Corby is a town in Northamptonshire with a population of approximately 50,000. It has seen much of its traditional industry vanish in recent years, leading to a rapid modernisation programme involving new development on greenfield sites and a renewal of the town centre.
A 2002 study by Colin Buchanan & Partners evaluated a proposal for conventional LRT, providing an opportunity for direct comparison of PRT with LRT as conducted in a case study in 2004, which found:
- Covers both its capital and operating costs
- Attracts over 70% more passengers than LRT, 17% transfer from car: high socio-economic NPV
- PRT offers an excellent modern underpinning to the new development, can be integrated architecturally, and run within new stores in the town centre.
- Even in the older parts of town, roads are wide enough to offer many practicable and aesthetically acceptable routes
- In the new developments, the route and station locations can be designed integrally, to offer maximum accessibility with minimum severance, and enhance the attractiveness of both residential and commercial areas.
- Link rapidly expanding new development on greenfield sites to a modernised town centre.
- Make the centre attractive by bringing passengers directly into the shops and facilities.
- Increase the use of public transport in the town (currently very low)
- Contribute to an environmentally sustainable transport policy
- Provide a direct comparison with LRT as an alternative
Colin Buchanan & Partners had recently analysed a proposed LRT system for Corby. The same trip matrices and modal split model were used to provide comparison on exactly the same basis.
Developed in two phases, the full system has 28.4 kms of track serving the same areas as the PRT network shown above, but with a far higher average distance to the stations from passengers point of origin.
Although the guideway costs of ULTra are much less than those of LRT, PRT attracts almost twice as many riders as LRT and therefore requires much higher vehicle capacity. The requirement for 895 vehicles makes the overall investment similar to that for LRT, but the performance is far superior.
Total Capital Cost per km £3.2m £3.3m
Operating Cost p.a. £5.1m £5.8m
Both PRT and LRT serve the same catchment area, but ULTra’s loop-based network design gives greatly improved access for passengers on edges of the area when compared with corridor-based LRT. The demand predicted for the first year of operation of each full system (both phases) is given below:
- 13.4 million passengers
- 17% transfer from car
- 19.3% of all trips in area
- £15.1M revenue at £1.13 average fare
- 7.8 million passengers
- 10% transfer from car
- 11.4% of all trips in area
- £8.5M revenue at £1.09 average fare
30-year financial NPV (revenue less operating and capital costs):
30-year NPV of social benefits less costs is +£188M with a benefit/cost ratio of 260%
Social benefits include £16.9M in passenger time and money savings, accident cost savings at £0.2M, energy savings at £0.4M per year. Mean passenger waiting time is 0.3 minutes
Reductions in air pollution of 62 tonnes CO, 5 tonnes VOCs, 10 tonnes NOx, 1 tonne particulates, and 3600 tonnes CO2per year. Noise produced is below background levels.