West Virginia University’s Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) System is an automated people mover system that connects WVU’s three campuses and the Morgantown Central Business District. The PRT consists of a fleet of 71 electronically powered, rubber-tired vehicles operating on 8.7 miles of dedicated guideway . Since opening in 1975, it has provided over 83 million passenger trips without injury and taken countless vehicles off the highly congested roads in Morgantown . Originally a demonstration project, and the first large scale Automated Guideway Transit system in the United States, the PRT is the primary mass transit system for the movement of students, employees, and visitors (about 15,000 riders per day). Due to its age, the PRT system now lacks technical and vendor support, and a dwindling market for replacement components has resulted in a steep increase in operational costs. Additionally, the current PRT system reliability rate of 93 to 98 percent is not satisfactory . In order for the PRT system to remain a viable part of the community’s mobility network, the system’s reliability must be addressed.
PRT MODERNIZATION PLAN
In 2009, WVU engaged an internationally recognized transit consultant to develop a PRT Master Plan to serve as a roadmap for system modernization. The resulting 2012 PRT Master Plan concluded that the PRT is unsustainable using its current operation technologies and vehicles and identified major modernization needs essential to continued operation of the system.The plan to achieve the necessary PRT system upgrades combines refurbishment of some systems and replacement of others.