Another alternative for conquering hills – Personal Rapid Transport Pods

29 01 2010

Ok the Flying Bicycles were a bit out there, and the bicycle elevators are very bicycle specific bits of infrastructure, so in a city dominated by the automobile as Wellington is, without much chance for reform amongst the mainstreaming suburbanites and non-thinkers in the Beehive (I mean there still isn’t a bike path seaward of the railway line to Petone, or a safe route to ride from Wellington to Porirua) other solutions other than widening the SH1 and SH2 should be found for getting about future Wellington. Light rail extensions are all well and good, but no one is rushing to build them.

How about the idea of Personal Rapid Transport? Where you ride around in a pod, and you can chuck in your bike or your wheelchair, and you dial up the station you want to go to, and it doesn’t stop at any other station on the way and there is no waiting for a pod to come to your station, as they are waiting for you. They’re driverless and safe, and could take you from one elevation to another. They run on batteries and use 7000W motors.

Inside a PRT pod

The photo is from a company called Advanced Transport Systems from Bristol in the UK.  They are just testing their system at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 now. See the video on this page.

PRTs are not a completely new idea and there are a few in existence, like this one in Morgantown, West Virginia.

I see a unified system in Wellington of the existing electrified rail (with maybe a couple light rail extensions to fill out the network) and a network of Personal Rapid Transport Pods and Bikeshare schemes, with separated cycle infrastructure (with the odd bike elevator), and secure bike parking facilities where we can park our electric bikes and our trailers (for the groceries and the kids) and our velomobiles, where all petrol and diesel driven cars and most electric cars are banished from the streets. And good riddance to buses too.

And what about graffiti vandals and window scratchers and alcoholic vomiters, and urinators and smokers who light up ruining it for the next people, well your tickets would identify you, there’d be on board CCTV and smoke detectors and the doors would lock, the speaker system would say “you’re nicked” and you’d be rerouted to a special station located in the bowels of a police station, where the door unlocks and you’d have to explain yourself, pay a heavy fine and be responsible for all clean up fees.

With thinking like this who’d give permission to build yet another multi-level carpark in the CBD, or a $2,500,000,000.00 motorway? It’s time to reinvent the city.

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18 02 2010
Comedy Gold for Urban Planners « Wellington Region Cycleways

[…] 18 02 2010 Whilst this is getting a bit away from being cycling related, I have shown PRT (Personal Rapid Transport pods) before here on this blog. I think they may even have a role to play in the future (unlike James […]

22 02 2010
Another out there idea – velo-city « Wellington Region Cycleways

[…] idea here on this blog. There was the bicycle elevator,  the flying bicycle cableway, and the PRT pods. And who can forget these crazy ideas for getting dolphins from one side of America to the […]

27 09 2010
Railcycles Past and Present « Wellington Region Cycleways

[…] Shweeb? It is kind of like a pedal powered PRT pod. PRT ranges from the nearly useful, but still yet to be operational Heathrow Airport system to the very ridiculous. PRT is a land for dreamers and kranks, but I guess there is room for […]

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