Microsoft Campus, Buildings 26 & 27

Building 28 with 26 in the background

Building 42 (Augusta sub-campus)

Personal Rapid Transit for Microsoft Campus in Redmond, WA

First posted, January 2005

Microsoft is growing their 30,000-worker Redmond campus by another 12,000 workers. For details on the expansion program, see :
"Microsoft re-imagines its corporate home," Seattle Post-Intelligence, January 27, 2005.

We have a better solution for Microsoft campus expansion:

  • PRT is a packet switched people mover, faster than a car
  • Solves the transit "last mile" problem on campus, making transit and carpooling more effective; thus, reduces traffic congestion
  • Attract & retain top talent via a 21st century commute.
  • Employees get to meetings faster
  • Positive NPV ($150M capital cost, $200M in nonrecurring benefits, and $20M in net annual benefits).

Microsoft's three Redmond campuses (Main, West, and RedWest) hold more than 30,000 employees and contractors. Microsoft recently purchased new parcels, and has plans to add another 10,000 to 20,000 employees and 8,500 parking spaces. The local street network is already overburdened, as the success of Microsoft was not contemplated when the streets were first designed. Some intersections serve more than 30,000 car trips per day.

Microsoft currently has one of the nation's most impressive shuttle bus systems, with 43 buses serving 5,500 campus trips per day, often bring employees to and from remote meetings. While the bus system is state-of-the-art, employees find door-to-door trip times comparable to walking. In contrast, PRT provides local service that is faster than a car, especially when time spent searching for parking spaces (Microsoft is infamous for scarce parking) and time spent walking from distant parking lots is factored in.

A preliminary Microsoft Campus PRT system map at right shows 29 stations (including one at Pro Sports Club), 9.5 miles of one-way guideway, and five high-capacity loops. Yellow diamonds depict station locations:


PRT is an elevated monorail system with many three-person, driverless, electric vehicles. It is ideally suited for short "feeder/distributor", shuttle, and "circulation" operations at train stations, airports, office parks, and shopping centers. PRT provides non-stop, no-wait, 30 mph service.

Vehicles travel above ground on 16' elevated "guideway." Stations are located near building entrances. Many stations are situated along the route to minimize walking once the trip ends. Vehicles travel non-stop to their destination along the main guideway at 30 mph, speeding at twice the average speed of autos on congested streets below. Stations are NOT located on the main guideway; instead, stations are located on separate station guideway that branches from the main guideway. Thus, stations are described as "off-line," meaning "not on the main line."

PRT combines concepts from monorail (Disneyland), automated people movers (SeaTac Airport), roller coasters, and automated highway systems (California Governor Schwarzenegger's GM OnStar van drives itself in the science fiction movie The Sixth Day).



3 Minute Animation of PRT on MS campus - alternate versions