Cabs can also be summoned like an elevator when you press a button. And it operates 24 hours a day.


By Matthew Kennedy

Matthew Kennedy

All around us, we can see the electrification of our transportation sector. Whether BART, light-rail transit, Teslas, or electric bikes and scooters, the shift away from fossil fuels is already happening.

In Milpitas, LoopWorks plans to extend the trend by creating a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system for moving people around the Milpitas Metro/BART/Great Mall area. Think of it as a horizontal climate-controlled elevator that can accommodate up to four riders. Walk into one of the awaiting cabs, select your destination, and go there non-stop. People with bikes, baby buggies or baggage will simply roll them into the PRT cab when entering.

The cities of the South Valley could benefit with improved mobility, reduced carbon emission, and increased community well-being.

Years ago, my father, Dennis Kennedy, (then mayor of Morgan Hill) and others talked about personal rapid transit connecting Live Oak High School with the Aquatic Center, the Centennial Recreation Center, the Community Cultural Center, and the Civic Center. A six-mile PRT loop could make it happen. (Does it make sense to create two loops that are connected?) At $15 million per mile, an elevated PRT loop would cost dramatically less than light rail or other mass transit. Gilroy could also solve its own mobility problem by building its own system.

PRT uses a lightweight cab weighing only 1,000 pounds, which results in a lightweight guideway like a monorail at Disneyland but much smaller. This in turn leads to low construction and operating costs.

Although cabs generally await you at the station, one can also be summoned like an elevator when you press a button. And it operates 24 hours a day. The cabs take you non-stop to your destination bypassing other stations along the way. Just select your destination and, in a few minutes, you arrive there. And the best part for creating more equity is the very low fare; LoopWorks intends to offer rides for free.

Rather than money from government agencies or investors, LoopWorks will use foundation funding for designing and building the system — thus minimizing delay and helping ensure financial viability. By incorporating as a California mutual benefit corporation, LoopWorks decided the system will be owned and controlled by the community and stakeholders. For more information go to MilpitasPRT.com and see PRT videos, letters of support, and our business plan.

The long-term vision includes cities like Morgan Hill and Gilroy and extends worldwide. The LoopWorks PRT project inspires rapid adoption of advanced transit that dramatically reduces transportation sector emissions. Because it offers all-electric transportation, PRT could be a game-changer for solving climate change. It can move thousands of people quickly, comfortably, and efficiently from neighborhoods to destination points without harming the planet.

Although speaking of the auto industry, President Joe Biden’s message could be extended to say, “The future … is electric.” And PRT can be a big part of that future.


Matthew Kennedy is a Morgan Hill resident who is active in promoting the idea of personal rapid transit. He wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.


 

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