Saturday, October 24, 2009

$800,000 for 40-60 Feet of Personal Rapid Transit?

From J. Edward Anderson's "Evolution of PRT" (PDF available here):

State Fair. Interest from another city, Cincinnati, was sufficient to enable Taxi 2000 Corporation, when I was its CEO, to raise about $800,000 to design, build and demonstrate one auto-mated, linear-induction-motor propelled, three-passenger vehicle that operated on a 60-ft length of guideway. It ran flawlessly for thousands of rides during the 2003 Minnesota State Fair. Citizens for PRT assisted in more ways than I know by providing displays and people to manage the crowds and answer questions. A reporter asked me: ―What was the most surprising thing about it? After a moment of thought, knowing that it worked technically exactly as designed, I said that the most surprising thing to me was the thrill people got out of riding only 40 feet. I could only imagine the reaction to riding around the loop of the first pilot system and subsequent applications. Seeing a comprehensive display of what it would be like to live in a city served by PRT and appreciating the way concerns about PRT would be treated produced an overwhelmingly positive reaction.

What happened to us after that, though, was awful. A clash of interests caused three board members including me to resign from Taxi 2000 Corporation in January 2005 and to go on to form PRT International, LLC....

2005... terrible year for PRT in Minnesota... there was that lawsuit... and... and... and...

Let's forget all that and try to recapture the "thrill" by watching former Representative Mark Olson traveling down 40 feet of guide-way in a pod:

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