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Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). Model of the London Vehicle “What we know about PRT Regionally, Statewide, Nationally, & in the UK” by Mukhtar “ Mook -tar” Thakur Director, Multi-Modal Innovation Office at Mn /DOT - ACEC Annual Conference March, 2010. In the Metro Region.

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Model of the London Vehicle

“What we know about PRT Regionally, Statewide,

Nationally, & in the UK”

by Mukhtar “Mook-tar” Thakur

Director, Multi-Modal Innovation Office

at Mn/DOT - ACEC Annual Conference

March, 2010

in the metro region
In the Metro Region
  • City of Bloomington has had discussions/ presentations from three different PRT related groups.
  • Maple Grove is said to have discussions about developing the parcel near the Gravel Pit with a crossing over 694.
  • Mn/DOT has heard of or seen printed sketches of proposals for:
  • Ford Plant Site – connections to Hiawatha Light Rail Station
  • Edina
  • Richfield (in combination)
  • Bloomington

City of Winona is interested in pursuing a PRT demonstration project:

  • Winona has submitted for a Federal (PRT) grant
  • A sketch shows crossing of TH 61
  • The City Council is supportive
  • Mn/DOT has issued letter of support for their Grant



City of San Jose, CA is exploring PRT at their airport.

  • RFI issued October 2008 – 19 responses received; and
  • RFP issued for ~$4M study – ongoing.

City of Santa Cruz, CA

  • October 2008 issued an RFQ for a PRT System –


Alameda, CA - Developer Proposal

Peter Calthorpe of Calthorpe Associates


Nationally (New Jersey continued)

New Jersey State Had a Legislative Study Performed

February 2007 Report stated:

  • PRT Systems are approaching but not yet ready for deployment.
  • Many of the technical components needed to support PRT systems are commercially available and are used in other industries.
  • Global PRT interest and development programs are expanding.
  • A fully operational PRT system is needed to demonstrate the theoretical benefits of PRT and establish commercial readiness.
Nationally (New Jersey continued)
  • A comprehensive technology research and demonstration program is needed to develop a PRT system.
  • Construction of PRT underway in two locations.
  • Several other cities in the world seriously considering the development of PRT systems.
  • Many challenges that face PRT in terms of large scale deployment such as:
  • technological limitations
  • a very small number of manufacturers worldwide
  • proprietary system components that limit open competition and sustainability
Nationally (New Jersey continued)
  • Any application of PRT in the commonwealth would likely require additional research, development and funding to ensure that the system is sustainable long enough to achieve a return on the investment.

Skyweb Express Vehicle

Nationally (continued)

Virginia Finds PRT Viable

Report to Virginia legislature, December 2008, noted:

  • Construction of PRT underway in two locations (London & Abu Dhabi);
  • Several other cities seriously considering development of PRT systems; and
  • Appears that technology is evolving from concept to reality.
Nationally (Virginia continued)
  • Many challenges to implementation of large sale systems:
  • Technological limitations;
  • Small number of manufacturers worldwide;
  • Proprietary System Components that limit competition & sustainability;
  • Any application in Virginia would likely require additional research, development and funding; and
  • Proposal was Portsmouth be considered as one potential for a pilot program.
nationally continued shoreline biz park google mountain view downtown nasa
Nationally (continued)Shoreline Biz Park/Google/Mountain View Downtown/NASA
  • Research Pk PRT – first version June 2008

– last update September 2009

Ithaca, NY Study

  • Awarded in 2009
  • 12 stations, 7.7 miles of Guideway, Lawnet Cornell University & Ithaca College,
in the uk
In the UK
  • PRT “demoline” start date is this Spring at London’s

Heathrow Airport.

  • Connects two Park & Ride

locations to Terminal 5

approx. 1 mile away

  • Costs stated to be approx.


  • Start date has been delayed

at least twice, now stated

to be Spring, 2010 London’s Heathrow Airport

Terminal 5 Station

Stations are like bus stops. Destination selected by Smart Card and touch screen. (Smart Card keeps info on passengers for personalized service.)

Stop at London Park and Ride

  • For typical 1 mile journey approximately 3 minutes.
  • Expected to be very reliable.

Stop at London Park and Ride

  • Pods run either at ground level or elevated guideways supported by lightweight steel structures.
In the UK (continued)
  • In the UK these points were noted about PRT:
  • Less disruption to ongoing operations at Heathrow;
  • Faster construction due to smaller scale;
  • Scalability;
  • Opportunity to extend to Airport Environment and other terminals; and
  • Low Emissions.
In the UK (continued)
  • Obstructions on guideway will automatically stop the pod and alert Central Control.
  • Emission factor saving 3-4 times over cars or public transport. Reduces carbon emissions now.
  • Vandalism Resistant.
  • It could run on solar power.

Guideway Leading to the PRT Stop at London

mn dot update on personal rapid transit prt
Mn/DOT Update on Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)
  • Request for Interest (RFI) published in State Register of February 08, 2010,

download from:

deadline for responding is May 4, 2010

  • Hoping for at least 5 and as many as 10 responders
  • Creation of a Personal Rapid Transit Alliance (PRTA) group is one goal of the RFI
  • Seeking to explore and gather interest about PRT is also a goal of the RFI
  • Next Steps are TBD
Mn/DOT Update on Personal RapidTransit (continued)

Thus far we have noted the following:

  • Don’t view PRT as being in competition with line-haul bus or LRT services.
  • That PRT may be competitive with feeder/shuttle buses in niche applications.
  • Don’t see PRT being implemented as a “network” around the city.
  • That there are issues that need to be addressed when trying to establish the feasibility of a PRT application, namely: aesthetics, how it fits in the current land form and surrounding land uses, ROW, and how it is going to be funded, among others.
concept showing skyweb express vehicles passing a station
Concept Showing Skyweb Express Vehicles Passing a Station

A Vectus Vehicle on the Test Trackin Uppsala, Sweden

London Heathrow PRT

London Heathrow Guideway