London Heathrow Airport’s innovative new Ultra POD transport system connects Terminal 5 with the airport’s extensive Business Car Park areas. The British-developed system is one of the first examples of new personal rapid transit technology that could benefit many parts of the world in the future.
Each pod is designed to carry up to four people and their luggage (including pushchairs and bulky items) in temperature-controlled comfort. The pods do not require a ticket and are free to use. They operate on an ‘on demand’ basis, so there is no waiting around for timetabled services, and no stops along the way. Just jump in and go!
The futuristically-styled pods are driverless and self-steering, and run automatically along designated tracks (called ‘glideways’). They are electrically powered and travel on rubber wheels, giving a smooth quiet ride. A central computer monitors demand and ensures that pods are available at the right places at the right time. The Heathrow glideways are approximately 2.4 miles (3.8 km) long, and the journey time from Terminal 5 to the Business Car Park areas is about five minutes.
This POD transport system is an example of ‘green transport’ in action – it is energy efficient and low emission, and replaces an estimated 50,000 bus journeys per year. In addition is has considerably shortened journey times between Terminal 5 and Heathrow’s Business Car Parks.
** Also check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9BDnFO7Eqs ** Same ride but in the other direction, with fewer rain drops obscuring the view and an exciting moment when a plane goes right overhead! **