Posts Tagged ‘PRT’

Personal Rapid Transit News (September 2013)

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

news_mtown7Princeton Kills Personal Rapid Transit, Dinky Heavy Rail Extension Plans

Princeton Council heard testimony at their September 9 meeting from Kevin Wilkes, the Chair of the Alexander Street / University Place Transit Task Force. He reported that the possibility of a heavy rail extension of the Dinky Line to take it up to Palmer Square is no longer being considered. Use of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) technology has also been excluded from further discussion. Read more…

news_amritsar3Much-hyped Pod transit system for Amritsar may get scrapped

CHANDIGARH: Punjab government is likely to scrap the much-hyped personal rapid transport (PRT) system planned for making travel easier for visitors in the walled city area of Amritsar. Even though the move follows questions over financial viability of the project, it coincides with the decision to introduce Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) for the Holy City. Read more…

news_kaspSILICON WHISPERS

Early this month, the Silicon Valley community of Mountainview heard again about podcar options.  The mayor of several years ago took interest in modern, networked transit as a way for his town to grow gracefully. Read more…

news_skytran14SkyTran @ NASA on BBC Horizon

This BBC video looks at cutting edge technology that has the potential to shake up our lives, our homes, the world in the decades ahead. It focuses on NASA Ames’ work with Skytran.

Link to Youtube Video
news_sunch6

Auditor faults selection of POSCO for Suncheon PRT

In a story by the South Korea broadcaster MBC reported in May, the Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla) provincial government announced that the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) had completed a review of how POSCO, maker of the Vectus PRT system, was chosen in 2009 as Suncheon’s main partner on the personal rapid transit project. Read more…

news_ostLongmont entrepreneur has tubular vision on future of transportation

For more than three decades, Daryl Oster has pushed to realize an idea that came to him in a college class — transporting people and cargo at high speeds through airless tubes. “My whole life, I have been working on this,” said the Longmont resident, who has struggled to win acceptance of his proposals. Read more…

news_pwLongmont-to-Boulder monorail needs $5 million for test run

LONGMONT — SkyTran Colorado is still trying to drum up the $5 million it needs to get on track. The project’s head, Paul Williamson, will visit the Longmont Public Library on Thursday to share information about the project, a proposed monorail between Boulder, Longmont and Firestone using the median of Colo. Highway 119. Read more…

news_swen2Pod Cars have new champion in Silicon Valley

Mountain View may be alien territory for the Pod People, but the Pod Car? Maybe not.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, there was talk of a futuristic transportation system that could reduce traffic and the number of employee shuttles in northern Mountain View
Mountain View may be alien territory for the Pod People, but the Pod Car? Maybe not. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, there was talk of a futuristic transportation system that could reduce traffic and the number of employee shuttles in northern Mountain View. Read more…

news_magn3Full-size high-speed train prototype is on track

An Edmonton-based firm is proposing to build a full sized prototype of a high-speed transportation system, which involves a vehicle powered by a linear motor that levitates a few inches above a magnetic track. Read more…

Suncheon Significance

Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Suncheon Significance
On August 15, 2013 the Suncheon personal rapid transit (PRT) system opened to limited public use with 20 vehicles. We understand that another 20 will be added in the next few months to bring the system up to its designed capability. Each vehicle holds six seated passengers with room for an additional three standees and operates at speeds up to 37 mph serving two stations 2.8 miles apart.
In late 2010, early 2011 Move Mile, 2getthere and Ultra all had systems entering public service and PRT proponents could confidently announce that modern PRT systems were now in operation and available from more than one supplier. Move Mile had been developed “below the radar” and many were surprised by its entry into the market. At the same time, although it also utilizes small, autonomous, rubber-tired, battery-powered vehicles it was perceived as not having the sophistication of the other two systems with their elaborate stations and destination-selection kiosks.
Just another shuttle?
The Vectus system only has two stations so is it just another shuttle or is there some real significance to its addition to the stable of available systems?  Read on and decide for yourself.
Destination choices
An examination of the track layout quickly shows merges and diverges at both stations. Vehicles can clearly leave each station and travel to the other or loop around and return to the station of origin. Furthermore, at the northern station, vehicles leaving the station have the choice of four destinations:- they can loop back to the station, travel to the other station or enter the maintenance facility at one of two different entrances.
Different features
Unlike Move Mile which shows very few differences from Ultra and 2getthere (other than the integral wheelchair ramp), the Vectus system has numerous differences which potentially equip it to serve markets the other three may not be well suited to and could also make it less likely to be well equipped to serve other markets the others may better serve. Some of these differences are discussed here.
The Suncheon system is captive bogey or, put another way, rail-based. This may make it better suited to high speeds (it runs at up to 37 mph – much faster than the 25 mph maximum of the other systems) but somewhat less flexible. It is noteworthy that the minimum radius used is approximately 70’ despite indications that Vectus can achieve radii as low as about 17’.
The system picks up wayside power. This has the potential to give it unlimited range whereas battery-powered systems can only increase range by adding heavier batteries.
The vehicle is somewhat larger and holds nine. Assuming it can attain a four-second headway, as advertised for the test track, it has a maximum theoretical capacity of 8,100 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd). This far exceeds the maximum theoretical capacities of the Heathrow and Masdar systems which are less than 3,000 pphpd. Furthermore, Vectus claims they could operate even larger vehicles on the same guideway and station infrastructure providing yet higher capacities.
Unlike Heathrow and Masdar, which have station bays that are offline to each other, the Suncheon bays are inline, one behind the other. While this reduces station dwell time per vehicle, some believe it could be problematic if a leading vehicle is slow in boarding. Suncheon appears quite well positioned to answer this question.
A final difference is that the Suncheon system incorporates a fare collection system, although we understand fare collection will not commence until October, 2013.
PRT or GRT?
With only two stations and nine-passenger vehicles (including standees) some would argue this is more of a group rapid transit (GRT) shuttle. It seems to me that it does not matter what we call it. We should look at what it is demonstrating it can do. Then we should consider what kind of capabilities such a system could reasonably be expected to achieve and what types of applications it would be best suited to serving. I can think of a few. How about you? Is this just another shuttle?
On August 15, 2013 the Suncheon personal rapid transit (PRT) system opened to limited public use with 20 vehicles. We understand that another 20 will be added in the next few months to bring the system up to its designed capability. Each vehicle holds six seated passengers with room for an additional three standees and operates at speeds up to 37 mph serving two stations 2.8 miles apart.
Vectus PRT System in Suncheon, Korea

Vectus PRT System in Suncheon, Korea

In late 2010, early 2011 Move Mile, 2getthere and Ultra all had systems entering public service and PRT proponents could confidently announce that modern PRT systems were now in operation and available from more than one supplier. Move Mile had been developed “below the radar” and many were surprised by its entry into the market. At the same time, although it also utilizes small, autonomous, rubber-tired, battery-powered vehicles it was perceived as not having the sophistication of the other two systems with their elaborate stations and destination-selection kiosks.

Just another shuttle?

The Vectus system only has two stations so is it just another shuttle or is there some real significance to its addition to the stable of available systems?  Read on and decide for yourself.

Destination choices

An examination of the track layout quickly shows merges and diverges at both stations. Vehicles can clearly leave each station and travel to the other or loop around and return to the station of origin. Furthermore, at the northern station, vehicles leaving the station have the choice of four destinations:- they can loop back to the station, travel to the other station or enter the maintenance facility at one of two different entrances.

Different features

Unlike Move Mile which shows very few differences from Ultra and 2getthere (other than the integral wheelchair ramp), the Vectus system has numerous differences which potentially equip it to serve markets the other three may not be well suited to and could also make it less likely to be well equipped to serve other markets the others may better serve. Some of these differences are discussed here.

The Suncheon system is captive bogey or, put another way, rail-based. This may make it better suited to high speeds (it runs at up to 37 mph – much faster than the 25 mph maximum of the other systems) but somewhat less flexible. It is noteworthy that the minimum radius used is approximately 70’ despite indications that Vectus can achieve radii as low as about 17’.

The system picks up wayside power. This has the potential to give it unlimited range whereas battery-powered systems can only increase range by adding heavier batteries.

The vehicle is somewhat larger and holds nine. Assuming it can attain a four-second headway, as advertised for the test track, it has a maximum theoretical capacity of 8,100 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd). This far exceeds the maximum theoretical capacities of the Heathrow and Masdar systems which are less than 3,000 pphpd. Furthermore, Vectus claims they could operate even larger vehicles on the same guideway and station infrastructure providing yet higher capacities.

Unlike Heathrow and Masdar, which have station bays that are offline to each other, the Suncheon bays are inline, one behind the other. While this reduces station dwell time per vehicle, some believe it could be problematic if a leading vehicle is slow in boarding. Suncheon appears quite well positioned to answer this question.

A final difference is that the Suncheon system incorporates a fare collection system, although we understand fare collection will not commence until October, 2013.

PRT or GRT?

With only two stations and nine-passenger vehicles (including standees) some would argue this is more of a group rapid transit (GRT) shuttle. It seems to me that it does not matter what we call it. We should look at what it is demonstrating it can do. Then we should consider what kind of capabilities such a system could reasonably be expected to achieve and what types of applications it would be best suited to serving. I can think of a few. How about you? Is this just another shuttle?

Personal Rapid Transit News (August 2013)

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

news_skytran13A monorail in our future?

LONGMONT – SkyTran Colorado LLC chief executive R. Paul Williamson says investors have pledged all of the $250 million needed to build a high-speed monorail public transportation system between Boulder and Longmont that would use magnetic levitation. Read more…

news_skytran3Monorails Race Ahead Of Hyperloop

While the ambitious Hyperloop is merely theoretical for now, several other projects for lifting travelers out of traffic jams are taking shape.  Less ambitious than Elon Musk’s grand plan for hurtling humans at high speeds between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a blueprint for connecting Boulder and Longmont, Colorado would employ above-the-fray magnetic levitation pods. Read more…

news_mtown6Mountain to Mountain: Public transit adventure day

New York City has the subway, London the tube and Boston the T. Even Chattanooga has the postcard-ready hybrid CARTA buses and the less-gleaming clunkers on the city bus line. In Morgantown, there is the Mountainline… Read more…

news_fwdPOD Taxi System: A Game Changer Technology

If Delhi Metro has changed the way people travelled in Delhi then it’s not too far when Personal Rapid Transit System (PRTs) will change people’s habits, mindsets and rejuvenate them while rushing to and fro their respective destinations, discovers Maria R. Read more…

news_et34Longmont company paving the way for space travel on Earth

LONGMONT – The future of high speed transportation, in a capsule, could be right here in Colorado. A few weeks ago 9NEWS told you about the Hyperloop, bus-sized tube that may someday whisk passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour. Read more/watch video…

news_comsGetting to Work – How Commuting Has Changed in the Last Half Century

More US workers are driving to work than ever before. In addition, fewer are carpooling. Only 9% carpooled in 2011, compared to 18% in 1980. And they are driving a bit longer than they used to. Average commute time increased from 21.7 minutes in 1980 to 25.1 minutes in the 2000s. Read more…

news_cornsHigh-speed travel in Alberta

A new technology which features a high-speed, levitated, computer-controlled track could mean some huge changes for travel in Alberta and the rest of the world—with this technology, it’s possible to go from Edmonton to Calgary in 45 minutes. President and Founder of Magnovate Technology, Dan Corns, is here to tell us more. View video…

news_magn2An out-of-this-world transportation plan lands in Edmonton

EDMONTON – Meet George Jetson. Actually, his name is Dan Corns. He lives in Edmonton, not Orbit City. But the 34-year-old is the founder of a company that holds patents, and very high hopes indeed, for magnetic levitation technology that would propel real-world transportation into the animated realm of the cartoon character Jetson, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy and Jane, his wife, circa 2062. Read more…

Hyperloop is a Refreshingly New Direction for Future of Mobility

“On August 12, 2013, Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, finally revealed details of the superfast mode of transportation that he first introduced almost a year ago. Behold the Hyperloop. This new mode aims to be safer, faster, and operable at a lower cost. It also aims to be self powering, resistant to seismic events and immune to the weather. Read more…

news_amtrakNow there are TWO Cheaper/Faster Alternatives to the Corrupt High Speed Rail

We have a choice—a $200 billion boondoggle for unions and crony capitalists. Or two competing systems, one based on air traction the other based on magnetic levitation—both well under $15 billion.  A Judge has already ruled that the High Speed Rail Authority has violated the environmental protections of Prop. 1A as well as the total lack of financing before starting the build out of the system. Read more…

news_magn1Magline Transit Would Create 45 Minute Commute From Calgary To Edmonton

Albertans looking for faster travel in the province may be closer to having their prayers answered. Magline Transit, a magnetic levitation technology, could take commuters from Edmonton to Calgary in under 45 minutes while only using solar power. Read more…

news_magnMaglev transit proposed for Edmonton-Calgary corridor

Dan Corns, founder of Magnovate Technologies, has proposed to move people, freight and commodities in computer-controlled, driverless vehicles long an elevated track between Calgary and Edmonton at speeds up to 500 km/h (311 mph). Read more…

news_skytran10sFew negatives to Diagonal monorail plan

If someone found a way to provide a safe, speedy transportation alternative for the often-congested Diagonal Highway at no cost to taxpayers, that would be worth serious consideration. That’s why local officials should give SkyTran Colorado’s proposed monorail a close look. Read more…

news_mtown5Editorial ~ Transportation an on-going issue

Whether it’s for a class or just to grab some McDonald’s, nearly every West Virginia University student has had to ride the bus or take the PRT to get from one campus to another.             Read more…

news_skytran3Louisville man promotes monorail commuting system to Longmont board

Williamson, a Louisville resident and alternative energy researcher, is also one of the promoters for the SkyTran maglev monorail system being developed by California-based Unimodal Systems. As envisioned, the setup looks something like a ski-lift gondola crossed with the Jetsons, with small streamlined “pods” following tracks 20 feet overhead. Read more…

news_asterINNOVATIONS IN SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION CONFERENCE

The Innovations in Sustainable Transportation conference will include plenary sessions, break-out sessions, exhibits, and several opportunities for participants to meeting informally with one another. October 10 -11, 2013, Broomfield Colorado. Read more…

news_skytran12Back to the future for Denver area transit

Forty years ago metro Denver voters approved a sales tax for mass transit, with promotional materials at the time highlighting an advanced Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system that was going to put the region ahead of the rest of the world. Read more…

news_pubPublic Transit Is Worth Way More to a City Than You Might Think

Planning scholar Daniel Chatman of the University of California at Berkeley has been thinking a lot lately about “agglomeration.” Don’t let the technical word throw you. All it really means is more people in the same place. Read more…

news_zayUnited State Patent No. 8,375,865 B2

A personal transportation and freight delivery system that can be operated as a fully automated driverless land transportation system consisting of vehicles that move on their own propulsion on a pair of overhead parallel steel rails that form a single track and allows people to go anywhere… Read more…

news_skytran8sPie in the skyTran

The plan for a high speed monorail in Tel Aviv is liable to be grounded by Israeli bureaucracy. A few months ago, “Globes” disclosed the skyTran program, a monorail-based service which can reach speeds of up to 250 km/h, making it possible to travel from Holon to Tel Aviv in just three minutes. Read more…

news_skytran11Tel Aviv latest city to consider futuristic ‘maglev’ personal transport system

A futuristic transportation system developed by NASA’s Ames Research Center could finally be coming to fruition in Tel Aviv — should the project clear all the necessary regulatory hurdles, of course. Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai told Bloomberg News earlier this week that the SkyTran system, which uses two-seater pods that hang from magnetic rails, could help the traffic congestion problems the city currently struggles with. Read more…

news_sunch9sSuncheon expo pilots automatic railway

SUNCHEON, South Korea, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) — A 4.64-kilometer-long automatic railway on Thursday opened in Suncheon as part of efforts to improve convenience for visitors to an expo held in the namesake city, the event organizers said. Read more…

news_skytran11Personal Transit Pods May One Day Scurry Above Tel Aviv’s Congested Streets

An aerial maglev podcar proposal that’s been kicking around since grunge was hot may finally be built in Tel Aviv. Just don’t expect to go for a ride anytime soon. SkyTran, a personal rapid transit system that features two-person pods hanging from elevated maglev tracks, was first proposed in 1990… Read more…

news_skytran5SkyTran plans ‘levitating’ monorail system

LONGMONT – SkyTran Colorado LLC is planning to build a high-speed monorail system that would provide public transportation between Boulder and Longmont along Colorado Highway 119. Read more…

news_sunch6Suncheon expo pilots automatic railway

SUNCHEON, South Korea, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) — A 4.64-kilometer-long automatic railway on Thursday opened in Suncheon as part of efforts to improve convenience for visitors to an expo held in the namesake city, the event organizers said. Read more…

news_sunch8Suncheon Bay Garden Expo venue to launch unmanned taxi

Yonhap Sunchon August 15 electricity from 2013 Suncheon Bay International Horticultural Exposition venue to Suncheon Bay driverless taxi PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) 15 opened, put into trial operation. Read more…

news_christerDemocracy, Equality and Mobility

To travel is not for everyone. For some, it’s because they don’t want to. However for most people travel is essential in their everyday life, but some can’t. This is for many different reasons – age, financial, health or other disability. Some people are not even allowed to travel due to political reasons. Read more…

news_bhmBBC Midlands Lunchtime News report on Pod at the Base Birmingham Event

Published on Aug 6, 2013. BBC Midlands Report on a Pod taking part at the Base Birmingham Event at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in April 2013, the report features a live interview with Ultra’s Adam Ruddle. View video…

news_kjePodcar Cities Tour 2013 Third stop: Boston, MA

Boston Learning Forums, Wednesday and Thursday, May 15 and 16, 2013. Three public learning forums took place throughout various neighborhoods in Boston to educate the public and key area stakeholders about Podcars, new urban mobility, and other pertinent topics that pertained to each locality. Read more…

Location, Location, Location or Location Near Public Transportation?
An American study suggests “Location Near Public Transportation” should replace “Location, Location, Location” as the new real estate mantra. Property values near good public transportation were found to be significantly higher than those further away. New automated transit networks offer first class public transportation that is more like a car than a train. Could such systems transform existing and proposed property values?
news_pctLocation, Location, Location or Location Near Public Transportation?
An American study suggests “Location Near Public Transportation” should replace “Location, Location, Location” as the new real estate mantra. Property values near good public transportation were found to be significantly higher than those further away. New automated transit networks offer first class public transportation that is more like a car than a train. Could such systems transform existing and proposed property values? Read more (page 34)…

In top gear: Unified law to govern transport, mobility

With an aim to improve urban transport and mobility in India, Ministry of Urban Development has decided to have a unified law to govern transport and mobility…for all urban transport modes such as the Metro, monorail, personal rapid transit, urban buses, bus rapid transit system (BRTS), urban roads intelligent system, cycling, parking, public para-transit and transport integration… Read more…

news_amritsar7Sukhbir’s ‘dream project’ of Pod Transport System in Amritsar a Non-Starter

AMRITSAR: What was touted as country’s first Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system for the `holy city’ of Amritsar as announced by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, two years back, the `dream project’ is still a non-starter. And given the ground work that is yet to begin on the project, the ultra-modern transport system may not be a reality even in the next a few years to come. Read more…

Four Reasons a Politician Should Support Personal Rapid Transit

Monday, August 5th, 2013
Four Reasons a Politician Should Support Personal Rapid Transit
1. Enhancing quality of life and real estate values
Good transit service enhances quality of life and property values. The American Public Transit Association and the National Association of Realtors recently found that “Across the study regions, the transit shed [areas served by fixed guideway systems] outperformed the region as a whole by 41.6 percent [in terms of residential sales prices]”.
2. Conventional transit is too expensive
Reconnecting America reports that there are over 600 fixed guideway transit projects being planned in the U.S. 413 of these projects were found to have an estimated total capital cost exceeding $233 billion yet the Federal Government is only providing approximately $1.6 billion annually for this purpose. If local authorities fund 50% of these projects, it will take over 70 years to complete only those projects for which estimated costs were found.
3. PRT is here now and can often do a better job for less cost
The Ultra PRT system has been in operation at Heathrow Airport since 2011, and the 2getthere PRT system has been in operation in Masdar City since 2010. Both are relatively low speed/capacity systems at around 25 mph and 2,800 pphpd (passengers per hour per direction) maximum. However other similar systems are more capable; such as the Morgantown system at 35 mph and 5,000 pphpd (in operation in West Virginia since 1975) and the Vectus PRT system at 40 mph and 7,200 pphpd (about to enter public service in South Korea).
Since PRT systems use small, automated vehicles, both their capital and operating costs tend to be lower than those of conventional fixed guideway systems such as commuter- and light-rail systems and bus rapid transit systems. When we take costs into account we find that even the PRT systems with lower capabilities are competitive with many conventional systems (in some instances double guideways can be provided at less cost than single rail lines). Systems like Vectus can often compete on a line-for-line basis. If the higher level of service provided by PRT (less waiting, nonstop, seated travel) attracts more riders then PRT will provide even better value for money and do a better job of reducing road congestion.
4. It makes political and moral sense
The accolades for bringing home a high-budget fixed guideway system should be no less than those for bringing home two smaller budget fixed guideway systems. Indeed, the benefits of the latter should be approximately double the former. The sense of accomplishment obtained by whittling away at the transit backlog at approximately twice the speed should be significant. Making a larger dent on climate change and gridlock is also a worthwhile endeavor.
1. Enhancing quality of life and real estate values
Good transit service enhances quality of life and property values. The American Public Transit Association and the National Association of Realtors recently found that “Across the study regions, the transit shed [areas served by fixed guideway systems] outperformed the region as a whole by 41.6 percent [in terms of residential sales prices]”.

2. Conventional transit is too expensive
Reconnecting America reports that there are over 600 fixed guideway transit projects being planned in the U.S. 413 of these projects were found to have an estimated total capital cost exceeding $233 billion yet the Federal Government is only providing approximately $1.6 billion annually for this purpose. If local authorities fund 50% of these projects, it will take over 70 years to complete only those projects for which estimated costs were found.

3. PRT is here now and can often do a better job for less cost
The Ultra PRT system has been in operation at Heathrow Airport since 2011, and the 2getthere PRT system has been in operation in Masdar City since 2010. Both are relatively low speed/capacity systems at around 25 mph and 2,800 pphpd (passengers per hour per direction) maximum. However other similar systems are more capable; such as the Morgantown system at 35 mph and 5,000 pphpd (in operation in West Virginia since 1975) and the Vectus PRT system at 40 mph and 7,200 pphpd (about to enter public service in South Korea).

Since PRT systems use small, automated vehicles, both their capital and operating costs tend to be lower than those of conventional fixed guideway systems such as commuter- and light-rail systems and bus rapid transit systems. When we take costs into account we find that even the PRT systems with lower capabilities are competitive with many conventional systems (in some instances double guideways can be provided at less cost than single rail lines). Systems like Vectus can often compete on a line-for-line basis. If the higher level of service provided by PRT (less waiting, nonstop, seated travel) attracts more riders then PRT will provide even better value for money and do a better job of reducing road congestion.

In addition to the potential to compete with some other transit modes, PRT’s flexibility and low costs enable it to also supplement high capacity transit systems. For example, a PRT collector/distributer system at each high speed rail station could greatly enhance the service and thus the ridership. Also there are numerous roads facing gridlock where there is no more room for additional surface transportation and where an elevated PRT system may be the only viable solution.

4. It makes political and moral sense
The accolades for bringing home a high-budget fixed guideway system should be no less than those for bringing home two smaller budget fixed guideway systems. Indeed, the benefits of the latter should be approximately double the former. The sense of accomplishment obtained by whittling away at the transit backlog at approximately twice the speed, or solving a previously intractable problem, should be significant. Making a larger dent on climate change and gridlock is also a worthwhile endeavor.

Personal Rapid Transit News (July 2013)

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

news_ultra24Is Britain enjoying the wrong kind of growth?

The first three months of 2013 showed marginal growth of just 0.3 per cent, but tomorrow’s second quarter figures should at least double that, giving the Chancellor apparent grounds for optimism. View video (3:12 to 5:00 addresses PRT)

news_LMMinimizing Average Passenger Waiting Time in Personal Rapid Transit Systems

Abstract. Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is an emerging urban transport mode. A PRT system operates much like a conventional hackney taxi system, except that the vehicles are driven by computer (no human driver) between stations in a dedicated network of guideways. Read more…

news_lowsonMartin Lowson, 1938-2013

An academic and research scientist who made major contributions to fields as diverse as noise generation, aerodynamics and urban transport has died. Martin Lowson was born in Totteridge, Hertfordshire on 5 January 1938 and educated at King’s School, Worcester. Read more…

news_ultra23PRT Pod cars: Future of transport in Indian cities?

World’s first urban Passenger Rapid Transport (PRT) system will in a few years be a reality in Amritsar. At present, the PRT runs only at the London Heathrow Terminal. Urban experts think that PRT will eliminate cars in future cities. Link to slide show…

news_ultra6Ultra Global eyes international growth

The Bristol-headquartered company behind Heathrow Airport’s personal rapid transit system is expecting significant growth in the coming years. Ultra Global, which is based at Aztec West, said it was developing further opportunities in the UK and overseas for its technology. Read more…

news_skytran5Project manager picked to develop Tel Aviv SkyTran

Tel Aviv has appointed US consultancy Jenkins Gales & Martinez (JGM) to oversee the introduction of the city’s ‘revolutionary’ SkyTran rail system. Read more… and more here…

news_ultra22Traffic Management in Cities

Gauteng is the economic hub of South Africa and the fourth largest economy on the African Continent. It is home to over 70 foreign banks and to 75% of the manufacturing companies in South Africa. Read more … (page 50)

news_wvuWVU launches nation’s first ‘Super Wi-Fi’ network

West Virginia University became the nation’s first-ever campus to turn empty TV broadcast channels into something super…Super Wi-Fi will initially be available to students and faculty on the Personal Rapid Transit platforms. Read more…

news_e&tNetwork Rail considers alternatives to heavy rail

…The study also considers the potential of personal rapid transit (PRT), like the driverless pods running on rails currently used in locations such as Heathrow terminal 5, to increase access to the rail network by transporting travellers to stations. Read more…

Personal Rapid Transit: A step towardssuccessful implementation of an innovativealternative to the automobile
news_ultra21Personal Rapid Transit: A step towards successful implementation of an innovative alternative to the automobile
Conventional public transport modes do not provide enough incentives for people to transfer from their cars, so there is scope for innovation. PersonalRapid Transit (PRT), is a system which… Read more…

news_ultra20Attitudes Towards Personal Rapid Transport in the US

Traditionally PRT has found many opponents in the US possibly, in part, due to the expensive failure of the Raytheon Company’s PRT 2000 transportation system and the teething problems of the Morgantown PRT system. Read more…

news_skytran5SkyTran solution to Tel Aviv traffic woes

A new air transportation system named the SkyTran will be built in Tel Aviv in an effort to solve the city’s traffic problems. Some 410,000 people populate the city, with thousands driving to work. View video…

news_sunch7THE SECOND TIME AROUND

The concept of podcars emerged in the 1960s with vigorous input from the aerospace industry. Congealing around the term PRT – for personal rapid transit – it got attention from Washington and was built as a fattened up version at West Virginia University. Read more…

Dr. J. Edward Anderson Receives Award

Monday, July 1st, 2013

At the closing dinner of the recent Public Sector Innovation Workshop, Dr. J. Edward Anderson received a well-deserved award from the Aerospace Corporation for his life time career commitment to the development of personal rapid transit (PRT), aka Automated Transit Network (ATN) systems.

Award M

Award group M

Pictured from left to right are Randolph Kendall, a Vice President of Aerospace Corp., Dr. J. Edward Anderson and Michael Irving, son of Dr. Jack Irving.  Without Dr. Irving’s work on PRT beginning in 1968, Dr. Anderson may not have stayed in the PRT field.

Personal Rapid Transit News (June 2013)

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

news_chrisInnovation and Incremental development

If you raise your view from the ground and look at transportation from above you will observe a few things. First, it’s a steady flow of objects carrying people and goods constantly burning fossil fuels to move. Second, the patterns of flow is very similar to that of small water creeks turning into small rivers turning into a big massive flood of water. Read more…

news_gvlsPersonal Rapid Transit Revival?

Personal rapid transit derailed in the 1970s. Some are ready to give it another try. The year is 2033. A bleary-eyed woman heaves her suitcase from a shiny baggage carousel in Los Angeles International Airport. Rather than hailing a cab, … Read more…

news_jpod3Group Wants to Put ‘Personal Rapid Transit’ Pods on Boston’s Streets

As Boston starts to think about revitalizing a neighborhood street in Dorchester, transportation advocates are pitching the idea of bringing solar-powered, personalized pods to the area to ship residents around, rather than relying on public transportation like MBTA buses. Read more…

news_apm13Automated People Movers and 
Automated Transit Systems Conference

The bi-annual Conference on Automated People Movers and Automated Transit Systems was held this year in Phoenix, Arizona.  While this conference has traditionally been targeted at …large Automated People Movers, there seems to be a growing realization within this community that the next step in the evolution of automated transit is to smaller vehicles…  With that in mind, here is a recap of some of the conference highlights. Read more…

news_lowson2Professor Martin Lowson, 1938-2013

Professor Martin Lowson, Emeritus Professor of Advanced Transport and former Head of Aerospace Engineering, has died aged 75. Colleagues offer an appreciation of his life and achievements. Read more…

news_srtCounty considers extending Swamp Rabbit Trail onto old rail line

After years of letting the issue lie dormant, Greenville County officials are beginning to think again about what to do with a stretch of former freight railroad they control between Pleasantburg Drive and the International Center for Automotive Research. Read more…

news_lowsonProfessor Martin Lowson 1938-2013

It is with great regret and sadness that Ultra announces the death of its founder and President, Professor Martin Lowson. After a distinguished career in rocketry and helicopter design, Martin started Ultra in 1995 to solve the question of why so few people use public transport. With some of his students from Bristol University and help from other colleagues, he began an 18 year journey to take Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) from idea to reality. Read more…

news_albPodcar Tour: Albany, NY

Presentation to the Capital District Transportation Committee on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) is the designated MPO for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area. The entire planning staff, which consists of 12 members, was present for this roughly two-hour meeting. Read more…

news_anchPerchance to Dream: The Public Transit Fix We Never Got and Probably Never Will.

The challenge of providing access to consistent, sustainable, and affordable public transportation in Anchorage comes with no easy answers. Representing the International Institute of Sustainable Transportation, Kjensmo Walker came to Anchorage last month to propose a fix. Read more…

news_shimlaHimachal eyes personal rapid transit in Shimla

Himachal Pradesh Government plans to set up personal rapid transit (PRT) as a green alternative transport mode. Shimla: To decongest Shimla and Dharamsala, the Himachal Pradesh government is planning to set up personal rapid transit (PRT) as a green alternative transport mode, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said here Thursday. Read more…

news_amritsar6sDriverless Cars to the Golden Temple

Pilgrims to the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs, once took long journeys by foot to the site in Amritsar, in Punjab, northern India.
But now plans are in place to allow them to travel there in a fleet of driverless cars, the first of their kind in India.
Pilgrims to the Golden Temple, the holiest shrine for Sikhs, once took long journeys by foot to the site in Amritsar, in Punjab, northern India. But now plans are in place to allow them to travel there in a fleet of driverless cars, the first of their kind in India. Read more…

news_sunch6Vectus Updates Website

Vectus has posted a significant update to their website. In additon to new information, it contains many new pictures of their Suncheon application. Read more…

Martin Lowson, Inventor, Entrepreneur and Friend

Monday, June 17th, 2013

I just learned that Martin Lowson died peacefully in his sleep of a stroke on Friday evening. I am told he was never in any pain.

Martin was a very capable inventor with patents for helicopter rotor blades (which I understand still hold the world speed record), PRT vehicle doors and PRT station design. Many people have many patents but few can claim to have inventions that are so diverse and have been put into such successful practice.

Martin was an entrepreneur who was capable of wearing many different hats which enabled him to raise funds, plan, design, test and develop the Ultra PRT system. In my opinion, two keys to success were his initial focus on finding out what people really want in transportation systems and then focusing on delivering that result using off-the-shelf technology wherever possible.

I met Martin in 2001 and he and his work at Heathrow Airport inspired me to devote the rest of my career to PRT. I regret having never told him this. Our families got to know each other and we spent some enjoyable times together in England, the Smoky Mountains and the Rocky Mountains (where we used skis to undertake “winter weather friction testing studies”).

I consider Martin to have been the most intelligent person I have ever met. In addition to his brilliant analytical side he had a modesty that enabled him to draw on the strengths of others and the common sense to focus on key parameters and avoid being distracted by non-essential bells and whistles. At the recent conference in Phoenix he asked one key question which will, I am sure, soon be the one thing I clearly remember about that conference.

Martin saw his role of inventor and entrepreneur coming to an end with the role out of the Heathrow PRT system and he started a transition process introducing new leaders more focused on marketing and production who could carry the company forward. While he was still a key contributor, this maneuver has, I believe, helped ensure that Ultra will long remain a key legacy of his.

Martin will be sorely missed by the PRT industry. I will sorely miss him too.

Martin will be sorely missed by the personal rapid transit industry. I will sorely miss him too.

Connecting Greenville

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
I facilitated a connectivity workshop in Greenville, South Carolina recently. The results are summarized below.
Connecting Greenville
Linking neighborhoods and businesses through innovative transportation
Using multiple modes: walking, cycling, car, bus and personal rapid transit
Creating GreenVillages where connected people love to live, work, shop, dine and play
Anywhere, anytime – it’s a moving experience
In a workshop held May 9 and 10, 2013 over 35 community leaders, professionals and citizens agreed personal rapid transit (PRT) solutions in Greenville should be seriously explored in order to:
Create a sustainable future for Greenville by improving accessibility and economic vitality
PRT is like a driverless taxi system and attracts choice riders. Since it operates on overhead guideways, it takes you safely to your destination nonstop. Numerous stations reduce walking distances and wait times are very short. The system can operate 24/7 and, because of the lack of drivers, operating costs are low. Because PRT offers first class private transit, its impacts on land values are expected to at least match those of regular transit (found to increase land values by an average of 42% by the American Public Transit Association). A survey of Greenvillians is finding a surprisingly high proportion of car drivers would consider switching to a high quality transit system like PRT.
In considering the potential impact of PRT on problems associated with cars and roads, the group compared it with other modes and concluded it could be far more effective.
I facilitated a connectivity workshop in Greenville, South Carolina recently. The results are summarized below.

Connecting Greenville

Linking neighborhoods and businesses through innovative transportation
Using multiple modes: walking, cycling, car, bus and personal rapid transit
Creating GreenVillages where connected people love to live, work, shop, dine and play
Anywhere, anytime – it’s a moving experience

In a workshop held May 9 and 10, 2013 over 35 community leaders, professionals and citizens agreed personal rapid transit (PRT) solutions in Greenville should be seriously explored in order to:

Create a sustainable future for Greenville by improving accessibility and economic vitality

PRT is like a driverless taxi system and attracts choice riders. Since it operates on overhead guideways, it takes you safely to your destination nonstop. Numerous stations reduce walking distances and wait times are very short. The system can operate 24/7 and, because of the lack of drivers, operating costs are low. Because PRT offers first class private transit, its impacts on land values are expected to at least match those of regular transit (found to increase land values by an average of 42% by the American Public Transit Association). A survey of Greenvillians is finding a surprisingly high proportion of car drivers would consider switching to a high quality transit system like PRT.

In considering the potential impact of PRT on problems associated with cars and roads, the group compared it with other modes and concluded it could be far more effective.

Potential Impact on Car and Road Problems

Potential Impact on Car and Road Problems

Will you join us in Connecting Greenville…
When: Starting now! Downtown to CUICAR by 2018!

Personal Rapid Transit News (May 2013)

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Breaking news related to automated transit networks (ATN – an umbrella term for personal rapid transit (PRT) and group rapid transit (GRT) systems, also known as podcars), along with links where available. Reader beware: we publish links to articles that appear to be newsworthy, without concern as to whether or not they are for or against PRT and without checking their sources. Comment directly on the original article, not here.

news_ultra19Minister for Universities and Science the RT Hon David Willetts given a tour of a pod at Intelligent Mobility Showcase

Ultra Global Managing Director Fraser Brown last week had the opportunity to spend some time with the RT Hon David Willetts, the UK Minister for Universities and Science. The meeting with the minister came as the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) hosted a two week showcase exhibition highlighting… Read more…

news_paraCould Personal Rapid Transit be the Future of ParaTransit?

Personal Rapid Transit, or PRT pods, are an on-demand electric car driven transport service. Two deployments already exist, in Heathrow Airport, and in Masdar City. Could such a system be effectively deployed for use in a ParaTransit service? View video…

news_modsIntelligent Mobility for the 21st Century

Modutram has posted significant updates to their website. Both the inner and outer loops of their test track are now in operation. Use Google translate to see a translation into English. Read more…

news_ultra13

Landmark week for the Heathrow pod: 2nd Anniversary followed by the system’s millionth driverless mile

It has been an exciting week for Ultra Global with the Company’s Heathrow Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system reaching a number of notable landmarks. Read more…

news_archReflections on Morgantown’s innovative people mover — the PRT

…When I was a young person, I seldom considered the bigger picture of experimenting with public transportation. As I look back now, I realize that I was shortsighted. The people mover enabled WVU to grow in a way that would not have been possible without it. Read more…

news_tdiTransport Design International – Vectus PRT System

Working in partnership with Italian design house Pininfarina, TDI has recently designed and production engineered a ‘Vectus PRT’ (personal rapid transit) cabin which is now undergoing operational trials in Suncheon Bay, South Korea. 40 such vehicles will go into service later this year along a 10km track system to be operated by Suncheon Ecotrans. Read more…

news_mtown3WVU’s PRT system shut down for maintenance

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Morgantown’s monorail, the Personal Rapid Transit system, will be closed for the next few weeks while workers conduct system maintenance. West Virginia University says the repairs will include a variety of electrical projects and non-critical structural repairs. Read more…

news_hppersonal rapid transit pods to ply in Shimla and Dharamshala: C.M.

Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh said that the Government was mulling alternate mode of transport to decongest heavy traffic in State capital Shimla and Dharamshala. The feasibility report to set up Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) pods in above towns has been prepared, he said. Read more…

news_payneCars without drivers idea ‘coming to life’ and could zip you around Greenville

The idea sounds like something out of “The Jetsons.” Cars without drivers would whiz above Greenville’s streets at 30 mph while passengers tapped away at their computers. “It is sort of like science fiction, but it’s coming to life,” Greenville County Councilman Fred Payne said. Read  more…

CityMobil2 is a multi-stakeholder project co-funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (commonly known as FP7).
CityMobil2 is setting up a pilot platform for automated road transport systems, which will be implemented in several urban environments across Europe.
news_citCityMobil2 has launched its new website
CityMobil2 is a multi-stakeholder project co-funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (commonly known as FP7). CityMobil2 is setting up a pilot platform for automated road transport systems, which will be implemented in several urban environments across Europe. Read more…