News

Make-or-break council decision on pod cars tonight

Tonight City Council members will decide what to do about their longstanding interest in having an automated transit network in Mountain View.

The futuristic idea is being raised as a way to deal with traffic congestion in Google's neighborhood north of Highway 101, where 3.4 million square feet of new offices could be built under a land use plan the council is considering this year. And as anyone who drives along North Shoreline Boulevard during commute hours knows, traffic jams are already quite common.

The concept that will be discussed tonight was proposed in 2009 -- an automated "pod car" system connecting North Bayshore's offices to the downtown train station and transit center.

Such systems aren't entirely unheard of -- there's one that's been functioning at London's Heathrow airport since 2009, a fleet of 21 automated pod cars with rubber tires that ride on a cement guideway. There several other companies with different designs, including a much more futuristic system under development by NASA Ames-based SkyTran which uses electro-magnetics to float and move the pod on an overhead rail that was said to be light enough to allow it to be mounted to utility poles and street lights.

Advocates say such systems are the most efficient and cost-effective transit systems ever devised, and may be the first to turn a profit. But whether Mountain View's vocal neighborhood development opponents would protest such a system remains to be seen. In a 2009 proposal, the route runs through the residential neighborhood on Stierlin Road on its way from downtown to Shoreline Boulevard. It also connected it to Moffett Field and NASA Ames, where development plans have stalled in recent years on a large research park and college campus.

City Council members passed a resolution in support of the concept in 2010 when it was referred to as a "personal rapid transit" system.

Tonight's council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall at 500 Castro St.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lyle Lanely
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm

You know, a town with money's a little like the mule with the spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it and danged if he knows how to use it

Seriously, who elected these people? They all seem great at going to ribbon cuttings and private events with congressmen, but they are completely and utterly out of touch with the real world. Do ANY of them actually have to commute, like most of us? Nope.

Enough pipe dreams, council. Wake up. You are killing our city


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A talking cat
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

If they're not going to allow any residential development in Mt View, then we'll HAVE to have something like this to shuttle people living elsewhere to their Mt View jobs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SVMA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

This seems like a possible solution to the traffic problems we face, and sounds just pretty darn cool. I hope they greenlight the next step.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

This S/B "You Broke it, You Own It!"

Google has caused a great deal of the traffic problem and will cause a great deal of future traffic problems,so Google should assist in fixing it.

Google should fund either a Light Rail extension or some alternative, such as Pod Cars.

We residents should not underwrite a fix to the Google Traffic Mess!

BTW, I like Google in Mountain View, but they act as an entitled party and not as a let's work together resident.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Good God
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm

If this is something the city will need to manage and repair and work as a business, then it will surely fail, just like all govt run business, are basically money pits. Just look at the schools.

Is the golf course making any money yet?

Who will fund this? Will another Property tax be needed to fund this?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shoreline Resident
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm

This has got to be THE most stupid idea I have ever seen. What a HUGE waste of money and an insult to everyone living in Mountain View. There are people who can't afford groceries in this town because all their money pays the rent and the city wants to build a network of flying pod cars? If our city council really wants to fix this town why don't they with some affordable housing, our schools and public transportation (the kind on the ground, not flying!)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Another Failure
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

This is a google problem. It is not a Mnt View problem. Let google pay for it. Google pays almost zero in taxes to Mnt View, and their employees pay zero sales taxes for their meals. We do not have a traffic problem, we have Google problem!

The good news here is that this represents a challenge to VTA, and MAK will never let that happen, unless VTA get's to wet their beak a little too.

p.s. How is that government run bike rental program working? Yep, one of the bike vendors is already in bankruptcy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lyle Lanely
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

This is 100% for the benefit of businesses in shoreline and 100% hurts the west side of town. This wont reduce traffic one lick, just make it possible to bring more people into shoreline (but drivers will still drive). AND sucker the council into thinking they can build and build and build out there-- so, more cars and more traffic. And since shoreline is some weird tax district, no real benefit to us anyway

Residents don't matter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm

If this is such a good idea, and could be profitable, why isn't some private corporate taking this on?

First, no way it's profitable. Passenger rail (that's what this is whatever you want to call it) has been a money loser for almost 100 years now.

Second, this is Google's "problem" to solve. If their employees don't like walking between sites or taking those buses then let Google create this pod car network. They're the ones most likely to be using it.


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Posted by incognito
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 18, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I'd like to see the businesses in Mountain View, that have Billions of dollars cash to buy other businesses, contribute to the expense involved in solving problems involving infrastructure that serves their employees. I do think it's great that their bus routes help control the number of cars on the road.

Yes we need more council members who reflect the demographics of Mountain View.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JANE
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm

This sounds SO COOL! Let's be part of the future and go for it :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm

This is the type of innovative solution we need to explore. Google may not always be there; note that many of their buildings were built by SGI, the former tech darling. We need infrastructure to continue to attract top businesses and maintain our position as a highly coveted place to live and work. I support this direction.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Being first on the block to do this means a major investment. I don't think Mountain View has tens of millions of dollars available to do this.

How's that bike share program working out? I've never yet seen anyone on one of those bikes.


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Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 18, 2014 at 4:05 pm

This is an innovative concept. Let's see if we can make it work, if it can be done without costing taxpayers too much. It's pretty clear that the old model (everyone driving their own car to work or to the store) is nearing the end of its useful life.


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Google traffic is not just a Mountain View problem but it spills into Palo Alto too and Google is expanding in Palo Alto too. Rather than making this just a Mountain View system, it should also stretch into Palo Alto to Fabian and E. Meadow Circle - where Google is expanding and also the area where many Google employees live.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Yes PA resident you are fully correct, traffic is not just a Palo Alto, Mountain View or even a Google problem. It would help to come up with alternatives to single solo drivers who are commuting in from from away lands.

Pod cars can be built right into housing complexes on the other side of 101. In certain cases they can be built right into transit stations or certain shopping centers.

Why not look at the idea of running down El Camino Real.

Cost of the Century Freeway in 1993 came to 127 million dollars, 2014 it would be so expensive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by UC Davis Grad
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I'm sorry, but is the Mountain View Voice -- or is this The Onion?

This has to rank way, way down there in terms of issues that Mountain View faces. But I guess avoiding the elephant in the room is what the council is really good at...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Amelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Interesting but wasteful spending...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Thomas
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm

A main reason for installing a pod car (especially SkyTran) system is reduction in car traffic.

Here are some more SkyTran advantages that I can think of:
• Its capital cost is estimated to be $10 million/mile for both directions.
• It doesn't interfere with current traffic, roads and rail systems.
• It can run 24/7.
• Its riders don't have to wait for scheduled trains.
• Its riders don't stop at intermediate stations.
• Its travel time would be short.
• Its total cost per passenger mile is estimated to be less than $0.03.
• Its ticket price would thus be small, encouraging its use.
• It's immune to trash and litter on rails, and resistant to inclement weather.
• It can be built quickly, because it's relatively small and inexpensive.
• It can be expanded with extensions to other areas or cities.

A Mountain View SkyTran system would also serve as a demonstration system for its use instead of high speed rail (HSR), and allow eventual federal money for such a S.J. - S.F. or S.F. - L.A. or even state-wide system. In the case of the S.J. - S.F. corridor, SkyTran's total cost would be not much more than Caltrain's expected $471 million electrification cost.

A Mountain View SkyTran would make the city a world leader in clean, efficient, and low-cost public transport.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm

How are we to handle the amount of people going from A to B?

How much are we willing to spend to get people from A to B?

Do we house or have people work in the way they can get from A to B cheaply and efficiently?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Anderson Merritt
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm

We are watching this issue closely from Santa Cruz. My understanding is that Mountain View's interest so far is in providing some seed money to build a proof-of-concept demonstration, in connection with a (Federal) government transportation research grant. Even if that happens, it sounds to me as if the City is a long way from greenlighting (much less investing in or operating) an actual transit system. There appears to be plenty of time for locals to scuttle the project if it later proves to be too expensive or impractical.

To address and/or clarify points raised by others here:

* PRT/ATN vehicles travel in the air, but they do not "fly." They are, effectively, autonomous, low-capacity elevated rail cars. Because the vehicles are small, they need a much lighter, less intrusive guideway than we are used to seeing with elevated trains or light-rail.

* Mountain View would be the "first on the block" in the US to build modern PRT, but not the first in the world. As alluded to in the article, there are already two functioning systems -- at Heathrow Airport in London, and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. A third, in Suncheon, South Korea, recently completed a successful trial run, and should open for general passenger service soon. Other municipalities around the world are seriously considering PRT. Morgantown, West Virginia, is the only US city to date, to build a system that could function as PRT (back in the 1970s). Although very expensive to construct (a flaw that modern systems don't share), Morgantown PRT was "built to last," carrying tens of thousands of passengers a year for the past three decades, while boasting enviable records for safety and performance, and costing only $5.5M (in 2014 dollars) per year to operate. Morgantown was an expensive prototype. The PRT systems of today are considerably less expensive to build, and becoming more so every year.

* I like the idea of running PRT guideway down the El Camino.

* I agree that the high-tech giants who are contributing to the traffic problems should also pony up funding and other resources to contribute to the solutions, of which PRT sounds very promising. But one of the big reasons you haven't yet seen private companies jump to establish PRT is the problem of zoning and other regulation. Private companies need to show useful results (ideally, profits) more quickly than governments do, or will allow. Even something as simple as Uber can get tied up in litigation and regulatory red-tape, and that is only to use the public roads and private vehicles that participants already OWN. In such a business environment, imagine how much more difficult, costly, and risky it is to put up a completely new transit mode and infrastructure. It is NEVER as easy as getting money together, forming a plan, and jumping in to construction. If it were, we'd probably have PRT all over the US today.

* The economics of PRT are very much different from "passenger rail," as we have known it for the past century, and there is every indication that, depending on the coverage area of the system (bigger is better), PRT will need minimal subsidy, and has the potential breaking-even or even generating a revenue surplus, despite charging only fares that rival those charged for city buses. One of the design goals for PRT was to eliminate the need for the massive taxpayer subsidy that traditional public transit (e.g., rail, light rail, and even city bus systems) requires. Data from the actual operation of PRT systems in the field suggest that this goal is realistic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Sounds fine, if you assume that people who work at Google are willing to take multiple forms of public transit to get to work, while most of us still drive.

If you want to know the real cost per mile, find the cost per vehicle mile at Heathrow. Don't just read the press release from the advocates and assume they tell the truth. Remember, advocates told us that light rail was going to carry so many people, it would turn a profit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cate
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Can anyone point me to a traffic study that's been done on the North Shoreline area? There seems to be a lot of finger pointing when it comes to this area, and the Council are basing a lot of their decisions on transportation and development on what seems to be anecdotal evidence rather than actual data on who's doing the driving, what type of traffic flow there is, what times of day, etc. For example, I know that the 101 interchange at Shoreline is especially abysmal; how will pod cars alleviate this? On the other hand, I drive once a week from Showers Drive over to La Avenida in North Shoreline, and when I drive at 7 am, 8 am, and 6:30 pm, I encounter very little traffic. I've driven through the Google campus at various times around 6 pm and encountered smooth sailing. I know everyone has their horror stories about traffic, but I'd really like some hard data so that people know exactly what they're dealing with and how to fix it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BK
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Is there something wrong with an already proven subway system...
Or maybe a light rail extension rather than a Google Exclusive setup


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Huhhhh
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 2:32 am

Yep, it's the onion. How much of the traffic coming out of tbe Greater Googleplex heads to Mountain View downtown? I doubt it's very much. This wouldn't help get people onto the freeway. I guess it would be a boon to give access to Cal Train and the VTA buses running on El Camino. I think there'd be more benefit to having it run up Castro Street from El Camino than to run up Shoreline from El Camino.

All and all, it's probably The Onion running this story.

How about just widening the freeway overcrossing and adding lanes of traffic into the Greater Googleplex. That would do much more good.

Or maybe we could invent matter transporters.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Podcar
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 2:34 am

Seriously, if you were going to do this, the best route would be to come from the Googleplex down Shoreline and then angle over Stierlin Road and through that area with the new bike trail through the Castro/Central Expwy intersection and on past Caltrain down Castro to El Camino.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 9:05 am

I like this idea, but it will work for popular places, large residential complexes, office parks and buildings. Popular places are Downtown, San Antonio Center, Bailey Park Center, Grant El Camino Center, Movies.

Large Residential complexes are. The American, Old Mill, San Antonio Center, Crossing, City Center, 100 Moffett, certain streets.

Work places area. North Bayshore, Middlefield Whisman, Downtown, San Antonio Center.

I don't see anything wrong with door to door transit or close to it,


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ben Baumgartner
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:04 am

The pod car concept is a small cramped space and engineering wise a very stupid idea with too many drawbacks to list here and no real advantages. It is even dumber than the failed dial-a-ride concepts.

Transit has never solved transportation problems. It only feeds the overpopulation problem that most city leaders fail to face up to.

It is like feeding an overweight person because they are hungry instead of restricting there calorie intake and making them excercise.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

The 'Onion'? More like the 'Weekly World News'. Where's Bat Boy when we need him? This is really just one of many mistakes made by the city council... they mistook today for April 1st.
Someone mentioned another hoax-like transit scheme: Bike-share. I've been watching, but haven't seen any news stories of its glowing success and projection-meeting numbers. Absent those articles, are we to assume it's a failure?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm

PRT won't solve the transportation problem, it will offer a alternative to the crowed road system. Design the stations right, build the track right, you might have a good system for short trips.

Design the system using real time people going real things, like getting a sandwich after work, shopping, or picking up a car to do bigger errands. Yes people will always need a car, the idea is to offer alternatives.

Weekend use, Weeknight use which needs to be taken into account when designing the system. Not everyone wants to just held home and stay until the next work day.

Just something to look into.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palle R Jensen
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 3:02 pm

This is a very important first step towards better transport systems worldwide.
A revolution in the transport sector will create resistance among the train and light rail supporters, but please ignore them. This excellent example of true innovation deserves to be tested. It costs almost nothing to test it compared to what has been wasted on traditional transit systems.
When this has been successfully tested and implemented, the next step is a DualMode system like RUF (www.ruf.dk)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ugly towering tracks
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm

"PRT/ATN vehicles travel in the air, but they do not "fly." They are, effectively, autonomous, low-capacity elevated rail cars.'

This would really look so ugly up in the air, we would have to look at this track and little pod car and have it block our beautiful view of the Mountains.

NO THANKS.

Electric cars are the future, yes, CARS, there is to much distance between the towns for it not to be. Not like someone mentioned "cars are end of there useful life", such BS.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Instead of some wonderful innovation here in the heart of Silicon Valley we have to depend on ugly traffic congestion.

This place is run on last millennium infrastructure and third world countries are ahead of us when it comes to basic stuff like public transportation.

Ever tried getting from downtown Mountain View to SFO in anything other than a car on 101?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Electric Cars have a place in the future but they are still cars that will have single solo drivers taking up space on crowded roads. The sad thing is the batteries from these cars are posing a problem. Other problem is the need to keep building power generating farms or plants, they are eating up land.

When are we going to stop feeding the single solo driving habit. At least the pod cars can be shared.

I am not saying everybody stop driving solo which I know is the primary choice but could we built alternatives


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Anderson Merritt
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Ugly towering tracks, have you given thought to your alternatives? First, PRT guideways do not need to involve "ugly, towering tracks." Several practical designs for realistically possible PRT are actually quite beautiful. In particular, check out the results of a design competition for Bath, UK at Web Link. People can do it wrong, of course, but done right, PRT guideway and vehicles are lightweight, small-footprint, and easily painted and decorated to enhance the envrionment, not detract from it. But even in the case of an "ugly" PRT infrastructure: in whose eyes? The Eiffel Tower was once criticized as a hideous eyesore. And what about streets crowded with gridlock traffic? How is that not ugly (not to mention dangerous, and noisy)? Lifting traffic above the street via PRT opens up the ground level for other things, including more parks and gardens, pedestrian and bicycle paths, etc., not to mention reducing the need for parking spaces and lots. People can reclaim more of the ground and street again. At very least, at its very worst, PRT provides the opportunity to trade a great, pervasive ugliness for a much less intrusive and offensive one. How is that a bad thing?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Anderson Merritt
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Garrett: Yes, I have always felt that a key requirement for PRT is that it attract at least enough riders to be self-sustaining without taxpayer subsidy. If PRT "earns its keep," then it justifies itself. I personally think that it will be even more popular than that, justifying expansion here and imitation elsewhere. As Palle R. Jensen suggests, this possibility is worth exploring; the PRT idea is worth testing.

So does anyone have news? What did the City Council decide (if anything) this last Tuesday?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Anderson Merritt
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Apparently, they turned it down, citing "unproven technology." See: Web Link

Of course, the vendor pushing the plan (Unimodal/SkyTran) is one that has not yet sold a system, so the point about "unproven technology," is well-taken, if you ignore the irony that the point of the current proposal was, indeed, to PROVE the technology, so as to make possible future deployment. Chicken, meet egg. However, Advanced Transit Systems, the source of the route map in this very article, is the developer of the highly successful and popular Heathrow Pods, which is very much "proven" technology. The Council could simply elect to skip the prototyping inherent in the proposal they just rejected, and go straight into construction of a real PRT system, using the Heathrow/ULTra approach.

The news story linked above says that the Council remains supportive of PRT in general, but what does that mean? After Tuesday night, what is the next step?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm

I was hoping for a yes, the idea of the pod car sounds pretty good, a study would have been a good start. How much would it cost per mile, the routing and station design.

Looking into ways so people can use these cars to live, work and play. It won't be personal vehicle but maybe designing some of the routing to some of the more popular spots and uses. Even a pod car from home to a rental car place.

Just an idea.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 20, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Google, and others, have been working on the long term solution - Self Driving Cars. Here is an excerpt from a joint KPMG, Cargroup study entitled "Self-driving cars: The next revolution."



An essential implication for an autonomous vehicle infrastructure
is that, because efficiency will improve so dramatically, traffic
capacity will increase exponentially without building additional
lanes or roadways. Research indicates that platooning of vehicles
could increase highway lane capacity by up to 500 percent.28 It
may even be possible to convert existing vehicle infrastructure
to bicycle or pedestrian uses. Autonomous transportation
infrastructure could bring an end to the congested streets and
extra-wide highways of large urban areas. It could also bring the
end to battles over the need for (and cost of) high-speed trains.
Self-driving vehicles with the ability to "platoon"—perhaps in
special express lanes—might provide a more flexible and less
costly alternative.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 20, 2014 at 3:32 pm

"Its riders don't stop at intermediate stations."

Really? When the pod in front of you stops for a passenger to disembark, how does your pod get past?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm

"Its riders don't stop at intermediate stations."

ok, got it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by myob
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Reality check: The traffic over Shoreline, Rengstorff and San Antonio crossings over 101 is awful in the mornings because of all the Googlers, and others, driving into work in the morning. Already, those companies run shuttles to the downtown transit hub, and any employee who wants to take the train can get a ride to work. Furthermore, few Google people take the train in because they have free company shuttles from SF, San Jose, and all over the bay area. These automated cars do nothing to help the traffic up there!

If you want less traffic over those congestion points, you allow a few thousand people to live up in North Bayshore.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Simple fact not everyone who is driving during commute times work for or has any dealings with Google.

To many people driving all at the same time with no other means then driving solo from all over the bay area. No alternatives other then driving a car, electric or fuel based.

I was thinking the Pod Car would be great for locals living in medium to high density housing and are willing to try alternatives. Sidetracks, where the pod car will turn off and load or unload passengers.

Newer built buildings can have pod car storage, loading and off loading right inside.

We aren't going to get rid of traffic, or people driving, but what is wrong with alternatives.


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Posted by James Anderson Merritt
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Konrad M. Sosnow: Perhaps a subset of Google self-driving car tech can be used in a future approach to PRT. But part of the appeal of the latter comes from the fact that its infrastructure does not affect and is not affected by street traffic; another part of the appeal comes from the lightweight nature of the necessary infrastructure: it is cheaper and less disruptive to build, and doesn't occupy nearly as much ground-level right-of-way as even narrow full-service roads do now. Suppose you had self-driving electric cars. I would be surprised if people would want to share the road with large numbers of self-driving cars; I would be surprised if there weren't some kind of strong lobbying effort to ban human-driven cars from lanes traveled by self-driving vehicles or vice versa. If you then designated separate, dedicated lanes for self-driving vehicles, especially elevated lanes, you might end up with something that was remarkably like the PRT idea. But if you have separate lanes for self-driving cars, you might as well go all the way and install true PRT, in my opinion, with the advantage that much of the Google intelligence could be left out of the vehicles, since they wouldn't have to deal with arbitrary, random traffic conditions. Also unless self-driving vehicles were VERY small, the infrastructure to support them would be regular roads or similar structures, which can't be built through many places (much less routed THROUGH buildings, as PRT guideway can, if desired).


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Posted by This does not seem to be the answer to traffic
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 21, 2014 at 12:17 pm

This seems like a futile attempt to have some elite apartment buildings or whatever have pod cars. This doesn't sound like a practical idea, these pods hold like one person. The worst part it's up in the air, so if it stops working you are stuck way up high. Sounds like fun, NOT!!

Self driving cars makes way more sense.

People do not want to be transported in cattle cars, they like their freedom their cars bring.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2014 at 2:46 pm

New technology? Every amusement park in the world has a gondola ride. This actually makes sense here, in this amusement park formerly known as Mountain View


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Even amusement parks came up with ideas to move thousands and thousands of people. We can't even get something built from North Bayshore to Downtown.

We need to spend money on infrastructure or we are going end wasting time and money in a sea of cars.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The truth is
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm

In order to control traffic, we need to limit growth. It's that simple.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm

It is really embarrassing to live here - we are the most technologically alert community when it comes to high tech, but our infrastructure us behind the third world. Is it just politicians who have their feet stuck in the 20th century, or are there too many nontechnofiles with blinkers on?


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Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

@pa resident, if you like it so much, put it in your city. Haha ha, ya right!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Yes, we need them in Palo Alto too. Traffic to Google is not just a MV problem. We have to look at traffic and public transportation as a regional problem not a city by city problem. We have too many fractured agencies already in the Bay Area. The sooner we understand that we need one transit authority and forget about city boundaries, the better when it comes to innovation for traffic problems.


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Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 25, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I thought the city council made their decision last week and voted no. So what is going on tonight? More discussion that the council will still vote down the pod car idea?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2014 at 6:52 pm

For the root of traffic better stop growth in the birth rate. The main reason for traffic jobs, better start with negative growth. Start with laying off people and preventing the start up of these companies.

Traffic means people are working, making money and being productive. Better stop this kind of growth.


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