Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Death of a Talking Point

Originally published at "PRT Is A Joke" IS A JOKE v.1
Words written with wildcards (***, !!!, etc.) was the way we originally wrote
Ken Avidor, Ken, and Avidor.

Taxi 2000 v. Anderson Lawsuit Settled

(12/21) J. Edward Anderson announced today that he and Taxi 2000 Corporation have settled their differences over issues involving intellectual property, and Taxi 2000 has agreed to end its lawsuit filed against him. "Both Taxi 2000 and I will and can continue to pursue our mutual goal of the wider development and deployment of Personal Rapid Transit systems without fear of further law suits," Anderson wrote in an e-mail. The suit was filed in April of this year after Anderson, former Taxi 2000 CEO, left to form his own company, PRT International, LLC.


That What? Who Cares? [12.22.05 12:12 am]

From the Do Your Own Research Files: *** clutters up some poor guy's LiveJournal post about Cabinentaxi.

Gee, What Happened to That PRT Resolution, Mr. Gow?
2005-12-22 05:30 pm UTC
ht tp: // ww w. twin cities .com/ mld/pioneerpress/news/loc al/13445077 . htm

Source Dead Link

(Whups, really sorry about that, dsign.)


Friday, December 09, 2005

He LeapFROGs to the wrong conclusion

Originally published at "PRT Is A Joke" IS A JOKE v.1
Words written with wildcards (***, !!!, etc.) was the way we originally wrote Ken Avidor, Ken, and Avidor.

****** is currently obsessed with FROG. Not the amphibian, but the wayfinding system known as Free Ranging On Grid. As usual there's a very high quotient of Bizarre.

It all started when ATS announced its contract with BAA for a PRT at Heathrow Airport. It threw *** into a tizzy.

One of his main Talking Points is that PRT doesn't exist. How would he cope with the Heathrow news? What he settled on is the Egyptian River strategy: denial. Unfortunately for him, the river is flowing through his house of cards.

It goes like this: He noticed that the Dutch company FROG is mentioned in a number of places as providing its eponymously named FROG vehicle navigation and control ("navcon") system for use in ULTra.

Then he noticed that a unit of FROG, 2getthere, makes automated peoplemovers. Naturally, these APMs use the FROG navcon system.

He also keenly observes that 2gt's APMs and ATS's ULTra share some common characteristics: size, doors and four wheels (10/28/05). He erroneously concludes that ULTra must be a copy of 2gt's vehicle.

The "***clusion"? He claims ULTra and FROG are the same! (The Screed, 10/23/05)

Next he claimed that "PRT" cannot be found on the FROG website (#897863).

The ***clusion? ULTra must not be PRT. Therefore PRT must not exist, QED.

There are two problems with this "theory":

The obvious one: FROG is a navcon component, not a vehicle. Having FROG in common does not make ULTra and 2gt the same.

The second one: "PRT" is mentioned on frog.nl.

For FROG, PRT is a mode. They advertise their Cybercab APM as having a PRT mode.

There is also a third, bigger problem for ***. ATS doesn't use FROG in ULTra anymore, and hasn't for two years. ATS developed the current navcon system in-house, which has operated ULTra test vehicles for the past two years with no failures. It was this configuration of ULTra that was approved by the UK rail safety agency, and is now being prepared for installation at Heathrow Airport.

*** could have avoided jumping to yet another embarrassing, erroneous conclusion. He could have done what I did. He could have just asked them.

So to sum up:

FROG-- a company; a navigation/control system
Cybercab-- an APM with PRT mode
ULTra-- PRT; not FROG; used to use FROG; now uses a navcon system of its own design.
PRT-- exists.
Te-- a drink with jam and bread.
Which brings us back to...

"PRT Is a Joke" Is a Joke!

Details: gPRT's ULTra intel


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Congestion T[r]olls

Originally published at "PRT Is A Joke" IS A JOKE v.1
Words written with wildcards (***, !!!, etc.) was the way we originally wrote
Ken Avidor, Ken, and Avidor.

Remember *** ******'s insistence that PRT is really a front for the Anti-Transit Boogeyman? Well it seems PRT can't win no matter which end of the transportation spectrum is doing the judging.

J.F. Scott, who regularly brightens up the transport-policy Yahoo Group with his pro-automobile views, is a new member of ATRA's tranport-innovators discussion list. He has this to say:

PRT advocates tend to neglect transport mode choice. Part of this reflects an underlying animosity to auto use, part of it reflects the idea the PRT, once in place, will be so attractive that motorists will forsake their cars to use it. When you don't like cars, you tend not to compare the the benefits they provide to their users with whatever you offer as a substitute.

Somewhere between Scott and ****** is a middle position, where PRT is seen to be combining the best features of trains and taxicabs. PRT supporters aim to attract more types of trips that previously would have been done by car. But we recognize that cars will still be the preferred mode choice for some trips (cargo, long road trips, emergencies, etc.). Individuals will calculate this choice based on their unique circumstances: not because they are selfish, or lazy, or anti-social.

His Magic 8-Ball must be broken

You-Know-Who predicted:
the fine print in the BAA press release says that the project depends on "agreed milestones being achieved." It is highly unlikely that ULTra-as-PRT will pass these milestones. Source

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Are You Exsmearienced?

Originally published at "PRT Is A Joke" IS A JOKE v.1
Words written with wildcards (***, !!!, etc.) was the way we originally wrote
Ken Avidor, Ken, and Avidor.

"Yes it is!"
"No it isn't!"

--Monty Python

*** ******, who also calls himself "PRTSkeptic" online, hates roads. That's fine, at times they annoy me to. *** hates the Minneapolis 35W Access Project in particular. He calls it the Excess Project, which it may very well be.

But he hates everything connected to it. For instance, he even hates the project's designer, the engineering firm Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH-- they also design other things, including transit operations, but we'll ignore that for now, as *** does). That SEH was at one time working with the Taxi 2000 Corp. on its PRT program, for which it needed the services of construction engineers, became "evidence" in ***'s eyes that Taxi 2000 is part of the big bad Secret Highway Cabal. And for some time he has made the most of it, one of his Talking Points on many occasions.

Let's review ***'s logic:

The Road Conspiracy: Bad
SEH: designs roads
SEH is therefore Bad and part of the Road Conspiracy
Taxi 2000: Bad and partnered with SEH
Taxi 2000 and PRT are therefore part of the Road Conspiracy

I never said it was logical logic, anymore than his attempt to label PRT a right-wing conspiracy simply because some of its supporters are Republican.

Which was how he spent a good part of the recent Thanksgiving weekend. Getting smeared on the website of my hometown newspaper is a holiday memory I'll treasure. Some lowlights:

Daytime*** ****** said:
11/251:58pPRT is all about bashing rail transit.
11/253:55pThere is no technology to discuss...PRT doesn't exist [ellipses in original]
11/255:25pExcuses, excuses... [ellipses in original] that's part of what PRT is about-- it gives die-hard car-lovers an excuse not to use mass transit or ride a bike
11:258:05pThe PRTers can... Remove the links to LRT-haters like Emory Bundy... [ellipses in original] but you won't because PRT is just a stalking horse for the anti-LRT bunch.
11/266:24aIn Minnesota, the PRT/gadgetbahning-promoting elected officials are right-wing theocrats
11/268:51aDemocrat Jim Huhtala is running against Rep. Mark Olson in 2006 (Take a look at the picture of Jim Huhtala standing in front of the Hiawatha Light Rail... It's a clear choice for liberals. Nuff said. [man, now THAT's single-issue voting. I've since read some about Huhtala and found him a fine candidate; but ya gotta be more choosy than just a photo with a train]
11/276:54aMr. Gow, will the CPRT which lists you as their Seattle contact ask its members to help Mark Olson's [R] campaign in 2006 like the CPRT did for Dean Zimmermann in 2005?
11/2711:05aI can't find the acronym PRT on FROG's web site [oh really?]
11/2711:05aI would also like to to know whether Mr. Gow personally supports PRTers Michele Bachmann [very R] and Mark Olson or... their Democratic opponents... So Mr. Gow, who do you support? [response, #898390]
11/275:44pWow, Mr. Gow...SOME LIBERAL YOU ARE!!! Mr. Gow won't say whether or not he or the CPRT favors pro-NRA, Pro-highway, pro-war, pro-Bush, anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, pro-intelligent design Michele Bachmann and Mark Olson in the 2006 election... big surprise. That's how fanatical these PRTers are... [response, #899249]
11/283:38aSo Mr. Gow, what about Bachmann? She's running for Congress... Are you supporting her or Elwyn Tinklenberg? You probably don't like Tinklenberg... Elwyn and Jesse were big boosters of the Hiawatha LRT. [ellipses in original] [response, #899799]

Evidently, ***'s transit must fit his test of political purity, and PRT has picked up Resmuglican cooties. GOP chocolate is on PRT's peanut butter. Resmuglican green beans touched PRT Jell-o.

There were a lot more smears, vociferous ones, by two other posters, "terrorist" and "Sacs not swelled on Toad Worriers." *** claims those are not him using other identities, but come ON. ***, terrorist and Shawls not shed for Over Coats all use the exact same epithet-laden prose style.

Look closely at anything connected with *** ****** and you'll find humor and irony. In this case it is that he refuses to admit that his Light Rail Transit is itself covered in GOP and highway cooties! Not only are major Light Rail contractors like Parsons, Herzog and Kiewit also involved in highway projects, but their soft money contributions are overwhelmingly weighted toward Resmuglicans (see Finally, the experts take charge, Nov. 3).

Now I personally don't have a problem with that. They're civil engineers; it's natural they could do both road and transit projects, and they can donate to whomever they choose. My point is that it's the PRTSkeptic's litmus test, and he applies it only to PRT.

What's more, I looked up SEH's PAC contributions, and guess what? SEH gives more to Democrats! Noteworthy:
$2500, 2006 cycle, James Oberstar
$3000, 2004, John Hickenlooper, Mayor of Denver
$2000, 2004, Tom Daschle
$1000, 2004, James Oberstar

In the past cycle (2004) only $750 total went to Resmuglicans.

Using *** logic, doesn't that make SEH, and therefore PRT, the "clear choice for liberals"? Let me emphasize lest I be taken out of context: I don't think transit is inherently political, in the main support crosses political lines. Again, it's ***'s litmus test. I'm only asking why he isn't consistent.