Heathrow's PRT System On Track For Operation

A personal rapid transit (PRT) system is currently under construction as part of the renovation of London's Heathrow airport. The system is on track to begin operations within two years.

"While these low-energy, driverless pod-shaped vehicles may look like something from sci-fi epic Bladerunner, they are about to become British transport reality."

"In less than two years' time, after the opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5 in March 2008, a network of 18 of these four-seater capsules will be ferrying passengers to and from a business car park to the new terminal building."

"Already under construction, the first phase of the airport's £25m PRT will use 3.8km (2.4 miles) of guideway - designated ground-level or raised path - to move people from car to check-in in just four minutes."

"If the first-ever public test of the technology at Terminal 5 goes well, Heathrow plans to expand its use across the airport."

"But it doesn't stop there. There are already indications that the capsules will be embraced elsewhere in Britain and the world."

Full Story: Are driverless pods the future?

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More on Heathrow PRT

BAA (formerly British Airports Authority) is a private-sector firm that owns and operates 8 airports including London Heathrow, the world’s third largest. ULTra is a battery-driven, 100-mpg-equivalent, elevated personal rapid transit (PRT) system with many four-person vehicles. The Heathrow ULTra system construction and operating costs are funded by BAA. This transit system is not government-subsidized.

ULTra is a "suburban transit solution that complements mass transit," using 1/3 the energy of cars. ULTra is "no queue" (no-wait) transit.

A higher quality version of the BBC newscast: http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7140000/newsid_7149000/7149004.s...

CNN Video/ITN’s web newscast: http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/tech/2007/12/17/harris.uk.airport.pod.itn

October 2005, Personal Rapid Transit For Heathrow Airport, Dubai Financial Center
http://www.planetizen.com/node/17760

May 2007, The World's First Fleet of Driverless Taxis, http://www.planetizen.com/node/24713

Youtube video explains the ULTra PRT system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7hgipbHBK8

Three vehicles at the Cardiff (Wales) test track: http://www.ultraprt.com/heathrow.htm

Steve Raney, Cities21, Palo Alto, CA

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