Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where is the Grassroots Support for Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)?

PRT promoters will tell you there is grassroots support for PRT. Whatever public support PRT had in the past, it has all but vanished. Internet PRT forums are quiet - the last post on the Minnesota PRT forum is June, 2010 and the last post on the Seattle PRT forum is February, 2010. A handful of PRT promoters and would-be inventors opine on the Transport Innovators Google forum, but few of the participants fit the definition of grassroots.

Looking around the internet, there's the moribund Sky Loop Committee in Covington, Kentucky. The Skyloop website used to have a news page which apparently has been removed. An archived Skyloop web page has this news item about what happened to PRT in Cincinnati:

September 25, 2001 The Central Area Loop Study Committee (CALSC) of OKI voted to not recommend Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) for adoption as the transit technology for linking the downtowns of Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. For more on the outcome of the Central Area Loop Study (CALS) go to Central Area Loop Study Ending, including the paper "Why the Central Area Loop Study Committee Failed to Adopt PRT" and the CALS Draft Final Report (DFR) Rebuttal Documents..

That's right, PRT was rejected ten years ago:

The "Loop Study", which began early in 2001, studied monorail, personal rapid transit, light rail, streetcars and buses. The Central Area Loop Study, as it was known, concluded in October 2001 that any further study of monorail and PRT in the urban cores of Cincinnati, Covington and Newport should be eliminated. Any additional study of surface alternatives should be conducted and incorporated as an integral part of the proposed Regional Rail Plan. This left the use of light rail, streetcars and buses as alternative systems.

The decade-old Skyloop PRT fiasco in Cincinnati only serves as a a topic for derision.

There's an Austin Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit that judging by the dated content on that site seems as moribund a grassroots movement as Skyloop - whatever happened to astronaut Richard Garriott's PRT plans for Austin?

PRT websites litter the internet. Years ago, there was something called Saint Paul Personal Rapid Transit with the unfortunate acronym SPPRT. There is another website for a SPURTS.org. There's a website for PRT promoters in Santa Cruz... there's likely more if you bother to look.

The only "grassroots" PRT website that shows any signs of life is the Minnesota-based Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit (CPRT) which is planning to go to the MnDOT PRT workshop tomorrow.

The CPRT likely violated their non-profit status by electioneering for former Mpls Councilman Dean Zimmermann and other PRT-promoting candidates in the 2005 election. I can't find the CPRT on the Secretary of State's website and there is no mention of the CPRT's current non-profit status or even contact information. The CPRT used to meet at Dean Zimmermann's home, but now meet in restaurants.

The CPRT's website makes this bogus claim about conventional transit:

Less than 5% of Americans use public transportation. It’s just too slow, complicated and inconvenient.

Videos of the CPRT in action at the Living Green Expo in 2008:

Once again, here's a list of recent pod flops and fiascos:

Taxi 2000 lobbyist and Bachmann pal Ed Cain also lobbied for the phony U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity.

ULTra PRT Heathrow Debut Postponed a Fourth Time.

No $25 million earmark for PRT pork project in Winona, Minnesota.

The Swedish/Korean PRT prototype malfunctioned recently in front of the media.

The Masdar PRT (actually computer-guided golf carts that follow magnets imbedded in the roadway) has been scaled way back, This setback got a mention in the NY Times and confirmed in this Bloomberg article.

The so-called Morgantown PRT (it's a mundane people-mover) was the subject of a student newspaper editorial after a malfunction created a "fireball" and filled a vehicle with smoke. The cost of fixing the Morgantown boondoggle is $93 million.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.