Click to enlarge
West Virginia, Built 1976 and still in use today, up to 31,000 passenger/day!
Hagen, Germany, Built 1973 and logged 400,000 miles. Budget cuts in 1979 concluded successful development.
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Operational test track built in 2002. Authorized to carry passengers. First contract to build system at Heathrow Airport
South Korean Company owned by POSCO, the world's largest steel company currently building a test track in Sweden
Made by Taxi 2000 Co. of Minnesota, has advanced design features and small test track.
The Case for Personal Rapid Transit, April 2006
Engineering The ULTra System, 2002 technical paper
Personal Rapid Transit:
Rationale, Attributes, Status, Economics, Benefits
What is PRT?
Personal Rapid Transit
Definition: Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is an on demand system of driverless automatic taxis traveling on their own guideway network available 24 hours a day.
PRT utilizes small vehicles for exclusive use by an individual or a small group of friends typically 2 to 4 passengers, traveling together by choice.
PRT vehicles are fully automated; move quietly on small guideways located above ground or at ground level.
PRT stations are small (50 ft long, 15m), within easy walking distance, even inside buildings.
PRT does not use schedules; service is demand-responsive, rather than on fixed schedules and available 24 hours a day.
PRT will take you between any two stations on the network with no transfers or stops. Direct origin to destination service, without a necessity to transfer or stop at intervening stations.
Fully automated vehicles capable of operation without human drivers.
PRT is a humanizing technology. The system requires vehicles to wait for people rather than people to wait for vehicles.
A person would arrive at a station, swipe his bus pass or smart card, select his destination station and a PRT vehicle would open it's doors for you to enter. No waiting at a LRT station at -30C! An automated vehicle carries you and your friends in seated comfort from any station directly to any other station without stopping as all stops are off the main line. Enjoy an elevated view above traffic congestion as you read or listen to your music as loud as you want. Arrive refreshed and relaxed only moments away from your destination.
By operating on-demand 24/7, people will be more likely to use PRT than traditional transit if they know they can count on it being available any time of the day or night, with no waiting in the cold. If you arrive as a PRT vehicle leaves the station, the next is less than a minute away. As easy to use as an elevator, there are no schedules, route maps, transfers or driving to do. Select your destination, swipe your PRT card, have a seat and off you go.
The fare structure is simple. Your cost is based upon the distance you want to travel. For example, if you want to go from City Hall to the Convention Centre, about 0.5 Km, the fare might be $0.50 and the fare from Downtown to West Edmonton Mall, about 9 Km, the fare might be $5.00. If you are riding with two friends the fare remains at $5.00 which you can split three ways. The benefits are that when you board, it becomes your personal rented taxi, no one else can board, your don't have to stand, you don’t even have to find a parking spot.
You can bring your backpack, a stroller, your groceries, even your luggage. If you took your bicycle in the morning and its pouring rain in the afternoon, bring your bike home with PRT!
PRT vehicles are electric, light weight and silent, therefore the stations can be inside shopping malls, hotels, universities, public buildings and apartments allowing indoor to indoor service. It's rubber tires are designed for ice & snow that may accumulate on the guideway. PRT systems use small vehicles with 2 to 4 seats and travel on simple tracks or guideways at ground level or elevated above traffic. PRT can handle up to 4800 people/hr per direction at speeds of 40 to 60km/hr and waiting times are less than 1 minute. (the average speed of Edmonton's
LRT is 32 km/hr) (the average speed of Las Vegas's new $800M monorail is 26km/hr).
PRT redefines old transit models and creates a network of user friendly public transit.
PRT is a paradigm shift in transportation technology that is lower cost than conventional transit and as convenient as a car. A PRT system will require less public subsidy per rider and under many circumstances could be operated at a profit. A profitable transit system becomes self sustaining, expanding by it’s own merits.
PRT systems are a cost effective alternate to LRT systems. Four cities in the European Union are evaluating the ULTra PRT system to solve the high expense of public transit. Fifteen countries in the European Union have signed onto this award winning project. A test track has been completed and some 7000 tests have been made. Costs are less than 1/3rd that of the LRT and do not require tunnels, overpasses or dangerous level crossings.
The first commercial PRT has been purchased and is now under construction at Heathrow Airport. European cities are studying systems up PRT networks up to 200km long with 200 stations and 1,500 vehicles. Edmonton can be the first city in Canada to have an efficient PRT network in operation. The wide-scale benefits of PRT will translate directly into greater popular support for public transit. Let’s encourage our city officials to investigate the benefits of personal rapid transit for Edmonton’s future
Ten Things a PRT System Can Do That Traditional Transit Cannot
1. Eliminate transfers. - Traditional transit systems are a series of loosely-coupled line-haul routes, resulting in most trips requiring a transfer and the associated de-boarding and waiting for the next bus or train. A PRT system allows non-stop travel from any station in the system to any other station in the system. It's actually part of the common definition of PRT.
2. Guarantee a seat to all riders. The PRT system is designed so that all riders are seated. Urban rail systems usually provide seats for about a third of the vehicle's capacity. Bus systems can also require people to either wait for the next, possibly full, bus or to strap-hang.
3. Match PRT's high average speed. Urban bus systems average around 15 mph (per APTA) by the time you include stops and traffic. Light rail systems come in around 21 mph. Taxi 2000 is planning for the first installations of Skyweb Express to run at 40 mph in the suburban area and 25 mph while in the downtown core. If a typical commute is 60% suburb and 40% downtown, average speed should be about 35 mph - over twice the bus speed and 50%+ faster than LRT.
4. Allow 100% of the system capacity to be used by wheelchairs or bikes. Standard transit practice is to provide space for two wheelchairs per bus and two bike racks. What happens when there is one wheelchair or bike on the bus and two wheelchair-bound or cycling friends want to get on at the next stop? With the PRT system, every vehicle can be used to carry a wheelchair equipped patron, plus a walking attendant OR a person and their bicycle. The system essentially provides a constant stream of usable capacity at
every station to carry however many wheelchairs or bikes show up.
5. Eliminate running to catch (or miss) your ride. Being 30 seconds late to a mass transit and missing your ride is a bit of a problem - you have gone from being 30 seconds late into the door at work to 10 minutes late - or whatever the headway is for the system. In a PRT system, you are simply 30 seconds behind where you would normally be.
6. Eliminate the need for a route map as well as a schedule. Since every PRT vehicle goes to every PRT station, there is no need to figure out which bus route you need to catch, watch for the correct bus on a street served by multiple routes, or even figure out which direction you need to be going on the system. All you need is the station code for your destination. The PRT system handles getting you from here to there.
7. Eliminate the possibility of missing your stop. Your stop is the only stop on your PRT trip. When the vehicle pulls into the station you are at your destination. If you happen to fall asleep on the way or are inattentive, or are not familiar with the area, the system will wait for you to press the door button, then notify the system operator that there may be a problem.
8. Allow you to reject a vehicle that is dirty or in disrepair. If some gets sick in a bus, what choices do the other riders have? With PRT, you have the chance to inspect your entire car before boarding, and tell the system to send the offending vehicle to the maintenance depot. You then board the next vehicle, which should be there in the next minute or so.
9. Remove the possibility of being in an auto accident. While bus and rail are very safe (for the rider) in the event of a collision, what about the effect on your schedule and the trauma aspects of being involved in a collision? Full grade separation allows PRT riders to avoid the risks taken by systems that mix with traffic.
10. Eliminate waiting for the vehicle late at night. Available 24 hours a day, PRT provides the lowest wait time precisely when people are most sensitive to them - at evening, at night and cold weather. The system has spare vehicle capacity and can keep vehicles waiting in the stations for the next rider.
For more information, see the Flash Media Player powered site on PRT at:
"I really can't remember any new development of major significance that
has come about as a result of Federal spending or effort. The following is
a short example of major new developments that were created by the private
4. Steam engine & the Internal Combustion Engine
5. Computer & the Integrated Circuit
6. Sewing Machine
7. Cotton gin
8. Grain harvesters
9. Farm tractors
10. Electric lights (all types)
11. Sound recording (all types)
12. Motion pictures, TV, radio, etc.
13. Electric power generators and motors"
Kirston Henderson, MegaRail®
In 1973, computer technology was bulky, expensive and not very 'high tech'. As computers evolved, internet algorithms developed and wireless technology perfected, PRT systems have become efficient, reliable and cost effective.