atranewlogo.bmp (55606 bytes)

Scope and Objectives

The Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) exists to focus attention on unmet urban transportation needs and the ways in which advanced transit concepts can help satisfy them. One of these unmet needs results from the gap between the poor quality of transit service in medium and low-density locations within urban areas and the availability of transit technology that can furnish high quality service at affordable costs.

ATRA's objectives are as follows:

1. To focus attention on the medium and low density transit problem and the ways in which advanced transit concepts can help solve it

2. Seek wider agreement on the main features that advanced transit should possess to cope with this problem, including such features as cost, service, environmental impact and ability to respond to passenger and goods movement demand

3. Draw attention to transit systems, or well-developed concepts for such systems, that incorporate the desired features of advanced transit capable of functioning cost-effectively in medium and low density areas while offering high quality service

4. Help define the test and evaluation capabilities that must become available for the demonstration and safety certification of advanced systems and technologies offered by manufacturers

5. Identify solutions to problems that inhibit conceptualization, development, demonstration and deployment of advanced transit systems and technologies

A more detailed presentation of ATRA's scope and objectives is also provided.


In 1988, a group of ATRA members formed a Technical Committee to do a comprehensive assessment of Personal Rapid Transit concepts. Their report is entitled Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) - Another Option for Urban Transit? and was published as Vol. 22:3 of the Journal of Advanced Transportation (118 pp). An executive summary of this document was also published by ATRA and was widely distributed. Copies are available for $15, including postage. New ATRA members can get this report for $5 with their membership application. Annual membership dues are $35. ATRA is an international association and members from all countries are welcome. An ATRA website has recently been established to provide more details on membership, publications and other activities.

A description of the San Diego Intermodal Program has been provided by Tom Richert. The first-ever Major Investment Study (MIS) has recently been completed by the city of SeaTac, Washington. A review and analysis of this study effort is available on-line.

Membership Information

ATRA's members are located in all parts of the US and in several other countries around the world. Several communicate regularly via e-mail and participate on a discussion list on the Internet. There are three lists open to everyone. See the ATRA website for details on how to subscribe.

Members receive an newsletter periodically and are invited to attend the annual meeting held in Washington, D.C. each year in early January, during the annual meetings of the Transportation Research Board. Dues are currently $35 per year. For an additional $36, ATRA members can subscribe to the Journal of Advanced Transportation (non-member rate $80 for U.S. and Canada, $90 elsewhere). It is published three times per year.


ATRA members have published numerous books as well as articles in the Journal of Advanced Transportation and elsewhere over the past two decades and some of them are (or will be) available at this Web site. ATRA also sponsors the Journal of Advanced Transportation that is published by the Institute for Transportation, Suite 68, #305, 4625 Varsity Drive, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T3A OA9, Ph: 403-286-9429; Fax: 403-286-9638. The resident Editor-in-Chief in Calgary is S.C. (Chan) Wirasinghe, e-mail: Several publications by members are listed below. Paper and video titles are in italics, books are bold.


J. Edward Anderson , Some Lessons from the History of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

Jarold A. Kieffer , The Fundamental Gap in Urban Transportation

Jerry B. Schneider , Designing APM Circulator Systems for Major Activity Centers: An Interactive Graphic Approach.

Jerry B. Schneider , Designing a High Performance PRT Network for an Edge City


PRTs: A Better Way of Getting There, 52 minutes. VHS cassette tape available for $25; TV-quality tape is also available. Visit the ATRA website for more information.

A video (22 minutes) that shows the Morgantown PRT system in action and explains its rationale and some history is available by writing to: Robert Hendershot, System Engineering Manager, Morgantown PRT, 99 8th Street, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506. So far as is known, there is no charge for a copy of this video. It was produced for the Boeing Aerospace Company in the late 1970's.

Books by ATRA Members - Tables of Content

J. Edward Anderson , Transit Systems Theory

Catherine Burke , Innovation and Public Policy: The Case of Personal Rapid Transit

Jack Irving , et al, Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit

Raymond MacDonald, 21st Century PRT, 2003

Edmund Rydell, A Transportation Rennaissance: The PRT Solution, Xlibris Press, 2002

Related Publications and Activities by Others

Richard Tauber and Angelo Fergione , Raytheon's PRT 2000 Personal Rapid Transit System Project

Bruno Latour , Aramis - the Love of Technology, Harvard University Press, 1996

Descriptions of the Advanced Transit Systems research program that was conducted at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden and the Advanced Transit Group at the University of Bristol in the U.K.

Here is a link to an interesting study of the visual intrusion problems posed by elevated PRT guideways, done in 1994 in Gavle, Sweden. Virtual reality techniques have also been used in Sweden to examine possible customer reactions to PRT

Descriptions of several computer programs that have been developed to assist the design and operational simulation of PRT systems.

Conferences and Short Courses

ATRA was a co-sponsor of the New Visions in Transportation conference, October, 2000, in Aspen, Colorado.

A conference entitled PRT and Other Emerging Transit Systems was held in November, 1996 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A report on this conference , full papers and abstracts of papers presented and author contact information is available. ATRA cooperated with the American Society of Civil Engineers in conducting the Sixth International Conference on Automated People Mover systems (APM VI) held at Las Vegas in April of 1997. The Fifth International Conference on APM's was held in Paris in June of 1996. APM IV was held in Los Colinas, Texas in 1993. Published Proceedings from all of the APM conferences are available from the American Society of Civil Engineers in New York and at many university libraries. APM05 will be held in Orlando, Florida, May 1-4, 2005

A short course entitled Introduction to Analysis and Planning of Personal Rapid Transit Systems has been developed by Professor J. Edward Anderson and others. It was offered in November of 1993 in Rosemont, Illinois and again at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1995. Dr. Anderson offered a full-term course on Transit Systems Design and Planning in the Extension School of the University of Minnesota during the Fall of 1996. He also offered a two-day short course on PRT system design and planning in November of 1996 after the PRT conference described above. Descriptions of both courses are available.

Related Organizations, Discussion Lists & Websites

More information about Personal Rapid Transit and about 80 other automated, electric urban transit technologies can be found at the Innovative Transportation Technologies website.

Three Internet discussion lists (Techtalk, Policy & Announce) provide opportunities for commentary, opinion and news about advanced transportation technologies and concepts. See the ATRA website for details about how to subscribe to them (click on e-mail discussions to subscribe).

home2.gif (1492 bytes)

Last modified: May 08, 2004