Clip from Colin Buchanan and Partners Stansted/M11 Corridor Development Options

Study for East of England Regional Assembly, Chapter 4, 10/2003.


4.4 The opportunity for, and role of, Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

  4.4.1 If access to Stansted from Harlow by public transport is to be really effective, then it is important that access times from residential areas to an improved bus link and the railway stations are substantially reduced. The bus link to the airport will not be attractive if it has to operate 'round the houses' in order to collect passengers.

  4.4.2 Previous analysis has highlighted the potential for addressing Harlow's internal transport problems through implementing a new hi-tech personal rapid transport (PRT) system, such as ULTra. An ULTra system would greatly widen the catchment area of both the railway stations and the proposed high
frequency rapid transit bus service by providing demand responsive transport offering competitive end-to-end journey times as compared to the car.

  4.4.3 ULTra works on a series of inter-connecting loops providing a higher penetration of the urban area than any bus based system could hope to achieve. A network could serve existing urban form of Harlow and, based on maximum walk distances to the nearest stop of 500m (though many people would
in fact be closer), around 40 km of guideway would be required. This would cover the existing urban area thereby ensuring that anywhere to anywhere journeys could be offered, on demand, making public transport much more attractive.

  4.4.4 Recent evaluations of ULTra in other new towns have suggested that the system is well suited to new town operation and likely to be self-funding and attract significant developer contributions providing that there is some initial 'pump priming' from the public sector. This funding will enable the
system to reach a level of coverage whereby it will attract enough trips to become financially viable in an operational sense and as a result, make it worthwhile expanding the network to cover other areas of Harlow. Extensions of ULTra to serve the urban extensions proposed within this preferred strategy can be funded by developer contributions and commercial risk taken by the system operator. Figure 4.7 shows a potential ULTra network for Harlow and how it might be extended to cover the urban extensions proposed in the preferred strategy.

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  4.4.5 Without this step change in Harlow's public transport service, measures to improve public transport links to the airport and employment in the wider region will be largely ineffective with the result that expansion of Harlow will simply lead to further heavy car reliance.

More information about ULTra PRT
More information about other PRT systems 

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Last modified: September 07, 2004