Sunday, October 9, 2011

U of M's Center For Transportation Studies Wants MnDOT to Waste $1.4 million on PRT Study

The Humphrey School's Ferrol Robinson is calling it ART, but it's the same old PRT. You can download the silly report at the CTS website.

Bottom line:

The budget to complete a feasibility study and related outreach and education efforts is estimated at $1.4 million, and the anticipated study duration is two years.

This would be a total waste of money.

Other states have wasted money on feasibility studies for PRT. MnDOT can just look up these reports:

New York State (PDF) 2011

New Jersey (PDF) 2007.

OKI Central Loop project - 2001

Here's the conclusion of the OKI report on PRT (PDF):

Personal Rapid Transit

Due to the uncertainty of the technology and costs, Personal Rapid Transit (Taxi 2000) is not recommended as preferred technology for the loop circulator. The Committee encourages Taxi 2000 to continue to develop the design and construct a full-scale test track to address critical questions regarding engineering design, operational feasibility and cost.

Of course, all the "critical questions" remain unanswered because they cannot be answered without a true PRT system in revenue service. But many of the critical questions could be answered by a peer-reviewed study - this study should not be done by MnDOT, but by experts in the urban studies, transportation and engineering fields.

UPDATE: There's also this 2010 study for PRT in Ithaca, NY.

Friday, October 7, 2011

California Democrats Push For Gadgetbahn Project to be Marketed by Conservative Republican

The above photo and description of Allen Patton is from the San Ramon Exchange Club site.

The company eTranzUSA is a partner with Cybertran (PDF here)

ETU will partner with CyberTran International, Inc. (CTI), the owner of the transit system and help fund the final round of testing to prove the automated, integrated CyberTran system, the only rail system in the world using the ADTS technology. · A joint venture, to be known as CyberTran California, will be formed with 50% ownership by each ETU and CTI, which will own, build, operate and/or license all the systems within the state of California, as well as the TOD’s.

For more about Allen Payton, eTranzUSA and Cybertran see this post.

Do the various politicos, Democrats and self-styled "progressives" (see letters below) who gave their support to Cybertran know about Cybertran's partner eTranzUSA and Allen Patton?

Here are the remarks of a former president of Cybertran saying there was an additional, development-related purpose to a Cybertran project in New York State years ago (facilitating the building of a hotel)

"In fact, if a CyberTran system gets built in the proposed corridor, it will be for one reason only: that it will improve the likelihood that a hotel will be built in the district of the Senate Majority Leader."

Even more disturbing, he admits they were "disguising the project as an economic development project".

"Now I want to be clear here that the Senate Majority Leader, Joe Bruno, is a very smart fellow. He knows what he is doing in proposing a CyberTran application. He understands the risks and the implications of going with an "unproven" technology. He also realizes that there may be some major benefits for the state and the citizenry down the road. But he needs to explain it to his colleagues and constituents not all of whom share his vision and concern for the environment. So disguising the project as an economic development project just makes good political sense. At the same time, if I had been trying to sell some sort of esoteric, high tech gizmo, I would never have even gotten into his office to make my pitch."

Anytime someone talks about "disguising" a project to gain acceptance, that should be a red flag.

There needs to be some due diligence regarding this project. The sound investment maxim should apply here; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't.

Here are letters, some using the economic development rationale for a public investment in Cybertran (click on letters to make them bigger):

California Assembly Member Nancy Skinner:

Pat Anderson, Mayor of Oakly, California

María Viramontes:

Congressman George Miller:

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia:

Senator Barbara Boxer: