Is PRT the Future of Mass Transit? Mountain View, CA Considers Personal Rapid Transit System

{Perugia, Italy’s MiniMetro}

Rapid Transit seems to be getting smaller and smaller. In theory Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) represents a personalized evolution in mass transit. The experience of riding in an SUV-sized vehicle is meant to appeal to those who may feel most comfortable in a car. And the split-track stations mean a vehicle waits for you at the station and then bypasses the other stations on the way to your destination. Sounds attractive.

{ULTra PRT promotional video}
Systems have been employed at airports such as Heathrow (video below) and variations can be found in places as diverse as Perugia, Italy and West Virginia University. Now it appears that Mountain View, California is considering what would be the first PRT designed to provide primary transit in a city.

The Mountain View Voice writes that the Mountain View City Council will be discussing the potential of PRT at their next meeting. The envisioned line would have 15 miles of guideway and 40 stations connecting the traditional rail station downtown with NASA Ames, Google and other employment centers. It is estimate the line would cost up to $15M per mile to construct.

An Italian news story on Perugia’s MiniMetro is below as well as a video of a ride on the PRT at London’s Heathrow Airport.