A look back at the development of automated people mover systems

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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The history of automated people movers is a fascinating story of innovation by governments, companies, entrepreneurs, transportation interest groups, researchers, and individuals. Some believe that the initial work began when the auto manufacturers were conducting in-house research on automated highways and other companies were developing systems using driverless vehicles on separate guideways. However the impetus for the development of these systems in the United States was provided by the Reuss-Tydings amendments to the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964. The amendments required that a project be undertaken to study and prepare a program of research, development, and demonstration of new systems of transportation. Extensive research studies were undertaken in the late 1960s and 1970s. Several manufacturers developed prototypes and early applications included installations at Tampa and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airports and in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Downtown People Mover studies generated considerable interest in the late 1970s. Research and development work was also being done in Canada, Europe, and Japan. Today there are over 100 installations of various types and configurations throughout the world and many more are under construction or are being considered. This paper looks back at some of the events in the development of this new transit technology. Copyright ASCE 2004.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the International Conference on Automated People Movers