|Advanced Transit Policy for the Seattle region|
Congestion Reduction; Benefits to Lifestyle & Commerce
Congestion Reduction. The key to reducing traffic congestion is a combination of (1) getting more people to use forms of transportation other than their private automobile and (2) prevent the freed-up road capacity from being filled by people who don't do #1. Conventional train and bus transit systems achieve #1 with varying degrees of success, and fail utterly on #2. Personal Rapid Transit proposes to succeed on both counts.
PRT will offer degrees of attractiveness that trains and buses can't match on features of convenience, speed and a feeling of personal security.
By being superior to trains and buses on these factors, most of the time PRT will be a competitive alternative to driving. No longer will public transit be "what other people ride so I can drive my car".
The automobile will always be superior to any form of public transit when we
need to move large amounts of personal cargo (such as groceries) or groups of
friends and family. But those aren't the types of travel that is causing traffic congestion now. Ninety-four percent of car trips in the U.S. average 3 or fewer occupants per vehiclethe main reason PRT uses small vehicles. By capturing only a small percentage of these trips PRT could make a significant dent in congestion.
Lifestyle and Commerce. Public transit has always been "what other people ride so I can drive my car". As a result, congestion in most urban areas remains a problem and has only gotten worse. Personal Rapid Transit will change the way people view getting around cities by offering convenience, speed and a feeling of personal security. PRT will be seen not only as a way to make the commute to work faster and better, but also as a practical way to travel to shopping, entertainment and cultural & sporting eventsuntil now nearly the exclusive domain of the automobile.
PRT could provide easy access to all districts of Seattle, whether residential areas, mixed-used urban villages, or business districts and malls. It is even feasible for really big stores and malls to have their own PRT stations, as additional offline stations does not affect overall system efficiency.
Thus the PRT benefit for lifestyle and business are:
But moving people is only part of the equation. Our economy needs uncongested streets so that businesses can receive shipments and deliver products, and also make deliveries to customers' homes. This is why transit that actually reduces congestion is so important, and why we need to supplement conventional transit technologies like trains and buses.
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