Heathrow has marked the anniversary of its 500,000th passenger to ride on its pods
2012-12-19 — /travelprnews.com/ — Heathrow has marked the anniversary of its 500,000th passenger to ride on its pods to celebrate a successful first 18 months and the loyalty of its business passengers. The day was marked with a visit from Transport Minister, Norman Baker who saw the technology first hand.
Last week, Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for International Development also hopped on board the pods for the beginning of his UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Ministerial mission to Singapore, and Malaysia. Alan promoted the UK’s expertise in Smart Cities technology, using this to solve problems relating to urban living – the pods are a shining example of this.
Designed by British company Ultra Global PRT, the 21 battery powered, driverless, zero emission vehicles are designed to eliminate more than 50,000 bus journeys on Heathrow’s roads each year between the Terminal 5 Business Car Park and the main terminal. They transport around 30,000 passengers every month and the innovative technology has sparked both local and global interest.
Ultra – which is 75 per cent owned by Heathrow –has signed a commercial deal with a company in India to deliver a system 10 times the size of Heathrow’s in the northern city of Amritsar. The system has also been endorsed by the transport industry winning prestigious awards including top prize at the British Parking Awards for transport innovation, as well as a London Transport Award for Most Innovative Transport Project. Most recently the pods have been announced as the winner of the Most Innovative Service at the Best in Britain awards of The Great Exhibition 2012.
Norman Baker said;
“It is good to see how these pods are cutting congestion – and carbon – at Heathrow. They have been well-received by those using the airport and the system has the potential to be equally useful elsewhere in the UK and in other parts of the world.”
Fraser Brown Ultra Managing Director at Heathrow said;
‘It was great to meet with both Ministers and show them the pod system. We are proud to celebrate an incredibly successful first 18 months of operation and we are pleased that the technology is of interest to a wide range of potential partners worldwide.’
Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP said of his first ever ride on a pod;
‘This is British engineering, design and execution at its best. This is a revolutionary, environmentally friendly transport system that’s easy and cost effective to install, pollution free and extremely fun to use. It highlights the UK’s and Ultra Global’s ability in designing a world first and world beating new form of transport, moving large numbers of travellers, to exactly where and when they want to go.’
Notes to editors
- Originally an engineering research project to devise the optimum urban transport solution for the 21st century, Ultra began development in 1995 in association with the University of Bristol.
- In 2005, Ultra was chosen to build a pod system at London’s Heathrow Airport; this system now provides passengers with a vital link from the T5 Business Car Park to the terminal. 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.
- Success was also achieved at the Global Air Rail Awards recently, where Heathrow pod won the Innovation of the Year award, and most recently the pods have been announced as the winner of the Most Innovative Service at the Best in Britain awards of The Great Exhibition 2012.
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