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

    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.

    At ATRA

    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.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) Year by Year (2)

    May 15th, 2017

    Atra white logo


    Edward Anderson, first ATRA President


    1977 – The Second Year.

    Significant Events

    In the US DOT

    Secretary Brock Adams endorsed giving communities broad latitude.

    UMTA is calling for proposals to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of AGT.

    UMTA released a publication entitled “People Movement for Downtown Improvement.”

    In the Senate

    Senator Lloyd Bentsen directed the Congressional Budget Office to prepare a report entitled “Urban Transportation and Energy: The Potential Savings of Different Modes.” Inter alia, the report says that the introduction of a new rapid rail system would cause energy consumption to increase.

    In Deployment of AGT Systems

    Downtown People Mover Sites Selected:

    Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, St. Paul

    AIRTRANS Report out on operation and cost statistics.

    Contracts for AGRT awarded to Boeing, Otis, and Rohr.

    AGRT consists of 12-passenger vehicles with a seat for every passenger operating at headways down to 3 seconds and using off-line stations in a network configuration. A paper given at the 1975 PRT Conference showed from simulations of station operations that such a system is not practical.

    Contract awarded to N. D. Lea & Associates to evaluate Morgantown AGT system.

    The Seattle Monorail after 15 years lauded.

    MBB + Demag deploys CabinLift at a Hessian hospital.

    The Japanese New Town Tsukuba opens an AGT System

    Boeing begins Phase II work of Morgantown Expansion.

    Otis Elevator Installing Duke People Mover.

    Atlanta Airport to get SLT.

    A GRT System for Nanko Port Town in southwest Osaka, Japan, announced.

    World’s Largest Mall (between Los Angeles and San Diego) plans People Mover.

    “More on Monorails,” Jaime MacVeigh, Madrid, Spain.

    “Morgantown – Two Years of Operation,” Dr. Samuel Elias, West Virginia University.

    A People Mover ideal for Atlantic City.

    The Mayor of Cleveland, Dennis Kucinich, is opposed to the Cleveland DPM project, which eventually killed it.

    An automated baggage mover planned for the Braniff International passenger terminal at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

    At ATRA

    Committees formed

    Social and Economic Impacts

    Consumer Preferences

    Guideway Structures

    Institutional Structures

    Cost Effectiveness

    System Operations Analysis and Simulation


    First Conference.

    ATRA’s first Conference will be held in Indianapolis on April 26-28, 1978.

    Call for Papers released.

    The Conference Chairman is Dr. E. Henry (Ned) Lamkin.

    Chairmen appointed for Program Committee, Arrangements, Endorsements,

    Exhibits, Printed Program, Publicity, Special Events,

    Specialized Activity Sessions, Display, Press Relations.

    The theme of the Conference: “Advanced Transit and Urban Revitalization – an

    International Dialog.”

    It is estimated that about 500 delegates will attend the conference.

    Dr. Lamkin recruited eight sponsoring Indianapolis organizations.

    German Conference

    Dr. Herman Zemlin reported that the German Federal Ministry of Research and

    Technology (the sponsor of the Cabintaxi PRT program) is preparing to co-sponsor a conference with ATRA in Germany in 1979 with no funding required from ATRA.


    ATRA acquires the High-Speed Ground Transportation Journal that was published by the Institute for Transportation. It became the official journal of ATRA and was named the Journal of Advanced Transportation.


    Al Kornhauser: “UMTA’s Move Toward Advanced Technologies”

    “It is hoped that the preliminary engineering process will include and explore     various technological alternatives.”

    Morse Wade: “Where Will DPM Take Advanced Transit?”

    “. . . no basic technical reason why an area-wide PRT system cannot absorb all surface traffic in any large city.”



    The Taxicab

    “Vehicle Fleet Costs,” J. E. Anderson

    Moving in Cities. A book by Brian Edwards

    “Research and Development Needs in Ground Transportation,” J. E. Anderson

    “Shopping Centers: A Potential Market for Advanced Transit,” Jerry Schneider.

    “Automated Guideway Transit and the Revitalization of the Central Business District,”

    1. E. Anderson.

    Morgantown Article Stirs Controversy — a Los Angeles systems analyst commented on the necessity for test-track testing before deploying a new system in an urban setting.


    The first ATRA workshop was held on January 23, 1977 to identify those issues in

    advanced transit that participants wish to see the Association concentrate its

    beginning activity.


    “Transportation Systems Management” at Princeton University.

    Student Paper Contest

    At Other Societies

    ASCE To Form People-Mover Committee

    APTA Conference to Discuss AGT


    presents a


    1. Technical papers, dissertations and topical essays are invited (3,000 words or less).
    2. Prizes awarded to those papers which best conform to the following TRANSIT goals:
    • Improve quality of urban life through application of advance technology to transit.
    • Improve quality of transit system, analysis, planning design and implementation.
    1. Winners will be invited to present their papers at the 1978 ATRA  International Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana (Expenses Paid!!).

    WRITE or PHONE for



    Michigan Department of State Highways & Transportation

    425 W. Ottawa Street, Lansing, Michigan 48909

    Phone: (517) 374-9189

    Paper Summaries Are Welcome

    Films, Videotapes, Narrated Slides Are Invited


    Applications: 10/1/77

    Papers: 2/1/78



    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) Year by Year (1)

    April 7th, 2017


    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