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Question: Will this work in Singapore?
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Personal rapid transit (PRT), also called personal automated transport (PAT) or podcar, is a public transportation concept that offers automated on-demand non-stop transportation, on a network of specially-built guideways.
A public PRT installation, ULTra, is currently under construction at Heathrow Airport in London, and scheduled to open for public use in 2008.
PRT is a system of small vehicles under independent or semi-independent automatic control, running on fixed guideways. The idea attempts to address a number of perceived weaknesses of public mass transit including fixed timetabling, limited routes, and sharing travel space with unrelated travelers (see comparison below).
In 1988, The Advanced Transit Association (ATRA), a group which advocates the use of technological solutions to transit problems, published a definition for PRT as follows:
* Fully automated vehicles capable of operation without human drivers.
* Vehicles captive to a reserved guideway.
* Small vehicles available for exclusive use by an individual or a small group, typically 1 to 6 passengers, traveling together by choice and available 24 hours a day.
* Small guideways that can be located above ground, at ground level or underground.
* Vehicles able to use all guideways and stations on a fully coupled PRT network.
* Direct origin to destination service, without a necessity to transfer or stop at intervening stations.
* Service available on demand rather than on fixed schedules.
The definition does not specify a particular technology, such as electric motors, linear motors, magnetic levitation, or rubber wheels. It does not specify whether vehicles are to be supported on the guideway or suspended from the guideway. Instead, it is derived from analysis of the functionality, efficiency, scalability, and service provided by the total engineering and design of the system.
Proponents say that the low weight of small vehicles has the important benefit of allowing smaller guideways and support structures compared to other mass transit systems like light rail, translating into lower construction cost, smaller easements, and less visually obtrusive infrastructure.
The concept has been independently reinvented many times since the 1960s. It is considered controversial, and the city-wide deployment with many closely-spaced stations envisaged by proponents has yet to be constructed.
Reasons past projects have failed include lack of financing, cost overruns, regulatory conflicts, political issues, and flaws in engineering or design.
From 2002–2005, the EDICT project, sponsored by the European Union, conducted a study on the feasibility of PRT in four European cities. The study involved 12 research organizations, and concluded that PRT:
* would provide future cities "a highly accessible, user-responsive, environmental friendly transport system which offers a sustainable and economic solution."
* could "cover its operating costs, and provide a return which could pay for most, if not all, of its capital costs."
* would provide "a level of service which is superior to that available from conventional public transport"
* would be "well received by the public, both public transport and car users."
The report also concluded that, despite these advantages, public authorities will not commit to building PRT because of the risks associated with being the first public implementation.
Comparison of Personal Rapid Transit with existing transport systems:
* Similar to automobiles Vehicles are small—typically two to six passengers
* Vehicles are individually hired, like taxis, and shared only with the passengers of one's choosing
* Vehicles travel along a network of guideways, much like a network of streets.
* Travel is point-to-point, with no intermediate stops or transfers
* It can be available on an on-demand, around-the-clock basis
* Stops are designed to be off the main guideway, allowing through traffic to bypass stations unimpeded
* Similar to trams, buses, and monorails
* A public amenity (although not necessarily publicly owned), shared by multiple users
* Reduced local pollution (electric powered)
* Passengers embark and disembark at discrete stations, analogous to bus stops or taxi stands
* Similar to automated people movers
* Fully automated, including vehicle control, routing, and collection of fares
* Usually off-grade—typically elevated—reducing land usage and congestion
* Vehicle movements may be coordinated, unlike the autonomous human control of automobiles and bikes
* Small vehicle size allows infrastructure to be smaller than other transit modes
* Automated vehicles can travel close together.
* Possibilities include dynamically combined "trains" of vehicles, separated by a few inches, to reduce drag and increase speed, energy efficiency and passenger density
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