Q. People are never going to give up
their love affair with the automobile. So why would they change?
A. According to surveys, people ARE giving up their
love affair with the automobile. Check out this study:
PEW report on
Q. Do I have to share the vehicle with
A. No, the vehicle is yours during the
duration of the trip. Car pooling is still possible, but
Q. What if I throw a party and ten PRT
vehicles all show up at my residence at the same time?
A. To begin with, the situation is somewhat
implausible. People do not show up at the same time, even when the
event is scheduled for a specific time. But to more directly
answer the question, one vehicle would unload passengers at the off ramp
closest to your residence. The second vehicle would stop at the
next closest off ramp. And so on. Passengers not immediately
adjacent to your residence would have the option of waiting for a closer
spot to open up, in which the vehicle would move to the closer spot for
offloading. Or the passengers could simply exit where they are and
walk the remaining distance. With the automobile, guest end up
parking progressively further down the block as well, so the situation
is not that different. Destinations with heavy traffic (grocery
stores, malls, etc) would have many off ramps near the entrances to
facilitate the increased volume of visitors.
Q. Can someone purchase a vehicle for
A. Difficult to predict. I would guess that the
cost would be too great to justify in most cases. Would the
President have a dedicated vehicle? Most likely, due to security
concerns and such. But if ownership was permitted based solely on
monetary grounds, two obvious problems arise. First, it works
against one advantage of the PRT system: fewer overall PRT
vehicles are needed than automobiles. Secondly, given the rigid
design and maintenance constraints of the PRT, even if private ownership
was allowed, vehicle servicing would still be restricted to designated
service centers based on safety grounds. Clearly private
individuals could not be allowed to modify the primary mechanical
aspects of the PRT vehicles.
Q. How long would I need to wait for a
A. That depends. To summon a vehicle from home
might take several minutes. Of course if the central routing
system observes that you request a vehicle every day at 5:15, the system
would "learn" and anticipate your need, sending a vehicle in your
direction. If you're just leaving the grocery store, you probably
wouldn't have any wait as this sort of location would typically have one
or two vehicles already standing by, similar to how taxis line up at the
airport. To assist in anticipating vehicle demand, the very act of
passing through the grocery checkout line would alert the central
routing system of a possible vehicle need. There are many ways to
add intelligence to the routing process. Finally, wait times would
clearly depend on the total number of PRT vehicles in the system.
Q. How would I keep my 6-year old from
getting on a PRT vehicle and visiting his friends without my knowledge?
A. PRT vehicles require biometric identification prior
to accepting a routing requests. It would be at the discretion of
parents to dictate what level of control their children would have.
The child might only be allowed to initiate routing to school or a
grandparents home. The child might only be allowed to travel
during certain times. The parent could designate that a text
message be sent requesting confirmation of any travel. Clearly the
options for controlling routing are endless. One could restrict
the travel of elderly parents as well. Ultimately the PRT would
provide a great convenience to society, giving mobility to individuals
who do not currently have that option.
Q. What prevents someone from holding
a vehicle needlessly by placing a object in the doorway?
A. The PRT should probably not simply be free, but
rather managed as a pay-as-you-go system. As with a taxicab, even
just waiting for passengers would register on the "meter". This
approach would provide the easiest mechanism for managing such issues.
While carpooling would not be required, the concept is still valid for
managing the PRT in situations where large numbers of people are all
traveling to similar destinations.
Q. What if someone tampers with a
vehicle, causing a breakdown in communications with the central routing
A. To begin with, all vehicles are monitored by
onboard video surveillance cameras at all times, acting as a deterrent
to such behavior. Secondly, the very moment that the central
routing system loses contact with the vehicle, it is assumed to be out
of control and remotely activated "stop points" on the adjacent tracks
would be activated. Don't forget...any nearby PRT vehicle also has
surveillance cameras which could be employed to analyze the situation.
Finally, a maintenance vehicle would be dispatched to the scene, capable
of towing the target to the closest service center.
Q. What about privacy concerns?
Wouldn't the PRT allow the government to track my every move?
A. The potential for privacy abuse cannot be denied.
This is a problem inherent with technology at many levels and ultimately
must be addressed by intelligent legislation. The automobile is no
Q. It might work for urban areas, but
not for rural areas. The cost would be too great for all those
miles of sparsely populated roads.
A. That true. Any mass transportation idea fails
in this scenario. So it's likely that rural areas would continue
to use the automobile for some time to come. Either they would be
converted last or not at all. But the PRT system still makes sense
for the urban areas and is not incompatible. Visitors from the
country would park their vehicle at the edge of town and ride the PRT to
their final destination.
Q. What happens to all the unused
automobiles once the PRT system is implemented?
A. The PRT system would take years to construct.
Existing automobiles would naturally migrate to the unincorporated areas
of the system as they are resold as used vehicles. So while the
new automobile market would certainly be impacted, the existing
automobiles would not be wasted.
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