JPods Logo

Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Definition

PRT provides transportation services that are on-demand, customized and automated.

The Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) definition of PRT is:
  • Direct origin-to-destination service with no need to transfer or stop at intermediate stations.
  • Small vehicles available for the exclusive use of an individual or small group traveling together by choice.
  • Service available on demand by the user rather than on fixed schedules.
  • Fully automated vehicles (no human drivers) which can be available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Vehicles captive to a guideway that is reserved for their exclusive use.
  • Small (narrow and light) guideways are usually elevated but also can be at or near ground level or underground.
  • Vehicles able to use all guideways and stations on a fully connected PRT network.

PRT Background

In response to the 1973 Oil Embargo, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment study PB-244854 identified Personal Rapid Transit as the solution to make US cities independent of oil. Boeing and the Federal Government built a PRT system in Morgantown, WV. The system currently is operated by West Virginia University. While the nine mile system has delivered 110 million injury-free passenger-miles, the operating costs for this system are higher than current PRT systems due to oversized vehicles/pods (8-18 people), archaic computer and networking technologies, nonexistent robotics, and heavy system materials.

With the current oil concerns, PRT has become popular once again over the past few years. Heathrow Airport in London opened an ULTraPRT system in 2010 that was built by Advanced Transport Systems, Ltd (ATS), which is partially owned by British Airways. The network has delivered over 500,000 injury-free passenger-miles.

JPod costs are and will remain significantly less than those of ATS ULTra and other small bottom supported vehicle systems. Our guideway costs are about $4 million per mile; station costs, including switches, will be approximately $600,000 per station, and vehicle costs will be approximately $15,000 per JPod.

There are about ten companies active in the PRT sector and most are outside of the US in such countries as the UK, Germany, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, and Poland. The US active companies are JPods (Las Vegas, NV), SkyTran (Los Angeles, CA), Skyweb Express (Minneapolis, MN), and CyberTran International (Oakland, CA).