transit

    April 18th, 2017

    Atra white logo

    The ATRA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Advanced Transit


    We are now accepting nominations for the second ATRA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Advanced Transit. The award acknowledges individual contributions towards awareness, development, planning, operation or acceptance of Advanced Transit.


    The award is in recognition of the outstanding contribution made by an individual and the influence he or she has had on Advanced Transit. It includes a prize of $500 and will be presented at the ASCE Automated People Mover conference in May of 2018.


    Nominations will be reviewed by a committee with representatives from the boards of ATRA and the ATRA Industry Group.


    Nominations for the award must include:

    1. A statement summarising the candidate’s accomplishments; a description of the significance of their contribution and justification of the nomination
    2. A concise statement (one sentence) of the achievement(s) for which the award is being given. This statement will appear on the award certificate and on the website
    3. The contact details of the person making the nomination
    4. The contact details of the person nominated


    Please note:

    1. Self-nominations are not accepted.
    2. Nominations which did not result in an award can be resubmitted and updated in subsequent years.
    3. Previous recipients are not eligible for future nominations.


    Nominations for the 2018 award will be accepted through December 2017 at:


    The History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA)

    April 7th, 2017


    Chapter One by Dr J. Edward Anderson

    The Formation of ATRA

    An AGT Society.  A major outcome of the 1975 International Conference on Personal Rapid Transit was a decision to form what we called an AGT (Automated Guideway Transit) Society. In the words of Dr. Larry Goldmuntz, who introduced the idea:
    “Therefore, we need a continuing AGT society to educate technicians, planners, and politicians to the possibilities of AGT and to the various disciplines which can be developed within AGT. We need to alert the AGT community to legislative and policy issues that may have an impact on the future of automated guideway transit. We need to establish a peer review process for various analyses that have been produced in the name of the AGT community, and we need to set up some mechanism to referee papers in the field and insure that the general level of technical contributions is improved.

    An AGT society would be able to educate Congress, and could try to influence national and state departments of transportation, regional and local transportation authorities, and urban planners. It would serve as a forum to establish definitions and performance standards. Safety and performance requirements can be met more easily if they are clearly defined. An AGT society could also formulate a definition of needs. It could study alternatives for new systems deployments and capital grants, and explore the possibility of obtaining pluralism in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) outside the federal mechanism. Certain cities might use some capital grant money for demonstrations after an effort in research and development that they consider germane to their area. The American nation has adopted pluralism in the majority of its institutions as a protection against the mistakes of a singular government. Pluralism sometimes wastes energy and tine, but it may often be safer, as in the case of RD&D. We have therefore asked the Chairman of this conference, Dr. J. Edward Anderson, to solicit some help from the AGT community to suggest the form, composition, and affiliations of a continuing AGT organization. This organization should involve technical personnel and representatives from industry, but also economists, city planners, urban designers, and politicians. In other words, it should involve all those people who are interested in solving our urban transportation problems, rather than people who are discipline oriented.”

    With this mandate, I began working on formation of a permanent AGT society. On December 8, 1975 I gathered all of the members of the conference committee I could, as well as several engineering managers in the U. S. Department of Transportation who favored our cause, in a meeting in Washington, D. C. We decided on the name Advanced Transit Association, with the acronym ATRA, to distinguish us from the already established ATA. ATRA was founded on May 19, 1976 with 25 people prominent in transportation in governments, universities, and consulting firms elected to the Board of Directors. I was elected President and Barton Aschman Vice President Michael A. Powells, Jr., was elected Chairman. An Executive Committee was elected that included in addition Charles Elms, then just leaving NASA Huntsville to form Lea Elliott, Inc.; Dr. William L. Garrard, University of Minnesota; Dr. Lawrence Goldmuntz, who had left the Executive Office of the President to form his own consulting firm; George Krambles, an official with the Chicago Transit Authority; William Merritt, who as an UMTA Associate Administrator in 1968 had written the report “Tomorrow’s Transportation” that discussed 17 studies of new technology applied to urban transportation; Morse Wade, a senior engineer with IBM; and Dr. Richard Willow, aid to Congressman Bill Frenzel. Only 12 of the 25 ATRA Board Members had been members of the 1975 International Conference on PRT Conference Committee, thus the leadership involved in forming ATRA reached well beyond the people I had selected for the Conference Committee, which was great.

    We stated that “the need for a new association arose because membership in present transit associations and engineering societies is limited to either organizations, rather than individuals, or to members of specific professions,” and we stated our purposes to be:

    • To improve the quality of urban life through the judicious application of advanced technology and planning concepts to transit service;

    • To disseminate information on advanced transit to members, to the interested professions, to the public, and to representatives of all levels of government; and

    • To improve the quality of transit-system analysis, planning, design, and implementation.

    J. E. Anderson

    Dr J. Edward Anderson

    Dr J. Edward Anderson


    March 15th, 2017



    Dutch technology firm 2getthere, a world-leading developer of sustainable mobility solutions, has been awarded the contract to deliver a new automated vehicle system in Dubai .


    Link to full article below:

    Bluewaters contract award


    March 15th, 2017

    Conference 2017


    AEM’s 2050 Challenge

    March 10th, 2017


    ATRA President, Peter Muller was second prize winner in the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Transportation Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge.

    The competition drew entries from around the world and the five finalists for the $100,000 prize money included four from the US and one from Uganda. All finalists participated in presentations to five esteemed judges and a large audience at the CON-Expo trade show in Las Vegas on February 8th, 2017.

    Muller’s submittal was based largely on his paper titled A New Transportation Paradigm that Facilitates High Quality Living which expounds upon the quality of life improvements associated with guideway transportation as opposed to road transportation. A key line from his presentations was: “Imagine living and working in a park-like environment, yet being in the midst of a dense city and having high-speed transportation on demand for you and all of your family members.”

    Muller’s Small Automated Road Transportation (SmART) system is based on current automated transit systems (ATN) taken to the next level by incorporating ideas for freight vehicles, off-guideway vehicles as well higher speeds with greater capacity and short stations as proposed by ATRA member Gene Nishinaga (Transit Control Solutions). When asked what he plans to do with his share of the winnings, Muller stated: “Continue to support PRT Consulting and the Advanced Transit Association towards getting ATN and SmArt systems implemented.”


    AEM Peter

    A New Transportation Paradigm

    January 9th, 2017


    Author P. Muller

    Please look at link below for full article.

    Proposed Changes to the ASCE APM

    November 10th, 2016



    This standard addresses automated people movers (APM) which it defines as “a guided transit mode with fully automated operation, featuring vehicles that operate on guideways with exclusive right-of-way”. Automated transit networks (ATN), also known as personal rapid transit (PRT) or group rapid transit (GRT) are a subset of APM featuring small vehicles, on-board switching and offline stations. The ATRA Industry Group has been concerned that some of the provisions of the APM Standards may not be applicable to ATN or may even not be attainable or appropriate for ATN systems. A subcommittee was formed and various changes to the APM Standards were prepared.

    As a member of the APM Standards Committee and of ATRA IG, I had the honor of attending the October 6 & 7, 2016 APM Standards Committee meeting and presenting our proposed changes. Eighteen changes were presented and twelve were accepted by the meeting to move forward to the formal voting process prior to being adopted in the Standards. A summary of the discussion follows.

    Proposed changes to station audible announcements were not accepted.
    The Committee requested more research and, potentially, additional or changed language for proposed changes relating to separation assurance (the so-called “brick wall” standard), blue light station requirements and traction power grounding.
    A few proposed changes were retracted in the meeting when discussion clarified that they were not appropriate or needed.

    A brief description of the accepted changes follows.
    The definition of guideway was changed to indicate the guideway may physically guide transit vehicles.
    Parted consist protection was amended to indicate it shall detect the unintended uncoupling of vehicles in a consist.
    A new commentary was added relating to trains not physically guided by the guideway. Note that the term “trains” also applies to single vehicles.

    Some clarifications were added to distinguish self-powered vehicle requirements from those with wayside power supply.
    Video surveillance in all vehicles was added “if required by the authority having jurisdiction.”
    A section on destination selection devices for systems with selectable destinations was added.
    It was clarified that priority seating signs and interior circulation handrails and stanchions are only required in vehicles accommodating standees.

    Lower door opening heights (59”) were allowed in vehicles designed for seated passengers only.
    A redundancy requirement for the vehicle recharging system was added if applicable.
    Power regeneration requirements were changed to address “energy and power” in addition to “voltage”.
    Working on this change process has been highly rewarding with good support from ATRA IG members and a spirit of cooperation from the ASCE APM Standards Committee. Work will continue on the items the Committee deemed not quite ready for acceptance. Undoubtedly, new issues will arise and keeping the standards up to date will become an ongoing task requiring a continued collaborative


    Peter Muller, ATRA President

    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.

    Preliminary Personal Rapid Transit Feasibility Study for Park City, Utah

    October 5th, 2016


    Summary Prepared by Douglas G. Schmucker, PhD, PE

    Associate Professor – Lecturer, University of Utah

    Please clink on the link below for full document details:


    Preliminary Personal Rapid Transit Feasibility Study


    Texas Southern University Studying the Impacts of Automated Roadway Vehicles on Public Transit

    October 4th, 2016


    By: J. Sam Lott, P.E.
    Research Assistant Professor

    TSU’s Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR) is well underway on an NCHRP sponsored study of the future of autonomous vehicle transit systems.

    Early assessments of the research needed to understand the implications of AV technology deployments have resulted in a slate of studies being performed under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) which is managed by the Transportation Research Board/National Academy of Sciences. One of these projects now underway is specifically addressing the transit applications of AV technology, and is titled NCHRP 20-102(02) Impacts of Regulations and Policies on CV and AV Technology Introduction in Transit Operations. This particular project work focusing on AV transit was awarded to a team of research entities, led by Dr. Douglas Gettman of Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
    The 20-102(02) AV transit project has J. Sam Lott, a Research Assistant Professor at TSU’s CTTR, as the designated Principal Investigator. The work is being conducted in four basic tasks:

    • Task 1 AV/CV Transit Technology Baseline
    • Task 2 Transit Operator Issues and Impacts
    • Task 3 Government Regulations and Laws
    • Task 4 Next Steps: Process, Prioritization and Adjustments

    A key element of the project work has been the conducting of two Transit Industry Stakeholder workshops, held concurrently with the 2016 Automated Vehicle Symposium in San Francisco and the 2016 APTA Conference in Los Angeles. During these industry workshops, the policy implications for transit operators were energetically discussed. The stakeholder workshops also generated considerable discussion on the topic of federal regulations and how they may be impacted by the coming paradigm shift that AV technology will bring to the transit industry.


    Working papers are currently in preparation by TSU that address the AV technology baseline deployment scenarios, safety considerations and operating authority policy implications for transit applications. The complete documentation and final report by Kimley-Horn/TSU are scheduled for completion by March of 2017.


    riviumThe Rivium GRT system by 2getthere has been operating at Level 4 automation since 1999.