Personal Rapid Transport Systems



Malcolm Buchanan, European Chair of the Advanced Transit Association
Professor Martin Lowson, Advanced Transport Systems Ltd.

ULTra (Urban Light Transport) is an innovative form of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) which emerged from a fundamental reappraisal of the transport needs of a city. The ULTra system consists of small, lightweight, computer-driven electric vehicles running on slender, special-purpose guideways. The system will open this year at Heathrow Airport and is proposed for use in several international locations. A similar personalised rapid transport system is proposed as an integral part of Foster + Partner´s masterplanned Masdar Initiative.

Malcolm Buchanan is the European Chair of the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) and last year directed the first comprehensive UK study of a personal rapid transit (PRT) network in the town of Daventry. This study demonstrated that, provided it works as planned, PRT will cut car use by over 30%, earn substantial operating profits, hence fund most of its capital costs and thus become both a major form of urban transport and an important means of reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Martin Lowson was the originator of the Urban Light Transport (ULTra) concept while Sir George White Professor at the University of Bristol. Previously, Martin worked in the US on the Apollo Space Program, where he led a team of over 50 staff and became Chief Scientist of Westland Helicopters, where he established and led the Westland Technology Demonstrator programme. This generated the advanced rotor system, for which he is a patentee, now used on both Lynx and EH101 helicopters. This rotor was used to set the absolute world speed record for helicopters, held by Westland since 1986.

This event is free of charge. Booking is essential.