Transport that waits for you: planning and operating personal rapid transit systems
Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute
Personal rapid transit (PRT) is a new urban transport mode that uses small vehicles driven by computers on a dedicated network of guideways. The world's first PRT system will open at Heathrow airport this year. The vehicles run on-demand and non-stop from origin station to destination station, much like taxis. The flows of passengers between stations need not balance, so some vehicles must run empty. An online algorithm must decide which vehicles to move and where to move them. This talk describes recent work on this empty vehicle management problem, including fluid limit analysis and simulation experiments. It also outlines some other interesting problems that arise in the context of planning and operating PRT systems.