Friday, March 30, 2012

Seattle Transportation Reporter Not Reporting His Opposition to Recent Seattle Personal Rapid Transit Proposal

Not reporting on it, but quietly whispering his opposition on his personal blog.

David Gow, the Seattle transportation reporter at has not reported on the recent proposal by the Century Transportation Authority for an PRT Project for Seattle (reported HERE, HERE and HERE). David Gow wrote a 6-part "primer" on podcars (PRT) for including this article about PRT in Seattle.

David Gow has several websites promoting Personal Rapid Transit. The Seattle "Get There Fast" PRT website - seems to be slow in reporting on the new proposal for PRT in David Gow's backyard. The news page at Gow's "kinetic" PRT website is also silent about the CTA PRT Seattle project.

The moribund Seattle PRT forum is also silent on the new development.

However, David Gow is quietly attacking the Seattle CTA PRT proposal on one of his many blogs called "This Week in Precipitation" in a March 24, 2012 post titled "Not another agency":

I have been aware for a few months that this organization -- 'CenTran' -- has been in the works. However I had been under the impression what it's about is Son Of Green Line.

Instead, it looks like they're intending a 16-mile monorail+PRT (pod transit) system in the West Seattle to Ballard corridors.

Gow goes on to address the pod aspect of the plan:

However, there are a number of practical issues here. By the time we are ready to do a technology screening (let alone select a design for installation), will these vendors be ready to deliver and operate what could be the largest pod system to date? Will their systems be sufficiently proven in regular operation?

Most of all, I personally object to this local effort being mounted by a small group, out of the public eye, creating yet another transit bureaucracy.

If PRT is going to be done here, it needs to be part of the existing decisionmaking structure. It needs to be done by Seattle or King County, or even Sound Transit. The latter had planned to do a PRT project as part of the Link program ( ), but the expected Raytheon PRT program was cancelled.

Raytheon? Gow is citing ancient history - from the last century. Sound Transit has no current plans for PRT.

Gow then wades into the recent pod people controversy about which imaginary pod concepts should be promoted by ATRA and even how PRT is defined.

I have misgivings that High Capacity corridor service might be too much too soon for a flavor of PRT (HCPRT) that hasn't yet been implemented, anywhere.

Apparently, Gow doesn't have any faith in J. Edward Anderson's PRT International, the would-be PRT vendor mentioned in the CTA proposal (CTA board member Jake Solomon is Manager of Marketing and Business Development at PRT International) . It seems that ATRA doesn't have any faith in PRT International's ability to deliver the goods either, leaving PRT International off its preferred member/vendor page and relegating J.E. Anderson's Fridley company to a lower tier "conceptual" category.

Gow concludes that the problem with the CTA pod/monorail plan is really institutional:

It's OK to hypothesize something that ambitious. But set up a whole new bureaucracy? Really?

Furthermore, local planning for circulation PRT and collector-distributor PRT have been done in SeaTac and Issaquah. We should look first at those service niches.

Will David Gow report his opposition to the Seattle monorail/PRT project at or his PRT promoting websites?


UPDATE: David Gow has finally acknowledged the existence of the PRT proposal for his city on his Get There Fast website's news page, with this comment:

Get There Fast takes no position on this proposal.

Also read: Pod People & Monorail Fans Join Forces in Seattle.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pod People & Monorail Fans Join Forces in Seattle

Way back in 2005, the Seattle Post Intelligencer published my opinion piece about Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) titled "Personal transit still a techno-dream". Eight years later the techno-dream is still alive - this from the Century Transportation Authority website:

Creating a transportation system that utilizes train cars running on a guideway, together with the necessary passenger stations, terminals, parking facilities, related facilities or other properties and facilities necessary for the system - including passenger and vehicular access to and from people-moving systems such as High Capacity Personal Rapid Transit (HCPRT) that has multiple off-line stations to collect and distribute riders to and from the monorail system, including fixed guideway light rail systems (which include any tram and trolley systems such as the waterfront trolley or the streetcar in the South Lake Union area of the city, and high capacity personal rapid transit.)

This is the PRT plan (PDF):

UPDATE: Jake Solomon is on the board of CenTran:

Jake is an entrepreneur businessman passionate about advancing mobile technology and mobile marketing services. He also is a strong proponent of high capacity personal rapid transit (HCPRT), as a "Green" 21st Century efficient and cost effective transportation solution.

Since 2001, Jake has been involved in political and community work related to City of Seattle, King County and Washington State government, advocating for cost effective transportation solutions and for "transportation legislation" that advances 21st Century transportation systems that are suitable for urban environments.

Education: Central Washington State University
Bachelor of Arts Business Administration
University of Washington
Bachelor of Science Forestry


Jake Solomon has a Fridley, Minnesota pod connection - PRT International - J.E. Anderson's would-be PRT vendor PRT International:

In January 2005, he found it necessary to resign from Taxi 2000 Corporation and soon, with two other of its Board Members, founded PRT International, LLC through which he has developed from basic principles and available public-domain material a PRT system under the name “Intelligent Transportation Network System (ITNS),” which was coined by his Manager of Marketing and Business Development, Jake Solomon. He continues the challenging task of determining how to fully commercialize ITNS.

Recent article about that other Fridley, Minnesota would-be pod provider Taxi 2000 in the Fridley Patch.

Jake's been involved the Seattle monorail fiasco of the previous decade:

In the past few months, however, the idea of a freeway monorail system has been resurrected by a half-dozen advocates who are running a Web site, meeting in cafes and lobbying political and business officials about the reasons to construct a regional monorail along I-5, from Everett to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“Our system is a trunk-line system,” says Jake Solomon, outreach coordinator for the Freeway Monorail group. “We want it to be a high-speed — I’m talking 60, 70 miles per hour — mass rapid-transit system connecting the cities of Puget Sound.”

Freeway-monorail advocates seek to answer a question on the minds of many taxpayers these days: What would happen if the $2.1 billion required to build a downtown-to-Tukwila light-rail line and the $1.7 billion for a Ballard-to-West Seattle monorail were combined to assemble a really, really long transit line?

However, there is not much political clout, and no funding source, for freeway monorail.

Advocates are banking on a collapse of Sound Transit’s light-rail plan, and after the apocalypse, freeway monorail would fill the void. “We have to kill Sound Transit,” says Solomon. Well, not actually kill it, but pack the Sound Transit board with monorail sympathizers, or force the agency to study the freeway monorail plan in depth, he explains.

As I always say, PRT and other gadgetbahn concepts are often used as monkey wrenches to stop, delay or defund reality-based transit - for more about this, see this post: Personal Rapid Transit Has Always Been a Bogus Excuse to Defund Rail Transit

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Personal Rapid Transit in India Not Happening

Another much-ballyhooed PRT project fizzles - Times of India:

JAIPUR: The possibilities of Pink City witnessing a new mode of public transport in the form of Personal Rapid Transit System (PRTS) seem to be dim. Reason -- the company that had earlier given a presentation of the project, has now asked the state government to first sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) before it submits a feasibility report on the project.

According to official sources, the state government has refused to do so as all such projects have a certain procedure where it first looks into the feasibility report and then invites tenders. "As per the norms MoU cannot be signed with a single firm directly as objection can be raised that the project is awarded to benefit a particular company." said an official source. He added, "Still, we have asked the company to submit the feasibility report. If they submit it we will consider the project. It was never mandatory for the firm to submit a feasibility report."

Well, there will always be China: