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1972. Beechurst Ave. on the WVU campus and other locations
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Morgantown's nine-mile PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) system came to fruition, as the New York Times put it, “when the imagination of a professor met up with the needs of politicians.” Professor Samy Elias and his students designed the system primarily as a research project, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, whose House of Representatives committee was chaired by a Morgantown congressman, provided the necessary funds. PRT, envisioned as a demonstration project that could be emulated elsewhere, was completed in time for Tricia Nixon to cut the ribbon in 1972. Computerdriven minicars, which run on a demand schedule rather than a time schedule, are dispatched when a passenger pushes a button. There are five stations: one in downtown Morgantown, one at the university's downtown campus (Beechurst), and three at various points in Evansdale. Over the years since its inauguration, PRT has carried millions of passengers with no accidents and prevented unthinkable traffic congestion between the university's two campuses. As a prototype, however, the system remains more experimental than emulated.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "PRT", [Morgantown, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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