Monday, December 29, 2008

13> A Mid-afternoon Dream

I was sitting in traffic the other day behind a Wal-Mart truck. We both were creeping along together, both going to the same place. Actually I was going to Northern Tool, but still in the same “mixed use” retail area, kind of a mall of sorts, but with no coordination and lots and lots of traffic. The fact is that 75% of that traffic was bound for one of the many sprawling parking lots in this area. It occurred to me that Wal-Mart had two problems. First it was burning Petro-dollars, engine life and driver salary trying to make a delivery, and second, the traffic Wal-Mart alone generates tends to keep potential customers away. If there was a place I could park my car, grab a PRT and be dropped at their front door, I might just stop in for a six-pack of socks. But what if delivery pod cars brought those socks right into the building, maybe right to the correct aisle from a warehouse that also was fitted with indoor PRT style track? Well for one thing, out of stock items could be replaced in a matter of minutes, even during rush hour. And Wal-Mart would be the king of “green.” (environmentally AND cash wise) Now the big question. What would Wal-Mart pay? Would they buy or share track? Contract for rights of usage? Subsidize a station? And what about McDonalds? (Hmmm… refrigerated pod cars. Now there’s a thought.) Can you imagine NOT having a station just down from Wal-Mart? And what about the other merchants? I could see an area I like this becoming a much more attractive destination because of PRT. And wouldn’t a track going to the nearest high density residential area be a logical next step?

This is one reason I believe that “pods just gotta hang.” They are much more parking lot and warehouse friendly. It is also why I now believe reverse is a must for any standardized drive unit. PRT is only as useful as the network of tracks is extensive. Finding uses other than public transit and adding alternative sources of funding can only be a good thing.

1 comment:

Ryan Baker said...

You know, it this scenario, why would there even be a Wal-Mart? Why take socks to a big warehouse store, and take yourself to that store to meet the socks, when the socks could come to you?

Well yes, single mode PRT can't make it to your doorstep, and dual mode is probably not a phase one implementation, but it would make much more sense for your local PRT station to essentially be the new post office than to continue building Wal-Mart's.