- The much-awaited India’s first pod taxi project has moved a step closer to reality after a high-level panel recommended inviting fresh bids for the same conforming to the strictest safety standards on the lines of those prescribed by an American body.
Personal Rapid Transit:
- The projected ₹4,000-crore pod taxi scheme — also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) — is a dream project of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and the NHAI has been mandated to execute it on Delhi-Gurgaon pilot corridor (12.3 km) from Delhi-Haryana border to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis.
- PRT is an advanced public transport using automated electric pod cars to provide a taxi-like demand responsive feeder and shuttle services for small groups of travellers and is a green mode of uninterrupted journey.
- The pilot project, to be taken up on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis, is meant for a 12.3-km stretch from Delhi-Haryana border on NH 8 (near Ambience Mall) to Badshahpur via Rajiv Chowk, IFFCO and Sohna Road.
- The model is in place in London’s Heathrow airport, Morgantown and Masdar city.
- The committee recommends issuance of a fresh EOI (expression of interest) incorporating (automated people movers) APM standards and specifications, along with other general safety parameters with Niti Aayog recommendations,” the five-member committee set up for technical and safety standards of PRT, headed by transport expert S K Dhramadhikari.
The automated people mover (APM) standards:
- The automated people mover (APM) standards in the US as recommended by the committee for the maiden PRT in India have been prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and these constitute the minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT.
- “The APM standards include minimum requirements for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the various sub-systems of an APM system and are in general relevant for a PRT,” the committee said.
- These include vehicle arrival audio and video visual warning system, platform sloping, evacuation of misalighted vehicles, surveillance/CCTV, audio communication, emergency call points and fire protection, among other advanced systems, it added.