Will the real PRT please stand up

Nice Dave, Couple of quick points:

1. The W/S reference on this is http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/op-ed-will-the-real-prt-please-stand-up/

2. I hope that I did not say that I thought that the M2W solution was Nirvana, in terms of energy efficiency, emissions, driver behavior, encumbrance, safety or whatever of these zooming beasts. What I was trying to convey is that they are a fact, that their modal share is growing, that people chose to go with them for their own excellent individual reasons, and that warts and all they get their owner/passengers where they want to do, when they want to go there, and at a price that defies all competition. I was trying to be descriptive, neutral, and non-judgmental. But also not entirely blind to their reality.

3. What I would dearly like to see now is a certain number of cities giving the example for making what the people have voted for with their wallets and their bottoms, a better deal all around. This will of course take them to matters such as size, type and performance of the engines, provision of road space for safety and efficiency when they are moving, some kind of rationalization when it comes to parking, and a real policy about enforcement.

I have often maintained that, like it or not, that people are smarter than government, and that the wise government will realize that and is ready to work with the people and their expressed interests, not only as individuals and today, but for society as a whole and for the long term. That’s our responsibility as policy makers/advisors, and that’s a job that really does need to be done.

Will the real city ready to take the lead and show the way please stand up.

Eric Britton


You do like to throw out these zingers on Friday, don’ t you?

You make a VERY good point about bicycles and scooters being the original PRT. Traffic congestion in these cities is NOT being caused by scooters.

That said, I think you’re being too charitable calling scooter engines "pretty efficient". Possibly, "relatively fuel efficient" compared to a 1 or 2 ton automobile but even 100 mpg for a scooter compared to 30 mpg for a small car doesn’t seem very efficient to me (sorry all, I don’t have the Liters per 100 KM conversion). But the worst thing that even the 4 cycle engines pollute like crazy compared to any current generation gasoline vehicle!

Given the large numbers of very similar scooter designs, it has always baffled me that Asian governments haven’t provided some incentives for some to sell retrofit kits for the biggest selling models for electricity or at least natural gas, and, of course, provide incentives for people to buy them (or offer a scooter scrap program).

I understand that in the middle point of the economic ladder people don’t want the wind (and sun and rain) in their hair when they’re traveling. So why aren’t there aren’t more partially enclosed scooter designs to serve the lower end of the market?

For better and worse, we (in every country) are constrained by the categories of vehicles that get defined in our laws. In the US we could use a legal definition of a practical medium speed vehicle that could be manufactured and sold for $6,000 – $8,000 (remember the itMoves? http://itmoves.us/pages/product

That’s my 2¢ for Friday!

Dave Brook

Portland, Oregon

Web: www.carsharing.us

Twitter: carsharing_us

On Apr 29, 2011, at 12:42 AM, eric britton wrote:

Somebody wake me up on this please.

1. If we look on the streets of any city in the Global South, we see PRT, personal rapid transport, all over the place.

2. In the form of cheap motorized two wheelers with pretty energy-efficient engines, enough road space to get the trip done, and free parking right next to where you want to go.

3. There is no way that the old mid-20th century PRT folks can even start to compete with that.

4. But if this is the on-street reality, which of course it is, please show me the city or research program that is showing the way in getting the most out of this stubborn reality.

5. Who is making the best things about it better yet?

6. And who is getting some kind of control of the worst?

We need a new policy paradigm for this, let’s call it, the people’s PRT. Of course it’s part of the problem, but it is also clear that it is a major part of the solution, as anyone with even an ounce of experience and common sense can see. And policy makers, advisors and proponents of sustainable cities we will continue to ignore it at our peril.

Take the city of Kaohsiung as just one salient example: 1.5 million people, 1.2 million scooters, and something like three quarters of the modal split. And all this in parallel with an absolutely gorgeous new state of the art six billion dollar metro that started to go out of business on Day 1 of its opening and ever since, because it simply cannot compete in terms of trip time, convenient or price.

Shouldn’t we be working on this – along with the on-street reality options such as BRT, HOV access, parking control, strategic speed control, safe walking and cycling, and all that we know are parts of the solution — instead of wasting our time with these long disproven, whack-a-mole PRT proposals that clearly have no place in our cities

How to get the message across to the policy makers and politicians?

This has been good fun, but Brendan Finn has it right. These PRT enthusiasts are distracting us at a time when we need all our brains and focus for the real stuff. Out they go.

Eric Britton

Some reference points:

· Sustran list comments – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sustran-discuss/message/6637

· World Streets article of 26 April- http://wp.me/psKUY-1A9

· CityFix article of 27 April- http://thecityfix.com/can-pod-cars-transform-traffic-in-delhi/

· Facebook group – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_217653324914604

· World Streets Poll – http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/prt-proposal-for-delhi-convinces-chief-minister-but-does-it-convince-you-see-poll-results/

(Note on the poll results: It has in the last 24 hours been contaminated by no less than 106 visits from a single Comcast Cable site in one city in the United States, with the result that exactly 65 votes have been recorded in favor of PRT as a solution from the one site. Now that’s interesting.)

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