The bi-annual Conference on Automated People Movers and Automated Transit Systems was held this year in Phoenix, Arizona. While this conference has traditionally been targeted at builders and operators of large Automated People Movers, there seems to be a growing realization within this community that the next step in the evolution of automated transit is to smaller vehicles that provide point-to-point, on-demand service. With that in mind, here is a recap of some of the conference highlights.
Cities everywhere suffer from traffic congestion. One way to combat this problem has been to find ways to increase the number of people in each vehicle. According to the U.S. Department of Energy the average number of people in a car is 1.59. Actually it’s worse than that because many of the people you see in cars are not trying to go anywhere themselves, they’re just drivers. They may be chauffeuring the kids to the soccer game, or taking grandma to the doctor, or picking up the spouse at the airport. Designers of Automated Transit Networks (ATNs) expect to see more actual travelers per vehicle than is typical of cars. Why? The easiest way to explain that is with an example. Continue reading
On November 12, 2009 about 200 people met at the Brown Chapel of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego to discuss the future of transit in the area. The event was organized by the Design Innovation Institute and sponsored by the Center for Urban Infrastructure (www.c-u-i.org), Qualcomm (one of the largest employers in the area), the San Diego Association of Governments (www.sandag.org), Advanced Transit Systems, LTD (www.atsltd.co.uk), and others.
Every two years the U.S. Department of Energy hosts a Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in which twenty college and university teams compete to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. A great deal of information is available from the Solar Decathlon website, and from the websites for the teams which are linked from there, so there’s no need to repeat any of that here. But we would like to share some observations about which ideas need further development, and which may be ready to become standard architectural practice.