Past Seminars


Richard Lowson

Date: 17th Nov 2009

Speaker: Richard Lowson, Australian Representative of Advanced Transport Systems

Topic: Personal Rapid Transit systems: A sustainable approach to transport

Abstract: Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) consist of small vehicles running on their own guide way with off line stations providing point to point, non-stop travel. The transport is available on demand and will go anywhere within a network. There is no waiting or queuing prior to, during or at the end of transit. The systems have a capacity equal to or better than Light Rail or Guided Bus while having significant cost savings and environmental benefits. PRT was selected for the land-side operations at London Heathrow Airport and is presently undergoing commissioning trials at Heathrow. PRT is not a universal panacea for the 21st century's transport needs. It is not a replacement for large mass transit systems such as heavy rail or large city Metro, rather it compliments and integrates with these existing forms and is a solution for 'last mile' problems associated with existing mass transit systems. The presentation will focus on design parameters underpinning PRT, policy issues surrounding the introduction of PRT, and PRT as an environmentally sustainable transport option.

Bio: Richard is an Australian representative of Advanced Transport Systems and brother of Professor Martin Lowson, the developer of the Urban Light Transport system, ULTra. Richard arrived in Australia in 1969 to take up a research position with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Association. During his 35 years as an ANSTO employee he developed a strong environmental science profile of research and consulting, both within Australia and overseas, and held senior research positions within ANSTO. His retirement in 2004 allowed him to develop and promote Personal Rapid Transit systems in Australia while at the same time finalising his research interests through a visiting fellowship with ANSTO. Richard holds an Honours degree in applied chemistry, a Diploma of Imperial College and PhD in physical chemistry.