GIS-based evaluation of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) for reducing car dependence within Melbourne, AustraliaCreated by Ray Wyatt
Metropolitan Melbourne’s car dependence continues to grow. This is despite major expenditure on trams, trains and buses as well as attempts to alter land use patterns to make suburbs easier to service by public transport. Melbournians are simply reluctant to give up the flexibility, convenience, speed and privacy advantages that cars still hold over conventional public transport modes. Accordingly, we have here resurrect a less conventional public transport mode, first mooted during the 1960s and known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). This alternative incorporates many of the advantages of the private motor car; yet it is cheaper, faster, less polluting, quieter, safer, more convenient and less space consuming. We will use GIS to quantitatively evaluate PRT’s feasibility in Melbourne, and eventually conclude that it might be viable provided that it is implemented incrementally, and in a way that exploits current transport infrastructure. That is, we will exploit modern GIS’ ability to measure the lengths of linear features, to buffer, to intersect, to plot standard-deviation ellipses and to statistically analyse attribute tables in order to quantify PRT’s costs, as well as some of its benefits, at different localities, thereby suggesting places where PRT might best be trialled.