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

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Laffable Luddite again displays ignorance of basic PRT concepts

I think we've pretty well established how Ken Avidor is the Worst Expert In The World when it comes to anything to do with PRT. So his new blog post "Suncheon Bay Vectus "PRT" Revealed to NOT be Personal Rapid Transit" can best be described as maintaining his pattern.

Avidor writes as follows (pay attention to what he has put in bold, they are not in the original):

The Vectus October update (PDF) has a preview of their much-ballyhooed Suncheon Bay project in Korea.
Station Two is currently under construction and due to be completed by the end of December 2012. Both stations will feature in-line berths, platform screen doors and touch screen passenger information/destination selection facilities.
According to the Wikipedia PRT article which is mostly written by fans of PRT,  offline stations are  a defining characteristic of PRT:
In PRT designs, vehicles are sized for individual or small group travel, typically carrying no more than 3 to 6 passengers per vehicle.[1] Guide ways are arranged in a network topology, with all stations located on sidings, and with frequent merge/diverge points. This approach allows for nonstop, point-to-point travel, bypassing all intermediate stations
So Vectus is just another monorail/people-mover that exist in airports, amusement parks etc. all over the world. Not the revolution in transportation we were promised, not "faster,  cheaper,  better" than conventional transit modes.

He really thinks he has something here, and sinks his teeth in. Except he's comparing apples and oranges: the fact is a PRT station is offline, but its berths can be either inline or not inline.

Nomenclature review:
  1. A station is where multiple pods can park to load and unload passengers; it is offline on a siding so vehicles going to other stations can bypass it.
  2. The positions where pods park are berths; they can be sawtoothed where pods park at an angle so they can pass each other in the station, or inline (!!!) where pods park nose to tail.

Here is a PRT station at Masdar City:
Sawtoothed: Berths angled, not inline. Station is offline.
Next, a PRT station at West Virginia University:
Berths nose-to-tail, or inline. Station is still offline.

You choose: Ken Avidor doesn't understand what an inline berth is, or knows what it is but has decided to deliberately confuse it* with inline stations.

Update 1 (11/16): Martin Pemberton, Vectus director of Sales & Marketing, has confirmed to NewsCenter that the Suncheon stations are indeed offline --
Maybe some confusion in terminology. By 'in-line' we mean one behind the other. The stations are 'off-line' from the main track, ie. in siding as you call them.

The clock to see how long it takes Ken to retract his post starts... now.

By the way, while the official definition of PRT calls for offline stations, a demonstration system with only two stations (like Vectus at Suncheon) wouldn't need stations to be on sidings. A trip from Station One that bypassed Station Two would end up -- where? I invite Ken   to try to fill in the blank.

Basically, there is no need at Suncheon to bypass a station. Doubt could be cast on Vectus should they ever offer inline stations in a larger, multi-station system. But we know they are capable of offline stations. An offline station was a feature of the Vectus test facility in Sweden, which received government safety clearance.
Uppsala, Sweden. Vectus pod enters offline guideway.

^ * i.e., lie

P.S. Ken  also has a second post today, in which he declares:
"elections have consequences... the [Nov. 6, 2012] election slams the door on any chance of public funding for PRT projects"

For proof he cites a quote from 2011 by one Minnesota legislator who is skeptical of PRT, who is the new chair of the senate transportation committee. And the quote contains no vow about door-slamming, it's all an Avidor prediction; we know how accurate he is about predictions.

In short, elections would have consequences for PRT in Minnesota -- had PRT been an issue in any Minnesota election contest, which it was not (sorry Ken, you mentioning it doesn't count).

At any rate, no future public funding for PRT projects in Minnesota represents no change from the past. Ken is celebrating no change.

PRTher, rhymes with Birther