Personal Rapid Transit

Image showing ULTRA PRT vehicle at Heathrow Terminal 5 car park as example of a Personal Rapid Transit system

Personal Rapid Transit is a term that is used to cover a range of systems with low passenger capacity vehicles.

These systems often use forms of automation and operate on their own dedicated network of guideways separate from pedestrians and other vehicles. Systems can offer fixed routes or in more complex systems there can be on-demand point-to-point journey options.

The vehicles operating on these systems tend to be characterised by capacities as low as 3 or 4 people, up toward the 15 to 20 persons level.
This often sees them thought of as being more like an automated taxi operating over a specific network.

Examples in the UK include the Pod system operating at Heathrow Terminal 5, and the automated transit systems at Birmingham, Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow airports. All the UK operations are in relatively controlled environments, but there are examples overseas of systems with a more public nature

The systems are often bespoke to their locations with a high level of technological dependency between vehicle, signalling and control systems, and infrastructure. While it is possible to operate these systems into joint stations or interchange facilities with other transport modes, physical operating interfaces with modes such as heavy rail is likely to be unachievable with current technology.