The Need for Change
The automobile was a revolution in transportation.
Safer and more reliable than the horse and buggy, it transformed our way
of life. But our love affair with the automobile is on the
skids....ever increasing congestion, the price of gasoline, and the
environmental problems inherent in burning fossil fuels. We find ourselves
at a new transportation crossroad - the current system is simply
Traditional mass transit (the bus,
subways, light rail) simply cannot replace the automobile
as it cannot provide the same door to door service.
Alternative fuels (hydrogen, ethanol, hybrids) are great as political
sound bites, but they ultimately fail to provide a realistic
alternative when judged on their scientific merit. Additionally they
do nothing to reduce
And don't count on electric cars, hybrid or otherwise to
win the day. Batteries are not environmentally friendly to build
or discard. And the energy loss inherent in charging/recharging
are substantial. Ozzie Zehner describes the problem elegantly in
We need a system that combines the convenience
of the automobile with the efficiency of mass transit. PRT (Personal
Rapid Transit) is just
such a system...
In the simplest definition, the PRT puts the automobile
on tracks. The vehicles are small, individualized, fully automated
(no driver), and fully electric. But rather than coexist with the
automobile, the PRT system replaces it.
tracks are constructed over the existing roadways, thus greatly reducing
the cost of construction. Traditional rail systems such as light
rail cost as much as $70 million per mile! The PRT would cost only
a fraction of that since the existing road system is essentially
The vehicles are publicly owned and maintained - no
keep a vehicle
sitting idle in your driveway, but rather summon one
from the system as needed. When
you get to your destination
and exit the vehicle, it automatically moves on to the next pickup
location. When you've finished your business, you simply summon
another vehicle. High traffic locations like shopping centers would
typically maintain a line of
ready-to-go vehicles, similar to a taxi line at the
airport. If your visit results
in a large purchase, furniture for instance, you would summon a
specialized freight vehicle. Alternatively, if you were to
purchase the product from home, the store would deliver the product
directly to your doorstep via an unmanned PRT vehicle.
And finally, home...
The PRT would fit nicely into residential neighborhoods
To summarize, the PRT will achieve the following:
1) Replace the automobile in an orderly transition
2) Provide transportation access to non-driving people (youth & senior
3) Decrease energy consumption and improve the environment
4) Improve our quality of life (no congestion, no stress)
The advantages of the PRT system are numerous!
here for more benefits...
Note: The prototype images of the PRT borrow their
look from the
Docklands Light Railway System (a single car) in
London, England until more detailed modeling has been