This fall, Professor Alain Kornhauser led Princeton University's ORF 467 Transportation class to an in-depth analysis of the feasibility of a PRT network for the state of New Jersey. The goal of this network was to cover approximately 95% of the trip productions and attractions in the State, while providing benefits to the user somewhat comparable to the personal automobile.
Students were paired and assigned to one, two, or three counties based on the size and perceived complexity of the counties. Students then researched the county, looking for major points of interest. Concurrently, several students were commissioned with the task of building software tools to help generate and manipulate the network. These students began working with Google Maps to create an interface to enter, update, and delete data about a PRT network and Google Earth to conveniently show the static results of the project. These tools dramatically contributed to the success of this project and would serve as excellent tools to do some degree of network optimization.
One focus of this project was to begin to generate numbers about trip productions and attractions for points of interest in the state of New Jersey. In order to develop a transportation network, one must have a good idea of how and where it will be used. At each station location, understanding what the productions and attractions were enables a far deeper analysis of how a PRT system could be used. Our software tools enabled us to type our stations based on the kind of production or attraction found at the station location.