Tuesday, November 22, 2005

PRT - a slow swell coming to shore?

I dislike urban driving whether as a driver, a passenger, a cyclist, a pedestrian or even as a resident; so I'm all in favour of Personal Rapid Transport, even if it doesn't yet exist.

I particularly like ULTRA, as a techie it seems to me that solving public transport problems by building a packet-switched solution over well-understood technologies is a highly realistic approach and could be a real winner.

I've had a google alert on ATS Ltd for some years, but it's only just got round to letting me know that they've struck a deal with BAA and Arup to implement ULTRA at Heathrow,
Heathrow has ordered 18 of the pods for a year-long test on two miles of track starting in 2008. At first they will be used to link a car park on the perimeter of the airport to Terminal One[... ] the one-year trial could merely be a taster of a far more radical scheme, which could be in place by 2012 if all goes well with the Terminal One experiment[... ] Taking in the new terminal five and all car parks, the scheme will need 30 miles of track and up to 500 capsules.

According to Arup the "The BAA contract is the first commitment in the world to a PRT system". Good for them. I think it will work, and be the start of something that makes our cities far more civilised. I certainly hope so.


PRT said...

Dubai is competing with Heathrow for the first PRT system:


Who knows, maybe ATS will bulid that one too.

Francis said...

I have to admit that the fact that PRT finally gets a showcase would be slightly more important than buzz I might get from having guessed which company gets there first.