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P ERSONAL R APID T RANSIT Ferrol O. Robinson Research Fellow, State and Local Policy Program Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs University of Minnesota.

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Presentation on theme: "P ERSONAL R APID T RANSIT Ferrol O. Robinson Research Fellow, State and Local Policy Program Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs University of Minnesota."— Presentation transcript:

1 P ERSONAL R APID T RANSIT Ferrol O. Robinson Research Fellow, State and Local Policy Program Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs University of Minnesota March 2, 2020 C ONTEXT FOR PRT AND P OTENTIAL A PPLICATIONS M N /DOT – ACEC M INNESOTA A NNUAL C ONFERENCE

2 S PEAKING P OINTS Context for Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Description of PRT System Role of PRT in a Mobility Framework Potential Applications in Minnesota Anticipated Benefits and General Concerns Need for Feasibility Analysis


4 H EATHROW A IRPORT ULT RA S ITE As of February 16, 2010… 17-vehicle system 3 stations; 5 later this year Automatic berth doors, passenger charging, destination selection kiosks: fully operational Passengers trials have started Commencement of full public operations in first half of 2010

5 C ONTEXT PRT is only an alternative to buses and LRT where these transit modes are not the best solution: PRT has different applications and serves different user markets. PRT is not a Magic Bullet or a Panacea: It is a highly- competitive mode to the automobile, highly- complementary to buses and LRT, and extends the reach of walking and bicycling.

6 C ONTEXT Peter Calthorpe, Principal, Calthorpe Associates, CA Author: Next American Metropolis Expertise: New Urbanism, Smart Growth, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) TOD can be intermeshed with PRT in a flexible and economic way. We really need you guys [PRT] to succeed! (Speech at ATRAs Carbon-Free Mobility Conference, Oakland, CA, March 2009) I used to be a PRT skeptic, but now the technology is there. It wont be easy to develop PRT and get all the kinks out, but it is doable. If you think what you would want from an ideal transit technology, its PRT: stations right where you are, within walking distance, no waiting. (Congress for New Urbanism (CNU), Pasadena, CA, 2005)

7 D ESCRIPTION OF PRT Service Characteristics On-demand, point-to-point, non-stop transit service Fast, reliable, predictable travel times Very short headways and wait times, cars wait for passengers at stations Prepaid fares and no transfers ADA compliance Available 24/7

8 D ESCRIPTION OF PRT System Design Features Fully automated, driverless, lightweight electric cars Small cars (4-5 passengers) that run on segregated tracks (elevated, at-grade, or underground) Off-line stations allow for non-stop service High number of stations and interconnected loops increase accessibility Stations can be built inside or adjacent to buildings

9 D ESCRIPTION OF PRT Operating Characteristics Peak headways: 2 to 4 seconds, based on demand Peak-hour wait time: one minute on average Operating speeds: 25 to 30 mph Dwell time at stations: less than 10 seconds

10 D ESCRIPTION OF PRT People-Moving Capacity Average: 3,000 passengers per hour (3-second headway, 2.5 passengers per car) Maximum: 4,800 passengers per hour (3-second headway, 4 passengers per car)

11 D ESCRIPTION OF PRT Environmental Features Low-energy consumption per passenger-mile (200-300 mpg equivalent) Very low carbon footprint – no local emissions Low noise levels inside vehicle and outside Minimizes use of surface land


13 PRT R OLES Collection-Distribution Function: Solves the last-mile gap in most transit services, and can improve the first- mile gap also Circulation Function: Connects major transit stops, stations and parking facilities with work, shopping, medical, education and other origin/destinations. Shuttle Function: Connects heavy trip generation centers that are in relatively close proximity to each other.

14 P OTENTIAL A PPLICATIONS IN M INNESOTA Downtown areas such as Minneapolis and Saint Paul CBD Smaller-city downtown areas with large trip generation such as Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato Large employment concentrations such as the I-494 Edina and Bloomington corridor axes and the Maple Grove Gravel Mining Development Area, and the airport University of Minnesota: East Bank/West Bank/ Fairview Hospital campuses Major shopping complexes such as the Mall of America, Airport South and other regional shopping centers

15 M ODAL R ELATIONSHIPS PRT and Autos: Competitive PRT provides modal competition to autos in high-density, compact areas where PRT speeds are higher PRT allows car drivers to park further from destination and experience cost savings PRT and Parking: Optimizing PRT can enhance shared-parking use and reduce peak-period demand and supply PRT can maximize use of available parking during special events by making distant spaces more accessible

16 M ODAL R ELATIONSHIPS PRT and Bus/LRT/Commuter Rail: Complementary and Synergistic PRT solves the last-minute transit service gap making bus, LRT and Commuter Rail more attractive transit modes PRT facilitates transfers between these transit modes PRT and Walking/Biking: Enhancing PRT extends the walking range of current pedestrian trips PRT can induce walk trips to stations by facilitating access to restaurants, shopping and work-related activities PRT gives bicyclist an option for avoiding heavy traffic, signals and congestion

17 S UMMARY OF E XPECTED PRT B ENEFITS Combines advantages and efficiencies of bus and rail transit with the high level of service of automobiles Ability to serve last-mile/first-mile transit service gap Can increase demand for other transit modes Can substitute for many auto trips and reduce auto dependency and congestion High people-moving capacity accommodates modal demand High level of service, accessibility and ride quality

18 S UMMARY OF E XPECTED PRT B ENEFITS ADA compliant Low use of energy Low environmental impact Minimum use of surface land Grade-separated system minimizes conflicts, and can reduce crashes and fatalities Ability to deliver goods at night and off-peak

19 C ONCERNS E XPRESSED ABOUT PRT Unproven technology Visual impacts and aesthetics Safety concerns: failure to stop/stranded passengers on guideway Inability to carry large numbers of people Security concerns about sharing rides with strangers Uncertainty about capital and operating costs

20 A NALYSIS OF F EASIBILITY Evaluation of status of development of major PRT components: –Guideway engineering (structural) –Chassis engineering (mechanical) –Cabin design (specialty) –Control system (electronics) –Station and maintenance facility design (civil)

21 A NALYSIS OF F EASIBILITY Steps needed to implement PRT system: Identification of site options and system layout Ridership and revenue forecasts (investment grade) Estimation of capital and operating costs Evaluation of funding availability and financing approach: public-private partnerships, parking-optimization revenues, station cost-sharing with private sector, advertising revenues, etc.

22 A NALYSIS OF F EASIBILITY Evaluation of issues and concerns Reliability of technology Visual impacts Safety Security System capacity System operations Other

23 A NALYSIS OF F EASIBILITY Evaluation of benefits Livability factors Sustainability factors Benefit-Cost analysis Evaluation of options and selection of preferred alternative(s)

24 For additional information, please contact Ferrol O. Robinson Research Fellow State and Local Policy Program Humphrey Institute of Urban Affairs University of Minnesota 612.210.9552

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