Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Personal Rapid Transit is Sooooo NOT Happening in Masdar

The failure of pods to launch at Masdar has been reported before... but the Singularity Hub has a few more details about this epic pod FAIL:

....the Personal Rapid Transit system has been shelved, yet the prototype remains in place.

The "prototype" is a dozen or so noisy, bouncy pods that go back and forth between two points in a basement.

The article goes on to say this about the glorified golf carts of Heathrow:

Masdar City, once planned to be fully operational in 2020 but pushed back to 2025, may be an urban planner’s dream come true as well as a playground for tech companies around the world, but the future of transportation? Unfortunately, no. The closest we are to seeing real personalized transport in operation is the underwhleming[sic] ULTra system at Heathrow airport now servicing a 1.9-km point-to-point guided track between Terminal 5 and the N3 Business Car Park.

The Heathrow pods are only "servicing" employees at this point, but "underwhelming" is right.

I predicted PRT would flop in Dubai 5 years ago :

A year ago, during one of the debates between Gary Dean Zimmermann and Robert Lilligren, Zimmermann announced that ULTra had two big contracts to build PRT systems, one in Dubai and the other in one of Heathrow Airport's parking lots. Since then I've seen no evidence of actual construction on either of these projects. Like every PRT project in the last thirty years, Heathrow and Dubai will likely be flops or fakes.

I was right. Both pod projects in Heathrow and Masdar were fakes, not the PRT we've seen in the uber-hyped CGI videos (no free-standing, elevated stations, only two stops etc.). Masdar PRT is now an official flop in the long and costly history of PRT flops... and the Heathrow pods will join that list eventually.

Speaking of predictions.. click on the screenshot below to make it bigger:

Recent news about the ongoing, worldwide pod boondoggle:

Duluth News Tribune article about Taxi 2000 trying to restart Duluth pod project - hilarious comments.

PRT is so not happening at Heathrow.

Pod people invade Newport News ( the article quotes retired professor Vukan Vuchic)

Bizarre hearing for wacky Jpods proposal for Hull, Massachusetts. Video: Bill James Pitches Jpods Resolution to Hennepin County.

Taxi 2000 Corporation spent nearly $80K on lobbying in Minnesota in 5 years. Taxi 2000 lobbyist and Bachmann pal Ed Cain also lobbied for the phony U.S. Navy Veterans Association charity.

The Swedish/Korean PRT prototype malfunctioned 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. Twitter Reveals Morgantown WVU Personal Rapid Transit's Frequent Breakdowns.

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