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[Morgantown] Personal Rapid Transit news

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Rapid-transit expansion discussed at WVU seminar

Notes --

1. Lawrence Fabian, treasurer of the Advanced Transit Association, is in Morgantown for a two-day seminar about the PRT, or Personal Rapid Transit. An expansion, in his opinion, wouldn't hurt if it was expanded to other parts of the city.

2. The seminar is designed to look at solutions for long-term congestion in urban areas. The PRT in Morgantown, along with other such systems around the world, will be the topic of discussion.

3. There is more interest in personal rapid transit in Europe and Korea, Fabian noted.

4. An expansion of Morgantown's PRT would be expensive, but a scaled-down 'feeder system' may be more practical. Small cars would transport five or less people. Today's PRT cars seat eight, although they can fit many more standing.

5. Today's PRT has five stations: two at WVU's Downtown Campus and three at the WVU Evansdale Campus (College of Engineering, the Towers residence hall and the Health Sciences Center).

5a. An expansion -- a feeder system -- has been discussed that would connect the College of Engineering to the Coliseum, a basketball arena.

5b. The PRT is considered by some to be the "most advanced transit service in the world" -- because travelers can go from point A to C without stopping at B. The PRT cars were built by the Boeing Aerospace Company -- the first car dedicated in 1972. The first few stations and cars were financed by the federal U.S. Department of Transportation.

5c. 15,000 riders use the PRT daily during the school year. They can be very crowded at times.

6. The PRT used at Morgantown, however, has not caught on at other U.S. universities. It is due to the extreme cost.

6a. The major consumers in other nations are airports. A few hospitals use them as well.

7. The 30-year-old system will need major upgrades and maintenance. Federal monies will be used to upgrade the central control system and the in-car computer controls.

Article information: "Rapid-transit expansion discussed at WVU seminar, By Davin White, Charleston Gazette, May 4, 2007"

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