11.09.16 - Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit System

Driving around a college campus can be an exciting drive of discovery that allows you to enjoy the fun of seeing the various buildings and sights of a campus. Most college campuses have donated features that are impressive in many ways to help the institution lead the way in a particular field of study. In some cases the campus might feature something that was tested on the campus to show how a new technology might work because an institution of higher learning would be the perfect place to test technology or advancements.

In the 1970s there was supposed to be plenty of money to make it possible for a variety of transportation modes to be developed. In 1975 the University of West Virginia was used as a testing ground for self-driving vehicle technology that’s actually still in use today. This was a transit system that makes it easier for students and faculty to move around the various campuses of the university and be able to enjoy a ride in a safe and secure pod that drives on a track around the city to the destination.

This university is spread across several campus locations in Morgantown, WV. Before this track pod system was put in place busses were used to transport students and faculty between the different campus locations but this wasn’t helpful or a good idea because this mountain town has a narrow street system that makes it difficult for bus drivers to navigate and deliver people where they need to go on time every time. Because this school is in a city that’s surrounded by mountains the weather plays a significant role in the safety of transportation in and around the city as well, making it more difficult than ever to ensure people can get where they need to go.

The transportation system that was put in place is called the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system, and as you can see in this video, it’s a computer driven system of cars that use a series of closed of tracks to transport between campuses. This system offers non-stop trips every time someone uses the service, allowing everyone to make their way to their destination on time no matter which campus they need to go to. These elevated tracks that are used are not susceptible to the foul winter weather that can occur because the tracks are heated and able to continue to run even in some of the worst weather.

After over forty years in operation the PRT system is still up and running and has been upgraded to use modern computerization. This model would have been perfect for some transportation needs, but ultimately this wasn’t the method chosen as more stops were needed with larger cars that are able to transport a much larger number of people to their destination. Even so, the university has kept this track running and uses it as a great way for their staff and students to get around the city and the school using one of the only single destination models in existence.