Several comments on our PRT column “The Trouble With ‘Mass’ Transit” have been posted under the headings “Partial to PRT” and “Grab Your Flintlock…” below. Others have been sent directly to S/PI. As is usually the case, the most thoughtful comments both pro and con come from those who send us information directly.

(This is an interesting comment on the value and impact of Blogging which we will explore in a future column.)

One especially good critique by a professional who is actually developing a PRT system lists a number of additional sources and perspectives. We will not expose him to PRT Loonies but are forwarding his thoughts to those who are serious about the topic.

The last issue that is clouding the future of PRTs which we raised in “The Trouble With ‘Mass’ Transit as a was that the topic of PRTs is a “MAGNET FOR LOONIES.”

It turns that in 1956 the leaders of what we call the Autonomobility Lobby (automobiles, oil, rubber, concrete, asphalt, steel, land speculation, large lot urban home building, Realtors, lawyers and other agents of all stripes.) sat around their square table and adopted a Profit Finding:

“We have now eliminated interurbans and trolleys, decimated passenger rail service and put trucks on the road to eroding freight rail service. The Interstate Defense Highway system is now rolling with a dedicated funding source. The next priority is to establish a clandestine institution that lies in wait to discredit any idea that might challenge the private-vehicle system upon which the “American Dream” (aka, the “American Consumption Nightmare”) and our future revenue stream is based.”

The rest is history. The resulting Business-As-Usual Institute (BAUI) has adopted hard-to-trace but effective diversions. For instance, if a group insists on the need for “mass transit” they are steered toward inefficient 19th century systems. Much of the cost of BAUI is covered by excess profits from the sale of automobiles, imported petroleum and from contracts to study mobility and access dysfunction and to design and build “solutions.” See notes on Raytheon / Rosemont, ILL. and on PUBLIC PORK AND PRIVATE PAYOLA in “The Trouble With ‘Mass’ Transit.”

We open our column “What is Wrong With ‘Mass’ Transit,” with the observation that “the failure of mass transit” is a favorite way to champion Autonomobility projects. For an example of how BAUI agents spin the “failure” of “mass transit” to sell road construction, HOT Lanes or other ideas see the 10 May posting “Walker Pours Withering Scorn…”

Contrary to what Chris Walker suggests, without METRO there would be absolute gridlock in the National Capital Subregion because of the focus of jobs near the Centroid. Using the percent of total trips as a metric to minimize the impact of METRO is a Bright Red Herring. BAUI has a monopoly on the fabrication and importation Red Herring of all shades.

Over the past few years, S/PI has become keenly aware of the actions of BAUI. As readers of Bacon’s Rebellion know, BAUI agents are trained to attack any suggestion that functional human settlement patterns can be created. This is because of the direct link between these patterns and efficient shared-vehicle systems in large New Urban Regions.

After extensive research it turns out the existence of BAUI is well documented and can be understood by deciphering the Norman Rockwell Code.

Because agents are equipped with the latest data mining technology and “PRT” sets off their system alarms we shall henceforth call the PRT systems “Non-Stop Shared-Vehicle Systems with Off-Line Stations” This phrase will trigger a clear Neural Linguistic Framework which should be as effective as “Ben and George’s Kiwi Downunder Strategy” is for property taxation. By the time BAUI moves to discredit the concept, citizens will already be aware of the importance of “Non-Stop Shared-Vehicle Systems with Off-Line Stations” – NSSVSOLS for short.


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  1. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “Most of the origins become destinations later in a 24 hour cycle so flow back is not a big problem.”

    But doesn’t this mean that you have just introduced the parking problem to PRT? If parking lots are expensive, how much are automated parking lots going to cost?

  2. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    You state that “without METRO there would be absolute gridlock in the National Capital Subregion because of the focus of jobs near the Centroid. Using the percent of total trips as a metric to minimize the impact of METRO is a Bright Red Herring.”

    The question is, how much worse could the gidlock be than it is? Probably not much because people and businesses would not stand for it: they would go someplace else, and the evidence is that is already happening.

    Looking at the percent of total trips does nothing to minimize the impact of Metro. Metro does what it does fairly well, but eliminating congestion is not one of its jobs, or at least not one it has succeeded at. After thirty years of this experiment that is something we ought to be able to agree on.

    But you are partly correct: Metro does add additional capacity over and above what we can achieve with autos. Therefore, the correct way to measure the value of Metro is on that basis: What is the value of bringing additional people to the core area who otherwise would not travel there, or who would do so at geater inconvenience and higher cost?

    Whatever that answer is means little unless you can compare it with some alternatives. Hong Kong has high density and good transit, yet their current city plan is considering other alternatives.

    Over-Concentration of Central Business District

    If the central business district is over-concentrated in certain areas, the transport capacity is stretched to meet the needs of commuters. It results in an
    imbalance between the population and the capacity of the infrastructure required to
    service it. Consideration should be given to developing other districts so as to maintain a more balanced distribution of jobs, which is one of the aims of the

    Based on the projection that the population would be 6.5
    million (now projected to be 7.8 million) in 2011, the Metroplan would restrict population in the metro area11 to 4.2 million. That is to say, the non-metro area has to accommodate all the additional 2.3 million (now projected to be 3.6 million) population. Examples of planned development in the non-metro area include Tseung Kwan O, Tung Chung, and Tin Shui Wai.

    I know we have been around on this before, but I have just seen new data that suggests that more than 50% of all new jobs created in Fairfax are outside the beltway.

    How long are we going to continue to plan for an eventuality that we can clearly see is changing before our eyes?

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Uh, anybody here speak English, rather than PO’d wonk?

  4. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse


    Complaining about the use of percise language and new additions to the Vocabulary describing human settlement patterns is a favorite BAUI tactic to deflect discussion of critical issues and reality.


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Hey, if I’m gonna be picking up the tab for this stuff, somebody better be able to explain it in plain English.

    And if you can’t explain it in plain English, I will resist it. Note that if it is blindingly obvious to you in technical language, you’ve probably lost the vast majority of taxpayers.

    Yes, language can be precise. But so far, what I’ve read here has more weasel words than a 48 month car lease…

  6. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde


    Anonymous has a point. Talking down to people, inventing language, and demonizing anyone that disagrees doesn’t advance your position. As I’ve said before, I think your arguments are doing more harm than good to the cause of conservation and a better society.

  7. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Response To Anonymous 1:46 on Vocabulary:

    Anonymous 1:46 if by stating “if I’m gonna be picking up the tab for this stuff” you are a client of S/PI please forgive me for nor recognizing you. If you will provide the contract reference, we will forward a package to the contact party.

    If by stating “if I’m gonna be picking up the tab for this stuff” you are suggesting that the public transport agencies should make the fundamental issues related to shared-vehicle systems clear, I could not agree more.

    In the meantime, the post you were commenting on is related to a column titled “The Problem With ‘Mass’ Transit” at If you read the that column with care and consult the material cited in the End Notes, you should have no problem with the Vocabulary we use.

    Should you seek further insight into is issue of Vocabulary you will find the four our of our last six columns at the Bacon’s Rebellion site address the issue of Vocabulary. These columns strss the futility of using “simple” language to explore human settlement pattern issues.

    Keep up the good work. Abandon the rest, no one can do it all.


  8. Mr_Blog Avatar

    Typical BAUI trait: zero appreciation for satire and the wondrous flexibility of the English language.

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