Friday, September 30, 2011

Cybertran Defined by Pod Promoters as Personal Rapid Transit

This is a follow-up of the Cybertran saga I first reported last week (see "Tragic Waste of Taxpayers' Dollars on Gadgetbahn in Richmond, California"). Cybertran is being promoted by Richmond's "progressive" Mayor and city council.

While Cybertran is not strictly a PRT concept, it borrows heavily on the PRT "innovation" jargon (see 2009 Terrain article) and is a co-participant at conferences - most recently at a panel discussion about the "Future Transit" with ULTra's Steve Raney (video here of Steve Raney at this event). Steve Raney himself has worked on Cybertran - this is from Raney's curriculum vitae (PDF): and also mentioned on his Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) bio.

Steve Raney is founder of, a nonprofit advanced transportation & smart growth think tank. .... He designed a version of Cybertran's Group Rapid Transit train control system.

There's an article in the Podcar City Conference Newsletter #2 - August 15, 2008 (PDF) titled "Investment converges on CYBER-TRAN automated rail system". in the November 18. 2009 newsletter (PDF) Cybertran is described as a "PRT producer"

Of course, let's not forget some of the PRT producers that are emerging - Taxi2000, Skytran, RUF, Beamways, Cybertran - as all are continually active and some are receiving additional funding and resources this year; a Congratulations is in order!

Cybertran is also part of an ATRA "Technology Evaluation" titled "Personal Automated Transportation: Status and Potential of Personal Rapid Transit" (PDF) The study includes this "warning" as to the confusing inclusion of a seemingly non-prt concept in the PRT category:

Cybertran is marketing their system as a GRT system. However, for the purposes of this report, we are making the assumption that it could operate in PRT mode, in which case the vehicle would pick up only one passenger (or a group wishing to travel together) and make a non-stop trip to his or her destination. Please keep this distinction in mind if you compare the results of this report with Cybertran literature. Cybertran is built for higher speeds than would be necessary for urban PRT.

If the experts on PRT at ATRA define Cybertran as PRT, who am I to argue with them? From now on, I will refer to Cybertran as a PRT concept.

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