Visual Intrusion Study of PRT Guideways in Gävle, Sweden

gavle1.jpg (34604 bytes) In 1994, a study that examined the design and possibilities of adapting a PRT technology with elevated guideways to the central area if an old Swedish town like Gävle, Sweden, (population 90,000) was made. A brief description of this study and a summary of the results obtained is included here. While the report itself (47 pages) is written in Swedish, it contains many beautiful graphics which makes it easy to understand for persons not able to read the Swedish text. A few of these graphic illustrations are also included here.

In a previous study, a city-wide PRT network for Gävle was laid out. A map of this PRT network is provided for those interested in an overview. This study includes examples of the design of different types of support columns and guideways for three different street types, representing a variety of problems and possibilities. It also includes plan view drawings, sections and perspective drawings for three station areas, town models (3-D) and color photos of the existing city.

The authors conducted their development work on dimensions, designs and form of track for a PRT system that is similar to the Swedish SkyCab and the PRT 2000 technology that has been developed by the Raytheon Company in the U.S. While it is not necessary for a PRT guideway to be elevated in all applications, this study was limited to elevated guideways in all locations as they pose the greatest challenges with regard to effects on journey quality, cost, encroachment, visual intrusion and physical barriers.

The three street types in the study were a main traffic artery into the city center, a central street consisting mainly of housing and a tree-planted avenue in the city center. All of these locations are of national historical importance and when it comes to the conservation of the cultural environment but the streetscapes chosen were considered representative of many Swedish cities.

The study covers technical dimensions ofcolumns and load bearing structures, architectural design of columns, guideway elements and stations as well as environmental design of those streets that would be affected.

The results show that an elevated PRT system would lead to a significant visual encroachment upon the city's environment. The major visual intrusion is caused by the stations, track girders and carriages that move along the tracks. The PRT system's encroachment in the form of noise disturbance and as a barrier are minor.

However, this visual impact can be countered by careful architectural design of columns, guideway, vehicles and stations with a view towards blending the system into the existing street environment and building facades. A PRT system's visual encroachment upon narrow streets may be countered by adjusting the street environment to the street's new function. Reduction of vehicular traffic allows for a reduction in the size and number of car lanes and increased space for pedestrians, cyclists and tree plantings.

As has been shown in previous studies of PRT in Gävle, a PRT system would provide a good basis upon which to offer a high quality of travel comfort, low-risk for accidents, long term, durable environmental benefits and comparatively low travel costs. A well designed and functional PRT system is judged to have benefits which would allow it to become a positive feature in the cityscape of Gävle despite it visual encroachment attributes.

At this time, the reception given this study by officials and citizens in Gävle is unknown and its impact on further PRT studies in Gävle is also unknown. However, a contact person in Sweden is given below.

Graphics from the Report

Since the graphics from this report are quite large, they have been arranged on separate pages so that viewers can select only those that they wish to download. They are as follows:

Color sketch from the cover of the Report (120k)

Color sketch of a street scene (110k)

Color sketch from a pedestrian's eye view , under a PRT guideway (128k)

Photo of one of the 3-D physical models constructed in this study (43k)

Sketch of four different designs for supporting columns (70k)

Sketch showing station design concepts (81k)

Five sketches showing various street and station scenes: #1 (26k), #2 (81k), #3 (44k), #4 (53k), #5 (54k).

Contact information: Title of Report: Studie Av Spårtaxi I Gävle, 1994, 47 pp., ISBN 91-88370-93-3; ISSN 0282-8014

Author: Peter Kautzky, FFNS Arkilekter, Björn Holmquist, Gävles, Stadsarkitektkontor, Sweden

For more information on PRT studies in Sweden, one can contact the Swedish Transport and Communications Research Board, Biger Jaris torg 5, Box 1273, S-111 92 Stockholm

Tel: +46 8 796 64 00; Fax: +46 8 24 56 97

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Last modified: September 11, 2002