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Evaluating Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

How it Works Construction Economics Point-To-Point Transport Capacity Concerns PRT and the Environment SF Bay Area Further Information

This comparison chart comes from the Greenville County, NC, Economic Development Corporation PERSONAL RAPID TRANSIT EVALUATION Study.


From: rputman@aol.com
To: prt-info@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 12:59 PM
Subject: [prt-info] Re: Curtis Johnson article

I've been following PRT for more than 3 decades. Thirty years ago, the electronic hardware for PRT was not very cost effective. Now it is. To put things in perspective, I've created a comparison grid which compares PRT, car, bus, and light rail transit (LRT). Admittedly this is a subjective analysis. However, anybody could take the criteria and input their own numbers to come up with THEIR conclusion.

Evaluating Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)
versus Car, Bus, and Light Rail Transit (LRT)

So as to be able to quantitatively compare various systems, this analysis assigns a numerical value for each criterion/system combination. The point values assigned are:

4 = excellent, 3 = good, 2 = average, 1 = poor, 0 = awful.

Criterion and comments

P R T

c a r

b u s

L R T

capital cost for new road, rail or guideway

4

1

1

1

capital cost per vehicle

4

3

2

1

land acquisition required for new right of way

4

1

1

2

operating cost per vehicle: PRT vehicles are very simple, compared to a car. Hence, there is less that can go wrong. Also, one PRT vehicle is will likely be used for dozens of trips per day, thus spreading out operating costs.

4

1

2

2

trip comfort. PRT is the only option that is nonstop from origin to destination.

4

3

1

2

average trip speed during rush hour. Stops enroute hurt LRT.

4

0

1

2

impact of a labor strike PRT is automated, requires no driver.

4

4

0

1

energy efficiency under light loading: An empty PRT vehicle might weigh 800 pounds, an empty LRT vehicle is around 80,000 pounds. Now the energy efficiency to haul two passengers in each type of vehicle. Bus & car fall in between.

4

3

2

0

total trip time: On a trip to work, this would include getting to the vehicle departure point, trip time in the vehicle, and getting from the vehicle debarkation point to the work site. LRT offers the fewest get on/get off points. Car time suffers enroute.

3

3

2

1

noise pollution: Regarding cars, some people love to make their cars go varoooom, squeal their tires, and crank up the stereo with the windows open. On a bus or LRT you may have to put up with some stranger's boom box. On PRT you get to choose who you ride with.

4

3

3

3

air pollution:

4

2

0

3

Likelihood of collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians: A PRT system operates on its own elevated guide way. An LRT cannot swerve out of the way to avoid an impending collision.

4

0

0

0

security while waiting to embark: Bus and LRT riders have to wait around until the next scheduled vehicle comes.

3

4

1

1

security enroute Riders on buses and LRT have no choice as to who they ride with.

4

4

1

1

maintenance of travel surface This rating for PRT assumes a system hung from above rather than supported from below. For a supported from below system the rating would be the same as LRT.

4

1

1

3

ease of system expansion PRT can use existing rights of way.

4

2

2

1

downtown space needed to park vehicles during the day

4

0

4

4

ability to drop shoppers off inside malls, hotels and other businesses

4

0

0

1

How well does the system adapt to you - when You want to leave and where YOU want to go? Fixed schedules and routes are negatives for buses and LRT. PRT is an on-demand system so you never have to wait for a vehicle because they are sitting in line waiting for you. Once boarded, your personal PRT vehicle never stops or slows down (The SkyTran system is designed to travel 100 mph!) until you have arrived at your chosen destination.

3

4

1

0

Can the rider pay close attention to serious work while enroute to work, such as using a laptop computer? On a bus or LRT the frequent stops and starts and the actions of other riders are distractions.

4

0

2

2

What is the likelihood of a vehicle breakdown?

4

2

2

3

If a driver becomes impaired because of a heart attack or the influence of drugs or alcohol how bad are the potential consequences? PRT has no human driver.

4

0

0

1

If an emergency happens in the vehicle, the vehicle can be rerouted to the nearest facility for treating that emergency. With a car, if the emergency is affecting the driver, that presents a real problem.

4

2

1

0

Degree of disruption of roadways and businesses along alignments during system construction or expansion.

4

0

0

2

System Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without incurring significant additional costs.

4

4

0

0

Tax subsidy needed? For cars, the huge cost per mile for road construction and maintenance is paid for with taxes. With buses & LRT, tax money pays toward both capital costs and operating costs.

4

3

0

0

Practical use for the handicapped, children, and the elderly. LRT falls down here because of severely limited entry and egress choices. Cars provide those choices, but often a separate driver is needed.

4

2

2

1

Point totals for PRT, CAR, BUS, and LRT.

105

52

32

38

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www.electric-bikes.com/prt-info.html

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