PRT is a concept based on driverless vehicles which operate on a segregated track, travelling from point to point rather than using a fixed route. These vehicles are typically lightweight and battery powered which means that any necessary structures are much cheaper than those for a conventional transit system, and that emissions at point of use are virtually zero. If clean energy sources can be used to generate electricity then such systems can be effectively carbon-neutral.
The advantages of personal rapid transit compared to conventional transit are that it is highly flexible (each vehicle goes straight to the desired destination), and that it offers privacy (passengers don’t have to share with other passengers). PRT schemes are more cost-effective than light rapid transit or other traditional options.
The personal rapid transit system adopts small, fully automated, battery-powered electric vehicles. Each vehicle has 500kg payload and 40kph operating speed. The designed maximum gradient could be up to 20%. The system infrastructure includes flexible and aesthetic guideways and stations. In addition, the highly intelligent control system provides passengers with comfortable and convenient travelling experience. They do not have to wait for vehicles; there are no transfer needed and no routes to memorise either.
Other benefits of the personal rapid transit system include:
- 24-hour availability if required
- On-demand service, with no transfers
- Zero on-site emissions
- Extremely low overall energy use
- Minimal visual and acoustic impacts
We played a leading role in the development of the first two public PRT schemes, at Masdar in the UAE and Heathrow Airport, and have contributed to a range of studies into PRT opportunities. As well as conventional design issues, we offer advice on safety certification, and demand modelling of PRT schemes based on operational examples.