Hillsboro, Oregon: PRT circulator sketch for AmberGlen / Tanasbourne / OHSU
First sketch: Aug '09, current version May '10.
"Thinking Bigger at OHSU/AmberGlen"
ULTra is a battery-driven, 200-mpg-equivalent, elevated personal rapid transit (PRT) system with many four-person vehicles. First deployment is scheduled for London Heathrow Airport in 2010, to serve Heathrow's new Terminal 5. Working as circulator transit for office parks, airports, universities, and other major activity centers, ULTra is faster than a car. In these applications, ULTra makes carpooling, MAX LRT, and TriMet bus more effective, by solving the "last mile problem." PRT also enables longer bike commutes and shopping trips. A three-minute youtube video of ULTra can be viewed here: http://www.ultraprt.net/cms/ Peer-reviewed market research for two San Francisco Bay Area transit-served major job centers, Palo Alto's Stanford Research Park (SRP) and Pleasanton's Hacienda Business Park, forecasts a PRT-induced commuting mode reduction from more than 80% single occupancy vehicle (SOV) down to 45% SOV. In these two studies, carpooling increased to more than 30% and commuter rail transit increased beyond 15%. Such commuting shift shifts acres of parking for higher use.
Portland suburb Hillsboro (home to more than 16,000 Intel jobs; part of “Silicon Forest”) became the first U.S. city to adopt language favorable to PRT within a “specific plan.” A specific plan is a city-adopted long-range plan for real-estate development and transportation for a contiguous, significant portion of a city. Hillsboro’s ambitious AmberGlen Plan states, “A transit circulator facilitates quick connections to transit stations. Eventually … PRT or other local circulator could serve to focus area investment near transit corridors.”
The AmberGlen area encompasses 582 acres including the Quatama MAX LRT station. “The vision: create a vibrant regional activity center enlivened with high quality pedestrian and environmental amenities, taking advantage of the region’s light rail system.” “Better mobility” and “live close to work” are mottos. Options include 10-story or even 25-story buildings surrounding a central green.
The distance from the north end of AmberGlen to Quatama MAX LRT is 2.0 miles. A faster-than-a-car PRT system makes this connection five times faster than jogging speed circulator bus or 19th century streetcar. There are no successful suburban streetcar circulators in the U.S.
Below is an approximate PRT system concept sketch. 22 stations. 6.4 miles of one-way PRT guideway. Very rough capital cost range: $48M - $96M (The latest PRT cost information may be found at: http://www.ultraprt.net/cms/index.php?page=cost-per-mile-7m---15m). System would probably be built in two or three phases, emanating out from Quatama LRT. Quiet electric vehicle PRT (with tight turning radii) can penetrate residential neighborhoods, putting transit stations closer to residents than a streetcar system could.
200 meter walking radius shown around the PRT stations
Relevant PRT Quotes
PRT is Faster than a Car. Trip time from Sunset Center Office Park (to Quatama MAX LRT (2.0 miles)
Typical streetcars provide an average speed of 7-12 mph for local-stop service (6.5 mph from a separate analysis) - jogging speed. Streetcars are further slowed long waiting time - headways are 13 minutes during peak hour in Portland. The streetcar speed is often exceeded by ordinary local-stop bus services. One clear speed-and-reliability benefit of the bus is intrinsic to the technology: Buses have the physical ability to go around obstructions that occur in their lane, while the streetcar is stuck behind them. (see: http://www.humantransit.org/2009/07/streetcars-an-inconvenient-truth.html, http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~monserec/courses/urbantrans/projects/9A_presentation_2007.ppt, http://portlandtransport.com/archives/2005/07/how_fast_is_tha.html).