January 2020
From the President
Greetings! ATRA held a board meeting last week at which a number of decisions were made, including:

1. Since last year’s board elections (usually held around year-end) were delayed, the next election will be around the end of 2020.

2. Since part of the reason personal rapid transit (PRT) is slow catching on is believed to be the lack of credible supporting data (see my article here) ATRA will start a new initiative to obtain funding and make grants for feasibility studies. Numerous philanthropies are supporting applied research into climate change mitigation and applications will be made to suitable ones. Funding will then be used to support communities such as Atlanta, Greenville and/or others around the world that are interested in undertaking credible studies. ATRA funds will be conditioned on the studies giving credible consideration to PRT and being based on statistically valid local data. A committee will be formed to address the initiative.

3. Committee reports were received from the Academic, Outreach, Regulatory, Membership and Conference Committees. The Strategic and Project Intelligence Committees were disbanded for lack of performance and in light of the new grant funding initiative. 

You can learn a lot about most of the available PRT technologies by perusing the responses to the San Jose RFI here.

As always, enjoy reading!

Best regards,

Peter Muller, ATRA President
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by Peter Muller, ATRA President

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

Other News
Call for Short Papers. Note: this conference includes a session on personal rapid transit.

Exploring a faster way to connect Silicon Valley's transportation and employment centers

Can a new transit connection between Mineta San José International Airport (SJC), Diridon Station, and west Santa Clara Valley cities come to life faster and cheaper than conventional approaches? That’s the question several South Bay transportation agencies asked tech, construction, and transit companies through a request for information (RFI) published in July 2019.

48th European Transport Conference
In 2020, the Association for European Transport will hold its 48th European Transport Conference at the Politecnico di Milano, Bovisa Campus, Milan, Italy.

Call for papers is now open

The only gondola that I want
The only gondola that I want is one that connects Boulder with Nederland and then onto Eldora. Maybe it can even connect to Winter Park; what’s a few additional miles in dreamland?

I would definitely chip in a couple of dollars to get that built. But seeing that the longest cable car route in the world is only 7.5 kilometers, my dream is probably not going to happen. As for a gondola between Pearl Street and the University of Colorado, it sounds ridiculous. I guess I am OK with it as long as it gets paid for by the university (without raising tuition), the Downtown Boulder Partnership and the Boulder Chamber. Just don’t use our tax dollars for this boondoggle.

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.

Editorial comments are in italics.
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