Personal Rapid Transit
A year ago, we first started hearing news about Masdar City, the 50,000 person, zero-waste, zero-carbon, eco-city of the future, to be built in the United Arab Emirates. Craziest of all: the city would have no cars. Back then they promised that the people in Masdar would get around in "a series of automated transport pods." It sounded fanciful.
Well this transportation system of tomorrow—dubbed PRT, or "personal rapid transit"—seems quite a bit closer to reality now. The "pods" themselves, designed by Italian firm Zagato, were just unveiled at the World Future Energy Summit. And TreeHugger has an interview with transportation planner Luca Guala, who helped figure out how PRT would work.
Unlike subway trains, the small PRT cars are meant for single, personal trips like a taxi is. They run underground on an extensive network of tracks, and they're electric.
Europe already has practical high-speed rail. California's high-tech rail system is set for 2030 delivery or something. If this PRT system gets up and running in the UAE, America's going to start feeling really behind the times.