February 2024

From the President

Dear Peter, Podcar City in San Jose was a great success with over a hundred attendees. The venue was quite crowded and the sessions well attended. More importantly, there was considerably more discussion of active projects/installations of ATN.

A pre-conference workshop on ATN planning was attended by approximately 40 people. Many also toured the Glydways system and test track and/or inspected their technology on display at the conference.

Douglas Kamoga, who flew out from Uganda, rounded out the conference with a passionate talk about how what we are doing is so important to the next generation. It was a great conference that I was pleased to participate in and proud ATRA helped to sponsor.

PS: We love you. Please join ATRA/pay your dues/volunteer.

Together we can fix public transportation!

Best regards,

Peter Muller, ATRA President

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10 Ways to Improve Light Rail

I am writing a paper with the above title. It explores different changes that could theoretically be made to the light rail system in Denver, Colorado. Most have immediate positive effects but some have negative effects that become positive when combined with others.

The point of the paper is to show that there are many improvements already in public service, and a few yet to come, that could dramatically improve light rail. Of course, after the first few improvements you find it is now the Morgantown PRT system! It just gets better from there.

The analysis begins by assuming a $2 B light rail project in Denver and then investigating the impacts of the improvements without changing the capital costs. The graph shows the preliminary results I am getting. They need to be fine tuned but, I believe, give a good indication of what can happen. The graph assumes every light rail attribute is normalized to the base value of 10. As improvements are made, the new attribute values are normalized at the same rate. An attribute that gets a new normalized rate of 25 would then be 2.5 times better than existing light rail. Note that the vertical scale is logarithmic.

The green lines relate to climate impacts. The red line is for travel time which we also want to reduce. All of the black lines are outcomes we want to increase. The dates indicate when an improvement first went into public service.


GSP Airport considers $95 million self-driving shuttle project

A decade after it was first envisioned, Greenville-Spartanburg Airport might soon see sleek, self-driving shuttles whisking employees and passengers between parking lots and the terminal.


When first envisioned, this was intended to be PRT. Now they are looking at group rapid transit (GRT) which, in my opinion seems unnecessarily expensive.

Urbanloop personal rapid transit testing begins

FRANCE: Testing of Urbanloop personal rapid transit pods has begun on 2 km track in a park at St-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the suburbs of Paris.

The line is to be operated by Keolis, connecting a car park to a 2024 Olympic Games fan zone.


The Future Of Transportation Must Be A “Connected” One

In the recent past, there was a perception that when autonomous vehicles (AVs) were on the streets, a “driverless utopia” would soon follow. That utopia consisted of a reduction of fatal auto accidents, the declining need for parking garages close to city centers, the ability to relax in a car while commuting, and the maximum use of commuter vehicles that sit idle most of the working day. Unfortunately, reality has dictated otherwise, as can be seen with the initial introduction of autonomous robotaxis in cities like San Francisco and vehicles with similar advanced autonomous features like Tesla’s Autopilot, which recently is subject to a massive recall for deficiencies in failing to prevent drivers from using it when they are not in control of the vehicle or where Autopilot isn’t designed to be used.


Richmond to study feasibility of personal micro transit system

With plans in the works to install a 28-mile autonomous vehicle personal micro transit system connecting Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley and Pittsburg, the City of Richmond is looking into the possibility of installing a similar system to connect West Contra Costa cities and transit hubs.


Pod taxi route too short? 3 extentions, but no bids yet

The Yamuna Expressway Authority is likely to issue another global tender for the pod taxi project between Noida airport and Film City in Sector 21


Port Authority approves $9.3B budget, advances AirTrain replacement

One of those projects noted above is the AirTrain replacement at Newark Liberty International Airport — work that will replace the current outmoded system with a modern, reliable 2.5-mile automated people mover train system that is slated to open in 2029. The Port Authority also announced Thursday it selected Doppelmayr, a market leader in cable-propelled transport systems, in the first phase of a multiphase procurement process for that project.

Officials say Doppelmayr will play a key role in developing the new system. The contract includes $570 million for design and construction, with an estimated $385 million over 20 years (net present value) for operation and maintenance of the system and its vehicles.


This is an interesting contrast - an automated people mover (APM) costing over $154 M per mile. No existing or proposed ATN system costs anywhere near $100 M while some have speeds and capacity similar to APM. Yet the ATN industry worries its systems are too expensive!

BTW, the Denver Airport APM has an average speed of 13 mph while the one at Atlanta Hartsfield averages 10 mph.

Glydcars: The future of transportation in East County?

A new autonomous vehicle transportation project aimed at relieving traffic congestion due to regional population growth could soon be headed to East Contra Costa County.



New ‘Glydcars’ transit system potentially headed to East Contra Costa County

To say commute traffic on Highway 4 is painful is probably being overly kind to the concept of pain.

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Tri Delta Transit are aware of the headaches caused by Highway 4 traffic and announced Wednesday a potential new transportation option for East Contra Costa County residents.


Opposition to pod project citing potential congestion

Haridwar: The personal rapid transit (PRT) pod taxi project, proposed for Haridwar several years ago, has faced opposition from local organizations...



Why P3s are the gateway to the next generation of infrastructure

From EV vertiports in New York, through autonomous vehicles in Texas, to mass-transit in California - P3s are at the cutting edge of a revolution in infrastructure.


Contra Costa Co. to install 28-mile micro-transit system with autonomous vehicles

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The roadway to the future is coming to Contra Costa County.

"Right now, first and last mile is one of our biggest challenges here in Contra Costa County. We don't want people to have to drive to the BART station," says Tim Haile, executive director of Contra Costa Transportation Authority.



Podcar City ATN Supplier Panel

Podcar City, San Jose, December 1, 2023. Vuba's Project Development Director, Peter Muller, lead a panel discussion of upper management from Swyft Cities, Glydways, Modutram and Oceaneering (2getthere). 

Panelists stated that their 2028 objectives included the following maximum speed, line capacity (passengers per hour per direction (pphpd)) and costs (US$ M per one-way mile of elevated guideway with two elevated stations) were:

Swyft Cities: 30 mph; 3,000 pphpd; $5 M

Glydways: 30 mph; 4,000 pphpd; $50 M

Modutram: 40+ mph; 10,000 pphpd; $16 M

Oceaneering: 50 mph; 20,000 pphpd; $20 - 50 M

Vuba is aiming for 60 mph; 20,000 pphpd; $20 M.

Prior to the conference, which had about 100 attendees, Peter lead an ATN planning workshop with about 40 attendees.

CCTA, Tri Delta Transit announce public-private partnership for East County 28-mile personal micro transit line

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Tri Delta Transit are marking another milestone in the innovative East Contra Costa County Dynamic Personal Micro Transit (DPMT) Project. Today, CCTA and Tri Delta Transit are announcing a partnership with East County Connection Partners, LLC (ECCP), made up of transportation innovators Glydways and Plenary Americas, and lead construction contractor Flatiron.



San Jose hosts a futuristic vision of mass transit

The future of transportation arrived in San Jose via a conference centered on automated, sustainable forms of public transit for the region and beyond.

The 2023 Podcar City transit innovation conference took place Friday at San Jose City Hall, where about 100 representatives from transit organizations, companies and municipal governments from around the world gathered to discuss these burgeoning technologies.



The DPMT Project is a multi-city, on-demand transit option designed to meet the diverse mobility needs of people in Eastern Contra Costa County. ECCP will help bring the vision of a safe, on-demand, single-party, transportation system into reality with its zero-emission, autonomous, four-person Glydcars. 



Breaking down PRT break downs

As one of few institutions in the country to have a monorail, West Virginia University provides a unique experience to students through the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).

The PRT first began operating across WVU’s Morgantown Campus in 1975, making it the first “large-scale automated guideway transit system in the U.S.,” according to the PRT website.


Mayor Caluag, private firm push for establishment of mass transit system

San Fernando City Mayor Vilma Balle-Caluag has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a private company for the planned establishment of a mass transit system in the city.

Futran (Future of Transport) Philippines, Inc. led by its president Jose Christopher Fornier II inked the MOU for the “bold yet long term solution to increasing transport issues” in San Fernando, the city government said.



PRT open again after Saturday closure

West Virginia University officials confirmed the PRT was closed Saturday, Nov. 11 because of a power rail failure at the Walnut Street station. Rumors of a fire on the tracks circulated after a video was posted to social media, but officials say it was an electric arc caused by the power failure.


Walnut PRT station down amid power rail failure

The PRT is expected to be down at Walnut Station until Monday morning following a power rail failure Saturday, according to April Kaull, executive director of communications.

@wvubarstool posted a video of a fire on the PRT tracks at the Walnut Station on Instagram Saturday. The post depicts an “electric arc” resulting from the power rail failure, according to Kaull.

Kaull said that no cars or passengers were involved in the incident, as it occurred before the PRT operations began for the day.

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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