Name Masdar PRT
Client Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC)
Location Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
Function Transport people from the North Car Park at Masdar City to phase 1a of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
Status Live operation from November 28, 2010
Description 1.7km of guideway with 10 vehicles connecting 2 stations. The North Car Park station is located on the left side of the track and features 4 angled berths; the station at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is located on the right side of the track and features 6 berths. The journey between the stations takes less than 2 minutes.The system is constructed in an Undercroft to ensure the streets are completely accessible to pedestrians. It is operational 7 days a week, during 18 hours per day (06.00 – 24.00), requiring a staff consisting of 6 operators, 3 engineers and an Operations Manager to perform operations.The system can carry up to 300 passengers per hour per direction, carrying between 700 and 1.000 passengers per day during the first 10 months of operations.

Capacity The normal capacity is approximately 60 passengers per hour per direction, equivalent to approximately 200 passengers per hour per direction based on 4 passenger occupancy. In practice the average occupancy of the system ranges between 2,1 and 2,4 passenger per vehicle depending on the day of the week and the time of the day.
Supplier 2getthere, Utrecht, the Netherlands
End Users Benefits
  • Passenger transfer time between the car park and the Institute is reduced to approximately 2 minutes.
  • There is a minimal waiting time as the vehicles are generally waiting in the stations for passengers and only travel on demand. If no vehicles are present the distributor function ensures empty vehicles are on their way.
  • Each vehicle has 4 seats and enough room for accompanying luggage. Passengers travel in their own passenger groups or on their own.
  • There are no emissions at the point of use. The system uses lithium ion  batteries which provide a 60+km range.
  • The vehicle features a flat floor which aligns accurately with stations to allow safe and easy access for push chairs, wheelchairs, luggage and people, meeting the access requirements for disable passengers.
Owner Benefits
  • No direct charge is made for riding the PRT system at Masdar City; it is offered as service to the residents of Masdar City.
  • As residents of the city can’t park their cars at their apartments, the system is in important in ensuring high level service to compensate.
  • Through branding the operational costs can be covered (partially) if so elected.
  • There is a great deal of positive PR value in PRT. A large number of organisations including CNN, The National and The NY Times have all featured articles on the Masdar City PRT system.
  • PRT contributes further to the innovative and green image of the development.
  • The system runs up to a maximum speed of 25 KpH (technically 40KpH is possible, with the speed being constrained to conserve energy).
  • The vehicles operate on a completely flat track, according to virtual routes. The position of the vehicle is verified relative to external reference points (magnets embedded in the road surface)
  • The supervisory monitoring system has a distributed architecture ensuring robustness and flexibility. The system operates a- synchronously with a distributor function ensuring availability of vehicles at stations according to the requirements.
  • The headway (time between vehicles) is 5 seconds minimum. Separation of the vehicles is ensured through radio based communications and the obstacle detection system of the vehicles.
  • Vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries (LiFePO4) providing a range of approximately 60 kilometers. Recharging is done when demand allows either at the berths or in the dedicated charging room at the operations facility.
  • All vehicles are equipped with an advanced obstacle detection system, allowing the vehicle to slow and stop for obstacles near or in the vehicle driving path respectively.
  • Each vehicle has 2 way communications between the operator and passenger. On board CCTV and heating/cooling are provided.
  • On board LCD screens display journey status and other useful passenger messages.
  • A dedicated tow-vehicle is available which allows vehicles to be removed from the guide way quickly, allowing the operations to continue.
Safety The Masdar City application is certified by the Abu Dhabi Department of Transportation according to the review as performed by the Independent Safety Assessor and Independent Health Assessor. The system has been operating at 99% system availability during the first 6 months of operation.
Contributors The following organisations played a key part in the design and development of Masdar City PRT system:

  • Foster+Partners – Architects
  • CH2M Hill – Project Management
  • Systematica – Traffic, Routing and Infrastructure Design
  • Mott McDonald – Traffic Design, Safety Analysis, Testing Verfication
  • Lloyd’s Rail Register – Independent Safety Assessor
  • Bureau Veritas – Independent Health Assessor
  • 2getthere – System Supplier
  • Zagato – Vehicle Design
  • Spijkstaal – Chassis Manufacture
  • Benteler Automotive – Vehicle Assembly
  • Cargotec ACT – Controls Development
  • Odiris – ICT design and realization
  • Tedopress – Documentation
  • Unihorn – Infrastructure Engineering
  • Al Jaber Energy Services – Infrastructure Construction
  • SMRT – Operations Assistance
Feedback The reactions after riding the PRT system have been very, very positive. Whether it is professionally interested engineers, kids (sheer enthusiasm) or the general public commenting in reactions varying from ‘exciting’ to the most often heard ‘cool’!A noteable comment was given from professor Maureen Sheehan Paparella (Director of Information Technology) of The International Council on Innovation in Higher Education (ICIE). Paparella believes that one of the most enticing reasons to want to live in a place like Masdar City is the PRT system itself…Paparella recognized (2getthere) as a sustainable mode of transportation that is economical, aesthetically & environmentally attractive, and delightfully comfortable; she further added that ‘the experience of riding in the personal rapid transit car was right out of the Jetsons’.Actor Clive Owen commented that Masdar ‘really is the city of the future’ when riding the system; and professional poker player Adam Levy compared the 2getthere PRT technology with the Burj Khalifa (highest building in the world), adding that the Burj Khalifa, however, is not nearly as cool as the PRT system.

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