Sunday, April 19, 2009

Going to the PRT conference in Heathrow, UK

I got interested in the emerging world of PRT's (public rapid transport) in October. What follows is a three-day trip to London, to the PRT@LHR conference.

My intention is to report the proceedings and findings during the days on this blog. The conference has an entry fee and most likely attendants are mainly from 'big' companies. In the spirit of citizen engineering, it would be welcome for everyone to know what is being planned to save our common future.

The PRT@LHR site claims:

This, of course, is not quite true. What Heathrow currently has is a (being built; ready later in 2009) point-to-point track between Terminal 5 and VIP parking lot. That hardy qualifies as a PRT track, more like automated golf carts I would say.

This is not to say Heathrow couldn't _grow_ to be a true PRT; only this time it won't be it, yet. It also shows how eager these companies are to declare something to be the first. Meaning: the following projects won't be first. Virgin problem here, eh?

My estimate is that Abu Dhabi will be the real first. Hopefully, I will learn more of that during the conference as well.

1 comment:

James said...

As I understand it, there are three offline stops on the track and, starting out at any one, you can go directly to either of the others with no intervening stops, while other pods proceed around the main line, unimpeded. How is that not "true" (albeit minimalist) PRT? The larger plan for Heathrow is to expand the system to serve all the terminals and parking lots, as well as connect the airport to places in the surrounding area. They just want to make sure that PRT performs as hoped before the ramp-up. It seems as if BAA are pursuing this project very intelligently, and I wish them all success. I hope to be able to route a layover through Heathrow one of these days, just to enjoy their "E Ticket" PRT ride.