[mpisgmedia] Re: [in-enaction] Personal Rapid Transport (PRT)

Dear all,

Please don't address mails on this thread to me. I posted Mr Bhatnagar's
mail to the list because, as stated in my reply, PRT is area of neither
competence nor interest to me. For Delhi I think it cannot be for any
planner at the moment because, under present planning law (and from the
Delhi club of planning eminences no spark of genius has thus far fired a
better or even alternative conceptualisation for the planning process),
landuse-transport optimisation iterations for making location decisions
can begin only after broad landuse allocations have been agreed. Since the
so-called Master Plan review that is underway seems to have entirely
abandoned both the Master Plan and the mandatory process for its revision
no one can possibly have a clue about what party-cake will be dished out
for Public Notice whenever or never. From the back of the envelope it
seems most of the present population is going to have to be evicted ? a
projection for 23 million by 2021 has been accepted for (non)starters,
which is twice the population that Delhi has land and water for and what
seems to be going on (with no discernible basis in planning law or sense)
is frenzied development for some other half. Democracy, I think, calls for
control over (and responsibility for) development decisions for that half
to be taken by that half. Plannerism, I am sure, calls for whole-time
attention to the question of distortions in allocations and the processes,
rather anomie, by which they are coming to pass.

Gita Dewan Verma, Planner

(ps. The Public Notice for industries (redevelopment) was published by
Central Government on Friday 19.11.04. I saw it in ToI.)

> Dear Mr. Ankur Bhatnagar, Ms. Gita Dewan Verma and list members,
> With regard to the PRT Technology being discussed, i checked out the
> websites of the company and referred the topic to a group of experts from
> the Indian Railways, DMRC and others for their opinion. The following are
> some of the responses that i got from them:
> Well about this PRT thing it is a hoax and nothing else. This
> technology is not proven, very costly right now and has not been
> implemented anywhere in the world. The one place where it has some
> applicability is in America where people like personal transit rather than
> mass transit. Though it is definitely going to be very expensive.
> This system is presently not for India. I am definite. I work in
> automobile industry and have been in lot of technical discussion
> regarding this technology and it is still on the drawing board and lots of
> things are being tested. We cannot have it at least for next 20 years.
> Beware of depending on private firms to come up with the required capital.
> In various parts of the world they have had their fingers burnt when
> costs rose too much and the private consortia made no money. This is a
> task best left to national or regional government. Beware also of cranky
> new technology which its supporters are always keen to say will be the
> answer to each and everyone's problems. Personal Rapid Transit is suited
> for small flows of traffic and is totally inappropriate for moving
> thousands across city centres. Monorails, Japanese style, might just do -
> for example the Tokyo to Haneda Airport route that can provide commuter as
> well as airfield service adequately. The planned PRT for the Cardiff Bay
> area has been dropped, and the monorail linking many casinos in Las vegas
> had to closed days after it opened because bits were falling off the cars.
> I guess it will reopen sometime but it has rather limited capacity.
> Something like the Delhi Metro is what your great
> cities needs - especially if each Metro orders the same cars, control and
> signalling systems etc keeping down costs. Have a special design for
> each system and each new line will cost a lot more.
> I don't see why you should be wary of a new technology. Automobiles and
> trains had 200 years before they came to a state we see today. Both of
> these systems have certain advantages and
> disadvantages over each other, and so a combination of these two has been
> in use in cities around the world. The problem is that with growing sizes
> of cities and their populations, the advantages are no longer keeping up
> and disadvantages are becoming more conspicuous.
> Therefore, while it is alright to continue working on
> further optimisations in autos and trains, the time
> has really come to see if there is something new that
> can be done. You are aware of the problems - ever
> increasing travel times, investment requirements,
> pollution, rising costs of oil, congestion,
> inconveniences, frustrations,... The bottom line is
> that with existing technologies, we are not moving
> forward much on these fronts.
> We all need to be open minded and optimistic. There
> may have been problems with certain PRT
> implementations, but that means that we need to go
> into details and see how they can be resolved. I
> believe a lot of problems have been addressed in
> UniModal's model of PRT (see http://www.unimodal.com
> and http://www.skytran.net).
> As for capacity, UniModal provides a massive capacity
> in the same cost of Metro. It is just not the numbers,
> but the manner in which the capacity is provided is
> also very useful. UniModal can cover a city much more
> comprehensively than Metro in the same cost.
> Another way of visualising capacity is to realise that
> cars, autos, taxis, bikes, etc. are all examples of
> personal transit, which today support an overwhelming
> majority of transport needs of Delhi and other cities
> in spite of bottlenecks like traffic lights, manual
> vehicle control, lack of online route optimisation,
> etc.

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