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Heathrow unveils first Personal Rapid Transit system

Heathrow's proposed Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system has reached a significant milestone after moving into operational testing on July 7.

The system, when launched, will see passengers board PRT vehicles at one of three stations and select their destination via touch screen. They will then be transported directly to their destination without any stops in between.

The Heathrow PRT is the world's first, designed to make passenger journeys quicker and reduce congestion on airport roads. It consists of 21 low-energy, battery-powered, driverless vehicles capable of carrying four passengers.

John Holland-Kaye, commercial director of system designers Advanced Transport Systems, said: "I am excited about the trialling of Personal Rapid Transit at Heathrow and am proud of the dedicated work of staff to deliver this pioneering project. Today marks a big step forward and the team will now focus on operational testing, with vehicles becoming a familiar sight along the guideway during this process.

"When launched, the PRT trial will offer an exciting, quick and environmentally friendly option for passengers travelling from the business park to Terminal 5."

Graham Bradburn, chief executive of Advanced Transport Systems, said: "Today marks the beginning of bringing the working system to life, as operational testing starts. It is hard to overplay the significance of reaching this stage in the project. It is the physical manifestation of many years work for ATS and BAA, and represents the vision of the original individuals involved.

"I would like to thank all of those companies and individuals, clients and suppliers alike, as well as our own staff, for the fantastic efforts they have made to make this a reality."

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