GSP commissioners pause on car pod transportation from economy lot to terminal

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Enlarge photo

2getthere is a car pod manufactured in Holland.

2getthere is a car pod manufactured in Holland.


Enlarge photo

Modutram is manufactured and has a test track in Mexico.

Modutram is manufactured and has a test track in Mexico.


The brakes have been put on GSP’s plan to acquire a driverless, technology-controlled personal rapid transit system (PRT).

Greenville-Spartanburg Airport commissioners agreed to pause on a decision for a more-than $24 million, battery powered, pod car system that would transport travelers from the economy parking lot to the terminal in 5-7 minutes, according to Peter Muller, PRT Consulting.

The cost is shared with a 50 percent match ($12 million) Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Initiative grant.

2getthere and Modutram were the two PRT systems presented Tuesday.

Dave Edwards, GSP President/CEO, told commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting, “We want to know today if there is a direction we want to go. If not then we need to go another way.”

Commissioners pushed back on the timing, cost and urgency of making a decision on the project coming on the heels of GSP’s $125 million, 4-year, Terminal Improvement Project (Wingspan) scheduled for completion late this year.

“I think we have a problem with transportation and the economy and we need more information,” Commissioner Bill Barnet said. “I think we need to take a breather at some point in all these projects we are chasing, including the FBO (fixed base operator, for PSA Airlines) and other projects we have going on.”

Barnet’s referral to the FBO is PSA Airlines, subsidiary of American Airlines, proposed lease of a 45,000-foot hangar to maintain commercial jets. GSP will spend up to $845,000 for improvements on the apron, hangar and employee parking facilities. PSA’s agreement, when approved, is for 20-years according to GSP documents.

Commissioner Valerie Miller liked the idea of GSP becoming one of the first airports in the U.S. having a PRT system. “It gives us the wow and encourages travelers coming to GSP,” said Miller.

The idea, according to Muller is a passenger will command a pod car at a station in the economy lot. A pod car will have room for up to six passengers (2 adults, 4 children) and baggage. The return will be from a terminal station to the economy lot.

The pod car will travel an elevated grade to the terminal.

The proposed PRT systems require 7-9 vehicles and has a total of 2.5 miles of one-way guideway, 95 percent of parking stalls within 400-feet of a station and with maximum total connect time (walk+wait+travel) to the center of the terminal for 95 percent of the passengers less than seven minutes while the average is five minutes, according to the report.

The Greenville County Economic Development Corporation approved a study on the PRT in 2014 with Edwards traveling to London to observe Heathrow Airport’s PRT system.

The study was conducted to compare shuttle bus and PRT solutions for proposed expanded parking facilities

Future parking options presented Tuesday were:

• third parking garage (1,500 spaces at $30 million) at a $14 daily rate, or

• additional economy lot (1,500 spaces at $7.5 million) at a $5 daily rate. (requires transportation to terminal).



Manufactured in Holland

Operating characteristics

• Number of seats, 4

• Parking lot to terminal, 2 minutes

• Number of vehicles, 9

Capital Costs

• Layout 1 = $23,354,808

• Layout 2 = $21,695,713

• Layout 3 = $17,256,317

Annual operating costs

• $1,715,000


Manufactured in Mexico

Operating characteristics

• Number of seats, 5

• Parking lot to terminal, 2 minutes

• Number of vehicles, 7

Capital Costs

• Layout 1 = $15,663,126

• Layout 2 = $15,538,843

Annual operating costs

• $1,715,000

Comparison with feasibility study

• Capital costs $20.9 million

• Annual operating costs, $1.81 million




Related Photo Galleries

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Stories

Trending: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Obituaries, Chon Restaurant, Allen Bennett Hospital


View All Events