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.

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