Sunday, July 18, 2010

ALDEN staRRcar

From the Museum of Learning:

The Alden staRRcar, for "Self-Transport Road and Rail Car", was a design for a personal rapid transit PRT system designed by William Alden in the 1960s. It originally envisioned small electrically powered cars suitable for short distance trips at low speed within urban areas, which could optionally merge onto tracks that would provide power and guidance for high speed travel over longer inter-city distances. It was one of the earliest "dual-mode vehicles" to be proposed, and one of the earliest to be actually built.

Over its lifetime the design changed dramatically, originally a four-person vehicle with dual-mode operation but eventually emerging as a much larger people mover for 20 people. In this form, Boeing Vertol was awarded a construction contract in 1970. It holds the distinction as the only PRT system to enter commercial service, as the basis for the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system. The Morgantown system first opened for service in 1975, and with the exception of a closure for a major expansion, has remained in service since then.

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