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Personal Rapid Transit Is Probably Never Going to Happen

But the podcar concept will live on in the form of compact driverless vehicles.
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The Mineta Transportation Institute just released a massive comprehensive report on "Automated Transit Networks"—more commonly known as personal rapid transit, and more casually known as podcars. Whatever their name, these systems use on-demand pods and exclusive guideways to combine the advantages of private vehicles with those of rail transit. But while the Mineta report considers the future prospects of podcars, it's equally appropriate to wonder if they really have one.

At least as they're currently conceived, they probably don't. Though the concept has been around for half a century, only five completed systems in the world can be reasonably defined as personal rapid transit: those in Morgantown, West Virginia, which opened in 1975; Rotterdam in The Netherlands (1999); Masdar City in Abu Dhabi (2010); Heathrow Airport in London (2011); and Suncheon Bay in South Korea (2014). While there's been a noticeable uptick in the past 15 years, four projects in that span is still, in the report's own words, "not enough to claim that there is an active market sufficient to support an industry."