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Cirrus Apr 18, 2011 9:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fritzdude (Post 5246118)
I guess when we get a massive blizzard, it would probably be prudent to stop the PRT system, but those are the anomolies. You can manage exceptions. However, you can take comfort that at least you won't have to worry about a moose walking out in front of you.

I guess when a moose walks out in front of your car or bus, it would probably be prudent to stop or go around, but those are the anomalies.

See what I did there? This is why people roll their eyes at PRT. You're taking the absolutely best case scenario for PRT and comparing it to the absolute worst-case for everything else. I don't think it's too much to ask to at least try and keep our comparisons fair.

Fritzdude Apr 18, 2011 9:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5246159)
I guess when a moose walks out in front of your car or bus, it would probably be prudent to stop or go around, but those are the anomalies.

See what I did there? This is why people roll their eyes at PRT. You're taking the absolutely best case scenario for PRT and comparing it to the absolute worst-case for everything else. I don't think it's too much to ask to at least try and keep our comparisons fair.

I agree with you. However, you're the one who dismissed the idea as stupid right out of the box, whereas I think the idea has merit in specific situations.

To keep comparisons fair, both PRT and automobiles travel in the same weather conditions. But autos have to deal with ice on the road while PRT has the potential for ice to form on the guideway chute. However, perhaps heaters constantly keep the rail at an even temperature? Then again, maybe bird droppings continually muck up the magnetic coils, I dunno. :shrug:

I haven't done a thourough feasibility study, obviously, but I'm just saying that if the technology could be fairly reliable, then the expected costs would seem to be much cheaper than highway or rail. Environmental concerns would be minimized, ROW access would be simplified, scalability would be easier. Of course, if the PRT would constantly shut down every 5 minutes like a Keystone Lift, then the idea is probably moot.

But if the thing works - then Colorado would have it's own tourist attraction in the system itself. People would love gliding over scenic vistas while getting to their destinations in a fraction of the time and cost (and with presumed safer environments).

bunt_q Apr 18, 2011 9:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fritzdude (Post 5246220)
then the expected costs would seem to be much cheaper than highway or rail. Environmental concerns would be minimized, ROW access would be simplified, scalability would be easier.

And all comparisons to cars or whatever aside, I think all 4 of these - cost, environmental impact, ROW, and scalability - are very much questionable when compared with traditional transit technologies.

Every alternatives analysis done (at the MIS or EIS phase) since the 70s has had PRT as an option at the first stage, and not once has it been chosen or implemented or even made it to round 2, as far as I know. Either there are a lot of really stupid transit consultants out there, or PRT has some serious fatal flaws that a manufacturer's website and related puff piece maybe, just maybe, understated a bit.

Cirrus Apr 18, 2011 10:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 5246228)
Every alternatives analysis done since the 70s has had PRT as an option at the first stage, and not once has it been chosen or implemented or even made it to round 2, as far as I know.

There's one PRT line in the US, except it didn't work very well so now they just run it like a normal elevated transit line with schedules and regular stops at every station.

By the way, check out what it takes to actually implement. Those elevated lines are not small, or light. They're big, bulky, heavy, and expensive - just like every other elevated line anywhere.

bunt_q Apr 18, 2011 10:41 PM

Hehe. It looks like a Smurf metro.

Brainpathology Apr 18, 2011 10:43 PM

Oh right just undermine all your arguments about why it isn't a viable option.

Fritzdude Apr 18, 2011 11:39 PM

Alright you bozos (although I say that will all due respect) - I was actually intrigued about this idea enough to actually call up the CEO of the Skytran company and have a good 20 minute talk with him. His name is Jerry Sanders and he mentioned how he flies out here to go skiing once in awhile. Brilliant guy.

Long story short - he refuted a lot of the basic arguments that are being thrown up here (surprise.. surprise), but said he would send me new video on the most recent concepts being rolled out. FYI.. these guys have the backing of NASA as well as all the most recent Secretaries of Transportation (including many other groups).

Anyway, I'll post the video when I get it. And just for shits and giggles, I gave him the link to this board and made a plea for him to post information first-hand. He said he'd be glad to. So, look for a post from him soon. :notacrook:

bunt_q Apr 18, 2011 11:47 PM

Excellent, happy to ask him the hard questions that no political appointee (Sec. Transportation) ever would.

Curious to see what makes him smarter than every large consulting firm in the country. :)

Good work, haha.

EDIT: Wonder if he'll chip into my RTD Board campaign..... in other words, my allegiance to rational, cost-effective transit solutions is definitely for sale. (J/K!)

Cirrus Apr 19, 2011 3:52 AM

Gee, the CEO has nice things to say about his product. I'm shocked. Let me go call up the CEO of Bombardier and ask them about trains... oh wait, I can't, because that person actually has a desirable business to run and can't spend 20 minutes talking to any random person who calls.

I'll look at the info, but fair warning: Anything produced in-house by the PRT company should be taken approximately as seriously as Eeyore's growth projections for Pueblo.

EngiNerd Apr 19, 2011 4:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5246678)
Gee, the CEO has nice things to say about his product. I'm shocked. Let me go call up the CEO of Bombardier and ask them about trains... oh wait, I can't, because that person actually has a desirable business to run and can't spend 20 minutes talking to any random person who calls.

I'll look at the info, but fair warning: Anything produced in-house by the PRT company should be taken approximately as seriously as Eeyore's growth projections for Pueblo.

:haha:

The thing about PRT is...why? Why develop a completely new infrastructure at the cost of billions and billions for something that achieves basically the same thing as the automobile does with not a whole lot more benefits, especially since the auto is getting exponentially cleaner and more fuel efficient, with the possibility of completely going electric/hydrogen in our lifetimes.

I know this is kinda silly, but ever seen "I, Robot"? That's the kind of system I imagine our roadways to be able to achieve, and is very well within the realm of possibility.

bunt_q Apr 19, 2011 5:00 PM

Grade separation. It all comes back to grade separation.

Which, of course, could also be done for cars.

So then it becomes about computer control. Which we can do (or soon will be able to) with regular cars, or at least 'I Robot' cars (as long as we keep the cavalier Will Smith-types under control). So that's out...

Then it comes to cost, because supposedly they can grade separate cheaper than cars could be grade separated.

Then you ask about the capacity, and how many pods would be needed to achieve equal capacity, and how much those would weigh. So we have to deflect again, because supposedly paper-light pods are still paper-light, even if there are 300 of them.

Then it comes to ROW, because this can be done with less ROW than automated cars. But then you ask about passing, etc., and point out that it'll really require 4 guideways to operate effectively if there is to be reasonable station spacing, and 4 guideways isn't quite as low-impact...

Hmm... I suppose the next logical argument will be that it's a public system. I'm sure somebody sees that as a good thing, even if it means a huge outlay to build the infrastructure.

Yeah, beats me...

jerry@skytran.us Apr 19, 2011 7:23 PM

SkyTran at www.skytran.net
 
Dear friends and skeptics,

SkyTran is a 21st Century PRT. Invented by a Stanford aerospace engineer who worked on the Apollo Mission, SkyTran's non-poluting, lightweight, personalized vehicles are magnetically levitated by an elevated guide-way suspended from standard utility poles. SkyTran™ is a marked departure from all other Personal Rapid Transit systems, which are limited to average speeds of 30 mph. SkyTran travels up to 250 (!) KPH at 1/2-second spacing and bypasses traffic congestion, making it a compelling alternative to cars.

Among SkyTran’s compelling features are:

· Individual personalized vehicles, which take passengers directly to each of their respective stations:
· No waiting for the train;
· No stopping along the away at other stations.
· Specialized vehicles for commerce, waste, packages, etc.
· Low cost of construction;
· Low cost of operation;
· Small footprint – no “land rights” required, no tunnels, no traffic obstructions;
· Self-generation of electricity;

There are a number of important differences between SkyTran’s passive MagLev System and Germany’s and Japan’s active Mag Lev Systems:
§ SkyTran is made up of light-weight vehicles:
· They require very little power;
· Very simple infrastructure (basically, a light-pole).
§ Active Mag Levs are electromagnetic, draw power; SkyTran – passive Mag Lev – generates power. Therefore, with solar panels, SkyTran is virtually net energy neutral.
§ On a per mile basis SkyTran has the lowest cost of operations of any transportation system.
§ SkyTran can be tailored to individual users (VIP, security risks, children, etc.) and individual sites (stadiums, airports, etc.).

I'm glad to discuss anytime.

Cirrus Apr 19, 2011 7:38 PM

Pueblo will need one of those for its million new residents by 2025.

PLANSIT Apr 19, 2011 7:54 PM

I'm convinced! Hahaha.

glowrock Apr 19, 2011 9:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5247497)
Pueblo will need one of those for its million new residents by 2025.

I thought that was a million new residents by 2020, Dan! :)

But seriously, I'll give this guy a chance to discuss his mag-lev PRT idea BEFORE I shoot it down. I'll say this much, the guy uses lots of catchy phrases in his bullet points, but I wonder if there's any actual substance behind the words?

Aaron (Glowrock)

Fritzdude Apr 20, 2011 12:40 AM

I'd like to know more about the following:

1. Safety concerns with the software: are there fail-safe plans to ensure pods won't run into each other? Even in a power failure?
2. How easily can these systems be designed for steep grades? It surely can't be energy neutral if there is a steep incline up the Rocky Mountains, or can it be?
3. What is the most likely scenario to fund these systems? Public/Private?
4. Within the pod - can you move around once in motion? Can you bring a dog? a bike? Storage area for a bag? Is it accessible for people with disabilities?
5. What is the life span on the coiled magnets? How about the infrastruce itself?
6. What happens if someone has a heart attack inside as they're careening 100mph up the mountain? Is there monitoring of what goes on inside the pod?
7. Could Portals be stationed at ground level and then egress up to a pre-defined altitude?
8. How does bad weather affect the performance of maglev?
9. If one Pod is disabled on the guideway, does that shut down the whole system? How many people are required to assist or monitor traffic?
10. Lots of skepticism on the proposed price tag: how can you justify saying the cost will only be 1/10 the cost of Light Rail and yet promise higher passenger yields and quicker transit times?
11. What would you suggest for our mountain corridors of Colorado, which are becoming increasingly congested with day trippers, such as skiiers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts? Our roads can not easily be expanded and the projected costs for rail from Denver to the west side of the Continental Divide is approximately $10Billion. What would you advise as a reasonable alternative?

SnyderBock Apr 20, 2011 1:00 AM

I've read about this technology before. I remember it being developed with the help of a Federal Grant designated to develop more affordable technologies for expanding our 21st century transportation infrastructure. Basically, they're looking for innovative breakthroughs which drastically reduce upfront construction costs, allowing for rapid transit to be expanded to more places, on shorter timelines. It is a demonstration technology.

taylor23 Apr 20, 2011 7:05 PM

I guess it will not be called the Boulder Transit Village anymore..

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_17884735

BrennanW Apr 21, 2011 3:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SnyderBock (Post 5247911)
I've read about this technology before. I remember it being developed with the help of a Federal Grant designated to develop more affordable technologies for expanding our 21st century transportation infrastructure. Basically, they're looking for innovative breakthroughs which drastically reduce upfront construction costs, allowing for rapid transit to be expanded to more places, on shorter timelines. It is a demonstration technology.

PRT yes, still developmental. The first modern system after the Morgantown system opened in the 70's was constructed recently at London's Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. I've never ridden the system, but from first hand reports the pods are very slow and the infrastructure way overbuilt for as light as the system is. This is because the feds require an emergency egress walkway along the elevated guide way, and a majority of the London system is dual track. PRT systems are designed specifically around single-track mainline guideways on separate streets with passing tracks for stations.

This "gadget transit," like monorails, maglev, and PRT are great to study, because in the future they could potentially provide transit services in the future (read: when we have money to pay for them.) PRT probably shows the most promise, but respectfully not in the ways that Jerry from Skytrain would convince you. PRT is a wonderful way to solve transit's last-mile problem, by connecting a commuter rail, metro, or light rail station to 50,000 desks, homes, parks, what have you. PRT would work well in connecting existing suburban office parks to transit, too. With some more work, the design will be nimble and light, and agile enough to weave between buildings and provide an on-demand service to transit riders and office workers.

Unfortunately, the technology isn't there yet.

Cirrus Apr 21, 2011 3:41 PM

Yeah, have you noticed how every single time anybody tries building PRT it ends up costing way more than the PRT lobby said it would? Maybe the PRT lobby is full of it when it comes to pricing. Leaving out emergency egress and handicap accessibility are not acceptable ways to cut costs; those things have to be there. Would you buy a car with no brakes if the dealer told you that was the only way to make it so cheap? Siemens could cut the cost of light rail a lot too if they didn't have to provide for pesky things like safety and accessibility.

Anyway, low-cost "PRT" systems like bikesharing are good for the last-mile problem. Techy and expensive elevated ones would be terrible, as you'd have to build an elevated railway over every street in order to have a useful system. And even if you could solve the money issue, raise your hand if you think putting elevated railways on residential streets would be politically viable. I have a giant bridge in New York to sell anybody with a raised hand.

The only real value I see for PRT is at places like airports or universities: enclosed environments with a small number of hubs and a steady but not overwhelming stream of people moving between them. And even then I am far from convinced there's ever any reason to use PRT instead of a traditional shuttle.


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