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The RoBlog
Sunday, May 22, 2005
 
Personal Rapid Transit Revisited
Recently I received a comment on my post regarding Personal Rapid Transit, back in October.

The anonymous poster, who appears to have been from an organization called SoundPRT, which appears to be an advocacy group for bringing a PRT system to the Seattle area.

The commenter addressed some thoughts I had (all relatively minor) about the SkyWeb PRT system. The comments sparked a renewed interest in me and I spent a couple hours digging around to find out more about the broader range of PRT solutions and criticisms leveraged against it.

What follows is, in the tradition of the original article I posted, a mostly wandering discussion of random shiny things that caught my eye as I was cruising the various sites, as well as responses to the points the commenter made. Let's start with the latter.

Call and Response
In my original post, I had yammered on about how it would seem like making each vehicle stopped at a station wait for the first vehicle in the station queue to depart might be irritating. To address this, I proposed a Y-shaped section of track for each berth. To which the commenter said:

It is not anticipated that individual delays will be a problem. First, most stations will have multiple bays. Second, boarding is made as simple and fast as possible--payment and route selection occurs before boarding, and the design must make ADA/wheelchair access as easy as it is for the fully-able-bodied.

My response:
The waiting issue I mentioned was not necessarily a result of limited berths. Rather it was my thinking that people who are boarding in the first berth may take an inordinate amount of time boarding for reasons entirely unrelated to system design. People holding a vehicle so that another member of their party could board; because they have many things to load into the vehicle; or because they are taking a while to get situated. In a linear station design, all vehicles behind the one in question would be required to wait until that vehicle was completely boarded. This is more likely to be an irritation rather than a real inconvenience, but it's worth considering that the impact of such a scenario may be greater in systems where station access is non-sequential as people expect their travel experience to be unrelated to that of other people traveling simultaneously.

Likely, developing a solution for such an irritant is over-engineering. Most solutions would require slightly larger stations to accommodate and likely increase the boarding/deboarding process as an individual vehicle takes itself offline in a station, however having both the station offline from the main guideway, and each birth offline from the station guideway might be worth looking at in certain station configurations.

Although, having given it a bit more thought, I could envision an alternative to the Y approach I mentioned in the original article that would have less of an impact on vehicle "docking" times (though would probably have the same relative impact on station sizes). Consider a station guideway that departs from the main guideway. In the station, there would be a main guideway and individual berth guideways leading off of it. The berth guideways could intersect each other (with the outbound guideway intersecting the inbound guideway of the next berth) and the central system could manage vehicles through these intersections. This would mean that individual vehicles would not have to make sharp turns (as in the Y configuration), would not have to back up (again, as in the Y configuration), and each berth could have as long a deboarding/boarding time as needed without interrupting the flow of other vehicles through the station. An added benefit might be the ability to store two (or more) vehicles in each berthing track when demand is low, providing additional vehicle storage to the system.

Next, I wondered aloud about what happens when an individual PRT vehicle broke down on the guideway.

To which the commenter said:
This is pretty much spot-on. In addition, under the Skyweb system a breakdown is pushed to the repair center by the next vehicle. Generally, Skyweb is designed with few moving parts to break, as well as redundancy throughout, making the odds of unplanned stoppage literally astronomically low.

My response:
In the scenario where an individual vehicle becomes non-functional, it makes sense that another vehicle can come along and push the disabled vehicle. But in a system where guideway switching is dependent on the individual vehicle and is not a component of the guideway itself, how does one ensure that the vehicle can be pushed to a suitable destination if the switching mechanism is disabled? Also, what happens when a vehicle is disabled due to a problem directly relating to it's ability to move (e.g. one or more wheels jam)? In such a case, it would seem that PRT critics would have a valid point about debarking in emergencies. This problem would seem to be compounded if the traveler were disabled, insomuch as one could not simply deploy a cherry picker to recover the occupants.

I went on to puzzle on whether or not long lines might form behind a station, eventually backing up on to the main guideway.

To which the commenter said:
Actually, there are primarily three factors: the demand for each station in terms of arrivals AND departures, the number of berths per station, and the size of each "loop" or circuit of elevated track.
Demand: PRT spreads-out demand per station by having many small stations close together (ideally 1/2 mile apart).
Berths: Most stations will have 3 berths. In busy places (downtowns, stadiums, airports, intermodal transit stations) stations would be scaled-up by adding more berths (major station cost is the elevator and trip selection "ATM", marginal cost of each additional berth is relatively low).
Loop size: In the rare (see Demand) event of a station and its approach siding being full, a car can be "waved off" and directed to go around the local loop and re-approach. The ideal size of a loop is 1/2 mile on a side for a total of two miles; traveling this at 40 mph takes only 3 minutes.


My response:
The impact of the unidirectional nature of the guideway might be interesting to understand more. It would seem that, for some station-to-station trips, the trip length might be significantly longer than one might expect when the trip needs to be routed through a series of one way guidelines (I'm assuming here that there would typically only be one guideway per street (or equivalent) and that the illustrations showing stations as being single direction only are correct). I'm sure this is something that is minimized during initial planning stages, but this, among other things, makes me want to sit at a simulator with someone who knows all about this and see different scenarios play out.

Would this, then, mean that, in a scenario where an approaching vehicle has to be "waved off" that the trips might be significantly longer than traversing a 2 mile square? Also interesting to know is how likely it would be to achieve a regular 1/2 mile per side loop. What are the system performance impacts if the per-side lengths expand beyond that, and what is the likely upper-threshold over which performance becomes unacceptable (I'm guessing that this is heavily dependent on the particular installation. More reason to sit in from of a model simulator.

I pondered the question of whether PRT would eventually be outmoded by computer controlled cars.

To which the commenter said:
It depends what effect you think Time might have on PRT's effectiveness. Urban densification and suburban expansion are not a problem for PRT, as the system scales-up well.

My response:
Yeah, I must have been high or something when I wrote this. Even though I have visions of computer controlled cars dropping you off at work and then driving themselves home or some such, the only near-term way automated cars would compete with pretty much any transit system, would be for long-haul scenarios where individual cars could travel as fleets (though I'd be interested in hearing why I might have been more right than I expected ;).

I said I thought it'd be cool if you could access the Internet from your laptop while in the car.

To which the commenter said:

No reason a community couldn't specify this as an amenity.


My response:
Yep, again...high. Looks like some metropolitan wireless schemes may well fill in this need, though I'm not counting on them quite yet. And if they fail, perhaps the cellular network will soon be good enough to fit the bill. In any case, it'd be nice to have in the PRT vehicles, but certainly no point of emphasis for them.

At some point I used the phrase "Doesn't meet commuter throughput claims".

To which the commenter said:
How? Remember, station demand is distributed/spread-out. In addition, routing is spread-out too. The "mesh" configuration of the network means there is more than one way to get from A to B, especially if they are far apart. If one PRT track can handle 7200 vehicles per hour (30 mph, 22 ft headway), imagine what multiple parallel tracks can carry.

My response:
And again...high. I'm not even sure what I meant here (I didn't think anyone would be looking ;). I'm pretty sure I meant it would be a problem IF throughput claims couldn't be met, but your guess is as good as mine at this point.

No Call, Just Response
Now, more ramblings on PRT and the like in no particular order:

PRT as a Complementary Mode
Most places I visited seemed to indicate that PRT was not necessarily direct competition to light rail (et al). Rather it was a supplement. While I can see this for certain applications, like the one I mentioned in my original post about going from Vancouver to Portland, I do wonder what the designers see the specific limits of PRT as being, and where it makes sense to employ other modes of transportation. Specifically, I'd be interested in seeing some cost scenarios (or technical scenarios) where PRT would break down. I think this kind of information helps to provide much needed context to the discussions I see about PRT and other forms of transportation (such as the fascinating PRTDebate page).

A PRT Wiki
I ran across a fledgling wiki site for PRT that was useful as a jumping off point to other PRT info.

Problems of Placement
In terms of getting PRT guideway everywhere it would need to be, no doubt the challenges of getting the guideway approved in enough neighborhoods to grant the 1/2 mile-per-station distance is non-trivial. Much like other forms of public transportation, and, indeed, many other public works projects, people may be in favor of the idea while not wanting it to run by their homes. Unlike busses or light rail, however, PRT will have to fight this battle in many more neighborhoods if the penetration targets are to be achieved.

It seems likely that individual stations would have a relatively small footprint, however providing access to this station (stairs and elevators; the latter required for ADA compliance) might be non-trivial in all the locations where a station would be required.

It would be interesting if a PRT service could replace existing utility poles so that they served a dual purpose: carrying the existing utility infrastructure, as well as the PRT guideway. My guess is that this would help lessen certain arguments about invading infrastructure and would mean that no additional right of way need be granted. Even better, perhaps, if the utility lines could be tucked into the guideway in some way to lessen the negative impact of existing infrastructure. In fact, it appears that UniModal is proposing exactly that .

Stopping the Train (and the PRT)
Arguments about the stopping distance of a PRT seem a bit odd in certain respects, especially when compared to light rail. Assuming the worst case scenario of a vehicle collision with an unexpected, ungiving object, it would seem that a fair comparison would be to compare the effects of a PRT system versus a light rail system encountering the same object, and run the comparison at different passenger loading levels. At first blush, one would assume that in a properly functioning PRT system (and this may be where the failure lies), that the impact vehicle, and perhaps a vehicle or two behind it would be involved, accounting for injuries to 12-16 people (fully loaded). Under the same circumstances, one would think that a fully loaded light rail car (or coupled cars) would sustain injuries to on the order of 50 individuals in such a collision (100 if coupled) as later portions of the rail car cannot brake to avoid collisions with the earlier portion of the car.

Getting it On (and Off)
It seems that discussions of passenger load times are primarily oriented around total time to load N passengers. It would be more interesting to see what the average wait time of individual passengers would be given normal passenger arrival patterns. I would guess this would lean towards PRT. The inter-vehicle wait time should also be thrown into the mix (and, no doubt, there are studies of this). I presume that in an optimal PRT system, the inter-vehicle wait time would be substantially smaller than the inter-vehicle wait time in an optimal LRT system, adding further disparity to each mode's average passenger wait time. Again, I'd love to see some simulations of both modes to see how things work out.

UniModal
The commenter mentioned a system by UniModal. Here are my comments about that:
The UniModal system seems like it's still in the initial stages of design (unlike some of the other PRT systems which seem well conceived at a fairly detailed level), an idea further reinforced by the large number of "coming soon" pages where vital information should be and a copyright date the belies the "soon" portion of that statement. And, c'mon, their Kiddie Train example is filled with holes and serves primarily as flame bait for proponents of alternate transportation modes.

As mentioned, it is not currently ADA compliant (both in the stairway access that is displayed in their pictures, and, presumably, in the nature of their two-seat cars where riders are seated one behind the other), the kludgy drop off and pick up system notwithstanding.

Similarly, in all of the images on their site (e.g.) the cars are shown waiting in queue for riders, but I imagine this would be problematic if an arriving rider ends up at the end of the queue. If there were not enough new passengers, all queued vehicles would have to be sent elsewhere. Other systems appear to have this handled a bit more elegantly by having stations with multiple berths allowing some cars to be stored while still providing room for arriving passengers to depart. There is, however, a strong attractiveness in the simplicity and small scale of the UniModal station design.

The UniModal model appears to be a two station approach with a disembarking station and a separate boarding station.

Feeding the Beast
I thought that the point the UniModal site made about feeder services not being accounted for in light rail travel was interesting. Probably only some of the trips on such systems could be added to the cost of light rail given that at least some of such ridership may start and end their trips on such a system. Nonetheless, to the extent that all such feeder traffic would be accounted for on a PRT system, it should be included as part of the comparative costs.

The End...Or IS it?
Anyway, that's enough rambling for now. Comments are welcome, but they may spin me into hours of research so use them wisely (that is, make sure you have plenty of popcorn to watch me spin).

Thanks mysterious commenter!
Comments:
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It's me again.

The waiting issue I mentioned was not necessarily a result of limited berths. Rather it was my thinking that people who are boarding in the first berth may take an inordinate amount of time ... [and] where station access is non-sequential as people expect their travel experience to be unrelated to that of other people traveling simultaneously.

One of the beauties of on-demand travel is that the odds of two people leaving from the same place at precisely the same time are extremely low. Small station coverage areas (spread-out demand),
correct # berths for the station, and simplest possible boarding procedures ought to keep things moving. As people get used to using the system, they will learn how to organize themselves to ensure the smoothest boarding.

Most solutions would require slightly larger stations to accommodate and likely increase the boarding/deboarding process... You're exactly right. A larger station would be more expensive, have a bigger footprint and have greater visual impact on the immediate vicinity.

having both the station offline from the main guideway, and each birth offline from the station guideway might be worth looking at in certain station configurations. Siding need not be of uniform length. Designers have planned to place stations varying distances from the main line, example at: http://cprt.org/PRT-Images/outside-station-1-thumb.jpg

Consider a station guideway that departs from the main guideway. In the station, there would be a main guideway and individual berth guideways leading off of it. The ULTra system plans a less complex option. Since the vehicle isn't captive to the guideway, a large station would just be a big platform with embedded guidepoints to define "virtual" stalls like a parking lot. Vehicles would be free to pull off, park, load/unload, back out, and depart.

how does one ensure that the vehicle can be pushed to a suitable destination if the switching mechanism is disabled? I only know what Skyweb would do: the pusher doesn't just push, the two vehicles actually couple bumpers, the pusher takes control of the pushee's switch (switchES, because there is a redundant switch).

what happens when a vehicle is disabled due to a problem directly relating to its ability to move (e.g. one or more wheels jam)? In such a case, it would seem that PRT critics would have a valid point about debarking in emergencies. Assuming the worst case in which the problem is something much more than a flat (pneumatic tire), delamination (solid tire) or a bad bearing, I can't imagine anything more dangerous than having people get out and try to navigate a catwalk--it might be night, raining, or snowing. It would be safer to have a truck respond with a scissors-lift--thus no climbing needed. Trailing vehicles would back out; other vehicles would not enter the blocked section and get diverted to other lines--possible only with a grid network. If the stoppage blocks station access, destination is switched to the nearest station, the person would need to walk maybe a little further than normal.

Note there has been discussion about fare policies relating to malfunctions or other problems. For instance--
If you're diverted to a different station, it's free.
If your trip is waved-off, it's free.
If you have to wait in a station more than X minutes, it's free.
If you have to reject more than 2 vehicles because they need cleaning, it's free.
And so on.
One activist has suggested "if guideway passes in front of your house, you ride free" (or get a tax exemption if its a publicly-financed system), in order to gain more acceptance.

Of course, the system can be designed with out a "farebox". For a private system (corporate or college campus, medical center, shopping mall, amusement park), PRT operation would be a line in the owner's budget. For a public system, there could be some kind of tax (motor vehicle, gasoline, personal, business, hotel/motel, employers, etc.), a monthly account like an electric bill, etc.

for some station-to-station trips, the trip length might be significantly longer than one might expect when the trip needs to be routed through a series of one way guidelines It might be longer in terms of mileage, but not in terms of total travel time, which is the whole point of on-demand/nonstop service.


(I'm assuming here that there would typically only be one guideway per street (or equivalent) and that the illustrations showing stations as being single direction only are correct) Ideally the nearest parallel guideway is a half mile away, 880 yards. So in a typical urban setting if you look into the distance you might see PRT in the distance passing through an intersection, behind trees, on a bridge, or on a hillside.
As to a single street, there are situations where double-guideway, travel in each direction, might be appropriate. But this is not the norm. Reasons it could be employed
are to optimize "circuity" of loops, or when there are few aerial routes through a district.
Of course, two lines will also be present at branches where loops meet.
It is also possible to have an overpass situation where E-W and N-S lines cross; a "cloverleaf" would connect them. However the visual impact is significant, and would be employed sparingly, if at all. I believe Skyweb has all but ruled them out.


Would this, then, mean that, in a scenario where an approaching vehicle has to be "waved off" that the trips might be significantly longer than traversing a 2 mile square? Also interesting to know is how likely it would be to achieve a regular 1/2 mile per side loop. These are tradeoffs to be decided when planning the network. What are the system performance impacts if the per-side lengths expand beyond that, I think that's obvious. what is the likely upper-threshold over which performance becomes unacceptable (I'm guessing that this is heavily dependent on the particular installation. Yup-- loop size, number of vehicles in the system, station demand are all in play.

Yep, again...high. Looks like some metropolitan wireless schemes may well fill in this need There seem to be hotspots everywhere, if wide-area hotspots don't pan out (one is being set up at the top of the Space Needle which will cover a huge area) I can see someone inventing technology making small hotspots "cellular".

Most places I visited seemed to indicate that PRT was not necessarily direct competition to light rail (et al). Rather it was a supplement. Of course. If there's an existing transit system, why not use it? Especially if relatively new (new to 25 years old). If there is a good rail line through a city, it makes sense for PRT to get people to and from the train stations, the "first/last mile" that is a problem for conventional transit. If a community has buses, those buses could be redeployed to bring people to/from the edge of the PRT network-- bus coverage could be extended to underserved areas.

I do wonder what the designers see the specific limits of PRT as being, We don't think in terms of limits, but rather in terms of flexibility. PRT is cheap enough that it becomes an option for a wide variety of urban, suburban, and campus settings. PRT could be a city's primary or sole transit technology, but it could also fill niches.

getting the guideway approved in enough neighborhoods to grant the 1/2 mile-per-station distance is non-trivial. You're right. We're hoping people will accept PRT because of the utility they get from it, and from having the fewest impacts of fixed rail transit. It can go around obstacles; it can go over (and be hidden by) small and medium-sized trees; it can run down streets centers; stations can be fit inside new buildings, sited in public right of way, and on public land. I have seen one design that basically could take the place of a large bus stop.

PRT will have to fight this battle in many more neighborhoods if the penetration targets are to be achieved. That is why it will be important to stress that if you can see PRT guideway, it means a station is no more than a short walk away. Right now people can have a train thunder by their house, but still have to drive to a station; many people are taxed for transit that is to inconvenient for them to use.

It would be interesting if a PRT service could replace existing utility poles so that they served a dual purpose... Even better, perhaps, if the utility lines could be tucked into the guideway in some way to lessen the negative impact of existing infrastructure. In fact, it appears that UniModal is proposing exactly that.
PRT poles can replace existing streetlight & power poles. I have seen designs that would do this. However, I think Unimodal guideway is too small, it would require a separate conduit.


Arguments about the stopping distance of a PRT seem a bit odd in certain respects, especially when compared to light rail. Right. PRT is designed to prevent collisions of its own vehicles (synchronous & asynchronous movement and PRT location sensing are subjects you may wish to research next). And it can be equipped with nose radars to detect foreign obstacles. Skyweb has a small "cowcatcher" that was designed as a snowplow; it could probably be modified to knock other things out of the way at the last moment (and ring an alarm to warn people below?)

It would be more interesting to see what the average wait time of individual passengers would be given normal passenger arrival patterns.
Automation means PRT is better able to plan ahead for demand:
It knows where empty berths are, where to send available vehicles.
It knows where people are requesting trips, and where they want to go.
It knows the destination of people already moving in the system.
It knows when a vehicle, empty or not, will arrive at a location to respond to a travel request.
A system can "learn" or be "taught" what stations and times of day are "hot".
Note that when an empty is told to go somewhere, it is not "wasted energy." It is either (1) responding to a trip request, so someone needs it and the trip to pick them up is part of the ride, like a taxi, or (2) when it gets where it's going, it will sit and wait until someone needs it-- in terms of energy used this is the same as (1).
The problem of excessive movement of empties is partially mitigated by the modern trend away from the central city being the dominant rush hour destination. The "reverse commute" and suburb-to-suburb commutes are an increasing share of travel.

If there were not enough new passengers, all queued vehicles would have to be sent elsewhere. You always go to the available vehicle closest to the head of the queue.

There is, however, a strong attractiveness in the simplicity and small scale of the UniModal station design. Unimodal currently looks cool, but looks aren't everything. Classes of transport technology have technical standards; ADA is the technical standard for passenger-carrying. It must be adhered to.
 
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Dear "Get There Fast",

I agree that more distributed nature of a PRT system means that departure collisions are less likely. However, it seems likely to me that in a given individual commute, they are likely to run into collisions during at least one of their legs (on average) where, for example, the majority of trips are departing from a central location (e.g. a downtown area) to more distributed locations (e.g. suburbs). Probably this has already been modeled and I am just not familliar with the results, but I regularly witness people's irritation with LRT when someone accidentally presses the button to extend the handicap ramp. I can only imagine that these irritations might increase in a system where individuals were used to the fact that they had much control over the system.

Also, I think it's a bad idea to wave away problems by saying that people learn to work around it. Granted that the problem I'm raising here is very minor, but it's been my experience that people want the system to change for them, not the other way around. Many companies meet with failure when they expect their customers to change their behavior when there is no positive incentive for them to do so.

I feel like it's a bit disingenuous to say that designers of PRT systems don't think in terms of their limitations. Several pro-PRT sites state directly that they are not competing with LRT, and by that I presume they mean with proposed LRT installations, and not existing LRT. Not being aware of the limitations would seem to be a path bound for trouble.

That said, the rosy shine that I first experienced when I ran across the SkyWeb site has not diminished much, and I really appreciate all the rest of the information you provided.
 
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Hmm...I had another post by a person calling themselves "Ken" (maybe this guy?). His post disappeared as I wrote the previous response above to "Get There Fast". In case this was something I inadvertently caused, here is the original post as recovered from my email (so the formatting will probably be wrong).


PRT is totally bogus.

In Minnesota and elsewhere it's used as an anti-transit stalking horse to stop LRT and other transit initiatives for the pro-highway and pro-sprawl business interests.

The PRT Skeptic Page:
http://www.roadkillbill.com/PRTisaJoke.html

Personal Rapid Transit – Cyberspace Dream Keeps Colliding With Reality
http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_prt001.htm

Conventional Rail vs. 'Gadgetbahnen'
http://planetizen.com/oped/item.php?id=73

Professor Vucan Vuchic:
http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/vuchic1.htm
http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/vuchic2.htm

"The Road Less Traveled: The pros and cons of personal rapid transit. " by Troy Pieper
http://pulsetc.com/article.php?sid=1056


If it was my fault, sorry about that Ken!
 
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Dear Ken,

Before I posted this follow-up to my original PRT posting, I took the time to read a bit more about other PRT systems (originally I had only looked at SkyWeb), as well as the easily found criticism about PRT systems, which happens to include all but one of the links you provided.

I must say that much of the anti-PRT criticism seemed to be of the shout, mock, and deride school of thought. There was clearly an attempt to appeal to the emotional side of the argument, and, as such, I had a hard time taking it seriously.

As an example, this article on the RoadKillBill.com site is presented as another reason that PRT is a joke. In reality, however, the editorial quoted in an endorsment for PRT-leader Ed Anderson, and merely an expression of dissatisfaction of the new management.

The critique posted on LightRailNow.com (http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_prt001.htm), has been answered a number of times (http://kinetic.seattle.wa.us/nxtlevel/prt/rebuttal-lrnow-BW.html, http://www.skywebexpress.com/news/Response-to-LRT-Now.pdf, and others that I can't seem to find the links to). As I'm not an appologist for the PRT movement, I won't repeat them here except to say that they appear to make excellent points against some of the (often equally excellent) criticism.

Dr. Vuchic's criticisms appear to be, for the most part, well handled on the rebuttals (linked directly from the pages you included). His primary arguments appear to be the fact that PRT is not a "new" idea (it's been around since at least the 1960's) and if it's such a good idea how come no one has done it right. Indeed, both of these arguments appear in much of the anti-PRT writings. Few actual facts are given, with case studies providing the bulk of the argument.

Time marches on, however, and just because an idea was once unworkable, does not mean that some clever brains aren't going to come along and change that fact.

Strangely, the feeling I get after reading the major, readily available, works of criticism on PRT systems, is that they must be written by the pro-PRT folks themselves. Only they would put up such flimsy arguements so that the pro-PRT folks could knock them down.

If this is the best the anti-PRT folks have, I say, let's give PRT a try.
 
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If this is the best the anti-PRT folks have, I say, let's give PRT a try.

How much of scarce State and local dollars are you willing to spend on PRT?

Anyways, there is no workable, off-the-shelf PRT system to buy. What Taxi 2000 is selling is a "certification and testing facility". From the Skyweb site:

Funding: This phase will be funded at approximately $15 million for the design, engineering and construction phase. Sales, marketing, administrative and contingency expenses of up to $9 million are planned. In total, this phase has a $24 million budget and a 30-month duration.

http://www.skywebexpress.com/320c_development.shtml

But, they haven't said who will certify PRT. MnDOT has said it can't certify PRT. Taxi 2000 wants to spend $9 million of the $24 million of taxpayers' money on sales and mareting even before it gets "certified". Most likely this facility will end up like the Raytheon project.

If you want to know the real deal on PRT, read the Risk Factors document that the Taxi 2000 Corporation filed.

It says one of the risk factors is the headway problem (which cannot be solved by any sort of advanced technology). It instead suggests that Taxi 2000 would ask to have the guidlines for headways changed to allow pods to stop on a dime and subject passengers to gut-wrenching g-forces. I don't think too many professional engineers are going to sign off on that.

So while the budgets of Metro Transit, Minneapolis libraries and my kids' schools continue to be cut, I will continue to be furious about this useless waste of time and money called PRT.
 
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As far as I know, no public money has been spent on PRT for many decades. It does not seem likely that PRT will succeed by means of public money anyway. Meanwhile, Ken has all this passion about something that has yet to even demonstrate that it is a problem.

No doubt it will sneak up on us. One day we will be drowning in miles and miles of guideways covering all our cities and creating "problems" all over the place. "How did this happen?", we will ask ourselves.

Or else maybe it will never happen. Or maybe we will see what is happening after the first few miles and just not build any more.

Or maybe, just maybe, we will like it better than anything else we have seen. Maybe it will take our economy to the next level and pay all our bills. Maybe we will regret the time wasted since the sixties that we spent listening to naysayers like Ken.

In contrast to "maybe", the current public transit systems, including our congested auto system, are "certain" to take us nowhere.

You pick. A certainty of congestion and stagnation versus maybe a better approach. "Maybes" are the only hope we have now.
 
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As far as I know, no public money has been spent on PRT for many decades.

Not true. According to Advanced Transit Association Newsletter (Spring 2000) the Rosemount Project cost a total of public and private investment of $67 million, $22 million from the public and all of it wasted. Rosemount recently announced it will be using buses... not PRT. More recently, the Cincinnati region (OKI Council) spent $625, 000 on a study that compared PRT to conventional modes of transit. Even more recently, The New Jersey Legislature spent $75, 000 on a PRT study.

Meanwhile, Ken has all this passion about something that has yet to even demonstrate that it is a problem.

The reason the PRT bothers transit advocates like me is PRT fanatics have been showing up at meetings and wasting everybody's time for years. A PRT fanatic disrupted a workshop my wife and I were conducting years ago throwing Taxi brochures at us and screaming "PRT is the future!". Since then I've learned of the close cooperation between some PRT proponents and highway boosters and LRT haters. The court records in the Taxi 2000 vs Ed Anderson case have clear evidence of that. ...according to one exhibit in the case, SEH, the engineering firm for the I35W Access Project gave $400,000 "without compensation" to Taxi 2000.

"A certainty of congestion and stagnation versus maybe a better approach. "Maybes" are the only hope we have now."

There is certainty that PRT is impossible and it's in Taxi 2000's Risk Factors document filed with the State of MInnesota. It says the headway problem, the nose-to-nose spacing of the pods is a problem that can only be solved by asking the ASCE for a change on their guidlines for APM's. ... something that's highly unlikely because professional engineers are unlikely to relax a safety recommendation that would surely result in crashes, injuries and deaths.

For more on the impossible-to-fix headway problem and the PRTers anxiety over it:

http://www.roadkillbill.com/PRT-Wikipedia.html

PRT is all about bashing conventional transit. Conventional transit works pretty darn good. We just need more of it.
 
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How much of scarce State and local dollars are you willing to spend on PRT?

GTF: Depends. How much scarce State and local dollars are you willing to spend on transit technology that is convenient for only a small percentage of people?

Anyways, there is no workable, off-the-shelf PRT system to buy. What Taxi 2000 is selling is a "certification and testing facility".

GTF: As if it would be OK to build anything without testing it first.

the Risk Factors document that the Taxi 2000 Corporation filed... says one of the risk factors is the headway problem (which cannot be solved by any sort of advanced technology)

GTF: That's solely your speculation.

It instead suggests that Taxi 2000 would ask to have the guidlines for headways changed to allow pods to stop on a dime and subject passengers to gut-wrenching g-forces.

GTF: What?! Why would any transport company design such a product??? Try this instead: "If all passengers are seated, simple experiments show that a 0.5g [a HALF g] deceleration will not throw a passenger out of the seat... requirements of PRT safety is that the vehicle be designed for all passengers seated." It comes from "Safe Design of Personal Rapid Transit Systems", long available on the web.

So while the budgets of Metro Transit, Minneapolis libraries and my kids' schools continue to be cut, I will continue to be furious about this useless waste of time and money called PRT.

GTF: Wow... Metro Transit, library and school dollars are being diverted to PRT? Oh wait-- no they aren't. That's a distortion--kind of like mentioning "Saddam" and "Al Qaeda" in the same sentence over and over and over and over...


According to Advanced Transit Association Newsletter (Spring 2000) the Rosemount Project cost a total of public and private investment of $67 million, $22 million from the public and all of it wasted.

GTF: Because Raytheon screwed up the implementation. Reread this.

More recently, the Cincinnati region (OKI Council) spent $625, 000 on a study that compared PRT to conventional modes of transit.

GTF: All agencies that have decided to build light rail do studies of alternatives so it looks like they predetermined the right choice. They study LRT, monorail, BRT, APM and PRT, so it's not all "wasted" on PRT. Interestingly, these pro-rail alternative studies are often wrong.

The reason the PRT bothers transit advocates like me is PRT fanatics have been showing up at meetings and wasting everybody's time for years.

GTF: Citizen participation is messy, ain't it? Sorry we can't be a rubber stamp.

A PRT fanatic disrupted a workshop my wife and I were conducting years ago throwing Taxi brochures at us and screaming "PRT is the future!".

GTF: If this happened as you describe, then allow me to correct years of disharmony by apologizing on that person's behalf.

I've learned of the close cooperation between some PRT proponents and highway boosters and LRT haters.

GTF: At least mention there are liberals too. Reread this. Oh, and we haven't been hoodwinked.


There is certainty that PRT is impossible... the headway problem... can only be solved by asking the ASCE for a change on their guidlines for APM's... something that's highly unlikely because professional engineers are unlikely to relax a safety recommendation

GTF: How can something be "impossible" on the one hand, yet solvable "by asking the ASCE for a change"? And earlier you wrote the 'headway problem' "cannot be solved by any sort of advanced technology".

Changing the Standard is analagous to amending or revising a statute-- just because something doesn't fully comply now doesn't mean it's impossible from standpoints of engineering or safety. If it did, the people running the safety-proven, Government-certified ULTra project in the UK would be shocked.

For more on the impossible-to-fix headway problem and the PRTers anxiety over it:
http://www.roadkillbill.com/PRT-Wikipedia.html


GTF: Distortion. The cited thread is nothing more than an academic discussion about braking, by people advocating different possible designs.

PRT is all about bashing conventional transit.

GTF: Why is wanting to improve transit always "bashing"?

Conventional transit works pretty darn good. We just need more of it.

GTF: Too bad it costs so much-- upwards of $200 million per mile (including such things as tunnels, a $220M underground station, and a $45M surface station) where I live. Rather spend it on schools and libraries...
 
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...The previous post is a good example of why arguing with PRT fanatics is pointless... it is impossible to argue about something that doesn't exist with someone willing twist fantasy into fact and vice versa.

It''s like a bunch of kids arguing about which kid''s dad can beat up the other kids' dads... except one of the kids is an orphan. It''s kind of pathetic. His dad is always bigger and stronger because his dad exists only in his imagination. But you''re stuck listening to him because nobody has the heart to tell him the truth.

But don't take my word for it...

Transit for Livable Communities:

Interest in PRT has increased following its display at the 2003 State Fair and proposals to build systems in Duluth and Minneapolis. During the 2004 Legislative session, State Rep. Mark Olson (R) of Big Lake sponsored a bill to provide $10 million in state general obligation bonding to help construct a test track facility, and a variety of bills were filed to permit local bonding and exempt construction from sales taxes. TLC is studying the idea of PRT, but because the proposed technology has never been built anywhere in the world, there is no real engineering data to create reliable estimates of costs and benefits. Due to these concerns and the scarcity of public funding for established transit, the TLC board passed a resolution in April opposing state funding for PRT at this time. View the resolution here:

http://www.tlcminnesota.org/Events/2004/Legislature/No%20public%20funding%20for%20PRT.pdf

That's all folks...Back to work.
 
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Roblog: I agree that more distributed nature of a PRT system means that departure collisions are less likely. However, it seems... they are likely to run into collisions... where, for example, the majority of trips are departing from a central location (e.g. a downtown area) to more distributed locations (e.g. suburbs).

Some PRT stations in dense, central areas would likely be larger (e.g., 5-12 berths), and could be more frequently spaced, than those in suburbs.

Roblog: I regularly witness people's irritation with LRT when someone accidentally presses the button to extend the handicap ramp.

If you consider something like Skyweb, there IS NO special ramp. A person needs only pass through the PRT doorway, the vehicle floor is the same level as the berth. Any delay is much shorter than with a special lift.

Roblog: but it's been my experience that people want the system to change for them, not the other way around. Many companies meet with failure when they expect their customers to change their behavior when there is no positive incentive for them to do so.


Think of what PRT is trying to do-- transit that waits for you, not the other way around; no transfers within the network; nonstop trips. These are HUGE gains in convenience. My own opinion that 'organizing themselves for smoothest boarding' is akin to, if taking the bus, learning whether you pay when you get on or when you get off (where I live, depends on time of day and direction).

I feel like it's a bit disingenuous to say that designers of PRT systems don't think in terms of their limitations. Several pro-PRT sites state directly that they are not competing with LRT, and by that I presume they mean with proposed LRT installations, and not existing LRT. Not being aware of the limitations would seem to be a path bound for trouble.

I think we recognize that early on PRT is probably going to be applied in niches. However we have a long term or ideal-state Vision.


That said, the rosy shine that I first experienced when I ran across the SkyWeb site has not diminished much

From a personal standpoint, let me say I loathe driving (DRIVING, not cars per se) and congestion. 99% of my travel is by bicycle, I'm an occasional transit user, and I see commuters short-cutting through my neighborhood to get around congestion. So I know what's wrong out on the streets.

But I haven't reached the point of conceding defeat to the automobile. I'm pursuing PRT because I think transit can be improved, I don't accept that trains and buses are the pinnacle of what humans can invent.
 
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his dad exists only in his imagination

Like Illichville?

It's a nice idea, but compare:

Morgantown "PRT"-- an APM that can operate like PRT.

ULTra-- a PRT demonstration that met objectives for performance and cost; on hold due to resistance from traditional transit coalition, and resulting private investor reluctance.

Cabinentaxi-- W. German PRT from the 70s/80s that was ready to be installed, but the W. German gov't cut general spending when the US demanded they spend more for the Cold War.

Should the Illichville idea be scrapped because it's difficult? Even though it would require enormous, fundamental, unlikely changes to how people live and work?

No, because I can see the good in that Vision. Can you see the good in having a functioning PRT system?

I dare you to meet me halfway.
 
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Ken,

Goodness you DO get around. From the Google link on Get There Fast's referenced page about who's in whose pockets (search on each page for "stalking"):
http://www.lightrailnow.org/features/f_prt_2005-01.htm
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20040331/1759202_F.shtml
http://prtnews.com/wiki/Let's_get_real_about_personal_rapid_transit
http://www.bermudasun.bm/archives/2005-05-13/01News11/
http://archive.salon.com/mwt/letters/2004/11/23/new_taxi/print.html
http://www.counterpunch.org/frank01032005.html
 
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Like Illichville?

Illichville is a work of fiction that asks nothing from taxpayers.

Taxi 2000 Corporation and the PRT proponents are asking for $24 million and a whole lot more:

The PRT bills in the current session of the Minnesota House are:

HF1174 (Olson) Personal rapid transit local bonding authorized.
HF1173 (Olson) Public personal rapid transit systems exempted from certain taxes.
HF 1641 (Olson) Personal rapid transit local bonding authorized.
HF1366 (Olson Minnesota Regulated Public Transit Utilities Act adopted providing for regulation of transit services, and requiring legislative reports.

There are similar PRT bills in the Senate, one senate bill is authored by Senator Michele Bachmann.

Goodness you DO get around.

Aint the internet amazing?
 
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Illichville is a work of fiction that asks nothing from taxpayers.

That's not the point. The point is that it's a Vision. It may be off in the future, may face many hurdles to realization, may even encounter stiff resistance from individuals and organized interests. But if you were trying to create the detailed plans and procedures to implement it, and you really believed in it, what would you think of someone who, more than just criticizing the Vision, who said it was impossible and not worth trying, who said things about it that were untrue?

Taxi 2000 Corporation and the PRT proponents are asking for $24 million and a whole lot more:

So you're one of "those people"-- who thinks that if the government doesn't spend money one thing, it will spend it on something you like. All legislators are allowed to introduce bills; lots of bills are introduced. Success of one does not hurt or help the chances of others, each bill has its own equation.

Anyway, I don't recall Taxi 2000 having gotten state money in a number of years (was it via the U of MN?). If your local libraries and kid's school is getting cuts, it's not PRT's fault.

The following are not direct expenditures diverted from other purposes like education or libraries:

HF1174 (Olson) Personal rapid transit local bonding authorized.

Bonding. Do you know what municipal bonding is? I would hope that the type used for PRT would be revenue or private-activity bonds (paid off from PRT's operating revenues).

HF1173 (Olson) Public personal rapid transit systems exempted from certain taxes.

The taxes would be paid by PRT-related companies. Absent the exemption, if the companies weren't doing business the taxes wouldn't be paid. If the companies were engaged in other activities, they would be paid-- into the general fund, and what it would be spent on would still have to be determined politically.

HF 1641 (Olson) Personal rapid transit local bonding authorized.

Bonds again.

HF1366 (Olson Minnesota Regulated Public Transit Utilities Act adopted providing for regulation of transit services, and requiring legislative reports.

I'd never heard of this one. It reads, in part:

It is hereby declared to be in the public interest that persons be given the opportunity to become regulated public transit utilities, as defined in section 216E.02, and that these transit utilities be regulated in order to:
(1) encourage and support the marketplace development and operation of coordinated, cost-effective, and competitive multimodal transit services and infrastructure;
(2) eliminate or avoid unnecessary duplication of transit utility facilities and services that increase costs of service to the customer and taxpayer;
(3) ensure safe, adequate, reliable, economical, and efficient transit services to the public at reasonable and competitive rates, consistent with the financial and economic requirements of transit utilities and their need to construct facilities to provide the service; and
(4) minimize and prevent disputes between transit utilities and between transit utilities and other transit service providers that may result in inconvenience or diminish efficiency in service to consumers.


I don't see what the problem is with this. In the Good Old Days, private companies got out of transit, possibly due to the Detroit conspiracy, mostly because it became economically infeasible for the companies to make money providing transit using traditional technology.

So transit became a public good, a monopoly. Nothing wrong with that. But over the years the monopoly has became set in legal stone. For instance, in my state there is a law that gives the local transit agency exclusive rights to provide transit; I think the monorail initiative changed that.

HF1366 sounds like it removes this sort of monopoly, giving alternatives a fighting chance.
 
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The above response is what's known to bloggers as "fisking" and responding to it is pointless. I'll let Mr. Get There Fast have the last word... but before I go, I have this to say:

I am as eager as anyone to see this PRT debate end. Please urge the media to do a fair and even-handed investigative story on the claims of Taxi 2000, the CPRT and prominent PRT proponents such as Councilman Dean Zimmermann, Sen. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Mark Olson.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune and other newspapers have the resources to find the truth. Up to now, the Star Tribune has published two puff pieces on PRT and a favorable column by Doug Grow... little more than transcribed Taxi 2000 press releases with a few sound-bites from critics. They have yet to go beyond the "he said, she said" style of reporting. They haven't even reported on the Taxi 2000 trial.

In a recent Star Tribune article by Laurie Blake, she reported that Dubai is considering a PRT system, but I can find no information on this on the web. I have found stories about Dubai investing in a $3 billion light rail system.

I think it's highly dubious that Dubai would invest in an unproven system that doesn't even have air conditioners. If the ULTra system did have air conditioning, it would suck the batteries ULTra runs on after a few minutes in the 100-plus degrees summer heat. Not to mention what a desert climate would do to the plastic shell of the Taxi 2000 pods.

Every one of the engineering problems mentioned in the OKI report and the Light Rail "Cyberspace Dream" article could be tested by independent professional engineers. Computer models, for instance could answer the question whether the slim pylons and guideway proposed by Taxi 2000 could withstand the pressure and centrifugal force of fully loaded pods lined up nose-to-nose on a curve at maximum speed. The safe headway distance problem could also be investigated using computer modeling.

They could also talk to transportation professionals at MnDOT, Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis. I've talked to some of them about PRT and I've yet to find one transportation engineer employed by a state, county, federal or city government who is willing to put his or her reputation on the line by proposing a PRT system for their area.

Reporters could talk to transit advocates such as Transit for Livable Communnities and the Sierra Club Northstar - neither organization approves of PRT and have resolutions opposing PRT.

They could also talk to community people and ask them if they want to have half the trees on their block cut down for a PRT guidway with a clear view into their bedroom windows.

The truth is out there.

Please write a letter to the Star Tribune and ask for an investigative report on PRT today!

Thank you RoBlog for allowing this debate.
 
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"fisking"

I'd never heard that term. I found this definition online:

Fisking is a term invented by right-wingers that means doing a close and detailed examination of someone else's speech, article, etc. For some reason, right-wingers use the term in a disparaging manner.]

"right-wingers use the term". Hmmm.

I'm not doing a "close and detailed examination" of your speech, just an analysis and correction of your basic claims.

Please urge the media to do a fair and even-handed investigative story

Yes! By all means. Online discussions such as this one also help educate and dispel misconceptions. Kudos to RoBlog!

I think it's highly dubious that Dubai would invest in an unproven system that doesn't even have air conditioners.

From Skyloop.org documents describing Taxi 2000 (Skyweb):

"Compressor with motor for Air Conditioner (Delphi Auto)... 10.9 [lbs.]
...
HVAC
Ventilation system... 1... 9 [lbs.]
Electric heater... 1... 3 [lbs.]
Air conditioner... 1... 25.6 [lbs.]"
Source

Every one of the engineering problems mentioned in the OKI report and the Light Rail "Cyberspace Dream" article could be tested by independent professional engineers.

I thought Parsons Brinckerhoff were professional engineers. Too bad they invented their own imaginary, poorly designed PRT system for the OKI report, instead of fairly evaluating Skyloop's choice as submitted, Taxi 2000. See this pdf

half the trees on their block cut down for a PRT guidway with a clear view into their bedroom windows.

Who's fearmongering now? The scale of LRT construction and stations means MORE likelihood of cutting down trees. PRT small dimensions and short turning radii mean it can go around obstacles such as huge, isolated trees. And homes and businesses that under LRT would be cleared through condemnation. Attractive, retro-styled PRT guideway supports can be created to blend into surroundings. Guideways can be run down middle of streets, between rows of trees and away from windows. If the trees are still there, and PRT is going at 25-40 mph, what is anyone going to see in anyone's windows? Besides curtains.
 
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Some of the issues discussed here have alternative solutions in other designs. See my website http://higherway.us for dead end berths for ADA compliant vehicles, acceleration levels which require all passengers and cargo to be restrained, ground-level suburban stops, preprogrammed default destinations, skyhook dualmode vehicles, automated cargo, central control of initial routing which calls the passenger to a vehicle only when chances for a wave-off at the destination stop are low, and a few other intresting and semi unique features.
The Higherway system is in the preliminary design/technology development phase and has no hardware yet.
 
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Ken and Get There Fast,

I think the discussion on the plus and minus aspects of PRT is very fascinating.

I'd like to propose that we do an audio debate. I'd be happy to moderate (yes, I can be impartial), set up a call, and do the recording.

Any interest?
 
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the:

My first impulse was to leap at the chance for such a recording session. But then I thought about how threads like this one get started and grow. And then I recalled many previous threads from the past several years, and I immediately knew an audio debate would be impractical.

It's because it's much more difficult to respond to charges than it is to make them. As a defender of PRT, I have to examine claims made by Ken and others who share his opinions, layout responses, and then I document my responses as rigorously as possible.

So, Ken would allege something about PRT ("no air conditioners", for instance), and then I would say Oh yes it does, and then to have it be better than "He Said, He Said," I would have to look up the proof. And then he might disparage my response using some obscure term (such as "fisking"), and then I'd have to look up what the heck that means.

All in all, it would be Ken setting up the pins, and me typing in Google in order to knock them down. I doubt it would make for an audiogenic program.
 
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the:

I'd like to propose that we do an audio debate. I'd be happy to moderate (yes, I can be impartial), set up a call, and do the recording.

Any interest?


Great idea!

My contact info is on this page.

Also, I've collected some of my comments on PRT from RoBlog and other blogs and copied them on a new blog...:

New PRT-Skeptic Blog

Thanks!
Ken Avidor
 
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Good to see that Ken is going to be sticking with his new but already-disproven talking points, even the one about air conditioners. Thanks again for the offer of a joint interview/discussion, but can you see why I'm reluctant to appear phone-to-phone (as it were)?

PRT will continue to be covered fairly, warts and all, at such places as:

SoundPRT
Get On Board! PRT
and
Innovative Transportation Technologies.

Oh, and in The RoBlog!
 
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Get There Fast,

I can understand your reluctance as I'm not particularly good in those situations myself.

I'm happy to adjust the format accordingly, if that will help. A round-robin approach, perhaps, where I record one person, and the next individual gets a couple of days to respond, and so on?
 
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Let me reiterate that I appreciate this offer, but as to my own involvement, I have to stick with my gut instinct on this-- I don't see any indication that Ken is truly interested in a constructive debate. His contribution to discussion of PRT has always been negative propaganda, riddled with inaccuracies. And thanks to this particular thread it is now even more obvious that those inaccuracies are deliberate and unapologetic.

I don't want to totally shut down your offer though! If you really want to do this, send me an email through my siteand I can see if others in my local PRT community would be interested, there are several with some media experience.
 
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Too bad.

How about Minneapolis Councilman Dean Zimmerman?

I've alreadyoffered to debate Dean on PRT.

In the meantime, people can send comments and suggestions to my new PRT skeptic blog
and tell me, for instance where ULTra or Taxi 2000 installed air conditioners in their prototype pictures or anythng else you want to tell me about PRT.

Thanks again - K*n Av*dor
 
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Within a post totaling 61 words, Ken wrote:
tell me, for instance where ULTra or Taxi 2000 installed air conditioners in their prototype pictures

Answer (262 words):
Before I get to your answer, Mr. Fisk, I wonder why you think a group of Minnesotans would design a transport vehicle and not think to include an HVAC system in the design. Or why you think they would enter a competition to build a system in a desert nation without HVAC in the design. Or what you think is so difficult about doing HVAC in a small vehicle that causes you to not accept the validity of the Skyloop parts list.

Now to your answer. Because I am not part of Taxi 2000 I am not privy to their schematics. However I know for a fact that the red prototype vehicle has air vents and a place to mount a compressor (whether there is a compressor in that location right now I have no idea-- but if it's not, I'll leave it to you to explain why it matters). Then --follow me, now-- some kind of "tube" carries the coolant to the "air vents"; the tube cools normal-temperature "air"; then a "fan" blows the cooled air through the vents.

I know little about the exact components in the ULTra vehicles. I do know that questionnaires filled out by members of the public who have ridden them give very high marks for comfort. But I expect that, as far as compressors go, that their's would work much the same way as Skyweb's. When I find out, which should be soon-ish, I'll let you know.

Oh, and if you need to know exactly how a PRT-type air conditioner would work, try
this.
 
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As promised, here is some intel on HVAC in the ULTra PRT design. It is pretty much common-sense, as one would expect ([notes], emphasis):

"It is not installed in the Cardiff demonstrators, because [unlike Dubai] we can meet cooling needs here by ventilation [outside air through vents].

Air conditioning [for places like Dubai] will be available on our production vehicle. We will use standard automotive components for this. These are of pretty small size and can be located anywhere you like. We will probably locate the heat exchange unit [for places like Minnesota] below at the front as in a car, but we are still considering the possibility of a system in the roof

We will minimize the power
[for AC] required by parking the vehicles in the shade [e.g. in stations]. This means a power load which is less than 1kW."
 
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I'd be glad to participate in a "FAQ" style debate (Frequently Asked Questions) or anything similarly structured and organized, with references.
 
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Tad,

Thanks for the link. Interesting ideas, though they look like very early drafts (and the site seems like it hasn't been updated in a while making me wonder how things are progressing).

Did I see correctly that you're just across the river here in Vancouver?
 
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Ken MacLeod,

I'm happy to take substitutions as long as the other Ken and "Get There Fast" approve (since it was originally their argument).

I've done a search on your name on the Internet, but haven't delved in deeply (though I saw your cool Python simulation; I'd love to see more of that). Could you give me the 10 word intro of yourself?

Also, could you give a quick rundown of what you would see a "FAQ-style debate" looking like?

I'm all for it, just want to make sure we're all aware of the ground rules before we get started.
 
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I am a software engineer who's been following PRT for seven years.

By "FAQ-style debate" I was referring to written debate, I missed that you're looking for an audio debate. I like the round-robin idea.
 
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Re. the simulation, here's a work-in-progress snapshot of a visual simulation of a transfer station between LRT and PRT.

LRT/PRT transfer simulation

This sim is running 3x speed and is showing a LRT headway of 7.5 minutes. The PRTs show boarding time in orange, with a variable boarding time.
 
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Ken M,

Very cool! Is there an RSS feed I can subscribe to get updates on future sims?

Ken A,

Where did you go? It looks like Ken M is willing to debate, round-robin-style.
 
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Rob, I seem to have lost your email address, would you shoot me a message? I'm still making inquiries re people who want to debate Ken A.

prt AT kinetic.seattle.wa.us
 
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Rob, I thought you and your readers might be interested in a new video animation, a PRT implementation as a corporate campus shuttle. It happens to be Microsoft HQ in Redmond. The video and related info is on a new domain set up by the Seattle PRT group, bettercampus.org

The narrator sure sounds like Patricia Clarkson, but odds are 99.9% it isn't.
 
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