The Economy of PRT

Of course the investment in building a complete PRT network for an entire city is large. The high level of comfort and the short travel times however make the PRT system very attractive. This increases the ridership and thereby the fare revenue. Many reports are available which show that PRT systems can cover their own operation and maintenance costs as well as part of the amortization of the investment capital. Larger systems should even be possible to run with a profit.

A problem with all new systems of a networked nature is that the economy is poor before the network is extensive enough. This has been very obvious for instance in the mobile phone industry. To get over this threshold bold decision makers are required. Subdivision of risks between different parties such as local and federal government, operators and vendors will be essential in the early stages.

Another problem which has increased the cost of rail-based transit has been the low production volumes of the rolling stock and the large amount of ground work and right-of-way costs involved. With PRT much longer series for rolling stock as well as guideway elements are foreseen. The ground work is minimized thanks to the fact that only foundations for the poles are required. This reduces the level of investment required alot compared to traditional trolley and LRT systems.

A longer report on PRT economics is available here.