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

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