PRT, or pod car is a concept that has existed for decades, with the promise of fast, frequent, and non-stop service. Renderings of such systems often feature small cars hanging off a slim elevated track. What PRT doesn't have is a track record of daily revenue service. The PRT proponents are desperately looking for sponsoring cities, along with funding, to prove their concepts.
San Jose politicians are trying to look for a "creative" solution to a superficial problem and while dismissing realistic solutions. The simple way to bring rail to San Jose airport is to extend the light rail system from 1st Street into the airport. Light rail only needs to extend a mile to serve both terminals A and B. Light rail already serves Downtown San Jose and connects with Caltrain, Amtrak, ACE (and possibly BART in Milpitas and high speed rail at Diridon Station). Unlike peoplemover or pod car, no separate maintenance facility is needed for light rail.
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One has to wonder why San Jose is pretending to be progressive on transportation by promoting PRT while actually moving backwards by ignoring light rail. Cities like Portland and Baltimore have light rail located directly at the terminal. Sacramento and Los Angeles are planning to extend their light rail systems to airport as well.
VTA light rail is drawing fewer riders than similar systems in other cities because the light rail lacks destinations that are not convenient to drive. If the light rail can directly serve the airport, it will change how the system is used and perceived. While many people have brought up the idea for many years, it was repeatedly ignored by the City of San Jose and VTA (which the City has a controlling stake on).
While the PRT proponents welcome the attention received in San Jose, it is another loss of opportunity for a more cost effective transportation. Even if the PRT has proven to be a reliable technology, it will still be slower and less convenient for riders than extending light rail directly to the airport. Even if PRT has applications beyond the airport, its proclaimed advantages can easily be met by automobile and bike sharing, along with better bike and ped infrastructures.