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What transportation experts say about Personal Rapid Transit

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The Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Corridor's MIS Public Comments Document (June 2001) concluded "PRT is not recommended for further study at this time." The evaluation included this statement: "It does not have the speed or capacity to serve the travel demand in this corridor."

Although SkyTran is proposing 70-150 mph PRT systems, it makes sense to start slow. So, some PRT systems are starting out with higher speed guideways, but cabs that only go 25 mph. After PRT proves itself at 25 mph, raising the cab speeds to 45 mph will be easy. As you probably know, 45 mph is what BART averages due to all of its stops. PRT cabs, which don't stop between origin and destination stations, would be just as quick as BART while only going 45 mph.

As for capacity, one guideway can handle up to 6,000 people per hour (pph). (Click here for details and pictures.) BART's projected peak demand of 18,000 pph in the year 2030 can be accomplished with three PRT guideways. Although a 3-guideway PRT solution could cost up to $60M/mile, that's still well below BART's estimated $200M/mile. By starting with one guideway rather than 3, we dramatically reduce the financial risk. When we find that the capacity is too low, we can use the expected positive cash flow from the original guideway to pay for the the next guideway. If we eventually build all three guideways, the cost will be born mostly by users.

But here's the kicker, with PRT you get 12 times the coverage - which makes it convenient for users. Here are the numbers:

  • Each guideway direction can be separated rather than occupying the same corridor. That doubles the coverage.

  • Three separated guideways instead of one bi-directional BART line covers 6 times the area.

  • PRT stations are spaced every 1/2 mile along the guideway; BART stations are spaced every 1-7 miles. Let's assume a minimum of 2 PRT stations for every BART station.

  • TOTAL COVERAGE: 2 directions X 3 guideways X 2 times more stations . . = 12 times BART coverage.

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The Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association (SNA) has proposed a city-wide PRT system in Milpitas that would link the city together, serve elders and youth, and save transportation dollars. Learn about other options for PRT in Milpitas at www.electric-bikes.com/prt-milp.html

Help SNA demonstrate public support. Help bring PRT to Milpitas. Fill out a survey and mail it in.

Link to Further Information and Status of PRT Projects.

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