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

    Solar Powered Automated Transportation Network for San José

    July 29th, 2020

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    By Burford Furman
    San José State University

    25th JULY 2020
    A team of engineers, architects, and urban planners from San José State University, Southern Illinois, and the International Institute of Sustainable Transportation, with support from the Mineta Transportation Institute, is examining the benefits and challenges associated with creating a solar powered automated transit network (ATN) that will link areas near the north and south campuses of SJSU.

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    The overall project is composed of two sub-studies. The first study (Energy Systems) is focused on answering the question, “Can solar photovoltaic panels located along the guideway network deliver the energy needed by a large transportation network?” The second study (Visualization) is focused on answering the question, “Will immersive, dynamic computer visualization help decision makers buy into radically new transportation approaches?”
    Solar photovoltaic panels (PV) applied directly to the guideway of an ATN system have been promoted by various individuals and developers since the 1990s (Furman, 2018). However, for solar ATN to gain serious consideration by decision makers, there must be evidence that it can actually provide the energy needed to operate the system and stations reliably and resiliently. Thus, the Energy Systems project proposes to define the solar-energy collection, energy storage, storage-to-vehicle and propulsion, grid interconnection, and distribution system requirements for an ATN system and passenger catchment area near the SJSU north and south campuses.
    Besides the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ engineering development and verification that must be done for solar-powered ATN to become a reality, significant knowledge is needed by planners, architects, and developers to be able to weave ATN systems into the urban fabric in ways that will be acceptable to community stakeholders. The gathering of feedback from stakeholders has improved in the past few decades with the rise of the internet and social media and their ability to provide information and solicit comment from the public, however the visualization and virtual ‘experiencing’ of proposed major changes to the urban fabric from large transportation projects is stuck in the dark ages and tends to stifle innovation. It is hard to overstate the value of immersive, dynamic modeling of a cityscape in comparison to static, two-dimensional depictions of what things will be like as a result of proposed changes to transportation systems, however the development of immersive, dynamics models, such as those from companies like Encitra/4Dialog is a relatively complex, time intensive process.

    Thus, the Visualization project seeks to streamline the process for creating and mainstreaming dynamic ATN models to make them more accessible for those without extensive training or background in software to develop models and to use them effectively in the decision making process for proposed new transportation systems.
    More information on the research project is available at : https://transweb.sjsu.edu/csutc/research/utc/Solar-Powered-Automated-Transportation-Network-San-Jos%C3%A9
    References
    Furman, B., Swenson, R. McDonald, S., Ramasubramanian, L., Fogelquist, J., Chiao, Y., Pape, A. (2020). Solar Powered Automated Transportation Network for San José. Mineta Transportation Institute, Project 1948. https://transweb.sjsu.edu/csutc/research/utc/Solar-Powered-Automated-Transportation-Network-San-Jos%C3%A9
    Furman, B. J., (November 19, 2018). “Solar-Powered Automated Transit – Its Time is NOW! ATRA Pulse. http://www.advancedtransit.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/BJF-ATRA-Newsletter-Article-for-December-2018.pdf

    Lawrence Joseph Fabian, City Planner, 1945 – 2020

    March 23rd, 2020

    LJFabian

    Lawrence Joseph Fabian

    City Planner, 1945 – 2020

    Lawrence (Larry) Joseph Fabian of Roscoe, New York, passed away on February 21, 2020 at the age of 74. Born in Cleveland, OH, he was the son of Henry and Julia (Dulski) Fabian. Larry was the brother of the late Geraldine Pofok, and father of Mitra Fabian, Niora Fabian, and Matthew Fabian.

    He graduated valedictorian from Parma High School in Parma, OH, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College in 1967. Larry earned a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

    As a young graduate, he joined the Peace Corps and was sent to serve in Iran. There, Larry made life-long friends, and met his former wife, Shemiram Fabian. After welcoming their first child into the world, the family returned to the United States, and Larry began his career in transit and urban planning. An employee at Cambridge Systematics for over 12 years, he also founded Trans.21, publishing newsletters, consulting, and speaking at industry conferences as an expert in his field.

    Larry was a devoted member of the Baha’i faith, and loved reading, travel, meeting new people, and languages. He will be missed by many. Family and friends are invited to a memorial service in Dorchester, MA, on Saturday May 30th. Please reach out to the family for details. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Larry’s memory to the Tarbiat Foundation in the Dominican Republic, where Larry spent many hours volunteering. Either by check to Fundación Tarbiat, sent certified mail to Calle Caonabo# 91, San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, or GoFundMe: gf.me/u/xqkxt3

    In this Day, let us celebrate humanity transformed.

    History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 29 (2004)

    February 28th, 2020

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    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    2004 – The Twenty-Ninth Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 29 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 29 (2004)

    POD CAR CITY CONFERENCE 2019 San Jose , Nov 5 -6

    February 4th, 2020

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    By: Monica Sharma, Masters Architecture Student Architecture Southern Illinois University

    Please see attachment below for details:

    POD CAR CITY CONFERENCE (more…)

    GRID vs. LINEAR

    January 31st, 2020

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    by John Foley, 2020

    Please see link below for article:

    http://www.advancedtransit.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/GRID-V.-LINEAR.pdf

    IF PRT IS SO GREAT, WHY DON’T WE SEE MORE OF IT?

    January 27th, 2020

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    IF PRT IS SO GREAT, WHY DON’T WE SEE MORE OF IT?
    and how ATRA can help fix this issue
    by: Peter Muller, ATRA President

    There are many reasons why PRT has been slow to catch on. They include competition from established transit systems, the fact that PRT usually needs to be acquired by a transit agency (not an individual or city like a car or driverless shuttle), a complicated regulatory environment, etc. I am reading a book (Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann) that I believe goes to the crux of the matter: confirmation bias, disconfirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. The book suggests some antidotes including “thinking grey”, “Devil’s advocate” and “don’t trust your gut” which you may like to read about but which we can hardly thrust upon PRT naysayers. However, the book describes some historic ideas that were slow in catching on, that we can learn from.

    In 1912, Alfred Wegener proposed the theory of continental drift. He even found fossil evidence in support. However, he was not a geologist and was unable to explain the mechanism by which continents could drift. The theory “…sat uninvestigated by mainstream geologists for forty years until the new science of paleomagnetism started creating additional data in support of it…”.
    A nineteenth-century Hungarian doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis investigated the fact that the death rate of mothers giving birth with the help of doctors was 10 percent while it was only 4 percent for mothers aided by midwives. He determined the probable cause was that the doctors were not washing their hands after handling cadavers and had them do so with a solution of chlorinated lime. The death rate immediately dropped to match that of the midwives’ deliveries.

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    Ignaz Semmelweis

    The next part of the book is worth quoting more fully:

    “Despite the clear drop in the death rate, his theories were completely rejected by the medical community at large. In part, doctors were offended by the idea that they were killing their patients. Others were so hung up on the perceived deficiencies of Semmelweis’s theoretical explanation that they ignored the empirical evidence that the handwashing was improving mortality.” Semmelweis’s ideas only took hold twenty years later after “…Louis Pasteur’s unquestionable confirmation of germ theory”.
    Both Wegener and Semmelweis “…noticed obvious and important empirical truths that should have been investigated by other scientists but were reflexively rejected by these scientists because the suggested explanations were not in line with the conventional thinking of the time. Today this is known as a Semmelweis reflex. Individuals still hang on to old theories in the face of seemingly overwhelming evidence-it happens all the time in science and in life in general. The human tendency to gather and interpret new information in a biased way to confirm preexisting beliefs is called confirmation bias”.

    While ATRA can do little to combat confirmation bias, I believe we can learn from the key commonality in these stories – in both cases, the ideas caught on once there was more credible supporting evidence. While PRT is now well proven in a few niche applications, its effectiveness as a solution to urban mobility, congestion and climate change has not been so well proven. There are only a small number of studies that have investigated applications where PRT is deployed on a wide-area basis. Those studies that have been completed for large deployments are either out of date or were underfunded and undertaken by consultants lacking strong credibility and statistically-valid local travel data or both. ATRA may be able to help get large feasibility studies undertaken by credible consultants with sufficient resources to obtain strong data about the public’s propensity to pay for riding a large PRT deployment and the cost of building, maintaining and operating it as well as all of the other direct and indirect costs and benefits.
    There are several US communities such as Greenville and Atlanta, and many more elsewhere that would like to undertake large PRT feasibility studies but are struggling to raise the necessary funds. There are also many large philanthropies anxious to fight climate change and willing to fund applied research in order to do so. Most of these philanthropies will not fund government agencies or for-profit companies. ATRA is a 501-C3 charity and is eligible for this type of funding.

    ATRA could apply for and obtain philanthropic funding for supporting PRT feasibility studies aimed at understanding how to mitigate climate change and congestion by implementing solar-powered PRT in communities suffering from low transit use. ATRA could then entertain requests for funding from these communities and provide some of the funding needed while also helping ensure the studies are undertaken by credible consultants giving educated consideration to the PRT option based on statistically-valid data. ATRA could then also support presentation of the findings by its members at appropriate conferences around the world.

    I am excited to announce that the ATRA Board believes this could make a difference and has decided to pursue an initiative along these lines.

    Are we Trapped by our Own Successes?

    November 25th, 2019

     

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    by J. Edward Anderson, PhD, P.E.

    Please click link below for full article:

    Are we Trapped by our Own Successes?

    Podcar City is now over. Click here to access the presentations.

    November 14th, 2019

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    Podcar City Presentations

    A small investment could go a long way towards mitigating climate change and congestion

    October 14th, 2019

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    Please see link below for full article:

     

    A SMALL INVESTMENT COULD GO A LONG WAY TOWARDS MITIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND CONGESTION

     

    20191013 PRT Transit Mode Share

    What is PRT ?

    September 26th, 2019

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    by  J. Edward Anderson, PhD, P. E. 

    Please see link below for full article :

     

    What is PRT ?

     

    Anderson What is PRT