Denver's 1970s Flirtation with Personal Rapid Transit



Wow - this is so interesting! I love the pics and the proposed demonstration route map!! Thanks for a great post!


There is a lot of interesting stuff about PRT in the Byron Johnson Papers WH1074 in the Western History Department Archives


I think it's time to reconsider PRT. With pods-on-demand capabilities using a phone app, it could be an excellent alternative to increasing automobile congestion.

The systems under development now would allow point-to-point travel within urban areas having relative high speeds and no intermediate stops making them car like in many ways but faster due to separate suspended right-of-ways. Please consider joining the discussion here


There are quite some interesting photos here.

There was quite a spirit of a feeling that we had come into the future during the late 1960s early 1970s with Personal Rapid Transit and People Mover transit plans, the NASA missions to the moon, the popularity of Brutalist architecture at the time, along with synthesizer music starting to take off. Early 1970s futurism could be both amazing and a disaster at the same time as shown with Alex in A Clockwork Orange living in his new futuristic Brutalist Council Estates home, riddled up with crime and vandalism, that he shared with his parents.

Here in Toronto where I live right at the same time in the early 1970s there was a plan to build a maglev metro system for Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa, the project was referred to as GO URBAN, a maglev people mover transit project where the cars were magnetically levitated and propelled. The transit technology was based off of Krauss Maffei's Transurban maglev transport technology that was undergoing testing in West Germany. Unfortunately the maglev technology did not fare well in Canadian winter weather and the West German government had funding for the Transurban project cancelled. The provincial government of Ontario persevered with having it's own people mover metro built by designing it's own transit technology from the province's owned corporation known as UTDC. This eventually led to the technology being used for Vancouver's SkyTrain rapid transit network.

It is interesting none the less to see what visions of the future were being beholden by some during the late 1960s early 1970s when people going to the moon was a reality and the beginnings of computer networking just starting to take off. I recommend to anyone reading this comment to check out the web page Innovative Transportation Technologies at: