JPods Logo

What is a JPod?

A JPod is a small, efficient, safe, computer driven vehicle for transporting people and cargo.  An empty JPod for moving people typically weighs about 450 pounds (205 kilograms).   A JPod runs suspended from an overhead rail.

Are there different types of JPods?

Yes.  There are several types.  People JPods carry people and their shopping bags or luggage.  Gurney JPods are larger and are mobile ambulances that carry medical support equipment and a caregiver with a patient.  Trash JPods carry waste.  Cargo JPods carry a standard pallet.  Other specialty JPods can be summoned to transport wheelchairs and bicycles and their riders.

How do JPods perform in various weather conditions?

The JPod system is designed to endure the worst extremes of weather.  The vehicle is suspended below the rail with its drive mechanism enclosed above inside the overhead rail, protecting it from rain and snow.  JPods are designed to operate between the -58 to 122 Fahrenheit ( +/- 50 centigrade) in 45 mph (72 kph) sustained winds with snow loads of 50 pounds per square foot (194 kg/square meter).  In higher winds vehicle travel is suspended.  The rails and supports are designed to withstand 90 mph (145 kph) sustained winds with snow loads of 50 pounds per square foot (194 kg/square meter). 

How fast do JPods travel?

30-40 miles per hour / 48-64 kilometers per hour

Can JPods go up hills?

Yes, JPods can climb grades of 3% without reducing speed.  Steeper grades require the JPod to slow down to limit power consumption.

Who actually operates JPods?

Local Mobility Companies (LMCs) purchase the rights to operate JPods technology in a given area.  LMCs are privately owned or public-private partnerships.  LMCs work with all different types of community members; elected officials, the media, neighborhood groups, local government, and private capital, to receive the necessary approval to build and operate a JPods network.

Are any JPods up and running now?

No. JPods, Inc. has signed letters of intent from Secaucus, New Jersey, as well as Anshan, Kunming, and Linyi, China.  JPods, Inc. is currently in negotiations with various venture capital firms that will lead to increasing opportunities to begin construction.

What is the economic and societal impact if JPods and personal rapid transit (PRT) is built?

This will create new industries; complementing existing “green” infrastructure. JPods can operate on solar power and save a pound of CO2 per passenger mile automated.

The transition will create new companies, new job skills, and educational growth.  An array of positive economic opportunities will reduce current traffic congestion, pollution and foreign oil dependence.  We recommend that funds currently allocated to Light Rail Transit (LRT) not be spent on LRT.  We believe these funds are better used to reinforce the growth of  sustainable industry, jobs, educational and economic opportunities associated with personal rapid transit (PRT).

Many cities are considering Light Rail Transit (LRT) or already have LRT.  How does JPods and Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) compare?

The City of Ottawa, Canada is currently planning to build 31 km of light rail.  For about the same capital investment, JPods, Inc. can create a network of about 200 km of interconnected lines.  The increased mobility and ease of construction contrasted to LRT is dramatic.  LRT normally requires subsidies to sustain operation while JPods makes money and can add to a city’s budget.  Further, JPods operates at a profit attractive enough to attract private capital.  Government money is not required to build JPod systems.

How many people will the JPod seat?

A JPod will seat 1-4 people and and/or room for groceries and small items.  Some will have room for two bicycles.

Can units of government buy into a LMC? Does it just have to be privately owned?

Yes. There is no limit to how a LMC will be organized.  By owning a portion of a LMC local units of government help provide part of the financing, and create a reliable stream of income for city and/or county coffers.  The formation of public/private companies is encouraged.

Won’t JPods and their rails be ugly and unsightly?

Think about the existing infrastructure.  Telephone poles, light poles, power lines and stop lights abound.  They are so common, they are ubiquitous; they are ugly.  A JPod network will normally be rails suspended from poles like a suspension bridge, gracefully looping along its path.  We think this will be pleasing to most people.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Will there be cameras installed inside the pod? If so, why?

Yes.  Two cameras will be inside the JPod; one facing forward and one facing backward.  Cameras are needed to document any inappropriate activity to permit billing of repair costs and provide evidence of criminal behavior.  Each JPod has an emergency touch point that will alarm and draw attention from the central monitoring personnel.  Cameras help keep people safe.

What about light poles, stop lights, telephone lines, and power lines? Won’t they cause problems with setting up a JPods PRT line?

Where permitted by ordinance, the poles that are used to support the JPods can also be used as light poles, or stop lights, or as supports for telephone and data lines.  It is not safe to support power lines above the JPods rails.

Does JPods Inc. envision a time when there will be no cars?

No, cars have a purpose.  Although inefficient, cars are well suited for long distance travel and going to irregular destinations.  Once a sufficient size local network is fully built, JPods, Inc. envisions people buying fewer cars; families avoid buying a second or third car for teenagers.

Are there any special rights of ways or special permitting that needs to take place to build a JPods network?

Yes and No.  LMCs will go through the normal city / county review process for permits for construction.  Where a local government puts excessive restrictions or makes it too onerous to build, the LMC may have to enlist public support and pressure to resolve the political constraints.  Initially, JPods, Inc. will build where we are wanted and the roadblocks do not exist.

How much weight can a pod support?

The load capacity depends upon the type of vehicle.  A standard people JPod can carry 4 people with a generous margin on normal weight.  We have made provisions to supply typical bus seat space for each person.  A very obese person will prevent a second person from sharing that side of the JPod.

People arrive at, and JPods are stored at, stations. How big are these stations and what kind of footprint do they have?

Initially, each location will probably require a custom design.  Once several JPod systems are built, the common elements will be standardized.   JPod stations will be much smaller than train stations for equivalent throughput.  An individual loading area should be no bigger than a typical covered bus stop, about 10 feet by 8 feet (3 m x 2.4 m).  A four JPod loading area station can surpass a LRT station in rider capacity.

How high off the ground does a JPod operate?

Where the JPods cross streets and highways, the bottom of the JPod is above the height of a tractor trailer so there is no possibility of collision with ground traffic.   Where JPods will not interfere with ground vehicular traffic, they may be lower, but still above pedestrian traffic.   

Who will physically build the J-Pods?

Construction will be performed under contracts to the LMCs.  JPods, Inc. will ensure all construction is according to JPods, Inc. quality standards or the system will not permitted to operate. 

Will there be fans inside or will the windows open to keep people cool?  Will there be electric heat to keep people warm?

Each JPod intended to carry people will have its own heat pump and ventilation unit, similar to the small units used in hotel rooms.  It will automatically provide cooling or heating and fresh air to maintain comfort.    

At what point does owning Local Mobility Company become profitable?

Each JPod network is a distinct operating entity.  We believe that many properly managed LMCs have the potential to pay for themselves in three or four years and show pre-tax profit in the range of 30% and higher.

What kind of power will JPods run on? 110 AC?

The JPod system supplies power to the JPod vehicles via power conductor cables supported from the rail support structure.  These cables are totally enclosed by electrical insulation and can be touched without harm.  The voltage inside these cables is at a high frequency; 20 thousand cycles per second.  The JPod vehicles receive power by the process of magnetic induction through pickup units that run about ¼” (6 mm) from the conductor cables.  All of this equipment is weatherproof.  The power pickup unit and power converters within the JPod electronics produce voltages as needed for the DC motors and computer.

What happens if a JPod motor fails?

Each JPod has two drive bogies in the overhead rail.  Each bogie is driven by its own DC motor.  Each motor has sufficient capacity to drive the JPod to its destination.  A motor failure will not be noticed by a passenger.  After unloading, the JPod will not accept new passengers and will drive itself to the maintenance area.

What will the pod be constructed from?

JPods will be built from lightweight, strong materials; aluminum and rigid composite fabrics.

Are the JPods wheelchair accessible?

Special wheelchair accessible JPods will be in the system and can be summoned when needed.
Government Studies
Last Oil Crisis, 1975 At Senatorial request, DOT defined PRT as a likely solution to oil addiction. It also noted the likely reasons it would not be adopted which had to do with lack of will to implement simple solutions.
060322_EUStudy.pdf Definitive study by the European Union that concludes RPT is the solution that can attract drivers from their cars into mass transit.
InnovPTS2_Swedish.pdf Swedish study of PRT and its importance to replace auto trips.
CSTWinnipegGilbert_0604.pdf Canadian Sustainable Infrastructure study of energy sources and PRT.
edict_brochure.pdf European Union Summary of Study for PRT in several cities.
directory_fp5_cot_projects_en.pdf European Union extensive scientific approach to designing cities of the future.
morgantown_TRB_111504.pdf Morgantown, WV has been operating an oversized, hybrid of Group and Personal Rapid Transit since 1975. They logged 100 million injury free passenger miles.
hagenstudyCabinetTaxi.pdf German PRT project
Wupertal Because of its suspended design, the Schwebenbahn is one of the safest transportation systems in the world. Having carried more than 1.5 billion passengers it has had only one fatal accident at the cost of 5 lives. That is radically different than the 40,000 deaths per year from cars in the US.
Industry and Academic Studies
prt_Campus_Schneider.pdf Study of campus solution with PRT.
EPA sponsored Studies Study of specific implementations by Steve Raney. Very well defined method of determining benefits
SolarEvolution Solar energy company presentation on the synergy between low mass transit and solar energy.
Princeton University Excellent study of how a network the size of New Jersey can be broken into implementations by economic community.
prt_Campus_Schneider.pdf Study of campus solution with PRT.
Prt_Italian.pdf Italian PRT study.
PRTinitiative_TRB_4web.pdf PRT study presented at the TRB.
FutureofHCPRT-Jan606.doc Dr. Ed Anderson's 2005 paper on PRT. Ed is a leading pioneer and carried the torch for many years.
infrastructure_cost_ASCE.doc Cost comparison of various infrastructure alternatives.
LeanManufacturingTransit.pdf Just-in-Time productivity gains benefited manufacturers shift from Mass Production. The same focus on quality applies to productivity opportunities in Mass Transportation.
T2K-Rebuttal-to-CALS.pdf Taxi 2000 response to not being selected as the vendor for Cincinnati's people mover.
Ultra_case_studies.pdf Ultra's case studies of various PRT opportunities
Ultra_clean_air_paper.pdf Ultra's clean air study.
Ultra_Econ_assessments.doc Ultra's Economic Assessment
CascadiaHitchhikePaper.doc PRT study of the Microsoft Campus area.
CaseForPRT.pdf Study on why PRT is important.
CostPerMileOperations_UWa.pdf Study of Cost per Mile of various rail systems.
emery_genl_plan.ppt Powerpoint using Emeryville, CA as an example of the benefits of PRT. Presentation by Steve Raney of
Industry Sites
Advance Transit Organization which promotes the PRT industry.
Innovative Transportation University of Washington, Innovative Transportation Technologies site.
Get There Board Advocacy site
Citizens for PRT Advocacy site
Austin Citizens for PRT Advocacy site
Manufacturer's Sites
Skyweb Minnesota based PRT system.
ULTra British PRT System
Coaster Swiss PRT System
Vectus Korean/Swedish collaboration to build PRT systems. Well funded by mult-billion dollar Korean steel company.
SkyTran MegLev PRT system.
Mister Polish suspended system.
MagLev MagneMotion meglev company.
Macro Reports on Consequences
IPCC The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
Stern Review British Treasury Report on immediate need to invest 1% of world GDP to mitigate 20% collapse of world GDP from Global Warming.
ABC Webcast of Peak Oil Very well done presentation on the details behind Peak Oil.
World Economic Forum, 2007 List of economic risks and probabilities.
Washington State Climate Change Consequences Very well done presentation on the details behind Peak Oil.
California Climate Warning Climate change impact on California.
Regulatory Breakthrough
freight_Public_Private.htm California Laws review for public investment in private rail.
Background details on automobiles and trip replacement
pub_heavy_load_10_06.pdf Heavy burden on families, housing and transportation. Study underscores that transportation is a very heavy burden on lower income working families.
RealPriceGasoline1998.pdf Real cost of gasoline.
AutoGHG_0608.pdf Automobiles and Green House Gases
GasPerDay_pmmtab48.pdf Gas usage per day by State
motor_gas_ass.pdf DOE assessment of mechanics of gas prices increases in 1996 and 1997.
CostsperMileRoads2005.pdf Cost per mile for roads.