A notional replacement for existing public transportation systems. A personal rapid transit system (PRT) would consist of a network of light-weight, probably elevated, tracks that cover a broad territory. On this system would run numerous small cars, holding 1-4 people each. A rider would go to a station and call a car. Once inside, they would enter a destination and the car would be routed to the destination by a central computer system. It is faster, safer, and more convenient than traditional transit options.

The idea dates to at least the 1960s, when computers, systems theory, and cybernetics advanced to the point where the above scenario becomes possible. An MIT thesis project of the time describes a system of air-cushioned local and regional cars based on this idea. As well as personal cars, the system included buses and automobile carriers. It has been toyed with in different incarnations by many people since then. Raytheon has even built a small demonstrator at one of their facilities in Massacheusetts. The technology undoubtedly exists to do it. The small cars allow the construction of very light rails, easing the construction costs in relation to current rapid transit technologies. The money, leadership, and political will are lacking.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.