Masdar eco-city in Abu Dhabi: expected to build the first city-wide PRT system in the world

Note: As of 12/01/2010, several articles have reported that the PRT component of Masdar will be limited to the small initial project that is currently built and in operation (as described below) but may (or may not) be extended to the city-wide system originally planned. The build-out date for the project has been extended by 5 years.  One can infer that it is a cost-savings measure, at least. Firm information is not currently available as to whether or not Masdar will continue to strive to be a car-free city, but some type of  transportation system for internal circulation will be needed as the city grows. Link to an article that provides some explanation of current thinking about possible solutions for the internal circulation problem.

Construction of an initial component of a city-wide  PRT system for Masdar got underway in early 2009. It consists of  1,700 meters of guideway and 13 PRT vehicles. This demonstration and test facility will be used to learn about and prove the technology, but is not now likely to become part of the planned city-wide PRT network. It became operational in late 2010.

At build-out, in about 7 years, about 2,000 electric PRT vehicles were to be in operation to serve the circulation needs of around 50,000 residents and several thousand additional non-resident employees, on a city-wide network. A recent article said that Masdar plans to host 70,000 jobs, which suggests that considerable amount of parking facilities outside of its walls will be required. Parkers would be able to use the PRT system to reach destinations inside the walls of Masdar. Some of the non-resident works will arrive/depart by rail, but others will have to use autos or buses. A diagram showing the original network of guideways and 83 stops is included in Dr. Mooge's paper (Figure 10, p. 9), cited below. The concept was that motor vehicles would be allowed inside the walled city so that the city could meet its zero-carbon environment goal.

The vehicle pictured below is the design that will be used. No official announcement of the vendor has yet been made (as of December, 2010). A link to some additional photos of this vehicle, which was on display at the World Energy Forum exhibition in Abu Dhabi in January, 2009, is provided below. Links to additional articles that were published in January, 2009 , are also provided. The most extensive article is by Dr. Mogge of CH2M/Hill.

For context, see the Abu Dhabi transport plan which includes show the location of Masdar and two other planned PRT applications.

Updates will be posted as they become available - stay tuned. 


Report  from a PRT rider at Masdar, 1/20/11

Masdar launches an electric vehicle pilot study, 1/16/11

Video of Masdar City personal rapid transit system in operation, 12/14/2010  

News about the demise of the PodCar plan for the entire Masdar eco-city, 11/30/2010

Masdar's first building complex opens up, podcar picture in top row, right side, click to enlarge. 11/23/2010  

Link to NY Times article which is excellent and detailed, lots of illustrations, 9/26/2010

Link to a video that provides images and details about the PRT system now being constructed, 5/18/2010  

Completion date of 2016 extended to 2020, 2/1/10

Walking tour video from Gulf News, 1/22/09

PRT vehicle testing underway, 1/19/10 

CNN video that describe current status of the Masdar project, 12/14/09

Extensive website for the Masdar eco-city project - lots of videos and an image gallery, 11/20/09

Brief description of the Masdar PRT project, 11/6/09

World's first city-wide PRT network under construction in Masdar, Abu Dhabi, 9/5/09

Sculptures in the Sand, 9/5/09

Mott-MacDonald appointed lead designer for Masdar infrastructure, 6/30/09

LA Times: Megaprojects shape Abu Dhabi, 6/26/09

Introducing PRT to the Sustainable City, by Lohmann and Guala

Photos of Masdar PRT vehicle from the World Energy Forum exhibition in Abu Dhabi 

Link to paper by Dr. Mogge of CH2M Hill about the Masdar PRT project

Article about Masdar, located in Abu Dhabi - site of the first areawide PRT application in the world

Car-free Masdar City will run on green cars  

PRT gets another chance at life, article in Venture

Personal Rapid Transit Startup, from an article in the MIT Technology Review

Oil rich, high living gulf nation creating first carbon-neutral city, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Last modified: January 20, 2011