Ultra Global and Taiwanese partners to carry out landmark study into Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

Ultra Global is delighted to announce that it has signed a contract with its partners China Engineering Consultants Inc (CECI) to carry out a feasibility study into the deployment of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) within Taiwan. The agreement, the first to explore Ultra’s transport technology in Taiwan highlights the continued interest being shown in PRT across the South East Asian region. Ultra’s Head of Operations Mark Griffiths is today attending a workshop in New Taipei City to officially launch the project.

The study is a high level planning and design project which aims to increase awareness and understanding of PRT with a range of decision makers, stakeholders and members of the public and make them aware of the social and economic opportunities associated with it. Also included within the scope of the study is a specific exploration into the implementation of PRT in New Taipei City, an area which has been identified by Ultra and CECI as a location where PRT can be a lever in unlocking latent economic potential. The project which is expected to last until August 2014 will also draw on the expertise of consultants Sinclair Knight-Merz (SKM) whose own input and expertise will add considerable value to the project.

The contract is another positive step for the Bristol based developers of the technology Ultra Global who have gone from strength to strength since opening their first system in May 2011. The Heathrow pod, the world’s first commercially operational PRT system has now carried close to a million passengers and has amassed over 1,000,000 safe driverless passenger miles. The efficient operational performance at Heathrow along with the popularity of the system has resulted in tremendous interest across the world and the Taiwanese study is one of a number of studies Ultra is currently involved in.

Ultra’s Managing Director Fraser Brown was delighted to have signed the contract, saying “Our work over the past few years has identified the huge potential in PRT to provide high value, low cost, integrated transport solutions, and we look forward to working with CECI to identify how Ultra PRT can deliver a unique and bespoke response to transport requirements across Taiwan. This development is the result of a number of discussions and visits by both Ultra and CECI to Taiwan and the UK respectively and was initiated some 18 months ago.”

Contact: Richard Isles
T: +44 (0) 208 757 2054
E: richard.isles@ultraprt.com

About Ultra Global:

Ultra Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a new and innovative on-demand system for developed or urban environments. It is designed to meet the need for congestion free, multi-origin, multi-destination public transport. Using small driverless electric vehicles that run on guideways, the lightweight and flexible nature of the system enables it to be retrofitted into a broad range of environments and provide transportation that is environmentally friendly and operationally efficient. Ultra PRT has been designed with reliability and safety built-in as standard to ensure the comfort and security of passengers.

Founded by Bristol University (UK) Professor Martin Lowson in 1995, the company’s first system opened in May 2011 at London Heathrow Airports Terminal 5 and currently transports passengers to and from the Terminal’s designated Business Car Park. In addition to removing 70,000 bus journeys on Heathrow’s congested roads each year, the system has also saved 200 tonnes of Co2 per annum and has previously been voted by customers as the single highest scoring passenger service on the entire airport campus.

About CECI

CECI was established in 1969 primarily for the purpose of uplifting Taiwan’s technology and assisting in the economic development of Taiwan and other developing countries. Over the years CECI has undertaken some of the region’s biggest civil, architectural, structural and electrical/mechanical engineering projects, and with the emergence of the electronic information age, has actively expanded its scope of services into new areas of work, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), e-commerce and biotechnology.

Engineering & Technology Magazine video report on Heathrow pod and PRT

Representatives from Ultra, Heathrow Airport and Arup took part in a short film chronicling the benefits of the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system deployed at Heathrow and the potential for the deployment of the technology in alternative applications such as urban environments.

Taking part in the film were Ultra’s Head of Engineering David Marron, Heathrow Airport’s Retail Services Director Max Vialou-Clark and Arup’s Associate Director Austin Smith.

The film can be seen here.

UK Minister Lord Green Visits the Heathrow pod

Ultra Global were recently delighted to host Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment as he visited the company’s Heathrow pod personal rapid transit (PRT) system. In addition to a visit to the control room the Minister was able to take a return trip on the pods which have provided close to a million passengers with a link between Terminal 5 and the terminals designated Business Car Park. The pioneering technology which uses small driverless electric vehicles that run on dedicated guideways has successfully been in operation at the airport since May 2011.

In addition to the tour, Ultra’s Managing Director Fraser Brown welcomed the opportunity to share news of Ultra’s work with the minister including updates on projects in Brazil, India, Malaysia and Taiwan. The visit was also an appropriate occasion for Mr Brown to thank the minister for the tremendous support provided by Lord Green’s team at UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) who have helped promote Ultra’s technology so successfully in a number of international markets.

Lord Green becomes the latest in a succession of UK Government representatives to have travelled on the system in the past 12 months including Vince Cable, Patrick McLoughlin, Alan Duncan and Norman Baker. MD Fraser Brown hopes that visits such as this will continue to help improve the profile of personal rapid transit ensuring it is on the agenda at the very highest level. Mr Brown commented ‘Ultra’s future success depends on highlighting the ability and potential of our technology to provide effective connectivity solutions within the UK and worldwide. Lord Green and his team at UKTI are fundamental to this process and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to showcase our work personally to the Minister.’

Heathrow announces plans for an additional Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system

Ultra Global are delighted to see that plans for an additional Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system at Heathrow have been included in Heathrow Airport Limited’s business plan for the next five years  (April 2014-2019, also known as Q6) which was announced this week. The proposed system which will run from Terminals 2 & 3 out to the terminal’s own particular business car parks will aid Heathrow Airport Limited in its vision to create a far simpler Central Terminal Area for passengers.

The new Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, which will be the second installed at Heathrow, follows in the path of the hugely successful Heathrow POD system that currently connects the Terminal 5 Business Car Park with Terminal 5 itself. The system at Terminal 5 which has been operational since May 2011 has carried over 600,000 passengers to date, has removed the need for 70,000 bus journeys on Heathrow’s roads each year and has maintained impressive availability figures of around 99.7%.

In response to the news, Ultra Global Managing Director Fraser Brown commented, ‘We are thrilled to hear of Heathrow’s inclusion of a further PRT system in Q6, the success of Heathrow POD has demonstrated the huge potential in PRT to deliver an effective sustainable first/last mile solution around campus locations such as airports as well as providing a distributor service from ‘heavier’ transport interchanges such as rail stations. It is an endorsement of the Ultra system that less than two years after opening the world’s first airport PRT system, Heathrow wants to build more.’

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will now publish a consultation on their initial proposals for aeronautical charges at Heathrow before making a final decision in January 2014. The Q6 Period will begin in April 2014 and run through to 2019.

The full Heathrow Airport Limited Q6 Business Plan can be found here.



Notes to Editors:

Ultra Global Limited

Ultra Global Limited designed and operate the Heathrow POD system at London’s Heathrow Airport. Ultra Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a new and innovative on-demand system for developed or urban environments. It is designed to meet the need for congestion free, multi origin, multi-destination public transport. Using small driverless electric vehicles that run on guideways, the lightweight and flexible nature of the system enables it to be retrofitted into a broad range of environments and provide transportation that is environmentally friendly and operationally efficient. For more information please visit www.ultraglobalprt.com

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited (formerly BAA) owns and runs London Heathrow Airport, Britain’s aviation hub, as well as a number of other UK airports – Aberdeen ,Glasgow and Southampton. For more information please visit www.heathrowairport.com.



2012 for Ultra Global

It’s been another ground-breaking year for the Ultra Global pod system.

The system at Heathrow has carried over 500,000 passengers to date, with passengers continuing to rave about its speed, reliability, environmental credentials and its readiness to go.

We’ve had transport and government ministers from the UK and around the world visiting the system to ascertain how it could be incorporated into new and existing cityscapes.

As a result of this, we’ve signed Memorandums of Understandings (MoU’s) with business partners in Malaysia, Taiwan and Brazil where we will be working on feasibility studies to introduce a pod system in key cities.  All of these are very real development prospects that will bring demonstrable benefits to users.  We aim to bring you more news on these in the coming months.

The Amritsar project is still under development and should hit key milestones in 2013 including beginning construction.

To sum up – 2012 has been a good one for Ultra.  But we’re hoping 2013 will be an even more exciting one, as more development projects move forward, with pods becoming a familiar sight in more cities around the world.

Fraser Brown
MD, Ultra Global