www.advancedtransit.org         Produced by: PRT Consulting, Inc.                
                 OCTOBER 2015 
From the President....
Peter Muller
    Along with increasing news about driverless cars, we are also seeing more news about ATN systems. Some may wonder why anyone keeps bothering with ATN when driverless cars promise to solve all problems. To my mind the major issue is the potential for driverless cars to increase congestion or, at best, not improve it for decades.
    Driverless cars could increase congestion by increasing vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This seems logical because people who cannot drive now (the young and the infirm), but could afford to do so, will start using cars more and more. In addition, drivers will likely send their cars off empty to look for cheap parking (perhaps even to go back home to park). All this will be on top of continued growth in VMT which, I believe, is growing once again.
    But, you might say, driverless cars will have quicker reactions and thus use less road space. Quicker reactions are only a small part of the story, the laws of physics also have to be dealt with. Reducing the gap (headway) between cars can only be done safely in two ways:
  1. Increase/ensure good adhesion to the road, allowing rapid emergency deceleration
  2. Ensure the car in front does not brake faster than the car behind
    Cars cannot accomplish (1) because road conditions can be highly variable in different weather conditions. They cannot accomplish (2) because the car in front must always be able to stop as quickly as possible in case a child (for example) runs out in the street; and the car behind may suffer from patchy road conditions.
    Both (1) and/or (2) can be accomplished today by ATN systems using linear induction motor braking and/or exclusive guideways. Thus ATN systems have the potential for much shorter headways (and therefore capacity) than driverless cars.
I do believe that driverless cars will probably reduce accidents and that this is where the focus should be (and probably is). This focus on safety is another reason why we should not expect cars to achieve shorter headways anytime soon.
    Driverless cars could reduce congestion if automated taxis result in significant ridesharing. Like the paperless office, ridesharing has been an automotive pipedream for decades. It is difficult to see how ridesharing in taxis without drivers will be more successful than it is at present when we have to pay extra for the driver.
    Bottom line: it makes sense to keep developing better ATN systems.

As always, enjoy reading!    

Best regards,

Peter Muller, ATRA President
Room To Move
by William Ackel
If you've ever visited a water park, you've probably seen a "Lazy River" ride like Castaway Creek at Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon or Rambling Bayou at Adventure Island in Tampa, Florida. They are shallow channels of water with a strong current. You can sit in an inner tube and just ride the current, or you can swim with the current, and get a boost that makes you feel like an Olympic swimmer. Some parks are completely encircled by a Lazy River that serves as a kind of transit system. The river is the guideway, and the stations are steps or ramps that lead into the water. In a Lazy River, traffic jams can actually be fun! Read More...

A Very Brief History of Automation in Transportation
by Wayne D. Cottrell, PhD
Excitement, discussions, and progress continue with and around the rapidly developing technology of autonomous and self-driving cars.  It is generally accepted that the notion of the automated car has been around since the 1920s, trials were conducted as early as the 1950s, and the first truly automated cars appeared during the 1980s.  In the 30-odd years since the first automated cars were introduced, the idea has expanded greatly, to include experimental operation in mixed traffic, and the potential for mass production.  Read More...

Technix 2016: Envision Automated Transit (EAT)

Saturday January 9th, 2016
Come join the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) as we host Technix 2016.Technix's theme for 2016 will be Envision Automated Transit (EAT)EAT will be a continuation of the Envisioning Automated Vehicles within the Built Environment 2020 2035 2050 workshops held at the past two Automated Vehicle Symposiums hosted by TRB and AUVSI. 

EAT will be very similar to the past two workshops, but with an emphasis on automated transit- how is transit being redefined?  Read More/Sign Up!

The U.S. Department of Transportation Invites Stakeholders to Participate in Beyond Traffic Forums
Beyond Traffic is an invitation to the American public-including the users, developers, owners, and operators of the transportation network and the policy officials who shape it-to have a frank conversation about the shape, size, and condition of that system and how it will meet the needs and goals of our nation for decades to come. In September and October, the Department of Transportation will host 11 forums, one in each of the mega-regions identified in Beyond Traffic.  Read More...

pods pitched as answer to city transit woes
By Jeff Barker, Contact Reporter
Baltimore says it needs a world-class mass-transit system. A California company says it has the answer: high-speed, magnetically levitated, egg-like pods designed to ferry commuters above the rush-hour fray.
Has the city found a match, or does the proposal by skyTran - a NASA research partner - amount to "pod in the sky"?  Read More...
Podcar City9-PRESS STOP:
In 2010, the Podcar City Conference in San Jose, CA hosted a special track on self driving cars, one of the best attended sessions of the entire conference that year. Last week we just got news of a major investment in ATN/Podcar technology developed by Skytran. What�s really interesting is that it's the same people again. See the full report about what's happening at pages 2 and 3.  Read More...

Elevating Transit
by John Jeter
To hear the members of a new citizen's group tell it, you'll be zipping along in an elevated pod car here sooner than you might think. To hear David Edwards tell it, the president and CEO of Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport envisions a system like something out of the Jetsons becoming an iconic Upstate fixture even sooner than that.  Read More...

First driverless pods to travel public roads arrive in the Netherlands
by Madhumita Murgia
The WEpod will be the first self-driving electric shuttle to run in regular traffic, and take bookings via a dedicated app.  The first self-driving electric shuttle for use on public roads has been delivered to the Netherlands. The "WEpod" will take passengers between the two towns of Wageningen and Ede in the province of Gelderland from November.  Read More...

NASA-backed firm promises futuristic transit system that would cost less than the Red Line
by Rod Selzer
A California company wants to bring a rapid transit system to Baltimore that's one part magnetic levitating train, one part monorail and one part taxi.  Moffett Field, Calif.-based skyTran Inc. is interested in installing what it calls a personal rapid transit system in Baltimore that would have cars zipping above traffic along magnetic lines, taking riders directly to their destinations. But even if the company can't build its transit system in Maryland's largest city, it's looking at assembling its parts in the area. Read More...

Dendera Proposes PRT to Glendale
Startup company, Dendera LLC, has received the go ahead from the Glendale Traffic Commission to provide the parameters of a feasibility study with the intention of bringing Personal Rapid Transit (aka PRT) to the city of Glendale, California. Bringing PRT to Glendale is being championed by Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian, who was elected on a strong forward-thinking platform of improving Glendale by attracting large employers, relieving traffic congestion and rebranding Glendale.  Read More...

Interview with Andr� Schneider, EPFL Vice-President (Ecole Polytechnique F�d�rale de Lausanne, Switzerland)
CityMobil2 News
Q: After five months of demonstration of driverless shuttles on your campus, what are your first conclusions?

First, security was at the centre of our concerns, both inside and outside the vehicles. From this point of view, we have fully met the objectives with no accidents to report.  Read More...

BRT in twenty years -- or maybe ten if we get funds from DC.
Metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) across the USA propose LRT or BRT for long-term infrastructure development. Heavy rail is too expensive and fits only in exceptional places like Manhattan and Honolulu. Elsewhere in areas of more modest size and easier geography -- Albany, Northwest Arkansas, Austin to start and all the way through Zanesville -- BRT/LRT plans are out there in irrelevant isolation.  Read More...

On September 24, much of the world was thrilled to hear Pope Frances tell the USA to think globally about the impacts of its greed and wars. The PRT world was also buzzed by a NPR (National Public Radio) report on PRT possibilities with an impressive interview with Mike Lester of Taxi 2000.  Read More...

Open PRT specification project: Self Driving Cars and the Urban Wormhole
Blog-posted by Dan
In our last exciting episode I promised to explore cooperative robotics, but there is an unavoidable side issue that is worth at least one post in itself, one that high-jacks the whole subject. What I am referring to is self-driving cars.It is not just that PRT and automobile automation have such obvious similarities that makes the subject a prerequisite to discussing PRT control. It is also the fact that self-driving cars may actually change the definition and purpose of PRT.  Read More...

Skytran $2.50 million Financing. Gerald Jay Sanders Filed Sep 25 SEC Form
Skytran Inc., Corporation just filed form D about $2.50 million equity financing. This is a new filing. Skytran was able to sell $2.50 million. That is 100.00% of the financing round. The total financing amount was $2.50 million. The form was filed on 2015-09-25. The reason for the financing was: unspecified. Read More...

SkyTran: The commute of the future?
Fox News Video
Tech Take: skyTran CEO Jerry Sanders on new technology that relies on a magnetic levitation system. View Video...

Eco-Mobility Conference
Blog-EcoMobility Conference
On September 24 Land Network and 2getthere presented at the 2015 Ecomobility Conference in Kaohsiung (Taiwan) sponsored by the Netherlands Trade and Innovation Office. The session included presentations from Ford, BASF and Blue Solutions (part of the French Bollore Group) and 2getthere. Obviously the local activities of 2getthere in Hsinchu attracted significant attention, resulting in a radio interview with  Taiwan's only English radio channel ICRT.  Read More...

skyTran is Considering Baltimore for its First US Assembly Plant
The City of Baltimore is considered to be an optimum location to build a facility to assemble "skyTran kits" that can be used to quickly and economically install Personal Rapid Transit systems across the United States.  Read More...

A groundswell for high-riding pods
By Nicole Dungca
Mike Stanley doesn't think we necessarily need to find that extra $700 million to $1 billion to fund the Green Line extension into Medford and Somerville.
Wouldn't it be more convenient, he says, to build a cheaper network of on-demand private pods that you can ride along an elevated track?   Read More...

The First Driverless Taxis For Real Passengers Hit the Road in November
By James O Malley
We've heard endlessly about driverless cars and how so many different companies and organisations are working on them and making them a reality. But when will we actually be able to use them? The answer, it seems, is November.  Read More...

skyTran Engages JGM to Assist with Worldwide Implementation
skyTran and Jenkins/Gales & Martinez have teamed up to solve global traffic congestion with low-cost, high-speed, elevated personal rapid transit.  Read More...

Before the Hyperloop, there was the Morgantown PRT
Although the Morgantown PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) system may look quaint today, automated guideway transit systems like this one were at one time believed to be the future of American transportation.  Before the Hyperloop, there was the PRT. And before the PRT, there was a lot of traffic in downtown Morgantown, West Virginia.   Read More...

Why Nonstop Travel In Personal Pods Has Yet To Take Off
By Joe Palca
The average American commuter spends 42 hours per year stuck in rush-hour traffic, according to one recent study.
More than four decades ago, West Virginia University thought it had found a solution to urban traffic woes: It built a transportation system known as personal rapid transit, or PRT. Read More...

Hyperloop Promises To Make The World A Better Place In Intro Video
Hyperloop Technologies names its future-to-be prototype as "the fifth mode of transport" and presents an exciting video detailing that.  Read More...

Self-Driving Cars Superior to Light Rail in Canberra
The Antiplanner
Canberra, Australia's capital, is considering spending close to $1 billion building a light-rail line. But a new study by computer programmer Kent Fitch finds that shared, self-driving cars make a lot more sense.  Read More...

How to Lead an Autonomous Vehicle
Transporte Avanzado
Who is able to analyze 1.3 million points per second your environment? Autonomous cars can and do make to move safely for travelers and other road users. There are now two types of autonomous vehicles: guided and unguided.  Read More (translate required)...

First Nutran run
youTube Video-Andries Louw
The Futran system is an automated Fractional Rapid Transit (FRT)system that runs on a light weight suspended track and can be used for heavy haulage (up to 20 tons per unit), people transportation and even factory optimization. This is the first run of the heavy haul test unit running on our 1km external test.  View Video...

Extension Taiwan Agency Agreement
Blog 2getthere
Vivian Chien, CEO of Land Network and Carel van Helsdingen, CEO of 2getthere, formalized the extension of the agency agreement of Land Network for Taiwan for the next 2 years.  2getthere CEO Carel van Helsdingen: 'Land Network has been very active the past four years in the Taiwanese market, reaching out to potential customers and building relationships.   Read More...

Why monorail pods are not a serious solution for Columbia Pike
The designers of a monorail-like personal rapid transit (PRT) system hope to sell their technology to Arlington, to replace the cancelled Columbia Pike streetcar. It's a terrible idea.  PRT tries to combine the best aspects of private automobiles and public transportation. Read More...

skyTran Announces Innovation Endeavors Investment
kyTran™ Inc., a NASA Space Act company headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center, announced the closing of its Series A investment by Innovation Endeavors, Eric Schmidt's leading Silicon Valley venture firm. skyTran will use this round of funding to expedite and continue its global roll-out.  Read More...

The above links are to articles that appear relevant to advanced transit but no guarantee is made as to their accuracy and no verification of the integrity of the associated websites has been made.


ATRA Membership is an opportunity for you and your organization to contribute to a better world by leveraging advanced transit to improve mobility and accessibility of all, while increasing safety and reducing energy use and pollution. 

ATRA membership works best for those that get involved and contribute.


August 2015 - In this Issue
Other News

Website Updates

News Articles by Wayne D. Cottrell, PhD. and William Ackel.

Technix 2016 Conference Information

View our Website for the latest  ATRA news updates.

Upcoming Conferences

20-21 October 2015
Raleigh, NC, USA

4-6 November 2015
Silicon Valley, CA, USA 

10-12 November 2015
Chiba, Japan

11-13 November 2015
Cambridge, MA, USA


Have a question? Want to voice an opinion?

Join our Forum!

This is a FREE newsletter. If it has been forwarded to you, you may want to:
Join Our Mailing List
Quick Links

Connect with ATRA:


ATRA Facebook


ATRA Pinterest