M A. Sulkin

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, place - cbd, mode - bus, mode - rail


West Virginia University, Spacing, Size, Rail transit stations, PRT, Personal rapid transit, Downtowns, Dimensions, City centers, Central business districts


Although the basic concept of personal rapid transit (PRT) was originally explored at an earlier time, the decade from about 1965 to 1975 saw a flurry of interest and activity in the PRT field. During that period, the highly successful Morgantown PRT system was developed and built on the campus of the University of West Virginia in Morgantown. That system is still operating effectively and is currently upgrading its automatic control system technology, now about 30 years old. Little more had been accomplished in the PRT field until recent years when Chicago and Raytheon joined forces in a project aimed at developing and installing a PRT system in Rosemont, adjacent to O'Hare Airport. The Raytheon PRT 2000 system, currently operating on a factory test track in Marlborough, Massachusetts, is the first serious PRT activity since the Morgantown system was implemented 25 years ago. Much has been written in the intervening years about the benefits of PRT as applied to densely developed urban centers. There are, however, some substantial technical obstacles to attaining the full potential of those systems. Three types of obstacles are discussed. These obstacles involve limitations on station interval, size, and complexity requirements for high-capacity PRT stations, and how they affect system operational availability. These factors are examined in the context of a comprehensive system serving a densely developed central business district instead of the limited application as exemplified by the Morgantown system.