Richard Nixon Proves Personal Transit Actually can Work


There have been a lot of Personal Rapid Transit schemes proposed recently; this writer ignored them as being a particularly dopey and expensive way to get people out of their own cars; they won't work in low densities because people will have to drive to get to them; in high densities why not make comfortable buses or streetcars and get far higher capacities. They seem like nothing other than an overpriced way of giving people the privacy of their car and the ability to avoid sharing transit with other people who might make us nervous at great public expense and simply converting the fuel from gas to coal via electricity.

Then we learn from the New York Times that in certain circumstances they work quite well; at West Virginia University in Morgantown, Richard Nixon funded a demonstration project that has been running since 1975, slightly over budget as it was projected to cost US$ 13.7 and ended up ten times that. It is running point to point between two campuses of the University and serving students, so there is a relatively dense, car poor audience at each end. It has never had a serious injury and is running 98% of the time.

So it can work, under certain circumstances, with Nixonian dollars paying for it. Otherwise, we agree with transportation consultant Jonathan Richmond: ""The infrastructure requirements are such that it is not realistic to think it could be adopted in highly developed U.S. cities." ::New York Times