Tuesday, August 19, 2014


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.
Does ATN have the potential to restructure
life in cities such as Cleveland?

ATN State-of-the-Industry in 2013  is intended to be an informative tool for planners, urban designers, and others involved in public policy, especially for urban transit and redevelopment. Despite the international nature of ATN supply companies, the MTI study focuses on prospects in the USA. Implications for the rest of the world are not explored.

A Silicon Valley Outlook

 Dr. Burford Furman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at San Jose State University, led the team that included, Sam Ellis (SJSU), Lawrence Fabian (Trans.21), Peter Muller (PRT Consulting), and Ron Swenson (INIST).

Automated Transit Network (ATN) is defined as a passenger system consisting of automated vehicles on exclusive, grade-separated guideways that provides on-demand, non-stop, origin-to-destination service over a service area as opposed to a corridor, as with LRT and metros. ATN is not today ‘on the radar’ nor taken seriously by urban planners, transit professionals, or policy makers. The City of San Jose recently looked seriously at ATN as an airport connector, but found reasons to pause.

Over the years there have been ATN or PRT proposals in Sunnvvale,  Stanford/Palo Alto, Milpitas, Mountainview and Santa Cruz. The MTI report discusses how ATN could expand the coverage of existing transit systems and presents parameters for planning an installation. It touches on options for project financing and identifies the opportunities and challenges in planning and funding ATN systems.

California-Swedish Dialog: September 5

Furman and new MTI director Karen Philbrick will discuss these findings from California via satellite connections during in a session with Fabian, Muller and Swenson at the 8th Podcar City conference near Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport on Friday, September 5.

The edge of future urban mobility is being cut with Swedish design excellence and Silicon Valley genius.

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