January 2022
From the President
Greetings! I am pleased to report that Podcar City 2021 in Atlanta was a resounding success. It started with a very supportive speech from Amb. Andrew Young followed by strong support from high-level elected officials. I outlined my (ATRA’s) vision for the future of transportation which was followed by an ATRA panel featuring success stories (and descriptions of hurdles that were overcome) from technology suppliers.

There were panels discussing solutions in Atlanta, Greenville and Scandinavia. Georgia Tech is doing important work which was described by students and professors. A panel discussing a three-year multi-city project was wrapped up with a discussion of the versatile planning tool, Podaris.

Links to video clips of the conference are below in chronological order. Unfortunately, the quality is not great. Fortunately for ATRA, the quality of our sessions (bolded) is better than most.

Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs – Ellen Dunham-Jones, Architect, Georgia Tech.  

Automated Transit Networks – A Vision for the Future – Peter Muller, President, Advanced Transit Association  

New and Emerging Projects – Moderator Steve Hamilton, ATRA 
• Modutram, Alexander Kyllman
• Ultra MTS, Nigel Clarke
• Glydways, Zach Zeliff

Technology, Transit and Infrastructure – Moderated by Krystal Harris, ATL Airport Community Improvement Districts

Scandinavian Studies – Moderated by Matthew Lesh 
  • Gothenburg example with design process for Podcar Networks - Ingmar Andreasson, ATRA VP

As always, enjoy reading!

Best regards,

Peter Muller, ATRA President
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Autonomous shuttle in Whitby, Ontario crashes into tree seriously injuring safety operator on board
A self-driving shuttle in Whitby, Ontario crashed into a tree on Thursday afternoon, seriously injuring the vehicle’s safety operator.

A low-speed autonomous shuttle crash seriously injures the sole occupant who was no doubt standing. By contrast automated transit networks (ATN) have completed over 300 million passenger miles without causing a serious injury. The press is highlighting every autonomous shuttle accident which is a problem for the industry. They (and driverless cars) may be better off adopting the much higher safety standards of ATN.

This situation is analogous to the airlines who realized in the 1980s that, although they were meeting all safety requirements, public perception of them being unsafe was growing. This is because every airline accident makes worldwide headlines. The airlines then set out to be much more safe than the regulations required rather than suffer the consequences of being safe but perceived as unsafe.
Boring Company San Antonio project gets some competition
The Boring Company’s (TBC) potential San Antonio project has some competition. The Alamo Regional Mobility Authority (RMA)received four proposals from other contractors to transport people between San Antonio International Airport and downtown. 

The Alamo RMA received five proposals in total, including one from The Boring Company. Another proposal was submitted by a group comprising Utah-based Praetor Capital, Missouri tunneling company SAK Construction LLC, Thalle Construction Company, Inc. from North Carolina, and a software company Modutram from Mexico.

Celestavia Personal Rapid Transit System
Celestavia Personal Rapid Transit is an automated aerial cable service that is 3-10 times faster and better than the current bus service. We say “better” first, because the passenger is not subjected to the slow start-stop travel of a bus. Instead, passengers travel in separate cars holding 6-12 passenger seats carrying 1-12 passengers (depending on the city and current traffic load) with a similar destination. The passengers never have to wait to board–there are always cars waiting.

New technology seemingly similar to Unitsky. Go to the English version for more information.
Urbanloop allows perfect landscape integration in an urban environment.
Sometimes underground, often at ground level, sometimes aerial, it adapts and integrates easily into the city and can easily be linked to other modes of transport. It is the first mode of transport which gives back the street, currently devoted to cars, to its inhabitants. It's up to them to reclaim it.

Solar-Powered Automated Transportation: Feasibility and Visualization
A solar-powered automated transportation network (ATN) connecting the North and South campuses of San José State University with three passenger stations was designed, visualized, and analyzed in terms of its energy usage, carbon offset, and cost. The study’s methodology included the use of tools and software such as ArcGIS, SketchUp, Infraworks, Sketchup, Rhinoceros, and Autodesk 3DS Max.

Community group sees automated vehicles in airport transportation future
For more than three years now, a group of property owners near the airport has been pushing its vision of the future of transportation around Hartsfield-Jackson: small automated vehicles that whisk people throughout the area.

JTA gets $1.7 million to upgrade Skyway
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will receive $1.7 million in federal grant money to replace and expand the Skyway.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It will support the third phase of the Ultimate Urban Circulator project (U2C), a project that is expected to cost around $400 million in total.

Airport area leaders want funding to demo Southside mobility projects
A combination of personal rapid transit, autonomous shuttles and
microtransit could be the transit solution for the south side of metro
Atlanta. To prove it, area leaders need money for demonstration

Vision for personal rapid transit system stalled in Milpitas
Rob Means dreams of revolutionizing Milpitas’ public transit by creating an environmentally-friendly track system to whisk people to destinations in small vehicular pods. But getting others to share that dream is tough.

Designing Transport for Humans, Not Econs
When we move things, rather than people, around efficiently, no feelings need to be taken into account. Planning can be mathematically optimized without any consideration of psychology.

Well worth reading!
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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