Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Re: On the subject of mass transit





This is a resolution opposing PRT funding from Transit for Livable Communities. The Sierra Club Northstar has a similar resolution:

http://www.tlcminnesota.org/Events/2004/Legislature/ No%20public%20funding%20for%20PRT.pdf

Op Ed about PRT in the Seattle Post Intellligencer about PRT:


This article explains why PRT is infeasible from an engineering perspective- Cyberspace Dream Keeps Colliding With Reality


The Road Less Traveled: The pros and cons of personal rapid transit. " by Troy Pieper


PRT skeptic site:


PRT is totally bogus.

Comment on On the subject of mass transit
by Avidor


Ken Avidor is an anti-PRT extremist. He spends much of his free time searching for PRT discussions and inserting links to his anti-PRT propaganda pages. He also seems to be trying to increase his Google profile by spreading his links all over the place, so when you search on PRT, you get his pages near the top.

For a more balanced treatment of PRT, see the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_rapid_transit

# A Transportation Enthusiast

Speaking of extreme....


Seriously, who is going to cut down half the trees on thier block for an elevated structure with a clear view into their bedroom windows?

PRT is going nowhere... click on the news at Taxi 2000/Skyweb Express... nothing new for over a year.

It's still a handy tool for right-wingers like Mark Olson and Michele Bachmann to bash transit.

Why are you helping Mark Olson and Michele Bachmann get elected?

# Avidor

Just so everyone knows...

Now that Avidor's found this discussion, he will post his entire propaganda spiel, one message at a time. He is obsessive about preventing anyone from having a reasonable discussion of this technology.

In this last comment (above), he alludes to his oft-repeated contention that PRT supporters promote radical right wing politicians. He logic goes something like this: some two-bit local conservative politicians in Minnesota happen to support PRT, therefore all PRT supporters are promoting the right wing agenda!

This is the level of analysis you get from the likes of Avidor.

By the way, the link he posts is from a well-publicized battle on the Wikipedia PRT article. We had to defend that article from relentless attacks by Avidor, and the defense got heated at times. Avidor wanted to kill the whole article because he can't stand the thought of a logical, reasonable presentation of the very thing he is trying to smear.

The Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_rapid_transit) is how I discovered Avidor's tactics, and the depths to which he will go to spread his misinformation campaign.

You can get a blow-by-blow account of Avidor's attempted attack at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Personal_rapid_transit#This_article_is_totally_biased_and_inaccurate

Note that, despite his month-long attack, not a single substantive fact was changed in that article. Avidor tried to turn Wikipedia into a vehicle for his propaganda, but failed miserably because his arguments are nothing but lies and scare tactics.

# A Transportation Enthusiast

There are serious problems implementing PRT systems, both technically and politically. PRT or Personal Rapid Transit is a set of autonomous on demand vehicles on a track or guideway. No systems to transport people have been implemented in 40+ years. One large scale system was a complete failure, the Denver Airport Luggage Handling system, a PRT for suitcases, which was operated by United Airlines.

The system had hundreds of millions of public money, 20+ miles of track, thousands of autonomous vehicles, hundreds of destination points built to handle all luggage at Denver in a new airport. Never worked, only United Airlines used a small portion to move luggage from the counters to a human operated luggage area. United shut the luggage eater down last year due to high operating costs and as a final insult, the $186 million of PRT system debt was dumped on the public in December 2005 as United Airlines went bankrupt.

Civil engineers and state-county-city politicians are well aware of the fiasco. Indeed, many studies of this engineering cockup by MIT, etc were done, check google for references. The usual reply to this failure is that "it is not REAL PRT." Like, duh, suitcases are not people and computers are somehow "better" now. This argument is weak and now PRT is widely known as "faith based transit".

Another fallacy cited by PRT boosters is comparing it to "packet switching" networks as if a pod of people are a tcp/ip packet going through a router. This has some problem as "packet switching" has collision rates and methods to over come high collision rates of packets. I think the tolerance of the public for even low collision rates of pods would be nil so this packet switching analogy is not such a good description. Applying network theory and algorithms to human systems is interesting but easier with a "social network" rather than a transportation network.

# George Jetson

I left out a word above, it should be: " computer programmers are somehow better now. " Which they are not.

"George Jetson" has been active recently in spreading the ridiculous "Denver baggage failed, therefore PRT will fail" propaganda message. He has posted elsewhere as "John Denver's Ghost", "Joe 8pack", "Joe 12pack".

He claims he is not Avidor, but his message is the same. No coherent arguments, just scare tactics.

He would have us believe that the Denver baggage system failure is proof that no automated system can work. It's a technophobic argument that doesn't acknowledge the fact that the Denver fiasco was just plain bad engineering -- something that can be corrected -- and not some fundamental technological limitation.

Besides, if we're talking about purely automated systems, Morgantown "PRT" has been operating for 30 years now, completely automated. Now, Morgantown is not true PRT (it's classified as "group rapid transit") but it is a fully automated human transport system. And as long as people are bringing up the Denver baggage system to bash PRT, well Morgantown is much closer to PRT than the Denver baggage system, and Morgantown WORKS.

It also appears that Mr. Jetson is trying to insinuate that computer network "collisions" would directly translate into PRT "collisions". It's another blatant scare tactic.

Arguments like this might sound ridiculous to anyone with a technical background, but these tactics do have an effect on the general public -- people who don't know better might think that PRT designers are actually designing for collisions! That's why people like Avidor (and Jetson, if indeed he's a different person) must be answered wherever they appear. If their absurd message goes unchallenged, it has a better chance of being accepted by the masses.

'widely known as "faith based transit" '?

Google this: "faith based transit" prt

There are 14 hits. Is this how you define "widely"?

# Skeptic skeptic

Not only that, all instances of the term lead back to the same one or two people. It's unclear if it actually is a couple people (like killbill and George Jetson), or just one person (Ken Avidor) under different names.

# Ian Bicking