Integrating Personal Public Transit and Green Building Best Practice

In thinking more and more about how accessible public transit and urban planning using green building principles can dovetail, I came across this video.  Take a look!

The system is to be implemented as a means of accessing Terminal Five at London’s Heathrow airpport by the Spring of 2010.  A test track is currently in place in Cardiff, Wales.  Proposals for systems in San Jose, St.Louis, Ithaca NY, and other projects are at various points of development as well.

Being something of a sci-fi geek, this reminded me a lot of some of the movies I watched as a kid, most notably the transit system featured in Logan’s Run. But, in putting my green building hat on, it seemed to me that a key step in making sure that this kind of system is successful is that it be integrated with city planning, and with individual development projects as well.  Allowing for track access into popular areas like commercial towers, educational centers, shopping areas, major transportation hubs, and tourist locations seem to be only the beginning of the potential to improve quality of life in urban centers.


The vehicles in the PPT system are battery-powered.  What if green buildings in a downtown core provided power to them while at rest?  And what if in turn the movement of these vehicles along the track generated power that returned to those grids, much like power-generating elevators work in many green buildings today?  That’s just one way I can think of that a public system, and a private property could be integrated.  And I imagine that the cost to run an integrated system like that would be far lower than the systems we know currently.

In this, the cooperation between municipalities and private companies will become a vital component in making transportation of this kind possible.  For my part, it’s an exciting prospect to see that accessible transportation that connects living and working so seamlessly is potentially within reach in just a few short years.  Of course, this is assuming that municipalities and private sectors in general are as excited as I am.

In sharing this video with some of my followers on Twitter, the question of cleanliness, hygene, and daily maintenance of the pods was raised.  This is an important question too, of course, which I’d love to hear more about, just as I would for our current public transit system.  But for now, I’d just as soon think about the problems this will solve, as opposed to ones it may create.

Learn more about the ULTra PPT system at



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