February 2021
From the President
Greetings! at their recent meeting the ATRA Board decided to extend all board positions by a year rather than hold elections during these difficult times. ATRA remains focused on:
  • This monthly newsletter
  • Letters to key people/organizations such as the new US Secretary of Transportation
  • Website updates
  • Participating in the Podcar City Conference (possibly in Atlanta this Fall)
  • Continued revisions to the ASCE APM Standards

As always, enjoy reading!

Best regards,

Peter Muller, ATRA President
Upcoming Events
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. Membership works best for those that get involved and contribute.
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Chengdu Tianfu International Airport PRT System
The Chengdu Tianfu International Airport PRT system is under construction in China as can be seen in this picture (look for the upside down wineglass-shaped guideway). The project will have 6 miles of guideway, 4 stations and 22 pods. It will connect airport parking to two terminal buildings. The technology is being provided by Ultra-MTS.
Connected & Autonomous Vehicles - Part 1

2020’s the PRT decade 
Personal Rapid Transit has completed its pioneer decade securing its place in the capacity planning strategies of city and campus transit authorities, proving its availability, safety and operating cost promises and now launched into production of the first implementation phase schemes.

If these have come later than the pioneers themselves would have liked 10 years is not such a long time for a new paradigm to establish. The implementation decade ahead will demand a better understanding of what remains the least talked about and least understood aspect of PRT : the infrastructure integration challenge. What can and what cannot be done and what depends on development of additional technology and safety modules.

Connected & Autonomous Vehicles - Part 2

2020’s the PRT decade 
PRT is entering a new phase of confidence with schemes proceeding into production: the 2020’s have opened as the implementation decade. Leading the first wave is the new airport scheme for Chengdu Tianfu in Sichuan province in southwestern China. Due for completion later this year the U-MTS[1] licensed ULTra system will connect pairs of terminals to parking, campus hotels and commercial hubs as part of the $11bn 90mppa scheme to make Chengdu the #2 airport hub in China. With design, construction and operation being funded and undertaken by the state authority U-MTS hope Chengdu will establish a standard to be rolled out across China with Beijing (#1) following next.

This is a great article! However it is focused on first- and last-mile service. This totally misses the opportunity for next-generation faster PRT with greater capacity to become the urban mass transit system of the future.
Students endure second straight semester without PRT
For the second-consecutive semester, WVU’s PRT is unoperational — for better or worse.

Shuttered due to COVID-19 concerns, the University’s transportation system has been replaced by a caravan of coach buses.

According to senior journalism student Adam Payne, who currently lives down by Grant Avenue, one downside to not having the PRT available is that the buses are sometimes harder to get on.

Sharjah Unveils UAE's First Ever Electric Sky Pod Network
The UAE’s first high-speed electric sky pod network has arrived in Sharjah and it is a sight to behold. The 1.24 miles (2 km) suspended track at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park is being built by Unitsky String Technologies of Belarus and it is estimated that the sky pod could be carrying its first passengers within weeks.

Note that this system seems more like a gondola or ropeway than PRT. The fact that the vehicle wraps around the rope or guideway implies an inability to switch.
Georgia Mobility suggests building personal rapid transit system in McDonough
McDONOUGH — Georgia Mobility Solutions Inc. is interested in bringing a new way to travel to the city of McDonough.

During the Feb. 4 City Council meeting, Georgia Mobility Executive Chairman J.T. Williams presented to the board the idea of bringing a personal rapid transit system to the city.

Astonishing growth in Pod Taxi Market Growth Ratio Analysis with Top Players Fairwood Group, Metrino-PRT, skyTran, Vectus Ltd.
Place article copy here. Be sure to make the articles short and concise as people tend not to read much more than a couple of paragraphs. Place article copy here.

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2021
Contact: Rob Means, Rob@MilpitasPRT.com
LoopWorks Incorporates to Deliver Milpitas PRT System

“People, planet and profit” sums up the priorities for the advanced transit project planned for Milpitas. In announcing its incorporation as a taxable non-profit mutual benefit corporation, LoopWorks took its next step in creating a transit system to serve the Metro Area around the BART transit hub using Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) technology. Because PRT complements the existing network of transportation options, PRT’s convenience and low cost are predicted to dramatically increase use of all alternative modes (see PRT Synergy, page 35, of the business plan).

People visiting, or living in, the Transit Area will be a short walk from one of a dozen PRT stations where a vehicle awaits to take them non-stop to any other station. Using small electric vehicles on elevated guideways, unobstructed by ground-level conditions, residents from 7 separate housing areas could easily access the BART transit hub – and all the transportation options available there. The dual-loop system includes stations serving the new elementary school, the Great Mall shopping center, Trader Joe’s, and three city parks. “Success in this project” says Rob Means, 40-year resident and project champion, “could lead to additional loops serving other parts of Milpitas – like City Hall/Senior Center, the Library, and even the education complex around Milpitas High School.”

At the planet level, Global Warming requires huge reductions in CO2 emissions. Running on renewable electricity addresses that environmental issue, but PRT also “will minimize use of land, material and energy, will minimize pollution of all kinds, and will provide an unparalleled level of service.” So says Dr. Ed Anderson, whose decades of experience in the field is distilled into the design chosen by LoopWorks – a design that is open source and available to the public on-line.

Profit, according to LoopWorks, is measured by increased local wealth, also known as the commonwealth. In addition to free fares that keeps money in people’s pockets, increases in personal time savings and business activity will grow the commonwealth. As a mutual benefit corporation that is highly transparent, LoopWorks will share the data and knowledge that results from this experimental project. That information will be invaluable to other communities seeking solutions to their own transportation problems. According to Eugene Nishinaga, President and CEO of Transit Control Solutions, “if properly developed and deployed, these systems can achieve a cost-benefit that is approximately four times better than what can be achieved by more conventional means.”

Estimated to cost about the same as Milpitas City Hall, $60M, LoopWorks anticipates that foundations, governments and private investors will find both the return on investment and the risk-reward ratio attractive enough to finance project construction. Once built, LoopWorks plans to cultivate add-on services to pay for ongoing costs of operation and maintenance.

For more information, visit MilpitasPRT.com or email info@MilpitasPRT.com.
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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