©MMX Get On Board!PRT NewsCenter
Already forced to reevaluate its construction plans due to the bad global real estate market, the Masdar Initiative has again signaled it is giving up on the goal of Masdar City being car-free.
Although committed to an autumn 2010 launch of the pilot Masdar Institute segment of the innovative Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) peoplemover, future construction of a PRT network across the entire city is now in doubt.
Fares Ghneim, Masdar communications chief, told the New York Times: "committing heavily to the PRT system might not make sense just as efficient new electric and hybrid vehicles are entering the marketplace," and said they would interfere with PRT.
Electric, hybrid or not, private automobiles are inherently unsustainable -- they have low occupancy, land and/or infrastructure must be devoted to parking, and they lead to congestion and accidents. Plus, hybrids burn fuel -- and just imagine the drain on Masdar's grid if everyone owned a plug-in EV.
In a March interview, another Masdar official used the same line about other vehicles interfering with PRT.
The whole advantage of the PRT was that it would make rapid transit-like service available to all parts of the city -- with a finite number of low-energy, automatic vehicles. But another Ghneim quote indicates he doesn't understand the PRT system, telling the Times hybrids and EVs would obscure PRT guidance magnets and confuse PRT sensors.
However, sources with knowledge of the Masdar PRT program tell PRT NewsCenter that the magnets and sensors can't be affected in that way.
In short, Masdar is signaling it is giving up on the car-free goal: it is making up excuses to not build citywide PRT to justify allowing cars into Masdar City.
How can Masdar be considered cutting edge, if it's not willing to innovate transportation, the biggest energy-using sector?