Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)
Concerns and Fears
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Common Concerns and Unfounded Fears

This section will be fleshed out as we move along and hear concerns repeatedly.

Examples:

"I think it's an altruistic solution that won't work. Like the idea of public bicycles that people can just pick up and drop off as needed, American nature will not permit it to succeed. People are too wrapped up in possessions and not inclined to sharing. It will look ugly up there where it's in plain view."

"Being elevated, PRT passengers can see into nearby residences. Understandable NIMBYism from residents along proposed routes will prevent construction."

Can PRT handle peak volumes like when a train arrives or a stadium game ends?
Considers this demand scenario: a Friday evening 'peak hour' before the start of a Cincinnati Reds baseball game at Cinergy Field. During this hour 5338 passengers enter the various PRT passenger stations, of which 88% are going to the Cinergy Field stations and the balance to other stations in the network. When allowed to run to its completion the simulation produces these resultant statistics, including an Average Wait Time of less than one minute and a Maximum Wait time of under five minutes. Learn more at http://kinetic.seattle.wa.us/~prt-q.html#holdon

Will the visual impact of PRT be acceptable? Visual impact is important in all transit systems. Many rail transit systems are placed underground because a ground-level system requires destruction of too much existing property and an elevated system is too massive and noisy. A PRT guideway has less than five percent of the cross sectional area of a rapid rail system, will generate almost no noise, and has an external appearance that can be varied to suit any specific community. For a series of representative photos, see http://advancedtransit.org
Visual impact of an APM system (which is physically larger than PRT) is less than an at-grade LRT system with it's overhead catenary. which are being approved across the country. Note also that the Miami, Detroit, and Jacksonville people-mover (aka Group Rapid Transit - GRT) systems have guideways far larger than Taxi2000. Yet, they were approved in downtown areas with little complaint about visual intrusion.

What about safety? Although safety will be engineered into the system, realize that PRT engineers OUT the biggest liability - human error. Ninety percent of all accidents - whether in cars, trains, or planes - is due to operator error.

What if a cab breaks down on the guideway? Taxi2000's strategy for this type of failure goes like this: If a vehicle stops on the guideway and can't move under its own power, the vehicle behind it soft engages and pushes the vehicle into the next station. To do so each vehicle is equipped with a special push-mode coupler that permits it to attach to the vehicle ahead, release the parking brake and operate the switch. When the vehicles arrive at the station, the passengers are asked to disembark and reorder their trips on following vehicles with some kind of compensation for their inconvenience. The pushing vehicle then pushes the failed vehicle out of the station to the nearest maintenance facility, and thus the station is cleared. Such an operation will be under the close supervision of trained personnel, who function from a control room. It is important to estimate the probable mean time for such an incident. Based on various studies of redundant computer-controlled cabs, the result could be stated in the following way: In a fleet of 1000 vehicles, the mean time between pushing incidents would be about 300 years. If one computer produces an error, control is shifted to the good one and the vehicle is permitted to finish its trip and then proceed to the maintenance shop, where the failed unit is replaced. The mean time between such incidents is calculated in the paper "The Effect of Redundancy on Failure Frequency in PRT,".

PRT is a humanizing technology. The new system requires vehicles to wait for people rather than people to wait for vehicles. It provides a short, predictable, nonstop trip on a network of guideways, possibly inside to inside, a seat for everyone, climate control, no transfers, minimum or no wait, 24-hour on-demand service, ease of use, privacy, no crowding, space for luggage, no jerky motion, no objectionable sounds, no smelly fumes, minimum anxiety, maximum safety, minimum land use, and minimum disruption so that businesses need not be closed while the system is installed.

Other concerns are probably covered at http://kinetic.seattle.wa.us/prt.html.


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