Personal Rapid Transit

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PRT is a Transportation system which consists of small, automated vehicles on a grade separated guideway, with offline stations. Trips are non-stop, no wait. PRT systems are also called PAT (Personal Automated Transit) or Podcars.

Since the PRT vehicles are very light, the guideway can be very light, consequently cheap to build and easy to install. The offline stations allow the vehicles to run very close together, which allows high capacity. Wait free, non-stop trips allow a vehicle with a moderate top speed to have a shorter over all trip time than heavier modes. PRT advocates claim that construction costs can be a fraction of those of the least expensive line-haul systems, so the systems can get much better coverage. This will result in better ridership and will in turn support even better coverage.

Since the vehicles are automated, operating costs are low. There is little reason to ever shut the system down completely. Partial shutdowns (of some vehicles, stations or guideway sections) may be done for maintenance reasons.

Group Rapid Transit is a similar concept but the vehicles are larger. PRT trips are always point to point. GRT trips may stop at intermediate stations for passengers to get on and off, depending on the volume of passengers going to particular destinations.

ATRA has had a formal definition of personal rapid transit since 1988:

1. Fully automated vehicles capable of operation without human drivers.
2. Vehicles captive to a reserved guideway.
3. Small vehicles available for exclusive use by an individual or a small group, typically 1 to 6 passengers, traveling together by choice and available 24 hours a day.
4. Small guideways that can be located above ground, at ground level or underground.
5. Vehicles able to use all guideways and stations on a fully coupled PRT network.
6. Direct origin to destination service, without a necessity to transfer or stop at intervening stations.
7. Service available on demand rather than on fixed schedules.



The concept of personal rapid transit seems to have come from Donn Fichter, a transportation engineer from New York state, who first began discussing and writing about PRT in 1953.

In 1960, Bill Alden began developing the StaRRCar dual mode electric car/PRT system. In the early 1970s his designs were the starting point of the Morgantown PRT, which was the first PRT-like system to be deployed. The Morgantown system is still running today.

Ed Anderson has written extensively on the history of PRT, including

PRT Design Alternatives

Main article:PRT Design Alternatives

There are a wide variety of PRT designs. There are different approaches to guideway and switch design, to vehicle capacity, to Station Design, to Propulsion, Control, and more.

See Also




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