Innovation and Public Policy: The Case of Personal Rapid Transit (the book)

This is the index page for the various chapters and sections of Dr. Catherine Burke’s book, Innovation and Public Policy: The Case 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. Dr. Burke confirmed that she wishes to release the book under the following terms. The book has been in high demand since it went out of print, and at long last, this electronic copy of the book is available for download to the public for personal and noncommercial use - free of charge.
Bob Dunning, President,
Advanced Transit Association

PREFACE (Including License to Download and Restrictions on Distribution) Prepared June, 2008, by the Author, Catherine G. Burke.

In 1979 Lexington Books (belonging to D. C. Heath and Company) published the book "Innovation and Public Policy: The Case of Personal Rapid Transit", based on research, carried on as part of the doctoral program at UCLA from 1973-1977. I had become acquainted with the research on PRTi at The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California, and wondered why such a seemingly attractive system was not being adopted.

I examined other research efforts in Japan, England, France and Germany and discovered their research began far more successfully, but in non-transportation agencies. As the projects appeared ready for implementation, the various Ministries and agencies controlling public transport took over the research and there they died. In the U.S., the only potential funding came from the US Department of Transportation or Transit Authorities, so Aerospace was also forced to abandon its highly promising project.

At the time of publication, Lexington Books/D. C. Heath was the copyright holder. Aerospace Corporation, MITI in Japan, Cabinentaxi in Germany, and MATRA in France gave me permission to use their photos and maps which were also part of the copyright. Several years later when the book went out of print, D. C. Heath assigned the copyright to me. At the time the book was published I waived my royalty rights to keep the price of the book at a minimum so that even impecunious students could afford it. I personally bought the remaining copies of the book which were given to interested parties and to College and University Libraries at a price that simply covered my costs.

I believe that Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is the wave of the future, with its many benefits to the rider. It will be safe, rapid, private, and comfortable. It will be fully accessible to the physically handicapped, the elderly and young people without a car - at a reasonable cost. In the urban landscape, it is sized and automated for low capital and operating costs and designed to reduce congestion, pollution and noise. Its footprint would also contribute to optimal land use. Therefore, my purpose is to have the book read as widely as possible, because if enough readers feel as strongly as I do about the virtues of PRT, they could become the constituency which will stimulate the development and widespread installation of PRT systems.

For all these reasons, I am happy to have the Advanced Transit Association publish the book on the Internet. My consent Is conditional to the attachment of this Preface to the beginning of each installment, inasmuch as it grants the right to download, duplicate, and distribute the book subject to certain restrictions stated in the next paragraph.

As sole Copyright holder of "Innovation and Public Policy: The Case 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 published in 1979, the issues and the analyses made then are still valid today--with the exception that costs have changed considerably over the nearly 30 years since publication. 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 1979. Operating costs will also be higher, because of the labor costs in operation, maintenance, security and the higher prices for electricity.

Of course costs of building trains and buses have also risen to a great extent, so comparisons of PRT with rail and bus systems strengthen the case for PRT. The rising price of oil and gasoline reinforce the appeal of PRT as far less costly than driving an automobile.

Current cost estimates can be found on a number of web sites; the most comprehensive is maintained by Dr. Jerry Schneider at Innovative Transportation Technologies, and by the Advanced Transit Association,

Because the book is about innovation and the problems in bringing a dramatically new technology on line, chapter six developed a model involving the degree of change based on the impact on different individuals and organizations. The model shows 4 levels of change, while more recent research indicates there should be five such levels. The additional level belongs in the middle just above the current level 2.

Any questions related to the downloading, the fonts to be used, the availability of installments, or questions related to the current status of PRT should be addressed to Bob Dunning at e-mail address: Any questions regarding content may be addressed to the author. Requests to use any part of the book in a manner that does not conform to the license granted above should be addressed to the author at e-mail address:
Dr. Catherine Burke

Innovation_All_Chapters.pdf20.5 MB