This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Personal Rapid Transit is coming to London’s Heathrow Airport:

Tomorrow’s public transit could look very different from today’s if Martin Lowson’s $20 million project at Heathrow Airport in London is a hit. Starting in 2008, Lowson’s company, Advanced Transport Systems, will be whisking passengers between Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 and a parking lot a mile away in tiny driverless vehicles that run on an elevated concrete track.

Unlike buses or trains, Lowson’s ‘pods’ are private — about the size of a taxi, fitting as many as four adults — and arrive on demand, within five minutes after passengers press a call button.

People laughed — perhaps rightly — when Steve Jobs boasted that the Segway scooter would “erect entire cities” around the Segway scooter. But, on the other hand, it’s obviously true that the design of our cities is more or less circumscribed by the transportation options available to us. A city designed around PRT would look very different than the one in which we currently live.

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