Buses and shuttles make up a large portion of an airport’s traffic. People need to be shuttled back and forth from parking lots, garages, terminals and rental car lots, and all those vehicles mean congestion and pollution. Heathrow Airport is working on a system that will address both of those issues. The new Personal Transport Pods, or PRTs will run on dedicated tracks and use 50% less energy than the buses they will replace.
Up to four passengers (and their luggage) at a time will enter the futuristic-looking pods and program their destination into a touch-screen. Then the pod does the work, zipping off to the destination at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. The pods are low-energy, battery powered and produce no emissions.
Right now the pods are in the operational testing stage and will only journey from Terminal 5 to the car park, a trip that will take around 5 minutes. According to airport officials, once the system is fully operational, passengers will board at one of three stations and ride in one of 21 total pods. As long as the £25 million project runs smoothly and more funding can be secured, the airport plans expand the service to other terminals.