December 4, 2007
Fixing Traffic Without Help From Uncle Sam
An article on Planetizen discusses efforts by governments across the country to address congestion and transportation funding problems without federal assistance. In addition to the usual suspects (HOT lanes, queue-jumper lanes, privately-owned toll roads), one idea caught my eye more than the rest:
Finally, in a gambit straight out of the Jetsons, the Swedish government is working with Santa Cruz, Calif., to plan a "personal rapid transit" (PRT) system – individual cars connected by cables to a rail system.
For more information, including a map with a proposed alignment, here is a Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit - Santa Cruz web site:
In addition, following the link (from the Planetizen article) to the full article on the Christian Science Monitor, on page 2 brief mention is made of the ODOT Road User Fee Task Force project:
Inspired by efforts in Europe and Asia, Oregon is testing on-board GPS systems that could one day allow mile-by-mile pricing for all car travel in the state. Flexible plans could give discounts to drivers traveling in off-peak hours.
They don't elaborate on the true function of the "GPS system" that is proposed by ODOT and used in the pilot project (which concluded in March 2007), instead using a painfully brief description that conjures images of "big brother" monitoring it's constituents' every move. For those who are unfamiliar with the project, the proposed system merely detects whether the vehicle is within one of three zones and logs mileage within each zone into separate categories for billing purposes. The zones are out-of-state (no charge), in-state (nominal charge), and within the Portland metro area (nominal charge with option for congestion pricing). With the present design, I do believe the GPS systems would not be adequate for charging per-facility tolls (such as bridge or highway tolls). The mileage fee would be collected at the fuel pump in lieu of a gas tax (for those who have the proper equipment to communicate with the fuel pump), while out-of-state drivers (or those otherwise without the proper equipment) would be charged the fuel tax in lieu of a mileage fee.
Continue reading Fixing Traffic Without Help From Uncle Sam
December 5, 2007 8:49 AM
PRT, and everything I have seen it do is definitely one of the avenues for future travel that is available NOW.
It by far is superior in cost to auto and traditional transit based costs. It also is by far more efficient also.
Still, in the backroads of the country, one would still need a car/truck. But it definitely is a superior future technology for cities, or even towns.
December 7, 2007 11:05 PM
Then if they are going to track everyone's car mileage and bill accordingly, they should have a reverse system for bicyclists and people who get out and walk and pay them more based on their mileage!
December 18, 2007 7:13 AM
Joseph Edge Says:
For those who are interested, here is a link to a BBC article detailing an upcoming PRT system at London's Heathrow Airport:
January 7, 2008 12:08 PM
Joseph Edge Says:
PRT in the news, again:
Among PRT’s most attractive attributes are:
* relatively low capital and operating costs
* construction in existing urban areas with minimal disruption
* direct, non-stop, relatively fast travel between stations
* small, unobtrusive elevated guideways that do not interfere with street traffic and provide very high levels of safety
* demand-responsive service that offers very short wait times at the stations
* generation of development/redevelopment opportunities in station areas
* easy integration with existing rail, bus and auto-parking facilities to provide seamless transfers
* low electric energy requirements for propulsion and system operations
* negligible emissions and noise
* networked routes that allow huge numbers of origins and destinations to be connected with direct, fast travel. Each PRT vehicle makes several trips each day to achieve auto-use reduction in served areas.
One or both of these systems may be used initially in the Masdar eco-city in Abu Dhabi that is now being planned to be the world’s first auto-free, carbon-free new town.
The article has links to videos of PRT test systems in action.