ATRA News

    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 news@atra.org

    PODCAR CITY 2019 – November 5th- 6th 2019

    August 23rd, 2019

    podcar

    ATRA members get a big discount and new members get a year’s free membership in addition!

    Please see link for details to tickets and information :

    https://podcarcity.org/santaclaracounty-2019/

    History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 28 (2003)

    July 30th, 2019

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    2003 – The Twenty-Eighth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 28 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 28 (2003)

    Dr Ed

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 27 (2002)

    June 25th, 2019

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    2002 – The Twenty Seventh Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 27 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 27 (2002)

    yr27

     

    Let’s you and me go for a ride…

    June 7th, 2019

    Mel2

    by John Foley

    Let’s you and me go for a ride…
    We have a standing weekly appointment at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic
    Centre. A few minutes before we are due to meet, I walk across the road to the station
    in the foyer of the Economics Building of the University of Melbourne.
    On the wall are four computers. I wave my smart phone over a hot spot and
    touch the computer screen to select the St.Vincent’s Hospital where you work. As I
    step into the first pod car, I sit down, wave my smart phone over another hot spot, the
    computer reads where I want to go, the door closes and my car smoothly moves off at
    5km/h. Once clear of the foyer, it accelerates to 60km/h and enters the main stream of
    traffic.
    Two minutes later it approaches St. Vincent’s Hospital and switches to a side
    track that takes it inside the foyer, again at 5km/h.
    You have been delayed so I step out to wait for you. There is no crowd here
    because most passengers just turn up, step into a waiting pod car and ride away.
    Sometimes when there is a rush, they might have to wait a minute or two. When you
    are free you take the lift downstairs and walk across the foyer to the station.
    There are now three pod cars in the St. Vincent’s Hospital station, and a woman
    in a wheelchair is getting into the first one.
    A young mother with and a five-year-old boy and a baby in a pram is entering
    the second one.
    I swipe my smart phone at the wall computer again and touch the logo for the
    Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre. We walk to the third pod car, take a seat and I
    swipe my smart phone over the hot spot. You don’t need a ticket as the fare is the
    same as a taxi, per vehicle, not per passenger, so I will pay this trip for both of us.
    We silently glide forward at 5km/h until we leave the foyer where the pod car
    smoothly accelerates to 60km/h and seamlessly joins the main stream of traffic.
    Travelling at a kilometre a minute, we chat quietly as the computer guides our
    pod car along the most efficient route, avoiding areas of heavy traffic and any parts of
    the guideway under repair, above all the roads, cars, traffic lights, railways and tram
    lines. As the grid is extended over time, more motorists will choose to be passengers
    on the system so the car traffic will decrease leaving the roads to buses, taxis and
    delivery trucks as well as trade vehicles such as plumbers, electricians and so on.
    As we near the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center our pod car diverts from
    the main track, enters the building and slows down again to 5km/h. It stops behind
    another parked pod car and we walk six paces to the front desk. At 60km/h, the trip
    from St. Vincent’s Hospital to Albert Park has taken us four minutes.
    For two hours we indulge ourselves with all the facilities and after showering
    and enjoying a refreshing soft drink, we walk to the station in the foyer and bid each
    other farewell.
    You use your smart phone to program the computer to get you to Ringwood.
    You enter the first pod car, swipe your smart phone over the hot spot and the pod car
    moves off. It is 24 kilometers to Ringwood so the computer guides your pod car to
    the high speed track giving you six minutes to glance at your newspaper or listen to
    your choice of music, radio or comedy channel before the pod car stops 40 metres
    from your home.
    I have a meeting so I use my smart phone to go to the city. My pod car follows
    a few metres behind yours until it turns left and heads for Collins Street which is
    three minutes away.
    Our meeting goes well and finishes at 8:30pm. Four of us decide to go for a
    meal in Lygon Street. There is a pod car station in the foyer of our building so we all
    crowd into one vehicle. The maximum weight that a pod car can carry is 300kg so an
    automated voice tells us that we are overloaded by 68kg. Two of us get into the
    second pod car and follow our friends for the two minute journey to Carlton.
    Well after midnight and with a splendid Italian meal and a fair bit of wine on
    board, we are all too drunk to drive a car but that is not a concern. There are no
    random breath tests on pod cars and they run 24 hours a day. Walking 30m to the
    station, we say goodnight to each other and get into four separate pod cars.
    As I silently glide off, I notice two young women getting into the pod car
    behind me. No looking for a taxi, no annoying driver, no breathaliser and no leering
    pests on the train to hassle them. It is nearly 2am but even at this hour they can enjoy
    safe, private transportation from Carlton to their home.
    I live at Pascoe Vale, eight kilometers away, so I settle back, switch off the
    music and bask in the silence for the two minute journey.

    John Foley

    By John Foley

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 26 (2001)

    May 20th, 2019

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    2001 – The Twenty Sixth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 26 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 26 (2001)

    yr 26

     

    My Take on the Current State of Automated Transit Networks

    May 10th, 2019

    By
    Nathan Koren, Podaris CEO NEW

    For the past five years, ATNs have been eclipsed by two different hype cycles (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle). Driverless cars is one, and Transportation Network Companies (Uber, Lyft). These have been sucking the air out of the room for PRT and GRT. When cars have gotten so much easier to hail and will imminently be driving themselves, why bother building guideways? This has diverted a lot of the attention and resources which might otherwise have been directed towards ATNs.

    (This is somewhat ironic, perhaps, given that PRT in the past has been accused of diverting attention and resources which might otherwise have been directed towards traditional mass transit.)

    I think the situation may be changing, however. For both TNCs and driverless cars, the hype cycle has peaked and we are now sliding into the “trough of disillusionment”. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Level 5 automation is still a number of fundamental breakthroughs away from happening — not just technological breakthroughs, but regulatory and sociopolitical breakthroughs — and that there is no no predictable timeframe for when this will happen. (Elon Musk says it will be soon, but few people believe him.) And without Level 5 automation, TNCs simply don’t have a viable business model. So as some of the air goes out of those trends, it may make more room for ATNs.

    This is by no means guaranteed, however. If the ATN industry is to succeed, it must be on its own merits, without depending on the waxing and waning fortunes of other industries. In particular, the ATN industry needs to positively differentiate itself from driverless cars – which eventually will happen, albeit more slowly and in a more limited capacity than is commonly advertised.

    One trend which could allow ATNs to differentiate themselves is the growing movement towards pedestrianisation, (see: https://www.fastcompany.com/90294948/what-happened-when-oslo-decided-to-make-its-downtown-basically-car-free). This is something that driverless cars are obviously incompatible with, but ATNs could be very complementary in such context. Note that this requires ATN planners to think not just in transport-planning terms, but in more holistic urban-design terms.

    A final positive trend that I see is simply all the ferment around TNCs, electric bikes, scooter-sharing schemes, and so forth. These could be complementary to ATNs in various ways, but the key thing is that there is now more ferment in the way people are thinking about urban mobility and urban design than at any other time in the past 70 years. Until recently, a major barrier to implementing ATNs was the sense that cities were destined to remain static; the ways we did things wouldn’t change. Now there’s a pervasive sense that they will change and are changing. This belief in itself is a positive development for the ATN industry.

    Will the ATN industry be able to capitalise on this effectively? I hope so, and I know of a number of very promising projects that are in early-to-medium stages of development. But I’ve seen many false dawns before, so my optimism is tempered. It won’t really count until some of those projects get across the finishing line and begin operations. I’ll be holding my breath until then. It’ll be a few more years before we can tell for sure.
    Koren

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 25 (2000)

    April 23rd, 2019

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    2000 – The Twenty Fifth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 25 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 25 (2000)

    What Speeds Up, Must Slow Down – A Call for Realism in Depictions of PRT/ATN Station Lengths

    March 25th, 2019

    Untitled-1

    by Burford Furman

     

    Please see article below:

    What Speeds Up, Must Slow Down – A Call for Realism in Depictions of PRT/ATN Station Lengths

     

    E-scooters, Advanced Transit Systems and the GHG Intensity Imperative

    March 20th, 2019

     

    scooter

    By Christopher Juniper

    Recent studies of our economic future with, and without, serious action on climate change generally find huge economic advantages from strong action sooner than later.  The actions need concern both existing transport systems and buildings, but especially the expected $90 trillion of infrastructure development between now and 2030 that will set up economies to be low- or high-greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity, according to the Global Commission on Climate and Economy’s extensive study, “Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story…” at https://newclimateeconomy.report/2018/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2018/09/NCE_2018_FULL-REPORT.pdf.

    escooter

    The transport sector will remain among the stubbornest economic sectors for achieving low GHG intensity for several obvious reasons, especially regarding air travel.  This makes whole-system planning that involves extraordinarily energy- and climate-efficient advanced transit more important than ever for both our economic health, and humanity’s health.

    Only electric bicycles or variations such as small scooters can rival advanced transit systems for carbon-efficiency.  When combined, they will be the most climate-friendly options available.

    An ideal grid approach for an existing or new city would have advanced transit available no more than about a one-quarter-mile distance from residences or government/commercial buildings, capturing large segments of travelers without a “last-mile” problem.  However, the new internet-based electric scooter systems being deployed already in 65 US cities represent a new, highly-efficient technology (as much as 80 miles per kilowatt-hour)[1]that may assist riders to reach advanced transit stations without adding to traffic congestion.

    A new report by the City of Portland OR (USA) is among the first to explore the implications of electric scooters; it’s available at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/78431

    The city conducted a four-month E-scooter experiment; the ~2000 scooters were used for ~700,000 trips totaling ~800,000 miles.  Thirty-four percent of Portland riders and 48% of visitors reported they substituted the e-scooter for a personal car, whether owned or through ride-hailing systems.  Scooter-related emergency room or urgent care clinic visits totaled 176, of which 83% were a fall rather than a collision.

    In my opinion, cities or industrial/govt. complexes where many trips are less than 5 miles should be planning safe, separate right-of-way systems for highly efficient, light-weight vehicles like electric bikes or scooters, so they are not unsafely mingling with either pedestrians or large motor vehicles.  Such systems could be integrated into advanced transit systems to both provide sustainable energy for the battery charging systems (provided by the advanced transit’s solar/wind infrastructure) and maximally convenient connectivity.

    We’ll be appropriately serious about climate change when such systems become the norm.

    [1]Levi Tillemann and Lassor Feasley, “Let’s Count the Ways E-scooters Could Save the City,” Wired, 7 Dec. 2018, at: https://www.wired.com/story/e-scooter-micromobility-infographics-cost-emissions/

    The History of Advance Transit Association Year 24 (1999)

    March 12th, 2019

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    1999 – The Twenty Fourth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 24 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 24 (1999)