Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Revealed - ULTra PRT's Dorky Golf Cart Wheels

The 30+ year story of PRT is a lot like the plot of the Mel Brooks movie "The Producers". In order for PRT do its job as a stalking horse for bashing rail transit, it cannot ever be built. The moment PRT attempts to leave the shiny, futuristic computer animations and attempts to become a real, live transportation system, its flaws become obvious... and with its little wheels that look like they came off of a golf cart, PRT looks downright dorky.

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The dorky wheels that must be never be revealed:

We were just outside Boston, Massachusetts at the Raytheon world headquarters. Raytheon, a big producer of hi tech military weapons and air traffic control systems, was working on the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) project. Several energetic images were needed to promote the new system worldwide, with instructions that we were not to reveal the rubber tires under the vehicle in any of the final photos.

In a recent BBC puff-piece about ULTra, we get a glimpse of the undercarriage of the glorified golf cart... and its dorky wheels:

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