Personal Rapid Transit Safety and Security on University Campus

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - safety/accidents, mode - mass transit


West Virginia University, Universities and colleges, Transit, Safety and security, Public transit, PRT, Personal rapid transit, People movers, Passenger conveyors, Mass transit, Local transit, Kansas State University, Automated people movers


Personal rapid transit (PRT) uses small driverless vehicles operating on dedicated guideways to transport passengers efficiently to their destinations. A study was focused on the safety and security of PRT in a university setting. Safety issues result from accidental causes, and security issues result from deliberate causes, but the effects are similar; both were analyzed according to threats (or hazards) and vulnerabilities. Threats and vulnerabilities were rated according to ASCE’s automated people mover standards. Safety data were gathered for the 30-year old Morgantown PRT system at West Virginia University and for surface transportation on the Kansas State University (KSU) campus. KSU has no plans to build a PRT system. Where applicable, these data were used to calibrate the hypothetical PRT system ratings and also used to help determine which of those aspects rated undesirable or, worse, warranted additional mitigating measures. The study concluded that no aspect of PRT posed any significant security or safety issues that had not been successfully mitigated in other forms of public transit. Furthermore, the nature of PRT, in which passengers are aggregated in small groups rather than large groups, provides significant threat deterrence when compared with traditional transit. In addition, using a PRT concept as a shuttle between peripheral parking and central facilities in combination with restricted vehicle access to central facilities significantly decreases the threat exposure for vehicle-born explosive devices.