The five-member committee headed by transport expert S K Dhramadhikari, set up for technical and safety standards of India’s pod taxi scheme (also known as Personal Rapid Transit – PRT) has recommended to invite fresh bids incorporating strictest safety standards on the lines of those prescribed by an American body.
What is pod taxi?
Pod Taxi/PRT is an advanced public transport using automated electric pod cars that shuttles between destinations in horizontally elevated trajectory.
- PRT is considered to be a revolutionary mode of transport aimed at reducing congestions on busy road stretches.
- Besides, it is a green mode of transport.
- Currently, such projects are operational in London’s Heathrow airport, Morgantown (in US) and Masdar city (in UAE).
About India’s 1st pod taxi project:
India’s pod taxi scheme is Rs. 4000 crore project spearheaded by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
- National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been mandated to execute it on 12.30 km Delhi-Gurgaon pilot corridor on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis.
- Execution of this project has been delayed as NITI Aayog raised some concerns pertaining to safety as the technology which is to be used in this project does not have very long track record. It had thereby asked highways ministry to direct initial bidders to prepare a 1-km pilot stretch for testing purpose.
- A high-powered committee under S K Dhramadhikari was formed to lay down safety and other specifications.
- The committee has recommended that fresh bids should be invited incorporating automated people movers (APM) standards and specifications.
- APM standards constitute minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT. These standards and specifications have been laid out by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).