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 Las Vegas Convention Center Loop

    June 29th, 2021

    Uber

    The Las Vegas Convention Center Loop
    An Uber-like System with Exclusive Roadways

    by

    Robert Johnson

    The Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) Loop is a circulation system for the sprawling LVCC consisting of two parallel tunnels, each 0.85 miles long, with a surface station at each end and an underground station in the middle. The bottoms of the tunnels are filled with gravel and asphalt to produce a flat roadway one lane wide. Passengers are carried in manually driven Tesla electric sedans and SUVs. On June 8, 2021 it opened to the public and was available at no charge to all attendees of the World of Concrete (WOC) convention.

     

    Passenger boarding a Tesla at the Las Vegas Convention Center West Station

    Uber1

     

    LVCC LOOP AS A PROTOTYPE FOR LARGER SYSTEMS

    While the LVCC Loop is interesting in itself, it can also be viewed as a small-scale demonstration of how a larger system which also used manually driven electric vehicles in tunnels would operate. The developer of the LVCC Loop, the Boring Company, has proposed such a system it calls the Vegas Loop. This would consist of tunnels running mostly along Las Vegas Blvd (the “Strip”) from McCarran airport to the Las Vegas CBD, with 43 medium-sized stations generally serving hotels and casinos. The Vegas Loop is projected to have a capacity of 51,000 boardings per hour. Both the LVCC Loop and the Vegas Loop are essentially Uber or Lyft-type systems, but with their own underground roadways to avoid surface traffic. For trips along the heavily congested Strip this could reduce travel time by as much as an order of magnitude. The short travel times would mean that the labor cost of human drivers would not be excessive.

    With the Vegas Loop’s large number of stations, small vehicles are a reasonable choice since the probability of two independent passengers at an origin station wanting to go to the same destination at the same time is low. The Vegas Loop’s use of human drivers rather than automation would affect how the system would be regulated. This is important in various ways including eliminating the extensive testing that would be required by a large automated system, and possibly in determining how the system would meet ADA requirements.

     

    MEETING ADA REQUIREMENTS FOR WHEELCHAIR USERS

    One aspect of LVCC Loop operation not widely publicized is how it serves passengers who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters. According to station attendants and drivers who were queried during the WOC convention, a wheelchair user would usually transfer from the chair to an ordinary passenger seat in the Tesla, possibly with driver assistance. The chair or scooter would then be folded up and carried in the trunk or back seat. If the chair were too large to fit inside, the rider would be assigned one of the vehicles with a trailer hitch type wheelchair carrier (similar to a bicycle carrier), so the empty chair could be carried behind the Tesla’s rear bumper. Finally, in less frequent cases where the rider cannot easily get out of the chair, a special accessible van (not made by Tesla) would be driven to the station to serve the rider. This approach to ADA compliance would presumably also be used in the larger Vegas Loop system.

     

    COMPARISON WITH PERSONAL RAPID TRANSIT

    Loop systems have much in common with Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), which is also based on small vehicles on exclusive guideways. Both systems use off-line berths for passenger loading/unloading, thus greatly increasing capacity by not blocking vehicles bypassing the station. However, LVCC Loop vehicles entering or leaving stations decelerate or accelerate on the main line, not on separate ramps as has been proposed for most PRT systems. This results in more compact stations, but limits the minimum possible headway and thus capacity. The headways used by the LVCC Loop appear long enough to allow brick wall stopping, but its not known if this will be the case for the Vegas Loop.

    There is no reason to expect empty vehicle routing for Loop systems to differ significantly from PRT, and routing algorithms developed for Loop operation could in theory be used for PRT as well. As far as vehicles are concerned, in the short and medium term most or all Loop vehicles will be stock Tesla sedans and SUVs, and their berths will be simple flat surfaces. This will preclude level boarding, which is a feature of most PRT proposals (and actual systems, such as Ultra at Heathrow airport in London). Perhaps the most fundamental difference between Loop and PRT is Loop’s use of human drivers. Even if some automation is added, such as lane centering in tunnels, it is not expected that the driver will be removed in the immediate future. This is in contrast to PRT which has always been assumed to be driverless.

     

    MANUAL DRIVERS OFFER DUAL-MODE POTENTIAL

    It is not clear if the proposed Vegas Loop would involve vehicles traveling only on exclusive roadways in tunnels. With manual drivers it is feasible for vehicles to exit the system and travel part of a trip on conventional roadways mixed in with normal traffic. This might be the most efficient approach for many trips.

    Economics of the Intelligent Transportation Network System ITNS

    May 21st, 2021

    ITNS

    by J. E. Anderson

    Please see full article here :

    Economics of the Intelligent Transportation Network System ITNS

    Ed Anderson

    Praetor Research Executive Summary

    March 29th, 2021

     

    pr2

    Please see link here for :

    Praetor Research Executive Summary by Jan Pretorius

    jan office headshot EXR (2)

    Our Faustian Bargain

    January 18th, 2021

    CC1

    J. Edward Anderson, PhD, Retired P.E

     

    Please see article here

     

     

    Climate Change

    Solar Powered Spartan Superway and SIU Architecture Students

    December 21st, 2020

    SouthCampus

    By: Associate Professor Shannon Sanders McDonald, AIA, Southern Illinois University

    See link here for article

    What should matter….doesn’t.

    November 10th, 2020

    Untitled
    By
    Christopher Juniper
    Sustainability Economist

     

    It’s not rocket science, or even advanced transit science, that a key metric for transportation planning must be energy consumption per passenger/freight mile/km. This metric was rightfully suggested by the American Public Transit Assn. (APTA) 2009 “Transit Sustainability Practice Compendium.”

    If the community or nation is pursuing responsible climate chaos mitigation goals, this metric should have a twin that is also to be tightly managed: greenhouse gases per passenger/freight mile/km.

    Advanced transit systems, particularly Personal Rapid Transit, have far and away been the best option for these metrics. Yet try to find mention of them in public comparisons of travel modes. PRT is inappropriately omitted from the 2020 comparison chart of “Average Per-Passenger Fuel Economy by Travel Mode” produced by the US government’s Oak Ridge National Lab (link: https://afdc.energy.gov/data/10311). None of the nine travel modes compared achieve more than 60 passenger miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE). PRT could achieve 10X that maximum of 60. The worst performer: the new category called “demand response” at about 8 GGE.

    In other words, PRT systems at 200-800 GGE might achieve 100 times more energy efficiency than the money-losing, traffic-clogging “demand response” via low-paid auto driver systems created in the past decade (e.g. Uber or Lyft and their competitors). (Ultra reports 0.55 MJ per passenger mile for their Heathrow Airport system – equivalent to 0.0042 of a US gallon of gasoline or 238 passenger miles per gallon). Add solar panels to a PRT system, and only electric bikes at as much as 2000 passenger miles per gallon equivalent could compete.

    Likewise, PRT efficiencies are left out of the 2019 report by the European Environment Agency’s examination of sustainable transportation options titled “The first and last mile – the key to sustainable urban transport” (link: https://www.eea.europa.eu//publications/the-first-and-last-mile). To their credit, they cite a 2017 lifecycle energy study (aka “well to wheel”) of CO2 emissions per passenger km of various modes in mid-size cities; well-to-wheel is the proper scope for managing climate chaos emissions since it takes energy to make and distribute energy, and we must manage for the least carbon emissions on a lifecycle basis. I’ve little doubt that PRT systems would have blown away all the 24 options of mode and fuel type examined.

    Sadly, comparisons of energy- or greenhouse-gases per unit of travel are hard to find. You can’t find one at APTA’s website. Nor the US Department of Energy or Department of Transportation. Apparently, what should matter….doesn’t.

    Its time for energy- and carbon emissions per unit of travel to take their rightful prominent place in information used by transportation planners and stakeholders. PRT makers and advocates – get moving!

    Juniper

    Intelligent Transportation Network System ITNS Control

    October 22nd, 2020

    Untitled

    by J. E. Anderson

    Please click link for the paper:

    Intelligent Transportation Network System ITNS Control

    Anderson ITNS Control

    Pathways to the Future of Transportation

    September 28th, 2020

    Atra white logo

    By Peter J.Muller
    President

    Please see link below for comments on Pathways to the Future of Transportation

    Nett Council

    Federal Aviation Administration

    September 16th, 2020

    Atra white logo

     

    September 12, 2020
    Federal Aviation Administration
    Subject: LGA Access Improvement Project Draft EIS

    See link here for full article.

     

    An Inventor’s Vision for America

    September 9th, 2020

    Unknown

    by

    Hengning Wu

    Book Review by Peter Muller

    Most of what is written about PRT is too narrowly focused to describe its true potential. An Inventor’s Vision for America by Hengning Wu does not suffer from this problem. The book starts by describing Wu’s unlimited vision for the “Autoway” PRT system in some detail and then dives into related quality-of-life issues that could be leveraged by PRT or approached separately. His PRT description quite accurately captures how a modern PRT system should work and what it should do.

    I was originally uninspired by the simplistic sketches of the system and the somewhat clumsy prose but, the more I read, the more I came to respect Wu’s grasp of PRT. He explains what PRT could do for America and why it has not yet caught on.

    The book addresses many topics that go far beyond just PRT and which I am not qualified to comment on. Wu calls himself an “Edison-type inventor” and I think he is correct in relation to PRT. On that basis, his insights into the other topics are probably also valuable.

    This book makes good reading for PRT enthusiasts and those wishing to learn more about it, but it goes well beyond that. I recommend it for anyone interested in improving America.

    Look for the book on Amazon – coming soon!

    Autoway PRT System