Personal Rapid Transit Gaining Ground

Derided by some, praised by others, Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is gaining ground, with new systems scheduled to open in London, Abu Dhabi, and South Korea.

The Boston Globe prints a long-form Sunday feature on PRT, balancing blemishes and potential. An historical perspective on the 40 years of mostly-failed PRT attempts is provided. In arguing for momentum, the three current PRT projects with customers are listed: London Heathrow (opens Spring 2010), Masdar ecocity, and Suncheon, South Korea. In addition, the Swedish government announced intent to build a system. U.S. PRT interest in San Jose, Mountain View, Santa Cruz, and Ithaca is sited.

From the article: ""I just don't believe that it's a feasible system," says Vukan Vuchic, an engineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a prominent critic of PRT. "The concept of PRT has been discussed now for nearly 40 years. It was promoted very strongly, but it petered out because it did not succeed anywhere."

But in the past few years, the idea has started to come back into vogue. At London's Heathrow airport, a PRT system - with 18 vehicles, 2.4 miles of track, and three stations - is slated to begin running next spring."

Thanks to Steve Raney

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