To identify solutions to the hardships of the 1973 Oil Embargo the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment published PB-244854 in 1975.

  • It identified Personal Rapid Transit and Automated Guideways as the likely solution to ending America's urban traffic congestion and foreign oil addiction.
  • Page 41, Chapter 3: Major Problems in Automated Guideway Transit, the study identifies Federal bureaucracy as the primary barrier to transportation innovation for 4 to 6 decades. Now in 2020, 46 years of barriers have been added to the 4-6 decades:

Page 41:

Chapter 3: Major Problems in Automated Guideway Transit


Compared with many other areas of entrepreneurial endeavor, the environment for innovation in transportation should be favorable. Urban transportation needs are extensive. Production of transporta- tion hardware is dominated by relatively large and well en owed companies with much experience in the research and development process. Given these conditions, one would expect the state of the art of urban transportation technology to be highly advanced. The actual situation, however, is quite the opposite.

Urban transportation technology has advanced at such a slow pace that prevailing systems are almost indistinguishable from their counterparts of four to six decades ago (aside from some relatively minor cosmetic changes). However, the lack of progress is not a result of failure to advance technology. Much advanced transportation technology exists. Rather, it is a failure to devise effective ways to introduce the technology into urban transportation.

This failure stems from a lack of understanding by UMTA of the capabilities of the private sector and local transportation authorities and UMTA’S underestimation of the difficulties inherent in developing and implementing reliable and cost effective new systems. In retro- spect, tEe new systems efforts have served not to stimulate interest in new technology but to discourage already reluctant local transit operators from considering it. The lessons of BART, Morgantown and AIRTRANS have not been lost on UMTA’S capital grants office which is now, understandably, reluctant to consider forms of AGT for capital grants funding. In addition to this limitation of the market, certain practices of the Federal government further discourage initiative within the supply industry.

There are two areas in which the federal government could move to eliminate existing barriers to AGT innovation: contractual practices and capital grant procedures. Additionally, some of the institutional arrangements for system development adopted abroad are worthy of serious consideration in this country.