Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ULTra begins public service

The ULTra PRT system at London Heathrow Airport has become the first contemporary personal rapid transit system to enter public service, beginning 12 hours a day/7 days a week operation. Even so, the project's low-key nature continues in this rollout, for now the passengers are airport employees working at Terminal 5, according to BAA's Hugh Fenn:
On Tuesday Oct 19th 2010 the ULTra PRT system at Heathrow Airport (Heathrow pod) took a step towards revenue service by commencing a live trial involving retail staff from Terminal 5. This is a significant milestone which will help to ensure the system works well when opened to business car park users. It is also a useful indicator as to how PRT operates in a live environment. There have been a number of half day trials with passengers and feedback from passengers has been consistently favourable. During these operational trials, the system has proven reliable and the Independent Safety Verification Team, an industry regulator, has approved ULTra Heathrow for operation.
The Heathrow ULTra joins 'The PRT' (1975) in Morgantown, West Virginia, as the world's only PRT systems. For now.


  1. I just got back from the Podcar City conference in San Jose CA, and I spoke with a fellow who had a layover at Heathrow and had asked about the podcars there. Apparently the "rollout" has been extremely low-key: very few people among the airport employees he asked knew anything about them. Eventually, however, he was told that they are now being called "Heathrow Pods," so if anyone reading this finds themselves going through Heathrow and wants to check out the PRT development there, ask for "Heathrow Pods." Apparently, however, there is also a Japanese-style "Pod" hotel at Heathrow, so don't get the two confused. It'll be great (or at least, great press) when Heathrow Pods will be able to take passengers to the Pod hotel. :-)

  2. Thanks for the report. Incidentally, the T5 pod station is adjacent to the Sofitel lobby.