PRT is a system of (generally) elevated one-way guideways connecting small stations spaced relatively close together, with the stations placed off of the main guideway to allow vehicle to by-pass the stations. Small, automated, 3-person vehicles carry individuals or friends along the guideway at 25 to 50 mph non-stop from any station on the system to any other station in the system.
Since the guideways are elevated, PRT operations will not interfere with street level traffic or require reductions in road lanes or parking. The only street-level space required for the guideway is room to put a two-foot diameter support pole about every 60 feet. Stations are very small, with typical stations being only 30 to 50 feet long versus 200+ feet for light rail stations.
PRT stations will usually be elevated, freestanding structures. The length of a station will depend upon the number of berths, which is dependent upon the projected amount of traffic through the station. Simulations have shown that the typical station in a downtown environment will need three berths, making the station about 30 feet long. Station width can be as narrow as 10 feet (not including guideway) on the upper level and even narrower at the bottom. The small station size and footprint allows PRT stations to be flexibly sited.
Taxi 2000 Station Simulation
Each station will have ticketing machines, an elevator, stairs, and from 3 to 15 vehicle berths.
Additionally, small station size and lightweight guideways could allow stations to be built within many building and structures. For instance, a suburban mall could have a station built within the second story of the mall’s common area, allowing customers to avoid parking hassles, bad weather, etc.
The vehicle design is at the core of PRT concept. A PRT vehicle will be about 8.5 feet long and a little over 4 feet wide. Up to three adults will be accommodated on a bench style seat. Think of the back seat of a medium size car but without a transmission hump for a rear will drive. This small vehicle design allows the guideways and stations to be much smaller than those needed for other mass transit applications.
The vehicle is driven by an electrically powered motor system with no internal moving parts called a linear induction motor. These types of motors are already used in a variety of different applications.
Each vehicle will be equipped with air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems.
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The elevated guideways connect the PRT stations into a network. Each guideway is one-way only and is elevated about sixteen feet from the ground, approximately the same clearance as under road bridges, to allow road traffic, pedestrians, etc. underneath the guideway.
Stations are as close as every one-half mile along the guideways, allowing pedestrians access at frequent intervals.
The service levels of a PRT system will be much higher than any other public transit system. PRT will be designed and engineered to compete with the privately owned automobile in terms of speed, comfort, convenience, and safety. Specifically, PRT offers:
A person is NEVER forced to share a vehicle with a stranger. All trips are made alone or in the company of up to two friends.
PRT stations will be located off of the main line, much like exiting a freeway and coming to a stop light. This allows vehicles to stop at a station without blocking the flow of the main line and lets everyone have a non-stop ride from their starting station to their destination.
Little or no waiting
Because the system attempts to keep empty vehicles at the station waiting for riders, wait times will be very short. Simulations of the Taxi2000 system show average waiting time during PEAK hours of less than 2 minutes. Wait times during non-peak hours will typically be zero – a vehicle will be waiting when the rider arrives at the station.
The relatively low projected capital costs of PRT will allow the system to be extended to a much larger area than other mass transit options. In practical terms, this means more transit stations within walking distance of more people, allowing the system to compete with the automobile for a higher proportion of the area trips.
A PRT system will operate 24-hours per day allowing even the latest shift workers and partygoers an alternative to the private automobile.
The automated PRT vehicle requires no driving skills. Young teens, the elderly, and the physically impaired will safely and easily use a PRT system. The vehicles can accommodate a wheelchair sitting sideways between the folded up seat and the dashboard.
Cyclist will have room to carry a standard sized bike to allow biking to and from the PRT stations.