Friday, November 23, 2018

PRT Developer William Alden

William Alden died November 16 in Falmouth, Massacusetts. He was 92. Mr. Alden was married to Judith Alden for 67 years, was a descendant of the English colonist John Alden, served in the Navy, and graduated from Harvard. He created or served on the boards of a number of businesses and charities.

In 1966 Mr. Alden's dual mode transportation prototype "staRRcar" (Self Transit Rail and Road) was featured on the program "The 21st Century," driven by its host Walter Cronkite of CBS News. staRRcar served as the basis for the PRT which opened in 1972 at West Virginia University in Morgantown.

Mr. Alden continued to work toward wider acceptance of innovative transportation, as part of the team developing an Airport Personal Transport system, a robocar for which plans were unveiled in 2015.

The NewsCenter visited Morgantown October 5, 2018, and found the PRT operating in 'train mode,' meaning the 8-seat pods stop at all stations on every trip. Visible examples of recent upgrades included new electronic platform signs.

This was on the Friday start of the annual Homecoming Weekend. For this period at least the PRT was operating cashless; coins did not have to be deposited and cards did not have to be swiped, only pressing a destination button was required for service. Truly a horizontal elevator experience.

Media: PRT NewsCenter

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