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Personal rapid transit optimization and simulation

Keywords: Personal Rapid Transit, PRT, micro simulation, podcar, ATN, AGT
Fig. 1. Snapshot of a network simulation. Shown is an off-line station with waiting passengers (Author: Joerg Schweizer).
Fig. 2. Optimum occupied vehicle flows (orange) and empty vehicle flows (green) at a roundabout of a PRT network (Author: Joerg Schweizer).
Fig. 3. Scale model of 2 PRT vehicles with short headway control system (Author: Joerg Schweizer).

Car dependency of urban transport is the main challenge for most cities: automobiles produce greenhouse gases; cause a significant number of deaths and injuries; limit accessibility to transport and occupy a disproportioned share of urban space, thus preventing the use of more sustainable modes. Yet the car’s convenience remains unquestioned.

A promising emerging public transport technology, called Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), has the potential to attract car drivers where conventional mass transit fails: PRT is a fully automate guided public transportation which became commercially available only recently. With PRT up to 6 persons or light freight travel in small, individually controlled and electrically driven vehicles on a network of light guideways. The narrow guideways is grade-separated; guideways can either be elevated, in underground shafts or onground if separated by fences. Due to their small cross section (roughly 1m2) and tight minimum turning radius (ca. 5m), guideways can be routed through streets and buildings at minimum visual impact.

From the service point of view, PRT has three distinctive features: (1) passengers can travel from any station of the network to any other station,without intermediate stops or transfers; (2) Passengers do not need to share the vehicle with other passengers; (3) there are no fixed time schedules, vehicles wait at stations or do arrive on demand. This sustainable taxi-alike service is thought to be attractive for many who would currently hesitate to use public transport.

Research objectives are (1) the development of software tools to design and simulate PRT networks; (2) optimal empty and occupied vehicle assignment, (3) network topology optimization (4) stations capacity models (5) development of safe short headway PRT control systems.

While offering customized solutions for PRT planning and simulations, we have been cooperating with private consulting firms on the following

PRT projects: Masdar, Abu Dhabi, UEA; Heathrow, London Airport; Rimini Congress hall, Italy; Vienna, Suedbahnhof, Austria; Izmit, Turkey.

Main publications

Schweizer J., Parriani T. , Traversi E., Rupi F. (2016) Optimum Vehicle Flows in a Fully Automated Vehicle Network. In Proceedings of VE-HITS 2016, ISBN: 978-989-758-185-4, DOI 10.5220/0005863101950202.

Danesi A., Rupi F., Traversi E., Schweizer J. (2012). Comparison of static vehicle flow assignment methods and microsimulations for a personal rapid transit network. Journal of Advanced Transport, vol. 46, p. 340-350, ISSN: 0197-6729, doi: 10.1002/atr.1196

Danesi A., Lepori C., Lupi M., Rupi F., Schweizer J. (2008). Sistemi innovativi per la
mobilità urbana: il Personal Automated Transport a servizio misto. T&T Trasporti e Territorio, vol.3-4, p. 165-172, ISSN: 1723-7432

Schweizer J., Mantecchini L., Greenwood J. (2011). Analytical capacity limits of Personal Rapid Transit stations. In: Automated People Movers and Transit Systems 2011" From People Movers to Fully Automated Urban Mass Transit". p. 326-338, RESTON (VIRGINIA): American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), ISBN: 9780784411933, doi: 10.1061/41193(424)30

Danesi A., Lupi M., Rupi F., Schweizer J. (2011). Personal Rapid Transit : a self financing solution for tourist transport at the city of Rimini. In: Transport management and landuse effects in presence of unusual demand. p. 63-79, Milano:FrancoAngeli, ISBN: 9788856841749

Danesi A., Lepori C., Lupi M., Rupi F., Schweizer J. (2009). Strategie per l'aumento della capacità e della sostenibilità di una rete Personal Automated Transport: il servizio misto individuale/collettivo e passeggeri/merci. In: interventi e metodologie di progetto per una mobilità sostenibile. p. 235-249, Milano:Franco Angeli, ISBN: 978-88-568-1230-5

Rupi F., Danesi A., Lupi M., Rudi A., Schweizer (2009). Economical feasibility study of a personal automated transport for leisure holidays and special events. In: Transport management and landuse effects in presence of unusual demand. vol. 1, p. 47-52, Milano:Maggioli Editore, ISBN: 8856841746, Milano, 29-30 giugno 2009.

Caprara A., Traversi E., Schweizer J. (2008). An Application of Network Design with Orientation Constraints. In: Proceedings of the 7th CologneTwente Workshop on Graphs and Combinational Optimization. p. 16-21, Gargnano, Italy, 13-15 May 2008.

Research projects

PRT study at Rimini, supported by the province of Rimini and Europa Inform.

PRT study at Masdar, Abu Dhabi, supported by-Systematica S.p.A and Mott McDonalds, UK.

PRT micro-simulator development supported by Novitran, USA and Tabosan, Turkey.