Public transport to compete with the car - a study of Personal Rapid Transit in Daventry, UK

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - car


Daventry is a small town south-east of Birmingham in the UK. It has a population of 23,000, which is due to rise to 40,000 under the government's Sustainable Communities Plan. Most of the town is laid out for the car on semi-Radburn principles. Bus services are consequently difficult to operate profitsbly and the car is the dominant form of transort in and to the town. Late in 2006 CB completed a study comparing improved bus services with the alternative of a personal rapid transit (PRT) network, as a means of providing a better public transport system for the expanding town and one which would compete effectively with the car. The preferred PRT network comprised 50km of one way track with some 50 "stations". It provides non-stop travel at 40kph between any pair of stations, using 300 driverless, 4-seater vehicles. All major workplaces, schools, etc. and the town centre are on the network. Tests made with the County Council's multi-modal transport model indicated that the PRT network would eliminate the need for local bus services and provide a public transport service which would cut the internal car traffic by over 30%. It would also come very close to covering its full operating and capital costs and perform well in cost/benefit, carbon emissions and planning terms. Partly as a result of the Radburn layout, the PRT network could mostly be constructed at grade. The paper describes the design, testing and evaluation process. As a result of the study, the Borough are now seeking to procure the first part of the track and to introduce the world's first urban PRT network in public service.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.