Planning for Automated Transit Networks (ATNs)


What are Podcars?

Podcars — also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) for more taxi-like systems, or Group Rapid Transit (GRT) for more minibus-like systems; or, collectively, as Automatic Transit Networks (ATNs) were first proposed in the way back in the 1950s, with the the first public ATN network beginning operations in the late 1970s. Despite their slow uptake, ATNs have been steadily gaining traction ever since.

Podcars can be defined according to the following attributes:

  • Small, lightweight, autonomous vehicles, that run at short headways (usually less than 5 seconds)
  • Segregated right-of-ways, typically with elevated guideways, so that they do not interact with any other transport modes
  • Offline stations, which do not impede the flow of passing traffic
  • Demand-responsive, taxi-like or minibus-like operations, with direct point-to-point travel across a complex network


Podaris for Automated Transit Networks

ATN implementation is a complex process involving many stakeholders. Every vendor uses different technologies with different specifications and capabilities. Podaris was created to reduce the complexity of designing ATNs and provide powerful tools for parametric modelling of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) and Group Rapid Transit (GRT) systems. It allows networks to be planned in a vendor-neutral fashion — generating infrastructure that is fully accurate to the specifications of multiple vendors.

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Powering ATNs around the world

We consider podcars to be a genuinely “disruptive” technology, requiring a comprehensive understanding of the myriad new types of vehicles, infrastructure, control systems, network/station design, and operational principals. Indeed, Podaris was initally built to support the interdisciplinary collaboration and divergent modelling techniques specific to the successful design of ATNs.

Podaris has already helped numerous customers to revolutionise their businesses - from Colorado's PRT Consulting, whose ATN feasibility studies have been enabled by Podaris, to Mexico's Modutram, and France's Supraways. With accurate, customisable profiles for PRT transport layers, Podaris represents an out-of-the box solution for advanced automated network design.

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