Assessing the Contribution and the Feasibility of a Citywide Personal Rapid Transit System

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - demand, economics - benefits, place - europe, place - urban


Urban areas, System performance, PRT, Personal rapid transit, Microsimulation, Level of service, Feasibility analysis, Europe, Economic models, Demand, Case studies, Benefits, Barriers to implementation


There is renewed interest in Europe in the potential role of new automated technologies for urban transport. One such system is personal rapid transit (PRT), a system of automated demand-responsive vehicles designed to transport individuals directly to their destinations. Assessing the contribution of such a system when applied extensively in an urban area is challenging. Methods used to assess the potential viability of traditional systems have to be updated to incorporate the new technologies. Several interrelated methods are examined to assess the feasibility and potential benefits of a citywide PRT system by using a case study region. Microsimulation analysis is used to obtain relationships between network characteristics, level of service, demand, and system performances. Outputs from this analysis feed into the strategic model that is used to test the contribution that such a system will make. Outputs from both the microsimulation and strategic modeling are used in the creation and running of a business case tool that provides the basis of the economic justification for such a scheme. Finally, barriers to the introduction of a PRT system are described, along with means of overcoming them.