Some Suggested Attributes of a High Potential Personal Rapid Transit Project
by J. B. Schneider (with contributions from Steve Raney)
Below is an effort to describe the attributes that would make the implementation of a PRT project
relative easy. It is assumed that the PRT technology has been fully developed and tested and found
to be ready for public service.
Contributions of additional ideas and attributes are welcome. Also see: Advocacy Lessons Learned for Getting the FIRST PRT System Built, by Steve Raney.
Desirable Project Area, Resident/Stakeholder and Other Attributes
1. A clear-cut (existing) need for a substantial amount of people-travel
and goods movement between multiple locations (e.g. hospitals, office buildings,
shopping centers, apartment buildings, libraries) that cannot be met easily by
2. Significant barriers to travel in the area (e.g. lakes, rivers, ponds, freeways, multilane arterials, difficult topography, lack of roads and no land to build any that can be easily acquired).
3. Some goods movement problems that PRT could help solve.
4. Limited parking available, limited space/funding to build more, on the surface or in structures
5. Existing mixed land use (residential, commercial, institutional), in a moderate to high density pattern with strong potential for further densification and diversification over time via redevelopment. Ideally, the project would unlock trapped real-estate value. It might mean removing autos and reusing that space for buildings.
6. Landowners, residents and public officials (i.e. stakeholders) are interested and willing to participate in project planning.
7. Stakeholders in project area value neighborhood prestige and believe that a PRT project will provide them (personally and by association) positive and widespread attention by media.
8. Stakeholders wish to be viewed as "trend setters", "risk takers" and "computer-savvy" by their peers.
9. Stakeholders willing to pay substantial fares for using system
10. Physical setting such that visual intrusion not a major problem. Few trees to cut, no views to block, urban design treatments to beautify installation promised.
11. Impacts of current levels of auto ownership/use in the area pervasive, mostly negative and heavy
congestion is common.
12. Substantial funding from outside sources guaranteed for capital costs and subsidies for part of operating costs, if needed.
13. Low crime rate (against persons/property) in the project area.
14. Assurance that requests for zoning changes in the area will be given top priority attention.
15. A small number of affected landowners who own large parcels rather than many owners of
small parcels (i.e. land assembly for development projects relatively easy)
16. A really wealthy technology-savvy person takes an interest in the PRT project Such a person
might be frustrated by government's inability to improve things, confident in his/her ability to bring about difficult, visionary projects, an environmentalist. Quantum/disruptive change in the U.S. is more easily achieved by wealthy technologists than by the government. The government is more adept at incremental change.
17. A strong environmental consciousness among local elected leaders and their constituents, perhaps a location outside of the U.S. such as Europe.
18. Existence of huge cash-flow generating businesses, like a gambling casino or tourist attraction in the area.
19. A large or medium sized, spread-out military base that is to be closed and redeveloped at higher densities with a mixed land use, ecologically special "new town" or other civilian use.
Last modified: May 12, 2004