Conceptual PRT Network for Los Angeles, California

A conceptual PRT network for Los Angeles was developed as part of the PRT study conducted by the Aerospace Corporation (El Segundo, CA) and described in the book entitled Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit (full citation below). It is described in Chapter 11 (PRT Economics and Benefits, written by Harry Bernstein. Bernstein devised this PRT network in order to make comparisons with a 1973 rapid rail/bus proposal prepared for the Southern California Rapid Transit District. It was being debated at that time. His objective was to devise a PRT network that could be built for approximately half the capital cost of the rapid rail/bus proposal - and still provide a comparable or superior level of transit service to the LA region.

A diagram of the conceptual PRT network devised is provided. Bernstein noted that the PRT network would have 1,084 stations as compared to 61 for the rail/bus proposal and so would provide a greater level of coverage at much less cost (the goal was a network that would be half the cost of the rail/bus plan). Other quantities estimated are shown on the diagram. The Aerospace team did not perform the analyses need to determine the most desirable route alignments and station locations. Rather, the network was conceptual, intended only to make comparisons with the coverage provided by the rail/bus proposal possible. In estimating the cost of the PRT network, Aerospace assumed a nominal 100 vehicles per guideway-mile to estimate fleet size. It was projected that the resulting 64,000 vehicles would be sufficient to carry as many as 1,500,000 passengers per day. Apparently the PRT ridership estimate was not calculated with the aid of a simulation program but was a "reasonable assumption" A close reading of the details of the comparison, including all assumptions and performance estimates is required to completely understand these results. Such details are provided in the book and the interested reader will find them in Chapter 11, pages 299-303. A digital copy of the book is available at:

The book is now out-of-print but can be obtained in many large University libraries or through local libraries that have an interlibrary loan service available.

Irving, Jack, Harry Bernstein, C.L. Olsen and Jon Buyan, Fundamentals of Personal Rapid Transit, Lexington Books: D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington, Massachusetts, 1978, 332 pp.

Last modified: July 04, 2009