- The future of transportation

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CGI by O'Shea Design

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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 unsustainable.

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 congestion.

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 his book Green Illusions.

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.

The 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 recycled.

The vehicles are publicly owned and maintained - no private ownership.  You don't 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 citizens)
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!

Click 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 completed.



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