Greetings! ATRA has long debated whether it should promote personal rapid transit (PRT) as a niche technology best suited for campuses and serving other modes of transit or as a mode capable on its own of providing significant transportation services in support of, or supported by, other modes. In other words, should we take on the established transit industries or be satisfied with the crumbs? Scrabbling for the crumbs has allowed us to gain a tenuous foothold with a few small systems demonstrating the viability of the technology. It certainly has not allowed significant success. I say we should be promoting PRT as the transportation work horse it really can be.
Last year I presented a paper comparing PRT, group rapid transit (GRT) and light rail transit (LRT) (it is now posted here on the ATRA website). Maybe it fell on deaf ears since otherwise every transit agency implementing LRT would now be investigating PRT! On the other hand maybe they are - these studies take years and we must be patient.
Last month I was asked by a government official to explain why, if PRT is so great, it has not yet happened in a large way. After my explanation he proceeded to place some considerable hurdles in the way of the project I was representing. It was all I could do not to say "PRT has been slow happening because of bureaucrats like you". Fortunately, in this case, officials in more senior positions do see the big picture.
By the way, some stories, such as the Glasgow one, may seem repetitive. Please note that we try to only publish when a story contains something new that could be of interest to our readers.
As always, enjoy reading!
Peter Muller, ATRA President