– It’s time for new transit technology

Canada’s public transit capital infrastructure budget is in the tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars

With that kind of federal commitment and the right technology all Canadians could have an inter-linked, automated, Public Rapid Transit (PRT) system from coast-to-coast!

Rail is not car-competitive

Heavy rail technology, like the Skytrain, hasn’t advanced in the past 50 years. Rail is large and slow. Rail is so expensive that it would be cheaper just give people cars. Really.

Urban heavy rail, like the Skytrain, has accomplished virtually zero in reducing traffic congestion, in this city or any other. (Since 1994 exactly 304,981 or 33% more NEW cars hit Vancouver roads).

You can’t weave rail-lines through communities. On the other hand, the readily available and far less expensive, Public Rapid Transit systems have the ability to give near-taxi level service.

How to pay for it

The main “spines” of a PRT system, running west to east, and north to south would be built and maintained with public money. This portion of the system would have only public destinations like parks, libraries, beaches, all major stations that we have now. Here’s where business comes in…

Commercial destinations like malls would build their own guideways from the main spine to their chosen destinations. They would then outsource the maintenance to the City.

Spending billions on advanced technology would be a wiser investment. It offers countless benefits to all regions of the province and to all citizens and businesses equally.

Business loves the RAV

You’ll never hear a peep from the owners and controllers of the rail, truck, auto, gasoline and cement industries, as they all just love the Skytrain.

These businesses benefit greatly when ineffective public transportation is used. To wit: 11% of our population uses transit regularly. In Toronto that number is 70%… 7% (ED)

Known solutions are not applied because the people who make huge profits from today’s aging transportation systems have the power and money to make competition, in this case advanced technology, disappear.

Now it seems, we’ll be stuck with another expensive, lumbering, second-rate public transit system.

Rail had its purpose at one time: to unite a country. But using rail today is highly ineffective, especially in densely populated urban areas. It’s just too damn big!

But those in charge must look outward to the world for innovation rather than repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

We should get more for our money! More than rail. More than cold stainless steel seats. More than ripping up Cambie for five years to install yet another dinosaur!

Technology has taken great leaps forward since the early nineteen hundreds. There are viable alternatives to rail. It’s about time we employ some of that new learning here in Vancouver.

Explore posts in the same categories: Commentary, News, PRT, Technology, Video


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6 Comments on “– It’s time for new transit technology”

  1. For more on Personal Rapid Transit (videos, links, studies): http://www.prtstrategies.com.

  2. Stephen Rees Says:

    Your remark “Rail is large and slow” is really off the mark. Some trains may be “large and slow” – but they are the ones used to carry coal. The operating speed for the latest high speed trains – in use in many countries outside of North America – is 380kph. The trains themselves are technically capable of faster speeds, but that is a good operating target as it makes HST competitive with air for flights under four hours.

    PRT, being automatic, requires a separate right of way. The cost of creating such a r.o.w. is so high that no PRT system is financially justifiable. If a new, separate right of wasy is created, mass transit of some kind provides a superior range of benefits simply because of its greater capacity.

    All systems have their role. There is no one size fits all solution – and no-one in their right minds would attempt to build a trans-Canada PRT. Horses for courses my friend!

    • TransView Says:

      The cost of building PRT is 1/3 that of heavy rail. PRT is also car competitive as it is the closest system to mimic taxi service. Many cities around the world have abandoned heavy rail for light rail. PRT is now being considered for San Jose, California and L.A.

  3. TransView Says:

    ED – thanks for the heads up – 7% is correct….

  4. Anonymous Says:

    “To wit: 11% of our population uses transit regularly. In Toronto that number is 70%.”

    I think you misplaced a decimal. Anyone who has ever been to Toronto – or lived much of their life there – knows that ridership of transit is no different than any other city. It’s probably closer to 7% than 11%

    Transit ridership rarely surpasses 15% in ANY CITY and Toronto is no different. (Only in cities with really crappy road infrastructure like London – another city I have lived in – have higher transit use than that.)

    As a transit booster myself, I’m glad to read your blog and I’m very interested in your ideas about SkyTrain. But your credibility is shot with such silly mistakes.

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