India’s first pod taxi on the way

The much-awaited India’s first pod taxi project- also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)- has moved a step closer to reality after a high-level panel recommended inviting fresh bids for the same conforming to the strictest safety standards on the lines of those prescribed by an American body.

The committee set up for technical and safety standards of PRT has recommended issuance of a fresh EOI (expression of interest) incorporating (automated people movers) APM standards and specifications, along with other general safety parameters with Niti Aayog recommendations.

Proposed safety standards:

The automated people mover (APM) standards in the US as recommended by the committee for the maiden PRT in India have been prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and these constitute the minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT. The APM standards include minimum requirements for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the various sub-systems of an APM system and are in general relevant for a PRT. These include vehicle arrival audio and video visual warning system, platform sloping, evacuation of misaligned vehicles, surveillance/CCTV, audio communication, emergency call points and fire protection, among other advanced systems.

About the project:

This pilot project will cover a stretch of 13 kilometres from the Gurugram-Delhi border to Badshapur Mod on Sohna Road with a total of 16 stations. For this, a budget of Rs 850 crore has been estimated. The feasibility report for the same has been submitted by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). Every pod of Metrino taxi can accommodate up to five passengers.

What is Personal rapid transit (PRT) network?

Sized for individual or small group travel, personal rapid transit (PRT) is a transport mode combining small automated vehicles, known as pods, operating on a network of specially built guideways. The network consists of a number of stations or stops for passengers to get on and get off. The average speed of the pods is 60 kilometres per hour.

A brief history of Personal rapid transit (PRT) network:

The modern PRT concept began around 1953 when Donn Fichter, a city transportation planner, began research on PRT and alternative transportation methods

In 1967, Aramis project, an experimental personal rapid transit system was started by aerospace giant Matra in Paris. The project was, however, cancelled when it failed its qualification trials in November 1987

Between 1970 and 1978, Japan operated a project called “Computer-controlled Vehicle System” (CVS). In a full-scale test facility, 84 vehicles operated at speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour on a 4.8 kilometres guideway.

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