how will it look, how much noise will it make,
will it look into adjacent living rooms or backyards?
How much noise compared to car, bus or train?
the visual impact of auto or rail infrastructure
( i.e. pavement, street light posts, etc., the
appearance of PRT guideways will blend into
the surroundings. Noise levels will be much
lower, pollution less than with autos, trains
or busses. It is NOT proposed to place these
routes in residential areas. Aesthetic considerations
are major and will be subject to community consensus.
The Pods and lines could well be aesthetically
2. What is the initial
route and what routes can be added later? Where
are stations for each route?
The initial route has been
suggested to proceed from the beach, through
Downtown, into Harvey West area, and up to the
University East parking Transit hub. Additional
loops may be added later upon community consensus. Once the efficiency and very low cost of operation is demonstrated, UCSC would likely consider loops around campus.
3. What are the financing
probabilities? What will the fares be, is government
help required? Why is PRT cheaper than other
transit systems? Who controls the system?
Funding for PRT will come
from State or Federal government programs, Venture
capital, investment of PRT developers, or a
combination of any of those sources. This is
largely a community decision. Some favor entirely
private, some favor entirely public, some favor
a mix. Construction costs and operating costs
are much lower than other forms of public transport,
if one includes the cost of highway construction
and of maintenance operations. The system probably would be best managed by SCMTD (Metro). However, other options are also possible. Fares would be the same
as the bus and a combined ride on BOTH the
bus and PRT would cost just that single fare.
4. Safety: what happens
in event of earthquake? What happens if a pod
gets stuck between stations? What protection
for riders in the event of accident? How can
they be evacuated from pods? If one Pod stalls,
must the entire system stop?
A second car can push a
disabled car into the nearest station. Also,
the system will have auxiliary generators in
the event of a general power failure. In the
rare event that neither of these were sufficient,
the PRT controller will have trucks which can
extend hydraulic rescue platforms to disabled
cars and quickly remove stranded passengers. Design
requirements will provide prevention of interruption
from earthquake as much as is technically possible.
5. What is the average speed,
and what are
time estimates from Boardwalk to Campus,
or Transit Center to Campus? How close
can Pods be to each other? How long will
waiting times be for a Pod?
|The usual maximum speed is 40 mph. Typically,
line speeds will be 25 to 35 mph. Time from the
beach to the campus will average 7 minutes. Cars
may be spaced about 2 seconds apart. This system
can easily operate at .6 second intervals however,
we will choose not to space cars that closely
in initial systems. Safety regulations may specify
what intervals are required. Typically, an empty
pod will be waiting but, if no car is already
there, a car should arrive within 90 seconds.
In high demand times, waiting times could be marginally
|6. What safety precautions in stations and on
pods re personal violence, or terrorism?
|PRT doors will be opened only by their passenger(s).
They are normally locked and only opened upon
insertion of card keys. Closed circuit video surveillance
will record all transactions if the community
desires it. We are all vulnerable to terrorism,
but preventive steps will be implemented as reasonably
|7. How will graffiti be avoided in stations
pods? Are Pods cleaned regularly? How is
the throwing of materials from Pods avoided?
|Video recorders may be placed on every Pod and
at every station. It is a system design decision
whether or not to have windows that open. BART
and airport people movers do not have windows
that open. Cleaning will be as with all other
public transport systems.
|8. Where will maintenance yard be?
|The site of the maintenance yard probably will
be in Industrially zoned land either in the Harvey
West Park area or on the West side in the vicinity
of the old Lipton and Wrigley's plants.
|9. Will there be heating and/or air conditioning
in pods? Will windows open?
||This is a design issue and would be decided
by community consensus. There are sound arguments
|10. How many people and how much baggage can
|Morgantown has room for 16 people in each car
plus standees and baggage. Heathrow has room for
4 with baggage or a bicycle. The smaller the pods,
the more efficient and flexible; most PRT vendors
prefer 4 person pods.
|11. How does the system avoid getting on a car
with a stranger, especially late at night?
|Think of PRT as a taxicab with a fixed route.
If you are first in the queue, you may or may
not opt to permit others going to the same destination
to ride with you. Pods will be designed to permit
|12. What is power consumption as compared to
train, bus and car, and to what extent can solar
energy power the system?
||The cost per passenger is about one quarter
or less that of other common public transit modes
and much less than that of private automobiles.
|13. How much space do the stations require?
|The space required depends upon the number of
bays and will be designed based on the planned
ridership. A minimal station probably needs at
least 400 square feet. Larger stations with 2
or more bays will be designed for locations where
very high numbers of passengers. Stations also
double as community commons.
|14. How are people expected to get to the PRT
stations? Peripheral parking lots? How does PRT
coordinate with busses?
|PRT will be designed to complement other transit
system and thus be a part of a unified system.
Bus routes will access PRT stations. Bus usage
is expected to increase as people use them to
access PRT and use PRT to get to bus lines. The
City plans that a park and ride facility will
be located in the vicinity of the Highway 1 &
|15. If PRT is such a good idea, why hasn't’t
been installed in the last 30 years?
|This is largely a political question. We live
in a car culture. In recent years, automotive
transportation has dominated in political consideration
of transportation and engineers were forced to
develop only modalities that were already in use.
|16. What is probable cost per mile for construction?
|Costs range from $10 to $15 million per mile depending
on whether or not solar panels are included. This
compares with $20 to $ 50 million per mile for
light rail, and about $37 million per mile in
Santa Cruz for an additional highway lane. But
all such figures are highly dependent on location
and on the complexity required.
|17. Will smoking/eating be permitted in stations
or on Pods?
|Smoking would be prohibited as it currently
is in other similar public spaces. Eating and
drinking would probably be prohibited but this
too is a matter of community consensus.
|18. Is there emergency communication from the
Pods? Will cell phones work on Pods?
||Yes, an intercom or cell phone system will provide
emergency communication. Pods will have a panic
button to alert authorities and may divert the
Pod to the nearest station. Cell phones will work
on this system and cell stations will be added
|19. What are proposed operating hours? Will
the system be fully operational 24/7?
||Most services will be 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week, year round. But, it is possible that some
closed locations will not want access to their
locations when they are closed on holidays or
|20. How can disabled people access the stations
||Stations and Pods will be fully ADA compliant
with elevators at stations where needed
|21. Can the system accommodate changes in technology?
What is probable life of a system?
||Yes, the systems will be updated as needed.
As with other transportation systems, good maintenance
will provide long life cycles. The system in Morgantown, West Virginia has been in continuous operation for over 30 years without a serious accident or failure. It is probable that there would be a similar life expectancy for a new, more modern system.
|22. If we decide we don’t want PRT, can
infrastructure be removed, and at what cost?
|The entire PRT system is easy to un-bolt and
carry away. Its fast to put up and would be easy
to remove. Removal costs would be borne by the
developer. We expect that an initial test track
proposal will guarantee removal of the track if
it was required because of failure to satisfy system requirements.
|23. Is PRT possible on Highway 1? On the
Railroad right of way?
|Yes, to both, but again this is a matter for
the community and for political decisions. Extensions
are relatively easy to deploy. The systems are
modular and easy to replicate. We think that an
initial, small system should be deployed and be
successful before numerous other routes are contemplated.
Its smart to focus on a single small project and
get it done successfully before focusing on many other possible
projects and possibly doing none of them.
|24. Major County destinations are the Boardwalk,
UCSC Campus, Cabrillo College, Downtown Santa
Cruz, 41st Ave., Harvey West, Westside Industrial
and others. How can PRT accommodate these?
||The first line will probably be to UCSC from
the transit center via Harvey West. PRT can accommodate
more routes when the community desires them. A
line on Highway 1 could serve Watsonville, Cabrillo,
41st, Aptos and other areas. The rail line from
the Boardwalk to Natural Bridges could accommodate
PRT and facilitate a line in the vicinity of Western drive to UCSC.
The rail line would seem an ideal route. But,
as mentioned in #23, one step at a time...
|25. What is the procedure? i.e. how to we get
started with a system? Test track? Probable
|There are several scenarios possible. Here is one: A computer simulation is planned for several
possible Santa Cruz PRT designs. Simultaneously,
Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) may be sent
to known PRT developers and vendors. After that,
a Request for Proposals (RFP) may be sent to
those who responded to the RFP and are found to be qualified. The top two or three proposals
may be invited to participate in a design competition.
The winning design could then be used in a test facility
of about a quarter mile. Upon certification of
the test system, that designer would be invited
to prepare a proposal for the Santa Cruz Pilot
System. When that design is accepted, installation
would begin. It will require a year to 18 months
to develop the test facility and another 30 months
to design and build the full system.
|26. Will PRT eliminate the need for additional
access routes to campus? What is anticipated reduction
in auto traffic on Westside?
||PRT will BE an additional access
route to campus. However, it will not bring more
cars to campus, to our neighborhoods, or require new roads. Because it
will be faster and less costly to use, it will
drastically reduce usage of existing automobile
routes. Anticipated reduction in auto traffic
is about 8000 round-trips per day, growing to that number
over 10 years. A period of growing acceptance
by the public is to be expected. That was the
experience with BART.
|27. Some technical questions: how much does
a Pod weigh? Average power consumption?
||A pod will weigh about 400 lbs. or more if more
amenities are required. The power consumption
is such that it gets an equivalent mileage of
about 400 mpg if comparing to contemporary automobiles. The World Wildlife Fund in advocating PRT estimates that a single PRT car will require 839 BTUs per passenger mile. In comparison, a motorcycle requires 2,274 BTUs per passenger mile and a personal automobile requires 3,581. Numerous other assessments agree with the low power required by PRT.
|28. What is the public process, chance for public
feedback on design/location etc? Coastal Commission
approval? This relates to initial route and any
||All of the usual public discussion venues will
be required. Any full PRT system or pilot will
require an Environmental Impact Report ( EIR )
and require approval of the City, UCSC, Caltrans,
and the Coastal Commission. The PRT system is
entirely dependent upon community participation
|29. What web sites are there where additional
information can be obtained?
|Please see our full Santa Cruz PRT web site:
http://www.CPRT-SC.com and the following link to
PRT web sites.
|30. Are there other PRT projects in operation or, in the mill,
world-wide? Where and what designs?
Yes, there are several PRT systems in operation and many more PRT projects are continuing to emerge. The following links are to Wikipedia and other objective articles about these projects:
The PRT system at Morgantown, West Virginia has been in
full operation for more than fourty years with
almost no downtime and a virtually flawless safety
record. About 30 other cities worldwide are seriously
considering PRT at present. The Morgantown system is presently undergoing a three year modernization and upgrade
Taxi-2000, Inc., aka Skyweb Express, inc., was next to build a USA working PRT prototype. It can be seen at this LINK..
ULTRA PRT at London Heathrow Airport has been in public use since May 2011. Previous to that, the demonstration system has been in operated periodically
at Cardiff, Wales for many years.
A subsidiary of the Korean steel company Posco, the Vectus prototype PRT system in Upsalla, Sweden began operation in the Spring of 2006. In April 2013 Vectus began test trials of a fully operation passenger serving PRT in Suncheon, South Korea. Based on the Vectus design and a new car design developed in partnership by TDI and the Italian design house Pininfarina, the new PRT system emerged in Suncheon. Just before its opening to the public, Vectus partnered with Eco Trans’ to operate and maintain the system. Eco Trans named the new system "SkyCube". It opened to the public about April 30, 2014 and has been operating since then.
Masdar in the United Arab Emirates has built and tested a small PRT system. It has been in operation since 2010 and was built by the Dutch company 2GetThere, formerly known as Frog.
In Guadalahara, Mexico, the Modutram PRT has a system in operation. Modutram is a consortium of Mexican companies, funded by the Mexican government, implementing PRT, which they call a "Lean Intelligent Transportation Network", or LINT. Its a small system intended to prove concepts for larger systems but also provides passenger rides.
PRT systems have been or are being considered in San Jose, CA, Orange County CA, Austin Texas, Cincinnati Ohio, Ithaca New York, Minneapolis Minnesota, Seattle Washington, Daventry England just to name a few. Literally hundreds of other cities worldwide are considering PRT and watching the leading developments closely to see if they turn out to be as good as expected.
For more information, see the Wikipedia website on Personal Rapid Transit which has far more detail than we can display here.
|31. What is the expected noise level?
||The PRT sound level is equivalent to that of
an electric car. There is only minor surface
noise. Ambient noise should be minimal. It is
probable that one would not hear a Pod approaching. While at least one PRT design features steel wheels on steel tracks, we hope to have rubber or urethane wheels on steel guideways for the lowest possible sound propagation.
|32. Would the route go through or impinge upon
either residential or natural areas?
||The most commonly discussed initial route is
from the beach to the Transit Center via either
Front St or the levee, to Harvey West and to UCSC
via the South edge of Pogonip. There would be
virtually no impact on residential areas.
|33. What are anticipated costs and provisions
for operations, insurance, liability and maintenance?
||Operating costs are low. Passengers direct the
pods. There will be operations workers but the
number per passenger mile is lower as a result
of automation. Costs should be less than similar
costs for light or heavy rail or bus operations.
Liability and maintenance is similar to all other
transit modalities. The accident-free records of Morgantown and London heathrow indicate a low cost for liability insurance.
|34. What are the safety factors e.g. in event
of earthquake or fire, and what are the downhill
||All normal safety systems will be utilized.
Automatic breaking is utilized and most key components have redundant duplicates. See answer
4 for related notes.
|35. What is the estimated life of the system?
||Typical life expectance of these systems is
the same as it is for other electro-mechanical
systems. With good maintenance it is in excess
of 35 years and after that time, updated system
components will probably be desired.
|36. If one Pod stalls, is the entire system
||No. First, each car will feature redundant propulsion. Failing that, technology permits one Pod to join with and
propel another; the system would not be affected
although there could be minor delay.
|37. What are the possible propulsion systems?
||The most favored propulsion uses a linear induction motor
or a linear synchronous motor. These electric
motors are already in widespread use.
|38. What percent of power supply can reasonably
be provided by solar?
||We expect 100% required power to be supplied
by solar however, this raises installation cost
by as much as 20%. But, the added cost is paid off by fuel
savings in less than five years compared to nine
years for a comparable installation on a house.
|42. Does the Pod move under or over the rail, and
how many wheels?
||This depends on which design is selected. See
our section of other
PRT web sites to view the different
|43. How much will it cost to ride?
||Fares for each trip are expected to be the same
as the cost to ride the bus. A ride allows use
of both bus and PRT to complete a trip. Of course,
these fares will be the result of political decisions.
|44. Can a passenger change destination while
||This also depends on design and is an easy feature
|45. Where will Pods be stored when not in use?
||Pods park in stations or at a maintenance yard
when not in use or, travel to other stations empty
if needed there.
|46. What happens when there is an obstruction
on the line caused for example by a bird, debris
or a cat?
||Guideway maintenance will be performed on a
daily basis and as needed. Video monitoring will
facilitate dispatch of maintenance vehicles to
clear any obstructions. It is also unlikely that
a cat or other animal will be able to get onto
the guideway except at a station. From
train and light rail statistics, this is not a major
|49. Will PRT replace the automobile? Is it intended
to do that?
||PRT will supplement the use of automobiles and
make it attractive to use them less frequently,
especially in town. There is no plan to replace
all automobiles but, rather to provide wider
choices. But, considering the likely effects of
global warming, changing to solar powered vehicles
such as PRT is prudent for human society.
|50. How far apart will stations be?
||Initially, stations will be about one half mile
apart meaning that a quarter mile walk might be
necessary to travel to a station. More stations
can be added as needed.
|51. Will PRT encourage growth?
||No, PRT will be installed in already well developed
areas. But, for that growth which will occur anyway,
PRT will offer an opportunity for smart growth
near PRT stations and reduce the number of automobiles needed in the area.
|52. Assuming the line is elevated, how far apart
are the supports?
||It will vary according to design but 90 feet
is a currently accepted distance. Heavier vehicles
require more closely spaced support posts. Think
|53. What does PRT mean for the local economy?
||PRT offers the opportunity for local fabrication
and construction jobs as well as good operations
positions. The exceptional ease of transportation
will be a major boost to the hospitality industry
and make more visitors possible without more automobile
traffic. PRT will also make visitor mobility possible
in spite of our existing traffic jams. This better
mobility will greatly expand the opportunity for
visitors to go into the Downtown area, something
long desired by our merchant community. Overall,
PRT offers huge economic possibilities. This may
be one of the most important reasons to adopt PRT!
|54. What is the probable cost of stations, and can
they be community spaces?
||Station cost is factored into the cost per mile
however, it is generally accepted that an additional
station costs about $400 per foot of additional
guideway plus whatever amenities are desired.
Stations also double as community commons.
||If you would like to read the FAQ page for CPRT
in Austin, Texas, please click the link to the