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The beginning of personal rapid transit

The beginning of personal rapid transit

Posting in Cities

Cities around the world are introducing driverless electric pods that can take individuals from point A to B without making stops.

It started in London’s Heathrow airport last year when ULTra opened the first personal rapid transit system to shuttle people from parking lots to terminals in electric pods. And now this idea of a “subway car on-demand” is spreading to other parts of the world including the U.S., South Korea and Canada as a way to better connect cities and suburbs while reducing air pollution and operating costs.

Here's how it works: A customer calls for a pod to come to the station - if it is not already waiting - and types in a destination. The pod then takes the person directly from point A to B with no stops.

GOOD reports that “the system is cheaper to install than light rail, and at 5 feet wide, the guideway is narrow enough to be accommodated by many city streets.”

The UK-based company ULTra believes that these pod cars are the solution to our transportation woes, which include longer commute times due to urban sprawl and high gas prices.

Of course, coming from a city girl's point of view, the concept of public transportation makes perfect sense. But if there's a way to get to my destination without making other stops and without having to fight for a seat, well, I'll take it.

Driverless Transport Pods Finally Starting to Catch On  [GOOD]

Photo via ULTra

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Amy Kraft

Weekend Editor

Contributing Editor Amy Kraft is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for New Scientist and DNAinfo and has produced podcasts for Scientific American's 60-Second-Science. She holds degrees from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure