GSP International Airport Considers New Shuttle Approach

August 20th, 2014
Water features decorate the GSP access road

Water features decorate the GSP access road

The approach to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) winds along a manicured parkway through a forest before revealing a fountain with a view of the terminal in the background. Pass through the terminal and you will find yourself looking at a garden where you would expect to see parked aircraft. The airport’s emphasis on natural beauty is matched only by that on passenger service. It is currently in the midst of a multi-year makeover of the terminal building in order to ensure growing passenger demand continues to be met with quality service.

Being a relatively small airport (almost two million passengers a year), the facilities are located close together, and walking distances are short. However, the economy lot is furthest from the terminal, and dragging bags uphill in the heat more than a thousand feet can be irksome. Recent and planned economy lot expansions/additions will have to be even further from the terminal. It is clearly time to introduce shuttle service.

Earlier this year the airport was included as a small part of a small study on personal rapid transit (PRT) undertaken by the Greenville County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC). A conceptual investigation of PRT at GSP found that the economy lot could be served at a cost that could be manageable.

PRT is a form of driverless transit running on guideways and providing nonstop service. A PRT system connecting London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to a business car park uses 21 small vehicles and provides service that passengers rave about. The GCEDC study found that maximum connect times (walk + wait + travel) from the GSP economy lot to the terminal would be five minutes. Furthermore, the elevated guideways would not add congestion to the surface streets.

UltraLHRAug14

Ultra PRT system at Heathrow Airport

Excited by the potential, airport President/CEO, David Edwards, flew to London to inspect the PRT system. He returned so impressed and well satisfied that it could help boost service levels that he held a kickoff meeting for a more detailed study the same week. The new four-month study will compare PRT and shuttle bus solutions for existing and expanded parking facilities over a 30-year life cycle commencing in 2018. Perhaps the approach to GSP will one day include being surprised to pass under an elegant guideway carrying futuristic pods, before being delighted by the fountain with the new glass terminal façade behind it.

Personal Rapid Transit News (Aug 2014)

August 1st, 2014

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

MARKET BASICS

A significant report by the Mineta Transportation Institute on the status and prospects of the podcar “industry” is to be released this fall as a peer-reviewed USDOT document that will be freely and widely disseminated. It advises that a 5-10 station Automated Transit Network (ATN) project is within confident technological reach and with supportive public policies can be brought to passenger service in two or three years.  Read More…

Student develops service to track PRT


One of the biggest headaches for West Virginia University students is when the Personal Rapid Transit breaks down. Now, students will have a head start on deciding which form of public transportation to use on days when the PRT isn’t working.  Austin Siford, a sophomore computer science student, has developed an application that allows students to receive notifications on their smartphones or tablets to alert them when the PRT is down.  Read More…

news1_RelaceAug14Can Personal Rapid Transit Replace 90% of Cars on the Road?

Personal rapid transit is a developing form of sustainable transport that could significantly alter urban mobility.  Sustainable urban mobility can come from multiple sources. Personal rapid transit (PRT) combines public transport with personalized routing. Though their designs vary, PRT systems generally consist of four- to six-passenger pods that are autonomously controlled while traveling along guide-ways.  Read More….

news_LowsonAug14The First Annual Martin Lowson Paper Award

In honor of the inventor of the first commercial PRT system

$500.00 paper award

ATRA fosters the development of automation and networking to advance the quality and sustainability of transportation, particularly for our urban areas.  ATRA academic committee has instituted an annual paper award to recognize contributions in that area.   Read More…

Punjab’s fairy tale public transport projects

CHANDIGARH: The maddening traffic chaos in Punjab’s major cities has only worsened with time but the state government’s plan to make people switch over from private to public transport has gone haywire. Announced with much fanfare, multicore projects have been put on the back burner citing feasibility issues. Here are the key schemes that could have changed the way people travel in the state.  Read More…

Podcar City 8 –  More ATN interest than ever!news2_Podcar8Aug14

This year we have seen a dramatic surge in conferences, seminars, Development, and not least public interest in ATN and related technologies. In this newsletter you can read about the display of a Podcar at the Swedish Almedalen Week, an exciting report from San Francisco about the team at San Jose state University and their display at the huge Solar Conference plus much more.  Read More…

SHINING LIGHT ON ADVANCED TRANSITnews_SJC Superway

New York thinks it’s the Queen of Sophistication. Washington exerts a Kingly role as holder of the Big Hammer. But is it not Silicon Valley that is leading the charge into the future? With Google and its rivals and friends — HP, eBay, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Cisco, etc. transforming just about every aspect of human life, many conclude that the Bay Area is creating the 21st Century. Only a — God forbid! — much dreaded earthquake can derail  SV’s technology-based surge.   Read Here….

Personal Rapid Transit News (July 2014)

July 2nd, 2014

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

Pods go the last mile

news_LowsonJul14Professor Martin Lowson was a man with a vision.  He was also part of a team that achieved the world’s first man-powered flight, worked on the Saturn V rocket for NASA’s moon program and held the patent for rotor blade of the Lynx which, at 249 mph, held the helicopter world speed record. Yet for all his aeronautical achievement, Lowson’s vision was down to earth and concerned urban transportation.  Read More…

news_2gettherecampusesCampuses:  2getthere


The challenge: A campus is a landed property used by a single company or institution. Whether a company such as Google, Microsoft, Apple or Philips or an institution such as a hospital or university all campuses have a high intensity of labor and visitors, requiring good accessibility. As campuses are usually not located near existing public transportation nodes transit solutions may have to be implemented to connect the site.  Read More…

ROBOCARS NEED SOLAR GUIDEWAYSDriverless Road Vehicles or Guideway?

At ARV-3, much of the discussions focused on vehicle automation for personally owned cars. ATRA’s main contribution was a breakout session on the impact of vehicle automation on public transit and shared mobility.  The Symposium Committee included several ATRA members.

Eleven speakers shared perspectives and thoughts on the influence of the mobility revolution taking place with web- and app-enabled ride- and vehicle-sharing. How do automated vehicles intersect with public transport?  Sam Lott noted that it has been about fifty years since full automation was introduced to mass transit — yielding many lessons for the ARV world. Indeed transit operations are excellent testing grounds for automation concepts.  Read More…

news_Canberra14Forget the light rail – what about sky rail for Canberra?

Canberra might be on track to get a $614 million light rail line from Civic to Gungahlin, but at least one resident thinks the city could be overlooking the chance to use futuristic technology to revolutionise public transport.   Australian National University visiting fellow in applied mathematics Arthur Davies is behind a quiet campaign to get Canberra to consider a sky-high car transport system, which will be tested in Israel next year.  Read More…

news_SandersJul14

Reimagining Railroads

Some see railroads as dated technology. Others see railroads as a platforms for entirely new means of transit. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and Space Exploration Technologies, unveiled his idea for a Hyperloop system to the world one year ago. It was futuristic. It was eco-friendly. Passengers would be able to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in a little more than 30 minutes. Furthermore, Mr. Musk claimed that the proposed Hyperloop system could be built at only a fraction of the cost of the high-speed rail system currently under construction in California.  Read More…

news1_2getthereJul14Future Mobility


Utrecht 2getthere company, producer of automated transport systems, has had contact with the Singaporean transport company, SMRT, for several years already.  The push to reach a contract followed the seminar “Future Mobility” organized in January by the Dutch Innovation Attache in Singapore.  Robbert Lohmann, commercial director of 2getthere, says let there be no misunderstanding. Innovation Attaché Susan van Boxtel has played a very important role in the development of cooperation with SMRT. “Around the seminar, they help set up several appointments with the Land Transport Authority and various other parties. The interest of SMRT in our product is thus fanned. This has contributed greatly to the exclusive contract we have signed.”  Read More… Note:  Translated from Dutch.

Summary of Transit and Public Mobility Activities at the 2014 Automated Vehicle Conference

The Automated Vehicle Symposium (ARV) was hosted in San Francisco the week of July 14, organized by Transportation Research Board committees and in conjunction with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). The conference consisted of plenary sessions with speakers from automobile manufacturers, tier one systems suppliers, Google, and leading research and thought leaders. While much of the conference was focused on vehicle automation for personally owned automobiles, a breakout session concentrated on the impact of vehicle automation for public transit and shared mobility.  Read More…

Expression of Interest for PRT System Between Kottayam and Pala

Karala High Speed Rail Corporation is requesting bids for a PRT System between Kottayam and Pala, India.  The system should be ultra-modern and should have a carrying capacity of around 10,000 passengers per hour.  It should also have a capacity of reaching of speed of about 200kmph.  Anyone interested should review the details here…

Polls round the corner, govt again talks pod taxi

GURGAON: The Haryana government has revived the Gurgaon pod taxi project, four years after the CM launched it in 2010 and just two months before the city and the rest of state go to polls to elect a new government.  The timing of the decision was seen as a last-minute effort by the Congress regime to appease voters of urban Gurgaon, dejected with traffic jams and harassment by auto drivers.  Read More…

MODE SHIFT

In previous centuries, change came with the new generation. Today, for the first time in history, change is coming to all generations. Adults and seniors are adapting to their new environments with life-style changes born of necessity. Part of that is their mobility, and a big shift just happened in Boston. Twenty years ago, everyone with common sense, a few bucks in his or her pocket and self-respect owned a car. From 1960 to 2000, it was unthinkable that state and metropolitan officials would adopt a major public work plan for pedestrian and biking infrastructure with excellent prospects for funding.  Read More…

news_tomorrowlandTomorrowland Transit Authority comes to Hillsborough Street

Thanks to Paul Coble, the Tea Party chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the plan for a comprehensive light rail system in the Triangle is stalled out. Durham and Orange Counties have both put half-cent sales taxes in place to raise funds for the still-ten-years-out system, but without Wake, the circle is broken.  Recognizing the immense social and political barriers to a light-rail system for this region that desperately needs one, Seth Hollar and Marshall Brain from NC State’s Entrepreneurship Initiative have taken matters into their own hands with a plan for a privately funded, “market-driven” transit system around NC State. They’re calling it EcoPRT.  Read More…

The Solar-Powered Automated Transit Network (ATN) Project at San Jose State University in California

This project, the Spartan Superway, is being conducted by an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students at SJSU. It began in the fall of 2013 and has recently released some results from the work of many students and faculty from several departments.  To date, three videos and one master’s thesis have been released that describe portions of this work. Read More….

news_Hindu14Public transport service moves on a slowlane

Though the Delhi Transport Corporation has come out with a global tender to procure around 1,400 new buses, the situation for those living in rural and outer Delhi areas is unlikely to improve.  They are largely catered to by the standard-floor buses of the DTC, which have outlived their utility. While they have been forced to live with the problem of frequent breakdowns of these buses, now they are also facing a low frequency service as the DTC has started phasing out these buses without replacements.  Read More…

Hover-car transit to debut in Tel-Aviv in 2015

“skyTran intends to revolutionize public transportation and, with it, urban and suburban commuting.” It may look more like science-fiction than science-fact but this week has seen plans for the construction of a high-speed, elevated, levitating, skyTran transit system confirmed for Tel-Aviv in Israel. The skyTran system, first conceived in 1990, is a network of computer-controlled, 2-person “jet-like” vehicles which are suspended from elevated magnetic levitation (maglvev) tracks which propel the vehicle forward. The skyTran vehicles in the pilot will cruise at speeds of up to 70 km an hour but that will jump to 240 km an hour at the commercial phase, the company behind this technology has stated. Read More…

news_skyTranJul14This Futuristic Personal Transport Could Soon Be Part Of Your Daily Commute

skyTran-a NASA Space Act company-is finally building a pilot of its computer-controlled, two-person high speed maglev transport system that runs 20-feet above the ground. Cars carry two-people and can be ordered by smartphone apps.  While the initial trial in Israel will only involve a 1,500-feet closed campus loop, the plan is to build something much larger in the near future. My dream commute just got a little step closer.  Read More…

news_JetsonsJul14U.S. firm to build Jetsons-like highway in the sky for Israel

Cruising to work in a levitating pod 20 feet above city streets might sound like something out of “The Jetsons,” but a California company is building the technology right now in Tel Aviv and thinks it could solve transportation problems in major cities worldwide. SkyTran Inc. has formed an unlikely partnership with defense giant Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. to build a prototype of the next-generation mass-transit system at the Israeli company’s headquarters.  Read More….

Personal Rapid Transit News (June 2014)

June 2nd, 2014

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

news_LODJun14On-Demand Levitating Monorail Could Revolutionize Urban Commuting

This unique hybrid maglev-monorail system is more than just a pipe dream.  Many people who advocate for public transit also fear opposition from those who are accustomed to being able to move about in an individual manner with cars. In certain circles, this group sometimes seems to have won out. However, a futuristic on-demand 500m monorail test loop being built at the Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) campus in Lod, Israel combines the best of both worlds and might have you thinking differently about transit.  Read More…

Futuristic elevated transport system to be built in Israelnews_IAI

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – California-based skyTran has teamed up with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to construct the world’s first public pilot project for skyTran’s elevated transit network.  A number of skyTran projects are being planned globally, including in India and the United States, pending the success of the pilot in Israel.  Read More…

High-Speed, Elevated, Mass Transit Gets Real

SkyTran and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to build a skyTran Demonstration System…skyTran, Inc., headquartered at the NASA Research Park (NRP) near Mountain View, California, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a company headquartered in Lod, Israel, entered into an agreement today for the construction of a skyTran technology demonstration system (TDS) on the grounds of IAI’s corporate campus.  Read more….

COMMON GOOD at PCC-2014

If government is supposed to be about the pursuit of common good, then public officials should be thinking of ways for us the people to live in harmony and promote a sustainable general welfare.  Auto De-Addiction: Our transportation infrastructure, so heavily weighted to auto addiction, is sadly unsustainable.  Do we need an unending stream of new cars, vans and trucks?A Pod-Way Out of Our Dilemma: We, the People of the USA and the World, need preemptive policies to get us out of our auto addiction. There are very strong arguments that investing in pedestrian and bikeway networks provides more benefits per dollar than highway improvements.   Read More…

Welcome to Podcar City 8! Podcarcity8Conf14

Dear attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors – Welcome to the 8th International Podcar City Conference – To the Next Level!  Learn from experience, meet the experts and network for a better understanding of the next generation of public transportation – A Podcar comes when you push a button and it takes you directly to your destination.  Read More…

ATRA Forum for ATN

ATRA, Advanced Transit Association has initiated a new FORUM where members of ATRA will answer questions related to Automated Transit Networks.  ATRA is available to support you if you have, or are considering, an ATN system.  Sample topics may include:

  • Planning & Design
  • Operation & Maintenance
  • Information on ATN Systems and Technology

To view or join the discussions, log on to http://www.advancedtransit.org/forums/, register, and start posting your questions!

UP inks over Rs 54,000cr business deals

NEW DELHI: The UP government signed MoUs worth Rs 54,606 crore on Thursday, including a Rs 220-crore (US$37M) project for a personal rapid transit (pod taxi) system in Noida. Twenty-three companies inked a pact with the UP government at its Investors’ Conclave in Delhi, some promising to expand existing businesses, and others pledging to set up shop in the state over the coming years.  Read More…

Suyzer -  Innovative public transportation for people and goods.news_Suyzer CEO

We have made a choice….Creative intelligence does not rely on the past. It is more inviting to create a resourceful future instead of preserving the all-consuming past. We have a dream and left behind the legacy of confined business models that are only suitable to those who control them. We want to give and share and in addition make a profit. To reach this goal we had to develop a system that is beneficial to the core of society. A system, that helps people to meet face to face instead of digital.  Read More….

news_Sanders1Skytran:  first contact

The first meeting between the inventor of skyTran, the American Gerald Jay Sanders, and Alain Mollet, project manager for special projects Poma, the Grenoble company ranked among the world’s two leading manufacturers of lifts, held Tuesday at the Hotel Palladia.  Alain Mollet refused to comment at the end of this presentation he calls “simple handshake.” Organized at the initiative of the Association of Friends of skyTran the meeting yesterday morning was aimed at presenting to investors and industrial operation of air shuttle monorail according to Jean-Pierre Plancade, leader of the “Love Toulouse ‘list could one day supplement arsenal transit Toulouse.  Read More… Note:  Translated from French.

news_SJSUStudentsSJSU students to unveil their innovative solar-powered Automated Transit Network design at upcoming Maker Faire

In an interdisciplinary effort, San José State University engineering, business, design and urban planning students are determined to revolutionize transportation with their new Spartan Superway, a 100 percent solar-powered Automated Transit Network (ATN), using driverless podcars. The ATN project was first motivated by a solar design challenge proposed by the Institute of Sustainable Transportation (INIST) two years ago, to help cities move toward a more sustainable future.  Read more…

news_LightweightLightweight Transport for a Crowded World

The larger the mass, the more energy is required to move it. In an aircraft more mass means more power is required to keep it in level flight. On a train, car, truck or bus, more mass requires more power to accelerate and more power to keep it moving. Reducing the mass reduces the fuel burned and emissions generated.  Read More…

news_LHRPod14The Heathrow Pod

The Heathrow pod is Ultra Global’s innovative Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system at London’s Heathrow Airport, the service provides passengers transport between the airport’s Terminal 5 and a designated business car park. The PRT system has been open since May 2011 and has carried close to a million passengers. Mark Griffiths is Ultra Global’s Head of Operations and has been in charge of the team of controllers and technicians responsible for the day to day running of the system.  Read More… BlogIT-003

Frost & Sullivan Perspective on: The Impact of Driverless Podcars on Dubai Roadsnews_MasdarArt514

The Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) systems in Dubai are certainly a good first step towards mitigating traffic congestion. In a land where oil is abundantly available and cars are highly affordable, congestion is an obvious challenge. Enticing people to use personal rapid transit and other modes of shared mobility can remove personal vehicles from the roads. However, the biggest challenge is still first- and last-mile connectivity.  Read More…

news_Masdar1mil1 Million Mark

On May 22nd at 13.55 hours, the PRT system at Masdar welcomed its 1 millionth passenger. ‘This milestone demonstrates the popularity of the technology being showcased at Masdar City,’ said Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City. ‘The PRT system has made a significant contribution to the city’s development thus far, and will continue to feature as an important function of the city’s transportation system.’  Read More…

Personal Rapid Transit News (May 2014)

May 5th, 2014

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

Envisioning Automated Vehicles within the Built Environment: 2020, 2035, 2050

Friday July 18th, 2014 – 9:00am – 3:30pm:  Geared to Staff from Metropolitan Planning Organizations, County Transportation Agencies, and other Regional Planners and part of the Automated Vehicles Symposium 2014 hosted by AUVSI and TRB.  In this FREE (limited, registration required) hands-on, interactive workshop, participants will re-imagine the built environment enabled by automated vehicle technologies. Small, eclectic teams of experts combining knowledge of a wide range of fields – city planning, infrastructure and architecture, car design, engineering, software and systems – will collaborate on scenarios in order to think through the challenges and benefits to our built environment that an autonomous mobility future can hold. Each team’s work will be facilitated by an urban designer, planner or architect. Read More…

news_MasdarArt514Driverless podcars bypassing traffic in Dubai?

It can be compared to the personalized nature of a taxi trip but elevated from regular traffic. Like metro and tram, it functions on exclusive guideways, but with stops at dedicated destinations only. The Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, or the podcar, may soon become reality in Dubai.  Read More…

news_SMSSVSanJoseThe Spartan Superway

Several teams of creative and thoughtful young people have taken the challenge of developing solar transportation to heart, and their work is being showcased with a full-scale prototype, an operating scale model, a virtual 4D model and more on May 17th (10AM-8PM) and 18th (10AM-6PM) at Maker Faire in San Mateo, the greatest “show and tell” on earth! Sustainable Mobility System for Silicon Valley (SMSSV) is an interdisciplinary project from San Jose State University to design a PRT (Personal Rapid Transport) system using renewable resources. The Spartan Superway Website tells about the student project.

news_DubaiVectusHigh-tech podcars to take to Dubai streets in a few years

Dubai:  Dubai is set to have a new mode of public transport — high-tech podcars — in the next couple of years, a senior official announced at a conference on Monday.  The Zabeel area has been identified for the launch of the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, which is currently operational only at London’s Heathrow Airport and in West Virginia in the US. In 2011 a similar system was also piloted at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.  Read More…

Post-Car Urbanism – Implications for Town & Airport District Planning

The 8th annual Podcar City conference will advance the vision of sustainable urban transportation that reduces our auto-addiction and its high costs. Most modern countries are auto-addicted. Recent converts are in oil-rich areas and the choking cities and towns of India and China.  Auto-addiction is life when cars serve almost all everyday needs. On the whole, and especially from a community viewpoint, this degrades the quality of life. Read More…

ATRA IG announces a FREE WEBINAR:   ‘Public Transport Complemented’

ATRA IG (Advanced Transit Association Industry Group) will host a free Webinar on May 29, 2014 at 1500 GMT. It will feature speakers from some of our members providing an introduction to Automated Transit Networks. It will last approximately 40 minutes, after which, there will be opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and members of the ATRA Industry Group.  This is open to anyone interested and requires no registration.  Just log on, request access to the ‘room’ using your name (or alias), and listen!  The Webinar room is limited to 100 guests, so please log on 10 minutes prior to ensure access.

Copy/Paste this URL:  https://webmeeting.umd.edu/igatra/  or access this Link..

ATRA webinar v6

ATRA Board Meeting – Keynote Speech

April 16th, 2014

ATRA Board Meeting – State of the Industry – 4/15/14

Outline

  • Existing Projects
  • Suppliers
  • Potential Owners
  • Technology Changes
  • Is PRT Tipping?

Existing Projects

Masdar City recently announced expansion of the PRT system to the city center. Suncheon entered limited public service in August, 2103. It is scheduled to enter full public service this Sunday, April 20. Heathrow Airport included expansion of the PRT system in its official budget, but has since invoked budget cuts that include the PRT expansion. The existing service is functioning very well and demand keeps growing. Morgantown is upgrading their PRT control system to improve reliability.

Suppliers

Ultra has announced opportunities in South America and Asia. The project in Amritsar, India seems stalled. We are aware of opportunities in the US being pursued by Ultra, 2getthere and Vectus. We are sure there are many more opportunities they are pursuing around the world that we are not aware of.

Modutram recently successfully deployed a demonstration system in Mexico that carried passengers.

Skytran has changed their design to have a double guideway with the vehicle either supported or suspended. There is talk of them launching in Israel

Taxi 2000 has been making numerous trips to Greenville, SC.

Potential Owners:

Public Sector

We are doing a PRT study for Greenville, SC for a system utilizing an abandoned railroad right-of-way. We are talking to a large, rapidly growing, county interested in incorporating PRT in their transportation plan. The City of Kirkland, WA recently held a symposium aimed at learning about advanced transit and educating elected officials and agencies at the state and city levels. Airport interest continues. It least one metropolitan transportation authority is open to a PRT solution.

Private Sector

Some developers now see the value of PRT in boosting property values. More than one corporate campus is seriously interested in how PRT could solve their accessibility problems. Some large EPC companies now see the opportunity to expand their businesses on the basis of PRT.

Technology Changes

The lines between PRT and GRT are becoming blurred. PRT projects may include ride sharing, coupled vehicles and/or larger vehicles.

Gondolas/ropeways are a technology that is catching on quite rapidly. Their niche overlaps a bit with the PRT niche.

The advent of automated cars makes it easier for people to accept PRT can be done. Some think automated cars/taxis will replace PRT but, in my opinion, this won’t happen for a long time, if ever. There will be a market for automated guideway vehicles for a very long time to come.

Is PRT tipping?

The best we can do is share our experience. We started our business in 2005 doing mostly airport consulting and a little PRT consulting.  By 2011, 35% of our projects were PRT, last year was up to 63%, so far this year it is at 98%. Paying projects last year were 43% higher than the average of the previous two years. So far this year, in three and a half months, we are already up more than 30% over all of last year. We have ten people (not all full time) based in three countries and four US states being paid to work on PRT projects. It seems to us like it is starting to tip.

Peter J. Muller, P.E.

President, PRT Consulting, Inc.

New to PRT

April 9th, 2014

New to PRT by Kate Engel, Executive Assistant, PRT Consulting

Before November 2013, ‘PRT’ was just an acronym I thought depicted the initials of my new boss.  When I was informed of its true meaning, visions of the old cartoon show ‘The Jetsons’ came to mind: sky vehicles hovering over cities, self-driving themselves to their destinations with the push of a button.  Needless to say, I wasn’t too far off!news_Jetsons

As a layman in these waters, I was fascinated.  Years of working in the travel industry, living in cities, commuting, and traveling throughout the world have prepared me for this…a greater convenience at a lower cost.  What wouldn’t I give to be able to ‘ditch’ my car during rush-hour for a direct commute, or to be able to park in the ‘cheap’ lot at the airport and hop on a podcar NON-STOP to the terminal.  Heck!  To be able to take a podcar from close to home directly to the airport would be ideal!

The industry and its’ technology are still young, but as more people in ‘decisive’ positions learn about this option, and more ‘laymen’ like myself to discover this ‘commuter methodology’, the greater the demand will be.  Which major city will be first to embrace PRT?

news_skytran10sSo, after 6 months of working in this fascinating industry, I am now familiar with terms like GRT, APM, magnetic levitation, guideways, and podcars.  I can site the many advantages of PRT, and can now truly envision a futuristic environment not too different from what the Jetsons cartoon depicted all those years ago…

Personal Rapid Transit News (April 2014)

April 9th, 2014

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

news_PoscoSuncheonKorea’s First Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), SkyCube

POSCO has partnered with Suncheon Eco Trans to create the nation’s first unmanned train, SkyCube. SkyCube was officially opened on April 19 and is Korea’s first Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). What is PRT? Let’s find out!  Read More…

Thales to modernize W. Va. University PRT

news_mtown2Thales said Tuesday, April 29, 2014 it has been awarded a contract by West Virginia University to modernize the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) network operating on the university’s Morgantown, W. Va. campus.  Thales said that it “will supply a turnkey transport systems solution. The PRT Train Control and Upgraded Fare Collection Systems will replace the existing systems, which have been operational since 1975. The new Thales equipment will increase safety, improve system efficiency, and enhance the riders’ experience.”  Read More…

WV: Aging PRT to Get Upgrade

April 27–WVU will give the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) a long overdue facelift during the next four years.  “It definitely needs improvement,” WVU student Zach Dendler said recently at the Walnut PRT Station. “The computers need an update. It’s the worst at times when large numbers of students are getting out of class.”  Read More…

news_KorenPodarisNathan Koren: Podaris Update

Podaris is finally coming out of hibernation and moving into rapid development. Here’s a quick update on our progress, as we move towards release later this summer.  View Video Here…

news_SuncheonInAug2EcoTrans system opens in South Koreanews_suncheonSta

On the 19th of April, the PRT system “EcoTrans” in Suncheon South Korea was officially inaugurated. Pictures from Johan Englund  (Johan is from the system control company Noventus) can be found here.

news_SuncheonInAug

news_UltraRailEngInnovation conference gets bigger and bigger

With more than 200 delegates from over 90 organisations and 33 display stands, the Railway Industry Association’s sixth annual Technology and Innovation Conference on 18 and 19 March was a much bigger event than last year. Introducing the conference RIA’s technical director Francis How reflected on the past twelve months being eventful for rail innovation with the formation of the Transport Systems Catapult. With some justification he felt that RIA had played a significant role in placing innovation at the forefront of the UK rail industry’s agenda.  Read More…

ModuTram Photos

For an excellent selection of ModuTram photos, Click Here….

news_Google busesCouncil wrestles with growing commute traffic woes

Downtown transit station overwhelmed by employee shuttles…   In a city where job growth never seems to quit, a growing number of workers commuting to Mountain View is causing a problem. In a study session Tuesday, April 8, it was revealed that more than a few of the city’s streets have recently reached the lowest possible grade for traffic — an “F” — while the downtown transit station is seeing 57 different employee shuttle services during rush hour, lining Evelyn Avenue and using space in the station’s bus turnout. Read More…

news_SuncheonNews2Eco Trans Suncheon, Korea’s first PRT ‘Sky Cube’ formal opening on the 19th

Suncheon Bay Garden, connecting the first domestic train of small unmanned orbital Sky Cube (SkyCube), is officially opening on the 19th.  ‘Sky Cube’ is a train of small unmanned orbital PRT (Personal Rapid Transit).  Suncheon Eco Trans announced the opening at a Suncheon International Wetlands Centre conference room presentation the day before. Read More… Note:  Please select Translate to read in English.

Suncheon Bay, Korea

news_SuncheonNews14The Suncheon Bay Garden Transit System opened on April 20th.  It is the first with unattended service railcars (PRT · Personal Rapid Transit) in Korea.  Suncheon Bay ATN system only connects the garden and a park and ride in small unmanned railcars with a total of 4.64 kilometers and a total of 40 service vehicles. Railcars have the latest Galaxy Tab 2 to provide real-time service information and a tour guide within the state-of-the-art facility.  Suncheon Bay ATN streams along the bridge with a speed of 40 ㎞ per hour for about 20 minutes, when passengers can relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of Dongcheon.  Read Here.. Note:  Hit  Translate to view in English.

news_UltraLHR14ALL POD CONS

Air passengers could soon be whisked from Paisley to Glasgow Airport in futuristic travel pods, the Paisley Daily Express can exclusively reveal.  The driverless electric shuttles would carry travellers from Gilmour Street train station to the terminal on an elevated track above the town.  The £72 million scheme is one of the options suggested in a new report which looks at possible new links to the Renfrewshire airport.  The computerised system would be only the fourth of its type in the world, with each cart taking four people and luggage to the jet hub at the touch of a button. Read More…

2014 PRT SUMMER SHUTDOWN BEGINS MAY 5th

West Virginia University’s Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system will be undergoing some modernization improvements this summer. In an effort to achieve the necessary PRT system upgrades, it will be necessary to shut down operations beginning May 5th with normal operations resuming Monday, August 11th. This shutdown is needed for a variety of capital and maintenance projects. The capital projects include the repair of the Hospital Tunnel and the retrofitting of the PRT vehicles with a new propulsion system.  Read More…

news_podcar8Post-Car Urbanism:  Implications for Town & Airport District Planning

The 8th annual Podcar City conference will advance the vision of sustainable urban transportation that reduces our auto-addiction and its high costs. Most modern countries are auto-addicted. Recent converts are in oil-rich areas and the choking cities and towns of India and China.  Auto-addiction is life when cars serve almost all everyday needs. On the whole, and especially from a community viewpoint, this degrades the quality of life. Whenever too many people want to gather somewhere, parking becomes a problem. If more people walked, rode bikes or came by transit attractive enough to make them prefer it, community life would improve. Automated Transit Networks (ATNs) do that.  Read More…

Personal Rapid Transit News (March 2014)

March 3rd, 2014

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

Unfortunately, the pod car never took off

Mountain View residents who may have dreamed of seeing a space-age transportation system of “pod cars” strung along Shoreline Boulevard between downtown and the North Bayshore had to be disappointed when the City Council pulled the plug on a small investment in the experimental system proposed by SkyTran.  Read More…

WVU finance committee gets update on athletic facilities plan, PRT modernization

Significant facilities improvements and investments are in store for West Virginia University athletic facilities and the Personal Rapid Transit system, pending Board of Governors approval at the April 4 meeting as well as further authorization from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission at its April meeting.  Read More..

news_LHRpod2The Heathrow Pod

The Heathrow pod is Ultra Global’s innovative Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system at London’s Heathrow Airport, the service provides passengers transport between the airport’s Terminal 5 and a designated business car park. The PRT system has been open since May 2011 and has carried close to a million passengers. Mark Griffiths is Ultra Global’s Head of Operations and has been in charge of the team of controllers and technicians responsible for the day to day running of the system. Some of the stats from the system include:

  • Saved 200 tonnes of Co2 from the previous bus service
  • Has taken 70,000 bus journeys off of Heathrow’s congested roads each year
  • Has been voted the best passenger service on the airport campus
  • The pods at Heathrow have travelled over 2 million autonomous kilometres  …Read More…

SP body seeks detailed info on transport system

THE City Council’s committee on transportation has requested Polish inventor Ollie Mikosza, proponent of the Metropolitan Individual System of Transportation (Mister), an elevated rail personal rapid transfer system (PRT), to provide them a much more detailed information on the new transportation system.  The Mister-PRT system is a “high level mini-taxi” service where small, fully automatic, air-conditioned, driverless, and light weight pods are propelled by pollution-free motors.  Read More…

Mountain View passes on funding pod car projectnews_skytranMtview

The Mountain View City Council isn’t interested in becoming a crusader for pod car technology.  The council reached that conclusion following a discussion Tuesday night about a request by skyTran, a Mountain View-based firm developing “personal rapid transit” technology, to participate in talks about creating a $750,000 federal grant program to fund a proof of concept demonstration project.  Read More..

news_MtViewPlanMake-or-break council decision on pod cars tonight

Tonight City Council members will decide what to do about their longstanding interest in having an automated transit network in Mountain View.  The futuristic idea is being raised as a way to deal with traffic congestion in Google’s neighborhood north of Highway 101, where 3.4 million square feet of new offices could be built under a land use plan the council is considering this year.   Read More….

West Virginia transportation system inspires Lubbock monorail ideanews_mtown2

Morgantown PRT system costs $5.5 million per year to operate; funded by mix of federal money, student fees and rider fares.  Texas Tech and Lubbock developers aren’t the first from a large university or a medium-sized city to consider campus-to-downtown transit.  Big 12 rival West Virginia University has had a system designed to do just that in place for three decades.  WVU’s Personal Rapid Transit system is a public transportation service that connects downtown Morgantown with the university’s three campuses. Students, faculty and staff, as well as the general public, use it. It’s funded largely by student fees, and it’s working, administrators say.  Read More…

news_skytranMountain View at a crossroads with pod cars

The Mountain View City Council is set next week to consider ramping up the city’s involvement in the development of so-called pod cars as one potential solution to local gridlock.  SkyTran, a Mountain View-based firm developing “personal rapid transit” and “automated transit network” technologies, is looking for the city to back its efforts to build a “proof-of-concept” demonstration project at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field.  Read More…

Futurist Thomas Fray

Futurist Thomas Fray

The Next Bold Step in Transportation:  Personal Rapid Transit Systems

Throughout history, speed has been synonymous with greatness. In sports, those who ran the fastest were heroes. In times of war, those with the fastest chariots, ships, planes, and weapons had a significant advantage. In the business world, a company’s competitive edge has typically been formed around speed – quickest delivery, fastest transaction times, or speed of information.  With the aid of technology, we’ve found ways to speed up communications – voice, text, email, social networking, and even delivery systems. But we’ve only been able to achieve minor advances in the speed of physically traveling somewhere.  Read More…

Proposed transport system tackled todaynews_MisterPRT

THE Davao City Council, through the committee on transportation, is set to hold a committee hearing today on the proposal of a Metropolitan Individual System of Transportation to set up an Elevated Rail-Personal Rapid Transit (Mister-PRT) system by Polish inventor Ollie Mikosza, an official said.  Based on technical descriptions contained in the proposal, Mister “is a ‘high level mini-taxi’ service where small, fully automatic, air-conditioned, driverless, and light weight pods are propelled by pollution-free motors.”  Read More…

news_Navia100Driverless shuttle makes rounds with self-sufficient, 24-hour capability

A driverless shuttle made a brief appearance at the Cottages at Brushy Creek last week to introduce engineers, businessmen and the public to the testing of Induct’s Navia 100 – an all-electric vehicle. A touch screen display illustrates the stops on the course mapped by GPS. Users can summon the shuttle with their smart phones.  Navia has zero emissions, can travel at 12.5 mph and carry up to eight passengers. It is fully electric and recharged by induction – using magnetic fields – without the need for cables or human intervention, allowing it to be self-sufficient and run 24 hours a day.  Read More….

news_MontgomeryMakeover Montgomery II, a conference to be held May 8-10, 2014 in Silver Spring Maryland, will include an ATRA presentation showing attendees how PRT can be used to enhance light rail and bus rapid transit. The primary example will be PRT enhancements to the future Montgomery County, Maryland Bus Rapid Transit Network. The PRT network would act as a circulator shuttling passengers from the single BRT stop to their building in the Shady Grove complex. Read more…

news_Heathrow2014Video: The future of driverless transport is hiding at Heathrow

Driverless vehicles are either the future of motoring or the death knell for public transport, depending on whether you take your travel news from Google or the RMT.  But tucked away beyond domestic arrivals at Heathrow is a driverless transport network that has been running successfully for nearly three years and is the first of its kind in the world, with ambitions to be one of Britain’s biggest exports in the industry.  Read More, View Video…

Cross Kirkland Corridor Symposium Summary

February 25th, 2014

By Kate Engel

The Kirkland Symposium was held on Saturday, February 8, 2014 with good attendance.  The agenda consisted of a brief Welcome and Introductions by Darcy Nothnagle, Public Affairs and Government Relations Managers, Western Region, Google (in whose building the meeting took place).  She emphasized that Google promotes a ‘green’ environment and greatly supports the efforts that will be discussed in the Symposium since they will be directly affected by the decisions made in Kirkland.

This was followed by some brief comments on the theme ofSuburban Transit Innovations’:

Mayor Amy Walen, City of Kirkland

Mayor Amy Walen wants to find ways to make transit happen sooner and applauds the goals of the symposium!  She set the theme ‘Why Not Us?’ and ‘Why Not Now?’ as the Cross Kirkland Corridor theme for innovation.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, 1st Congressional District of Washington

Strongly agreeing with Mayor Walen, Suzan DelBene applauded the areas’ “incredible spirit of innovation” and creativity, as well as  a community of risk-takers.  She agrees that the vision for Kirkland is ‘futuristic’ and believes that Kirkland will build a world-class, public amenity.

Triplet KS 1Kurt Triplett, City Manager, City of Kirkland

Kurt, the Symposium’s organizer, also believes that the NW region is one of great innovations.  He continued to tout the ‘Why Not Us’ theme of the symposium.  He challenged attendees to ‘use our imaginations to move forward’, and reminded all why we are here.  He asked:  ‘How do we create brand new, clean, green, transportation technologies that fit into the suburbs, that don’t have emissions, that are quiet, and don’t need gas.”   He showed existing Kirkland transportation modes, but highlighted the ‘gaps’ that need to be discussed today.  Planning for today and future is an important component in meeting the demands in the timely matter.

The rest of the day was split into 4 panels with multiple speakers in each followed by a brief Q&A session.  Here is a brief summary of those panels and speakers, in order of presentation:

Panel 1:  The Corridor Connections to our Regional Transportation System facilitated by Mark Hallenbeck, Director, UW Washington State Transportation Center

Mark emphasized what a wonderful opportunity we have to build something great here!  However, we must support our Public Servants in getting the public to, literally, ‘buy’ into whatever we come up with.

Judy Clibborn, Chair, House Transportation Committee, Washington State Legislature

Judy discussed the intricacies of government funding for transportation, and the battle for funds.  She advised of the newest ‘Senate package’ coming out next week that will provide needed funding for the 520 Highway, no tolling on I90, and a number of major projects based on freight mobility.   To get packages approved, there is a lot of compromise.  They must concentrate on completing existing projects as well as maintaining existing roadways.  They also compete with non-transit needs such as education (which is a mandatory expenditure).  She continues to champion the way for funding transportation, but asks local governments to keep pushing to find creative ways to fund transit needs.

Lorena Eng, P.E. Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, Washington State Department of Transportation

Lorena Eng announced the new governor’s mission:  ‘Be the best at providing a sustainable and integrated, multi-modal transportation system’.  The value is to view innovation as ‘sustainability’ with goals for modal integration and smart technology.  She featured current integrations of ‘smart technology’ in the area that support the commitment to an innovative future in line with the goals of this symposium.

She asked:  How can we build on the technology that’s out there?  And how can we link the new technology to existing transit:  buses, rail, streetcar, ferries….  Input from this symposium will go into their ‘plan’!

Trinity Parker, Depart of Planning, Environment and Project Development, Sound Transit

Sound_KSFilling in for Ric Ilgenfritz, Trinity Parker explained the Sound Board has 18 people who meet, discuss, and determine needs for the area.  They gather demographic data to determine needs – highlighting population employment areas and how to connect them.  Plans are already in the mix to increase Light Rail by 2023 to 33 stations, 14 cities and over 280,000 riders/day – up from current 30,000.  This Sound Board as the ability to fund future projects, and estimates that by the end of 2014, they could start the steps to get the ‘Cross Kirkland Corridor’ on the ballot for funding.

Harold Taniguchi, Director, Department of Transportation, King County

LongRangeHarold’s concerns include all modes of transportation, from Ferries to Vanpools.  Sales Tax is the predominate factor in the revenue structure and the recent economic downturn affected their spending, requiring them to ‘buckle’ down and make changes accordingly.  King County already offers a huge variety of transit modes including:  Vanpools, Vanshares, DART, Dial-a-ride, Water taxis, Rideshares, hybrid-electric buses, electric trolley/bus fleet, Metro-pool, and they are installing electric stations.  They have re-assessed needs based on new ridership studies, but believe that with more service comes more riders, and they have come up with an elaborate, methodical method for determining service levels and demands which will help propel them into the future.

Panel 2:  Introduction to Advanced Transportation Technology, facilitated by Dr. Stanley E Young, President, Advanced Transit Association, University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology

ATN_KS2Dr Young gave a general overview of PRT:

-Fully automated

-Typically small vehicles (- 4 passengers)

-Rapid (25mph)

-Direct origin to destination

-3 Second headway

He also defined ATN as a more inclusive term for automated transit.

So, what about automated vehicles?  And how will that affect our transit concepts?  Although not a big discussion here today, but certainly something to consider.  He also offered up some ideas for ATN as an activity center circulator and major transit feeder, or as a Transit Interconnect as being discussed as options in the D.C. area.

3sysPTT_KSPeter Muller, President, PRT Consulting

There are currently 3 systems in use today, with data and statistics to validate concerns.  Each system operates a bit differently:

  • Masdar City, Abu Dhabi (4 passengers)
  • London, Heathrow Airport, U.K. (4 PAX + luggage)
  • Suncheon, Korea (6 PAX seated, 6 standing)

Mr. Muller also explained the statistical comparisons between these

systems. He showed results from numerous studies in the US and abroad that indicate the high level of service of ATN will dramatically increase overall transit mode share.

David Gow, Editor, PRT NewsCenter

STARR_KSAddressing GRT (Group Rapid Transit), David explained that GRT lies somewhere between PRT and mass transit (e.g. Bus/Streetcar/LRT/Metro/Intercity).  He gave us a ‘history’ of GRT, starting in the 1960s when the Urban Mass Transit Admin was formed and tasked with ‘PRT Implementation’.  The resulting “STARR Car” was promoted and demoed in Morgantown, WV (due to political connections of the US Rep there).  There were trials and tribulations (including locking Julie Nixon in the car during the highly publicized introduction), but eventually Morgantown became one of the first successes of PRT/GRT, linking campus for the UWV.  It is still in existence today!

Panel 3:  Opportunity for Emerging Technology on the Cross Kirkland Corridor, facilitated by Steve Marshall, Executive Director, Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy solutions

With the focus on emerging technologies, Steve emphasized the need to provide accident-free, congestion-free, lower-cost, green transportation in the future.  We are looking at huge changes in transit that the CKC can help bring in from the future!  He challenged the panel to discuss 3 Qs:

What other cities are using this ‘futuristic’ transit?

Do any systems meet the CKC requirements?

What the opportunities for expansion?

LevX_KS1Jo Klinski, Chief Operating Officer, LEVX

As a local NW company, LEVX has long integrated smart technology into their company focus.  They focused on replacing weight-bearing wheels with magnetic levitation.  She explained what their technology could look like in CKC.

  • The system would operate above ground with minimal structural needs, adding to safety, land usage efficiencies, and possible additional bonuses (restrooms for pedestrian/cycle paths).
  • Bi-directional guideways, with options for a variety of vehicle sizes; from 6 PAX to 80 PAX – operating on the same track, thus filling needs for high-demand times vs low-demand.
  • Options for freight vehicles on the same track.
  • Ability to extend into Redmond and additional communities beyond.
  • Low energy usage, as well as being non-electric (stills runs even if the local power goes out)

Estimated data provided that shows a   Renton to Woodville/Redmond line, end to end, would be FASTER than driving HWY 405 the same distance!

skyT_KS

Robert Baertsch, EVP Software Engineering, SkyTran

The BIG Question?  How do you fund these systems?  Robert challenged that cost is directly connected to the weight, and SkyTran provides an excellent alternative to higher-cost, heavier systems.  The SkyTran vehicles holds only 2 passengers, keeping weight, hence, costs, down.

The fundamental differences with SkyTran from other PRTs is SPEED!  SkyTran provides a 2 speed guideway that allows for an inner-city speed of 40mph and a ‘suburban’ speed of 100mph.  Like RevX, it operates on a magnetic elevation system or magnetic ‘wings’.  Their aluminum rails are simple to manufacture, also at a lower cost.  The guideways are narrower (4 feet wide) and boasts the option to be ‘hanging’ or ‘top riding’ .  Using solar power is also an easy add-on with the less-intrusive, minimal infrastructure needed to support SkyTran.  He emphasized that SkyTran is FAST, SAFE, GREEN, and ENERGY efficient.

CyberKSNeil Sinclair, Chairman, CyberTran International Inc.

A group of engineers were tasked to define the needs and abilities for the best solution to high-cost, efficient transit, and they came up with utilizing old and new technology.  They combined the traditional ‘steel wheel on steel rail’ system used today with the smart technology of the future to suggest an ‘ultra-light rail system’.  This would be a combination local, commuter, and high-speed system that can travel FAST (150mph), with an optimum capacity of 6-30 passengers, and could run on electric or solar energy.  Stations might also include TOD.  The last slide depicts a modern vision for the CKC.

cableKSSteven Dale, Founding Principal, Creative Urban Projects

Cable-propelled transit has been around for years…and it just gets better!  This is a PROVEN system that boasts of lower costs, faster implementation, and a bit of ‘flare’.   Images of falling off ski-lifts as a child meld with the newer, bigger, cable-car systems in use today:  Medellin, Columbia (now in its’ 3rd phase addition), Sentosa, Singapore (one station built into an existing high-rise), Roosevelt Island, NY (recently renovated).  Cable transit is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world today, with Latin America as its ‘epicenter’.  It is, again, a PROVEN system with lower implementation costs, less invasive, and with a bit of ‘tourism’ added in, possibly profitable.

Panel 4:  Case Studies:  Implementation of Advanced Transit Systems, facilitated by Jon Pascal, Principal, Transpo Group; Chair, Kirkland Planning Commission

Jon Pascal challenged:

How do we get beyond the academic side? What does it take to implement an advanced transit system? What are the things that regional and local areas need to think about? And how do we operate it over time?

IstituteKSRon Swenson, Co-Founder, International Institute of Sustainable Transportation
It takes a lot of different players to come up with the best solutions, and incorporating Universities into the mix (as they have done in Europe and Mexico) is an excellent option.  Ron’s group issued a challenge to universities to come up with ideas, and the results were amazing.  Industrial Design students, Urban Planning students, and even MBA students offered input.   Some of the results of their efforts showed:

  • Solar power should be used (yes, even in Seattle)
  • Speed, end to end, should be better than driving.
  • There should be a ‘direct’ connect (bypass any ‘center point’)
  • Vehicles should be suspended for narrower, less invasive design

Ron stressed that we all need to raise the bar to succeed!

SJCAP_KSLaura Stuchinsky, Sustainability Officer, City of San Jose Transportation Department (virtual)

Tasked with Project Management of a feasibility study to connect the SJC airport with existing transit, Laura determined that the original idea of APM connecting underground was too expensive, but a form of PRT was more flexible and less costly.

Positives:

  • Better quality of service (could actually provide additional stops/advantages for passengers)
  • Capital Costs were lower
  • O & M costs were similar to bus shuttles

Challenges:

  • Exceeded proven capabilities
  • Costs and Risks high until 1) Refine/Confirm capabilities and business cases and 2) US regulation requirements are established

Conclusion:  The City of San Jose turned down the options as there are too many ‘unknowns’; however, the City of San Jose does see ATN/PRT as a viable options for future projects, and they have actually identified several locations for future discussion.

Fred Payne, County Councilmember, Greenville, South Carolina

GSPKSSelf-professed academic, non-bureaucratic civil servant, Fred Payne, discussed how they used Steven Covey’s 7 ‘habits’ to come up with a plan for implementing PRT.   Using the end goal of GreenvilleVillages Development helped them plan their implementation for a multi-modal transit system utilizing 3.4 miles of railroad track they purchased.  This systematic process, along with a lot of research will propel Greenville, SC into the future!

news_Moti KSMoti Pinhassi, Urban and Regional Planner, City Center Renewal Division, Netanya Municipality, Israel (virtual)

As a University student, Moti was challenged by a Professor to ‘show the future’ in the year 2050.  He came up with a design of a downtown street that held no cars, just a park with an elevated, ATN system.

When he looked online, he found it already existed, and that shaped his future endeavors.  He now works in Netanya, Israel and is working on a solution for transit within this town ‘divided’.  Like Kirkland, a major highway separates the 2 sides of the town – old town and new.  The old town suffers from congestion and a lack of parking, which prohibits growth and deters prospective visitors.   Moti believes that PRT is a viable solution to their space and structural challenges, and will promote PRT as their best option.

CaseDENKSPeter Muller, President, PRT Consulting

Once again, Peter Muller joined in to show case studies of actual comparisons of PRT to other modes of transit.  He provided statistics on PRT vs  Circular Bus, BRT (Greenville), LRT (Denver), Rail (Chicago), and Ft Carson (Colorado).

Each instance showed positive impact when choosing PRT – both in the efficiency and cost factors for implementation.

This concluded the panel discussions, and what ensued were open, facilitated discussions.  To view in its entirety, View Here…