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Before the driverless car, there was the PRT

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My colleague Adi Robertson, I recently learned, is a fan of oddball transportation. On our work trip to the Sundance Film Festival, she gleefully introduced me to the funicular, a small and nicely furnished box that travels up and down a cliffside on a steel track, like a rollercoaster pushing through molasses. The funicular, she told me with the confidence of an expert in these things, was cool, but not nearly as cool as the PRT.

Robertson had been traveling elsewhere in the country to research personal rapid transit. In West Virginia, she actually got to ride on a PRT, which is sort of like a subway, but different in two crucial ways: each vehicle is roughly the size of a car, and each goes directly to your destination — no unnecessary stops.

You can now read Robertson's feature, "The Road Not Taken." For the audio-inclined, we also recorded this episode of What's Tech.

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