Rod Diridon to Present at International “Podcar City Berlin 2012”

September 19-20 conference highlights automated guideway transit; Diridon will discuss high-speed rail inter-connectivity
September 12, 2012
San José, CA

Rod Diridon, Sr., chair emeritus of the California HighSpeed Rail Authority, will give a presentation at the Podcar City Berlin 2012 conference September 19-20. The annual event will be part of the Innotrans conference, where more than 100,000 world rail and metro representatives are expected. Mr. Diridon will address interconnectivity between high-speed rail (HSR) and automated guideway transit (AGT), popularly known as “podcars.” He is also executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose (Calif.) State University, lead university for the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC).

“With strong leadership from President Obama and governors such as California’s Jerry Brown, the US is now moving toward electric power for transportation,” said Mr. Diridon. “This includes America’s 13 federally designated HSR corridors. But HSR requires comprehensive mass transit feeder systems to be effective. AGT is the ideal for seamlessly connecting those modes.”

He noted that the dramatic upsurge in electric cars is a positive sign that Americans are ready to accept the alternative. However, seriously overcrowded highways don’t have the capacity to serve the rapidly increasing metropolitan population in single-passenger vehicles, even if electric.

“Core redistribution around HSR stations – as well as airports – must include AGT which connects to the metropolitan mass transit systems and to nearby businesses, universities, lodging, and other trip generators,” said Mr. Diridon. “Electrically powered AGT should be considered for every major rail station around the world to promote the use of mass transit as a system.”

After opening remarks, the conference will review operating experiences at recent projects. Four breakout sessions will deal with new podcar technologies, energy and expanding services, as well as project plans in Amritsar, India; San Jose, Calif.; and Uppsala, Sweden. With this global overview, discussions will turn to investment matters, such as methods to strengthen projects and interface with real estate markets.

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Rod Diridon, Sr., has served as executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) since 1995, four years after its creation by Congress. Mr. Diridon has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs, most related to transit and the environment. He frequently provides legislative testimony on sustainable transportation issues and is regarded by many as the “father” of modern transit service in Silicon Valley. He was appointed by Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger, in 2001 and 2006, respectively, to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board, of which he is chair emeritus. He helped found, and is chair emeritus of, the High-Speed and Intercity Rail Committee and the National High-Speed Rail Corridors Coalition of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). He also served as president of the national Council of University Transportation Centers.


Since 2007, the Swedish Institute for Sustainable Transportation and the California-based International Institute for Sustainable Transportation have staged a yearly conference on automated transit technology (ATN) and the consequences of using sustainable transportation to achieve better living and energy use in urban environments. The conference series has drawn a steadily increasing crowd interested in what new transit technology can do for the development of modern cities. The conferences feature commentary and insights from elected officials, transit experts, researchers, real estate managers, system providers, and consultants in energy, transit, and urban development. 


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information and technology transfer, focusing on multimodal surface transportation policy and management issues, especially as they relate to transit. It is the lead institute in the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium, a collaboration of nine US universities. MTI was established by Congress in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and was reauthorized under TEA-21 and again under SAFETEA-LU. The Institute has been funded by Congress 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 and, in 2012, as the lead institution in the nineuniversity Mineta National Transit Research Consortium. 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.