Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit (the book)

This is the index page for the various chapters and sections of Dr. Jack Irving's book on the Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit. Below is the text of the agreement by which this book is made available to you. You must comply with these conditions if you wish to download any part of the book. I had a conversation with Dr. Irving today, May 20th, 2008 and confirmed that he still wished to release the book under the terms he sent me over ten years ago. At long last, this electronic copy of the book is now available for download to the public for personal and noncommercial use - free of charge.
Bob Dunning, President, Advanced Transit Association

(Including License to Download and Restrictions on Distribution)
Prepared June, 1997, by the Editor, Jack H. Irving

In 1978 Lexington Books (belonging to C. C. Heath and Company) published the book "Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit", based on a program of research, 1968-1976, at The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California. I was the Editor and Principal Author of the book and I was assisted by Associate Authors Harry Bernstein, C. L. Olson, and Jon Buyan. Since the writing, Olson is no longer alive and the others have retired from The Aerospace Corporation.

At the time of publication D. C. Heath was the Copyright holder. Several years later when the book went out of print D. C. Heath assigned the Copyright to The Aerospace Corporation, and shortly thereafter I purchased the Copyright from Aerospace. When the book was published the authors and The Aerospace Corporation waived our royalty rights to keep the price of the book at a minimum so that even impecunious students could afford it. I personally bought a large number of copies which I gifted to College and University Libraries across the United States.

The authors and the management of Aerospace felt that PRTi (Personal Rapid Transit) is the wave of the future, with its many benefits to the rider (safe, rapid, private, comfortable and low cost transportation) and to the city (low capital and operating cost, pollution free, quiet, improved land use). Therefore, our object was to have the book read as widely as possible, because if enough readers felt as strongly as we did about the virtues of PRT, they might become the constituency which could stimulate the development and widespread installation of PRT systems.

You will imagine my delight when Bob Dunning approached me a while back asking whether he might publish the book on the Internet. It is his plan to publish the book in several installments. I was pleased to give my consent, providing this Preface is attached to and precedes each installment, inasmuch as it grants the right to download, duplicate, and distribute subject to certain restrictions stated in the next paragraph.

As sole Copyright holder of "Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit", I hereby grant the license to any person to download any or all installments of the book, provided the downloaded text is preceded by this Preface. Any person is also licensed to duplicate and distribute, free of charge, the entire book or any complete chapter of the book, provided the text distributed is preceded by this Preface. Under no circumstances may anyone charge or receive remuneration for distributing any portion of the book. No portion of the book can be used out of context without the explicit permission of the Copyright holder.

Although the book was written in 1977, I believe that, in general, the analyses made then are still valid today--with the single exception that costs have changed dramatically during that twenty year period. Some costs have come down like those of computer and control systems. Vehicle costs have risen, but possibly less than average costs because of the high degree of automation in their manufacture. The dominant costs, however, were guideway costs, and these might be considerably higher today than in 1977. Operating costs will also be higher, because of the labor costs in operation, maintenance and security and the higher prices for electric power.

All of these changes mean that Chapter 9 needs updating. Chapter 10 on Patronage Estimation will also be using the wrong values for the cost of PRT ridership, the cost of driving a car, and the monetary value that the potential rider places on his own time, but since all of these costs might be increased by roughly the same factor, the conclusions may not change significantly. Also, the cost comparisons in Chapter 11 on PRT Economics and Benefits need updating. However, because the cost on electronics is lower, vehicles up by less than average costs, and because the cost of tunneling and the heavy structures required for subway systems has escalated by a far greater degree, it is likely that the comparison made between heavy rail and PRT would be strengthened in favor of PRT.
Dr. Jack Irving

Any questions related to downloading, fonts, or questions related to the current status of PRT should be addressed to Bob Dunning at e-mail address: Requests to use any part of the book in a manner that does not conform to the license granted above should be addressed to Dr. Irving's estate at e-mail address:

Fundamentals_all.pdf18.34 MB