Solving Urban Transportation through

“How to Solve Urban Transportation
Problems Through Innovation”
J. Edward Anderson, Ph.D., P. E.
Managing Director
PRT International, LLC
Former Professor of Mechanical Engineering
University of Minnesota & Boston University,
We call our solution to
Urban Transportation Problems
“An Intelligent Transportation Network
generically it has been called Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)
Here is what I will discuss:
1. Urban Transportation problems
2. Approach to solution
3. The Design Process
4. Criteria for solution
5. How to meet the criteria
6. Some tradeoff issues and conclusions
7. Capacity and Control
8. Safety, Reliability, and Life-Cycle Cost
9. How the system is used
10. Significant activity around the world
11. Cost comparisons with conventional rail
12. Land savings
13. Energy savings
14. Benefits
15. Our next steps
16. Why is PRT being implemented first overseas?
Problems with Urban Transportation
 The high and rising price of oil.
 2006: 4.9 each hour killed, 294 each hour injured, NHSB.
 People who cannot or should not drive – lack of equity.
 Excessive congestion.
 Local, regional, international air pollution.
Effects on the climate.
 Excessive sprawl.
 Road rage.
 Large subsidies for transit.
 60% of transportation budget for 3% of trips
Approach to Solution:
Be aware of prior work on old and new systems.
Begin with no commitment to any existing transit
system or to any particular technology.
Determine to design a system
that will address all of the problems listed.
Design Process
Study urban transportation as an interdisciplinary issue.
Identify the Problems.
Understand all factors that influence ridership.
Understand all factors that determine cost.
Engage in detailed site-specific planning studies.
Conduct courses in transport planning and technology.
Clarify concepts, give presentations, and receive
Conduct conferences, visit work of others.
Develop design criteria.
Identify technical issues.
Analyze and resolve technical issues.
Only now engage in detailed design.
Practice ”15 Rules of Engineering Design,”
Criteria for Design
A better system must be
 Time competitive with the auto
 Operational with renewable energy sources
 Low in energy use
 Low in air and noise pollution
 Safe, secure, reliable, and comfortable
 Easy to use
 Low in land and material use
 Available at all times to everyone.
More Design Criteria
 Adequate in capacity
 Visually acceptable
 All weather
 Compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act
 Expandable in area coverage
 Operable at competitive speeds
 Designed for minimum cost & maximum ridership
 An unattractive target for terrorists.
Key Transit Concept:
Cost per passenger-mile = Cost/year
 Passenger-miles/year
Problem: Develop system-significant equation for
cost per passenger-mile to clarify the system
characteristics that minimize it.
“Optimization of Transit System Characteristics,”
The characteristics of a system that minimize cost
also maximize ridership and define the system
we now call
An Intelligent Transportation
Network System (ITNS)
Guideway weight reduction 20:1
Large manually driven vehicles.
Small fully automated vehicles!
Cost per unit Capacity
Cost per unit of Design Capacity of Various T ransit Vehicles
Vehicle Design Capacity
Fleet Cost = Cost/Vehicle Capacity 
People-Carrying Capacity
Suppose 15 vehicles each averaging 10 mph
provide a given people-carrying capacity.
Then 6 vehicles averaging 25 mph provide
same capacity.
The average speed is highest if there are no
intermediate stops, which are not necessary
if stops are off-line just like on a freeway.
Guideway cost is minimized by using minimum weight
Vehicle fleet cost is minimized by using off-line stations.
This combination makes a major breakthrough!
Off-Line Stations are
The Key Breakthrough!
Off-Line Stations are
The Key Breakthrough!
Nonstop trips
High average speed
Minimum fleet size & cost
High throughput
Small vehicles
Small, low-cost guideway
Now interesting things happen:
 Vehicles run only on demand, not on a schedule
 Service is always available, the wait is short to none
 Close station spacing does not decrease average speed
 Stations can be sized to demand
 You ride with chosen companions or alone
All lead to high ridership and low cost.
Transit Systems Theory,
Consider 3 of 45
Tradeoff Issues
For the whole list see
Issue: Suspension
Air cushion
Magnetic (maglev)
Sled runners
“Maglev vs. Wheeled PRT”,
Issue: Propulsion
• Rotary motors
– internal combustion, electric, steam
• Air
• Cables
• Linear electric motors
– induction (LIM), synchronous (LSM)
– Issues: Guideway size & cost, control
flexibility, maintenance.
“Safe Design of PRT,”
Issue: Supported vs. Hanging
• Visual Impact
• Cost of posts &
• Natural Frequency
• Ease of Switching
• Rider Security
• All-Weather
• Torsion in Curves
“Supported vs. Hanging Vehicles”,
• U-Frame
• Vertical Chassis
• Wheeled support
Covers shield from
• Sun
• EM Radiation
• Winter night sky
• Snow & ice
• Minimize Air Drag
• Permit maintenance
• Permit appearance
totto be customized
“An Intelligent Transportation Network System,”
Shear Plate
The Guideway is a covered steel truss structure
designed for 90-ft spans.
The foundations, posts, and guideway can be
installed in front of a store in a day or two.
Businesses are not disrupted.
See “Structural Properties of a PRT Guideway,” for
calculations of stress, deflection, critical speed, the
design criteria, and how they are met.
This system
competitions in
Chicago, SeaTac
& Cincinnati
• U-shaped door permits easy entry.
•The vehicle interior is wide enough to permit wheelchair entry.
• Back seat is therefore wide enough to accommodate three adults.
• There is room for wheelchair + attendant, or bicycle,
or baby stroller, or luggage, and two fold-down seats in front.
Renewable Energy can be used!
• Solar panels on the guideway covers can produce
400 kW per mile.
• During the peak period the system needs 200 kW
per mile.
• Excess solar or wind energy can be stored in
Compressed air
Conventional vs. ITNS
A settlement 20 km west of Stockholm, Sweden.
How do we keep vehicles from
”PRT Control,” “Longitudinal Control of a Vehicle,”
“Failure Modes and Effects Analysis,”
 Computers routinely land airplanes on aircraft-carrier
 Our computers respond to and correct speed and
position two hundred times per second.
 Instruments used today to measure position and speed
are much more accurate than we need.
 Wayside zone controllers monitor vehicle motion.
 Code has been developed to control any number of
vehicles in networks of any size or configuration.
“Some History of PRT Simulation Programs”
“Simulation of the Operation of PRT Systems,”
High Capacity with Small Vehicles?
Surface-level rail: 6 min between trains in rush period
At capacity: 400 people per train or
400×10 = 4000 people per hour
ITNS: 2 sec average between cars in rush period
At capacity: 3 people per car or
3×1800 = 5,400 people per hour
ITNS capacity/Rail capacity = 5,400/4000 = 1.35:1
The common belief that small vehicles
mean small capacity is a myth!
“PRT: Matching Capacity to Demand,”
“The Capacity of High-Capacity PRT Systems”,
In 1973 the UMTA (now FTA) Administrator
Frank Herringer
told a Congressional Committee:
“High-Capacity PRT can carry as many people
as rapid rail for a quarter the cost.”
The page of the Congressional Record that contains this
is reproduced on page 11 of the paper
“Intelligent Transportation Network System,”
which can be downloaded from
Experimental Proof!
T H R O U G H P U T o f a n O F F -L IN E S T A T IO N
fo r l i n e h e a d w a y s fro m 0 . 5 to 5 . 0 se c
M axim um Throughput, vehicles per hour
0 .5
1 .0
1 .5
2 .0
2 .5
3 .0
3 .5
4 .0
4 .5
5 .0
N u m b er o f S t at io n B er t h s
System Reliability & Safety
”Safe Design of PRT System,”
“Failure Modes & Effects Analysis,”
Vehicle has few moving parts.
Switch has no moving track parts.
Motors have no moving parts.
Motors, sensors, and power supply are redundant.
The computers are Dual Redundant.
Fault-tolerant hardware and software.
We use an exclusive guideway.
– Chance of injury is close to zero!
Measure and Calculate System
“Dependability as a Measure of On-Time Performance of PRT
Dependability = (1 - Person-Hours of Delay due to
Failures  Person-Hours of Operation)×100
Calculations show > 99.97% independent of system size!
The method permits Dependability to be both
calculated in advance and measured in real time
as a basis for contract specification.
Problem: Find MTBF of each Component that
Minimizes System Life Cycle Cost subject to given
Solution: Lagrangian constrained minimization problem
solved in paper "Life-Cycle Costs and Reliability Allocation in
Automated Transit,“
C o m p o n e n t C o s ts
A c q ui s i ti on C os t
S uppor t C os t
Li fe- C yc l e C os t
M e a n T i m e B e tw e e n F a i l u re s
Using the New System
Buy a Prepaid Card.
Find destination number
from Information Kiosk.
Accessible to wheelchair
Ride nonstop to destination!
Personal Security is Excellent
 The stations are well lit.
 There is no waiting during off-peak hours.
 The stations are monitored by closed-circuit video.
 The stations & vehicles have two-way
communications with central control.
 The stations use motion sensors to detect loiterers.
 The ride is private.
Significant Recent PRT Activity following Chicago
 City of SeaTac, Washington – 1990’s
 Series of studies in Sweden – 1990’s
 European Union: “PRT contributes significantly to transport
policy and all related policy objectives. “ 2006 Report.
 BAA - Heathrow International Airport
 To be operating in spring 2009!
 Posco Vectus test in Uppsala, Sweden
 Santa Cruz, California
 State of New Jersey PRT Study released in April 2007,
 MASDAR, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Bristol University, UK
PRT by
Cost Comparisons
A transit mode first
in 1888.
“Light” rail
Minneapolis Rail Cost and Trip Data
Data source:
 Annualize capital cost:
 7% of $715,300,000 =
Annual operating cost:
Total annual cost:
Annual number of trips:
Break-even fare =
$69,920,000/7,267,000 =
 Average fare =
 Subsidy per trip =
 Fares cover 10.3% of the total costs.
See also
Cost per Daily Trip
Hiawatha Rail
Mpls PRT
By using off-line stations and small vehicles
many more riders can be attracted!
 Available anytime of day or night.
 No need to understand the system.
 Short walk in a wider service area.
 Short or zero wait.
 A seat for everyone.
 Ride alone or with chosen companions.
 An enjoyable, nonstop ride.
 No transfers.
 Short, predictable trip time.
 Competitive fare.
 At 2003 MN State Fair thousands of people lined up to ride 40 ft.
Land Savings
Throughput per direction: 6000
Throughput per direction: 6000 cars/hr
Throughput per direction: 6000 cars/hr
Throughput per direction: 6000 cars/hr
300 ft
15 ft
Enormous Land Savings!
 Land required only for posts and stations,
only 1/5000th or 0.02% of city land.
 Auto system requires
 30% of land in residential areas
 50% to 70% in downtown
 Land savings + high ridership permits safe, zeropollution, energy-efficient, environmentally
friendly, high-density living to an extent not
possible with conventional transportation.
A former parking lot!
Energy Savings
Minimum Energy Use
 Vehicles run only when needed
 No in-route stopping
 Lower maximum speeds
 Each day, one PRT vehicle handles 6-10 auto trips
 Minimizing material use minimizes energy use
 Very light-weight vehicles
 Smooth, stiff tires for low road resistance
 Streamlining for low air drag
 Efficient propulsion
 Adequate insulation
“What determines transit energy use? “,
for Riding Public
 Everyone can use it including
elderly, disabled, and children.
 You need to know only your destination, not what
line to take and when a vehicle will leave.
 Vehicles wait for people, not people for vehicles.
 The trips are short, predictable, and nonstop.
 The trip cost is competitive.
 There is minimum or no waiting.
 Everyone has a seat.
 The system is always available.
 The vehicles are heated and air conditioned.
More benefits for Riding Public
 Safe
 Quiet
 No transfers
 No crowding
 Minimum anxiety
 Private, pleasant ride
 You can make good use of your time while riding
 Comfortable, jerk-free motion
 Space for luggage, wheelchair or bicycle
 There is no need for a driver’s license.
Benefits for the Community
 Low energy use
 Can use renewable energy
 Less than one millionth accident rate in autos
“Failure Modes & Effects,”
 Attractive to many auto users
 Reduced congestion
 No air pollution
 Noise barely audible
 Huge land saving: 0.02% vs. 30-70%
 Smaller transit subsidies
 Augments existing rail and bus systems.
More benefits for the Community
 No reason for road rage
 No significant targets for terrorists
 More efficient use of land
 More livable high-density communities
 More people-attracting parks and gardens
 Safe, swift movement of mail, goods and waste
 Easier access to jobs, stores, schools, etc.
 Faster all-weather, inside-to-inside
 Less need for urban expansion
ITNS solves all the problems listed!
PRT International, LLC
 After 13 years of intensive activity in PRT, I developed
a new design that won competitions in Chicago,
SeaTac, and Cincinnati.
 I was a key participant in a $1,500,000
PRT Design Study.
 I designed and supervised construction and operation
of one automatically controlled, LIM propelled vehicle
that ran flawlessly for thousands of rides – I designed
a system that worked!
 I have developed detailed Requests for Proposal for
final design and construction.
 I have attracted engineers and engineering
companies needed for the next major step:
690 ft x 470 ft covering 7.4
Total guideway length 0.49 mi
One Station and 3 vehicles
Max speed: 35 mph
In operation in 15 months from
notice to proceed.
The Engineering Program is ready to go!
$20,000,000 for engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and
planning for the first application. The pilot program will take about
as much time as the planning, and will reduce time to first
commercial operation.
Here is why we need the Pilot Program:
 To get the system running as quickly as possible
 To verify capital and operating costs
 To prove safety, reliability, and ride comfort
 To determine the insurance rate
 To correct errors before the first application
 To develop proven plans and specifications
 To train engineers and technicians.
Why is PRT starting first overseas?
 “Devolution of the Federal Role in Urban
Transportation” by Edward Weiner, DOT Office of Sec.,
Journal of Advanced Transportation, Vol. 18, No. 2, Summer 1984.
 He said that
 Decisions will be guided by the Marketplace.
 User fees will cover more of the costs.
 But
 Cities were told to consider only proven systems.
 No means was provided to prove new systems.
 Result:
 Overpowering pressure to get available federal money now.
 New ideas crushed!
 Local leaders need to insist that new systems are
included in alternatives analyses.
(763) 586-0877
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