Improving upon people-movers like West Virginia Universitys Personal Rapid Transit will be the focus of a seminar Oct. 7-8 at Erickson Alumni Center.
The seminar, the first in a series sponsored by the Advanced Transit Association, is dedicated in honor of William L. Alden, the inventor if the staRRcar concept that was selected by WVU and evolved into the PRT .
The PRT was the brain child of the late Samy E.G. Elias, then a WVU Claude Worthington Benedum Professor of Transportation. He and his colleagues at the WVU College of Engineering proposed a guideway system of cars powered by electricity and controlled by computers as their transportation model. They also proposed Morgantown as the demonstration site. The projectand the sitereceived approval from the federal government in July, 1969, and grant money totaling $123.6 million to pay for studies and the construction.
WVU s PRT was dedicated Oct. 24, 1972. Phase I of the systemwhich consisted of 45 vehicles running from Walnut Street to the Evansdale Campusbegan carrying passengers in October 1975. Phase II extended the system to the Health Sciences Center, adding 28 more cars and began running in July, 1979.
To date, the PRT has carried 62.7 million passengers since its dedication over 30 years ago. It has also accumulated a remarkable safety record, reporting not one serious injury in over 30 years of operation.
ATRA is a national organization of transit professionals dedicated to the investigation and development of advanced transit technologies and strategies.