The Pod People Have Arrived…

Posted on October 29, 2010 by


Just in time for Halloween the pod people have arrived in San José –  except these folks come with the Podcar and are not interested in eating your brain.

San José’s city hall is home to a three day conference on the latest in personal rapid transit (PRT). Touting podcars as the latest in green, fast and public transit these “horizontal elevators” promise to whisk you to your destination on demand.

Currently under test at London’s Heathrow airport the podcar does not come without controversy. But, it could be worth a trip to see Big Ben, or maybe a shorter hop to city hall today.  The Valley Transit Authority (VTA)  dedicated $4 million for a feasibility study.

San José’s sustainability officer, Laura Stuchinsky reports “We’re going to do an analysis in the next nine months that will give us an in-depth analysis of the technology. Is it really ready? And also feasibility financially and see if we can operate and build the system and not put VTA or San Jose in the hole,” says Stuchinsky.

The good folks at Podcar City tell us that PRT is on-demand and point-to-point. Passengers travel non-stop on the shortest way from their chosen start to the destination point. PRT can offer faster end-to-end journey times than other forms of transit, depending on running speed and the nature of the network. The matrix or looped layout structure of the network allows for more passenger convenient transit. Intelligently designed PRT can complement conventional mass transit in the form of feeder-networks.

PRT has a small spatial footprint, which means that areas below could be re-greened. Parts of the guideway can also be attached to or integrated into buildings, for example into airports, shopping malls or business complexes.