Personal Rapid Transit for Airport Applications


Martin Lowson

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - operating costs, economics - benefits, place - airport


Travel time, PRT, Personal rapid transit, Operating costs, London (England), Landside operations (Airports), Journey time, Heathrow Airport, Cost of operation, Case studies, Benefits, Airport ground transportation


Personal rapid transit (PRT) systems offer a series of new opportunities for effective solution of airport-related transport problems, both on the landside and airside of the airport. A comparative analysis is offered of the potential advantages and disadvantages of this form of transport for airport applications. The work is illustrated by a case study of the application of the ULTra PRT system to serve passenger and staff car parks at Heathrow. The small scale and flexibility of the ULTra infrastructure allow use of the tunnel side bores and provide unexpectedly simple integration with the complex central terminal area. Detailed comparisons show a benefit of 60% in trip time and 40% in operating cost over current buses. The study shows that such forms of transport are well matched to landside applications for airports. An outline evaluation of possible benefits for airside operations is also presented.