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WVU’s Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) System is an automated people mover system that
connects the three areas of the WVU Morgantown Campus and the Morgantown Central
Business District. The PRT consists of a fleet of 69 electronically powered,
rubber-tired vehicles operating on 8.7 miles of dedicated guideway. Since opening
in 1975, it has provided over 83 million passenger trips without injury and taken
countless vehicles off the highly congested roads in Morgantown.
Originally a demonstration project, and the first large¬-scale Automated Guideway Transit system in the United States, the PRT is the primary mass transit system for the movement of students, employees and visitors (about 15,000 riders per day). Due to its age, the PRT system now lacks technical and vendor support, and a dwindling market for replacement components has resulted in a steep increase in operational costs. Additionally, the current PRT system reliability rate of 93 to 98 percent is not satisfactory. In order for the PRT system to remain a viable part of the community’s mobility network, the system’s reliability must be addressed.
PRT Modernization Plan
In 2009, WVU engaged an internationally recognized transit consultant to develop a PRT Master Plan to serve as a roadmap for system modernization. The resulting 2012 PRT Master Plan concluded that the PRT is unsustainable using its current operation technologies and vehicles and identified major modernization needs essential to continued operation of the system. The plan to achieve the necessary PRT system upgrades combines refurbishment of some systems and replacement of others.
This phase targets the replacement of the on-board vehicle computer system and vehicle propulsion system.
- Estimated total – $15 million
- Replace the vehicle propulsion system
- Replace the on-board vehicle computer system
The scope of Phase II includes the redesign and replacement of the Automatic Train Control (ATC) System, replacement of substation and electrical gear, and hospital tunnel repair.
- The ATC system is a key component in the overall operation of the PRT. WVU, in conjunction with Thales Corporation, will develop an ATC system based on a proven Thales system but with added features that mimic our existing PRT system’s functionality. The entire system including the vehicle fleet will be outfitted with the new ATC solution by the spring of 2020. Replacement of this major system will significantly improve the PRT’s performance.
- The design and installation of a new train controls system will include new onboard vehicle controls, wayside equipment, central control equipment and fare gates with new destination selection units. The new train controls system will use radio frequency communications thereby, reducing maintenance needs and vastly improving system availability.
- Estimated total – $52.6 million
- Replace the automatic train controls system, which provides the automatic control, communications and monitoring of vehicles
- Replace the substations and electrical gear
- Construction project to make tunnel repairs beneath Elmer Prince Drive
The vehicle replacement project, during phase III, is scheduled to begin in the later part of 2020. Efforts will also be directed to inspect the infrastructure and perform the required repairs to maintain the structural integrity of the system.
- Estimated Total – TBD
- Modernize the PRT car fleet
- Inspect, document and design the needed repairs for the PRT guideway