Personal Rapid Transit and Testosterone

I have recently spent quite a bit of time meeting with and/or discussing PRT with different early-stage suppliers. The common theme seems to be that there is just too much testosterone in this business! Almost every vendor strongly believes that their solution is by far the best and that all others have fatal or near-fatal flaws. Gentlemen (there are no ladies in this group), it is in your own best interests to be a bit more humble and to not discount your competitors, they are generally smarter than you give them credit for.

Oftentimes when a competitor’s weaknesses are pointed out to me, I am aware that they are working on improvements and/or that these same weaknesses are not as serious as made out and/or are in fact strengths in some situations. I hope that all vendors are aware that marketing one’s strengths is more effective than marketing the competition’s weaknesses.

Those vendors who are in the very early stages should note that it has been many years since I have heard any representative of the three  vendors with commercially-available systems make a derogatory statement about any other! In fact these three vendors cooperate well in their efforts related to the Advanced Transit Association.

The table below attempts to summarize the stage of development that the significant vendors are in. I have no intention of mis-characterizing anyone’s efforts. If I have omitted or incorrectly categorized a company or two, please let me know. An open guideway system is one where the vehicles steer themselves (as opposed to a captive bogey system where the guideway steers the vehicles). Engineering design means more than pretty illustrations on a website. By Test Track I mean an active full-scale track demonstrating switching. A commerical project is one for which the vendor is being paid and is under contract (I realize I am giving ULTra-Fairwood the benefit of the doubt on Amritsar).

PRT Technology Development

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