Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Discovery's Insane Video About Personal Rapid Transit

The Discovery Company's How Stuff Works series has a segment about Personal Rapid Transit that is more bizarre than the usual PRT puff pieces that appear regularly in the media like this lame article in the Boston Globe.

Here's two stills from the video showing elevated pod guide-ways desecrating historic buildings and public places in Washington DC. Does any sane person think this could ever happen?



This still shows a skull-like PRT pod in front of the nation's Capitol... yikes!


If you have any notion that PRT is a legitimate transportation concept watch the folowing segments of the video from You Tube.

The narrator on this clip explains that a pod plan for Washington DC would require highways "two to three times wider":

Chris Perkins of the wacky would-be PRT vendor Unimodal/Skytran shows up in this video:

This segment is all about the threat of terrorism to an automated pod system and how it would be prevented by... what else... adding more automated, complex gadgets:

This segment is about the ULTra PRT project at Heathrow 5. The narrator says "For personal pod advocates nothing less than the future of transportation is at stake, with the outcome of the ULTra experiment." Chris Perkins says, "The success of the ULTra system at Heathrow is an important event in the podcar industry, and I think the future of podcars, at least in this era depends on its success."

The narrator says the ULTra pod is run by "a laptop"... which may be another reason why the launch of ULTRA has been postponed a second time since it was announced in 2005. The ULTra was supposed to be ready to take on passengers in 2008.

The UK ULTra website has not posted a reason why the debut for their "revolution in sustainable public transport" has been delayed. The U.S. ULTra website mentions the delay, but does not give a reason for the delay... they do take time to complain about "anti-PRT bloggers".

In 2008, this PRT guy said the first delay was "bad news for the whole industry":

Yet, the hype for PRT goes on and on and on....

UPDATE: The Pod People have applied for millions of Federal dollars:

In September, Unimodal applied to receive the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant to build the first functional public system.

Currently, the only line is a short test track at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

Unimodal applied for the grant with several partners in St. Tammany Parish, La. which is where the first fully.

According to information distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the grant is part of the federal stimulus money, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is designed to provide funds for transportation-related capital investments that significantly impact the city where they are built.

Up to $1.5 billion have been allotted to the program and will be distributed among the applicants as the Secretary of Transportation sees fit.

Unimodal has requested $75 million to build the demo track.

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