Personal Rapid Transit "a Cyberspace Techno-Dream"


Personal Rapid Transit rears its head again all over the web in the form of a five-year old Sky Tran proposal for Seattle. Pod people have been rolling out these schemes since the sixties as a solution to the problem that public transport is, well, so public, and that people are, different.. Even in 1972 pod promoters wrote "PRT vehicles "are designed to provide the security and privacy not usually found in larger more common transit vehicles"

No matter that they don't work; imagine three hundred people on a platform at rush hour. Imagine what happens when it breaks down. Figure out handicap accessibility. Think of how many will actually have two people- would you get in with someone you don't know? Imagine the rendering shown above on a typical street instead of an open plaza.


Light Rail Now!, an organization that shares this writer's bias in favour of fast, clean mass transit notes that "The problems of visual intrusion, evacuation facilities, and the like seem peripheral and minor compared with the truly critical drawbacks of Personal Rapid Transit, demonstrated in actual practice: the relatively minuscule capacity of the system, with its tiny cars, and the implications of that in view of the relatively high installation cost of this capital-intensive, entirely grade-separated, elevated transit concept. The capacity problem has proven to be PRT's Achilles heel, time after time." More at ::Light Rail Now


Cartoonist and anti-PRT activist Ken Avidor notes that "Personal Rapid Transit is an infeasible transportation concept with a 30-year record of controversy and failure. PRT is little more than a stalking horse for the highway construction industry and individuals belonging to anti-rail transit groups." He calls Sky Tran "The Smoking Gun of PRT Absurdity" ::SeattlePI

TreeHugger loves new technologies and ideas, but this one has passed its best-by date. Lets invest in lots of clean, fast light rail like they have all over Europe and get social on public transit.

See also TreeHugger on Richard Nixon Proves Personal Transit Actually can Work and The Podcars Are Coming Read also in Wisebread: Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation

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