SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A bilateral agreement (Memorandum of Cooperation) for the development of a sustainable transport system was reached between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Swedish Enterprise Ministry on September 30. The agreement, signed by then-Swedish State Secretary Leif Zetterberg and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari, resulted from the 2009 Podcar City Conference in Malmo, Sweden where Christer Lindstrom of the Institute for Sustainable Transportation, Rod Diridon of the Mineta Transportation Institute, Hans Larsen of the City of San Jose, and several other US and Swedish officials met.
This agreement is timely. Sweden has initiated a pilot program to investigate financing and development of pioneering podcar systems in a few sites. “The transport sector has been a contributor to climate change. Now we ensure gradually that it also becomes a natural part of the solution,” said Swedish Minister for Communications Åsa Torstensson at the Malmo Podcar City Conference last December. The cooperation agreement covers many forms of sustainable transportation, with podcar technology as one option.
Seeking cooperation and collaboration with American cities interested in podcar systems, members of the KOMPASS Network of 15 Swedish municipalities hoping to build more sustainable transport systems, will attend the Fourth Podcar City Conference at San Jose City Hall on October 27-29.
“We welcome the world’s top transportation minds to San José,” said Mayor Chuck Reed. “With the opening of our new airport terminal this year, the addition of high-speed rail, the extension of BART and now development of the first podcar system in the U.S., it’s San José’s goal to build one of the world’s great transit-friendly cities. Podcars will help us reach our Green Vision goals while becoming a model city.”
Podcars, also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) or an Automated Transit Network (ATN), make up a system of small, lightweight, driverless, computer-controlled vehicles operated on an elevated guide-way. The system is analogous to a private car on elevated rails, allowing riders to travel above street congestion and directly to their destinations.
ABOUT THE CITY OF SAN JOSE AND THE PODCAR CITY CONFERENCE
San Jose is hosting the Fourth Annual International Podcar City Conference. Attracting well over 200 leading transportation professionals, city planners, business leaders, venture capitalists, NGOs and elected officials to Silicon Valley, this event will explore the ways podcar technology could become a game-changer in civil engineering, real estate development, industrial design, renewable energy, “green” workforce development, and more.
Podcar City: San José, “Innovating Sustainable Communities” will be held October 27-29, 2010, at San José City Hall and Rotunda Exhibition Center. It is organized by the International Institute of Sustainable Transportation (INIST), a U.S. non-profit. Since the first conference in Uppsala Sweden (2007), this international event has become a barometer of PRT exploration and commercialization worldwide.
Leading authorities on PRT from the US, Europe and Asia will present current research and analysis. The event also includes presentations on the history, technology, and functionality of podcar systems, and reports on projects underway, such as at BAA Heathrow Airport (UK); Masdar City (UAE); Suncheon City (South Korea); Uppsala (Sweden); Ithaca, NY and San Jose, CA (USA).
San José was selected to host this event based on its leadership in innovative, solutions-based mobility projects to address infrastructure and climate challenges. The City is on track to build the first true podcar system in the nation, which would serve the San José Airport, connect to Caltrain/future BART and light rail stations, and to other key destinations around the airport. If it is successful, San José officials expect to expand the system to other areas of the city.
ABOUT THE MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
Congress established the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). It was reauthorized under TEA-21 and under SAFETEA-LU. Congress funds the institute through the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration, by the California Legislature through the Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and by other public and private grants and donations, including grants from the US Department of Homeland Security. DOT selected MTI as a National Center of Excellence following competitions in 2002 and 2006. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI’s focus on policy and management resulted from the Board’s assessment of the transportation industry’s unmet needs. That led directly to choosing the San José State University College of Business as the Institute’s home. MTI conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues. Visit www.transweb.sjsu.edu
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION
INIST promotes new modes of sustainable transportation through gathering and disseminating high quality information and research. INIST supports automated, effective and safe modes of transportation that can add value to existing transportation systems and create attractive, effective and economical alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles that improve people’s quality of life. For more information, visit www.INIST.org