Saturday, March 24, 2012

Not another agency

(TWIP mobile post) West Seattle Blog is reporting today about plans to revive elevated transit in 'Seattle's west side transportation corridor' --

I have been aware for a few months that this organization -- 'CenTran' -- has been in the works. However I had been under the impression what it's about is Son Of Green Line.

Instead, it looks like they're intending a 16-mile monorail+PRT (pod transit) system in the West Seattle to Ballard corridors.

I think we (human civilization) are probably now inside the envelope in terms of having the engineering capability to create such an urban system. A large urban pod network is under construction in India: .

A similar system that draws power from the guideway is going in in Suncheon, South Korea: .

However, there are a number of practical issues here. By the time we are ready to do a technology screening (let alone select a design for installation), will these vendors be ready to deliver and operate what could be the largest pod system to date? Will their systems be sufficiently proven in regular operation?

Most of all, I personally object to this local effort being mounted by a small group, out of the public eye, creating yet another transit bureaucracy.

If PRT is going to be done here, it needs to be part of the existing decisionmaking structure. It needs to be done by Seattle or King County, or even Sound Transit. The latter had planned to do a PRT project as part of the Link program ( ), but the expected Raytheon PRT program was cancelled.

I have misgivings that High Capacity corridor service (which is what a downtown pod circulator would amount to) might be too much too soon for a flavor of PRT (HCPRT) that hasn't yet been implemented, anywhere.

Update 3 (5/2/2012): Findings 1 & 2 of San Jose 'ATN' study bear directly on near term feasibility of CenTran's 'HCPRT.'
Update 4 (6/7/2013): The City Center Connector will be a streetcar.

It's OK to hypothesize something that ambitious. But hold a vote to set up a whole new bureaucracy? Really? Update 1 (3/28): Let's stick to light rail for our main corridors.

Furthermore, local planning for circulation PRT and collector-distributor PRT have been done in SeaTac and Issaquah. We should look first at those service niches.

Update 2 (3/30):
Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist claims I'm not covering opposition because I don't reference his (non-local) blog; inaccurately calls CenTran monorail plan a "Personal Rapid Transit Plan"--

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