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

Monday, October 10, 2011


Anyone (such as, oh I don't know -- Current TV Urban Mobility and Dominic Blackwell Cooper?) who wants to see how Ken Avidor argues against personal rapid transit, check out his latest blog entry at the PRT Moondoggie:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

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:

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 [sic, emphasis not in original] 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.

Calling a report "silly" is pretty much the extent of Ken's analytical abilities. But why is he afraid to have the Minnesota Department of Transportation examine a transit technology? Because that agency already has a PRT program (started under GOP governor Pawlenty and continuing under DFL's Dayton) that is not biased against the technology, so that's no good to Ken .

No, Ken 's going to claim PRT feasibility studies are a waste of money. Why bother, he seems to say, lookit all these other feasibility studies.  One of the three he cites, the New York one, isn't even a feasibility study -- it's a paper by a Master of Social Work on the subject of how senior citizens might benefit from a personalized public transit system.

The OKI report is a typical Avidor talking point, he keeps citing it despite being conclusively refuted.

And the New Jersey feasibility study is typical of all studies of emerging technologies -- there is by definition insufficient performance data due to their emerging nature.

The New Jersey study notes where there is insufficient data and recommends further efforts to obtain it because it is practicing objective full disclosure. The exercise of full disclosure doesn't prove or disprove anything, and is certainly not a valid basis for arguing those further efforts "would be a total waste of money."

Saying something is insufficiently proven, then campaigning against getting proof so you can continue arguing it is unproven, is circular -- a Ken Avidor hallmark. It's one of two circular arguments today, the other being opposing a $1.4 million feasibility study as a waste of money, but then proposing another study that would -- presumably -- cost money as well.

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