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

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hilariously out of context

Why have a Talking Point if you don't repeat it? So it goes with the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist's current disinformation about the Santa Cruz PRT study. Already posted at Dump Mark Olson, the propaganda item is now being repeated at Green Party Gone Bad. Here is the part we will be mocking today:

[Personal Rapid Transit is] an incredible opportunity to waste citizens and public officials' time. As usual, the professionals respectfully point out a few of PRT's many shortfalls.

The report raised concerns with reliability, cost overruns, susceptibility to earthquake damage and spacing [headway] between trains to prevent accidents. Source
Labridor doesn't know a lot about PRT, engineering, planning, or basic journalism methods, this is another example of that lack of knowledge.

In this case, it appears that Ovendoor (1) read a news story. Then (2) instead of investigating a number of background questions like a real Transportation Editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet would, he (3) layers-on his own conspiratorial beliefs and (4) blogs about it.

Avismores claims the report identifies "shortfalls," and that these are "reliability, cost overruns, susceptibility to earthquake damage and spacing [headway] between trains."

But he's oh so misinformed. The key thing to consider is the nature of the context of the report itself.

But first an aside: as noted previously, I had the chance to read an advanced draft of the report. Now, Aviboor may consider this an unfair advantage. If awareness of facts is unfair, please allow me to apologize in advance. And now, on with the denouement.

If Avignore had done additional but basic investigative journalism, he might have acquired an actual copy of the Santa Cruz report. He would have been able to understand the context and write about it accurately, rather than making it up.

The fact is that the report was written by a consultant friendly to PRT; it's a person Avilore would recognize (the relevancy of this detail appears below). The report does not cite seismic engineering, cost and headway as drawbacks, but merely as factors that must be considered in decisionmaking, as they would be for any major public works project--

Seismics is mentioned as something that must be considered because of Santa Cruz's location in California;

Other cost issues are raised in terms of the already built environment, cost plus versus fixed contracting, etc.

The discussion of headway describes how this factor is different for PRT than it is for trains; the section is therefore explanatory, and not a "shortfall."

Kenwood the Propagandist wants you to think that shortfalls means fatal flaws, or something that will necessarily make PRT less attractive than streetcars. But the fact is that the above factors (or any of the other factors the report mentions) were stated in the course of performing a full report, and nothing was found to rule out PRT. He is trying to twist the meaning of the report so it appears to support his position--a report he would undoubtedly have attacked had he known the identity of the author.

That the Propagandist is stripping the context from this news in order to try to score points for his POV is HI-larious!


Consumer Reports today gave its lowest crash rating to Ken Avidor

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