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

    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

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    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

     

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    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.

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    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)

    Engaging Students and Embracing Change

    March 5th, 2019

    Maps

    by Shannon Sanders McDonald, AIA

    Engaging Students and Embracing Change

    The History of Advance Transit Association Year 23 (1998)

    February 12th, 2019

    atravid

    by J. Edward Anderson, first ATRA President.

    1998 – The Twenty Third Year.

    Please click on link below for Year 23 history.

    The History of the Advanced Transit Association Year 23 (1998)

    Yr23

    IS THERE A CASE FOR HIGH SPEED, HIGH CAPACITY ATN/PRT SYSTEMS?

    February 4th, 2019

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    by Eugene Nishinaga from the Transit Control Solutions, Inc. conference

    Please click the here  for the full article :

    IS THERE A CASE FOR HIGH SPEED, HIGH CAPACITY ATN/PRT SYSTEMS?

     

     

    Nishinaga

    Pilot Plan for GreenVillages TOD: A Laurens Road Corridor Multi-modal Transit Project

    January 24th, 2019

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    On 07/23/2018, Greenville County, South Carolina, USA, successfully submitted a proposal for a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planning grant to FTA with assistance from Carolinas Alliance 4 Innovation (CA4I). The project was entitled “Pilot Plan for GreenVillages TOD: A Laurens Road Corridor Multi-modal Transit Project.” The grant award was announced in December 2018.

    An RFP is being written and should be issued in the coming weeks.

    Link here to map of project location