Thursday, January 8, 2009

15> The "Podcar" and the PRT Dream


First, I HATE the term “Podcar” or “pod”. Unfortunately, Since the PRT thing in Ithaca last summer, it seems that a lot of “PRT” Googling results in this awful term. Are people who ride “pods” considered “Pod-People”? (Anyone remember that movie?) Anyway, I use it here in the title solely for the cynical reason that it might bring in some (Googled “POD”) readers, and some of them might become contributors to the cause. I would like to reiterate that cause now, as many people might tend to scan the site, without realizing it’s purpose, which is buried in the end of the “About this Blog” section
The ultimate dream would be to realize the world’s first large-scale open-source mechanical, software, legal, environmental and social engineering project, with a full set of blueprints, contracts, position papers, environmental studies, etc. provided by the masses, for the benefit of humanity and the planet. A “Wikipedia” of how to build a truly 21st century transportation system with local talent and resources, with a hefty “how –to” section on every possible situation. A framework by which primitive “model T” iterations of PRT are skipped, leading to successful and ever more efficient and beneficial implementations worldwide.
But on a much more humble scale, a bunch of us are “second-guessing” each other, on the topic of the day, or week, and our thoughts are being archived in the “cloud.” Anything we say may provoke a design breakthrough, or cut off some bone-headed approach that would only be a setback. In other words, it’s all good, as long as we get enough contributors to be a real resource that can, at least, be found.
I am not free to work toward this full time, but it is my passion. I wish I could post daily, but I can’t. I have many more ideas than I have posted so far, but I have to meter them out. I don’t want the best ideas buried too deep. So to any readers out there- Please post your thoughts about anything I write or any comments you read. Please spread the word! At some point I will start an email campaign to known advocacy groups and academia, but I need a blog gushing with comments, arguments, and ideas. If we, the people, reach a definable consensus, that is powerful stuff. It is the stuff of dreams.
Last but not least . Enjoy the illustration. I would like to note, however, the motor units shown don’t represent any particular design based on inner parts, size of the inner workings or anything else, for that matter. It’s hard enough just making them look shiny. But sometimes a picture says a thousand words, (and one blog address). I wanted to get this out sooner rather than later.

6 comments:

Jayhawk said...

For my on PRT: www.prtstrategies.com - a firm which also HATES the P-word.

Mr_Grant said...

"Pod" was first applied to PRT as a term of derision. However, the word's general usage is overwhelmingly positive -- iPod, two peas in a pod.

Pods are cozy. Pods are friendly. When used in a transit context 'pod transit' instantly communicates what it is, in a way the 'PRT' never could.

Furthermore, by embracing 'pod' we take that weapon away from the critics. Likewise with 'gadgetbahn' and 'PRTista.'

-David
PRTista gadgetbahner

timote said...

Personally I'm not a big fan of the Podcar thing either (although I'm finding it naturally entering my vocabulary when talking about the vehicle itself - what else do you call it?). For one, its too cutsy for my taste and for another it has the term car in it, which frankly this concept is pretty divorced from.

Dan said...

Dan The Blogger responds;

Well, I guess it doesn’t matter what I think. It seems using the term has brought in some valuable new voices. If I have to insert the term, so be it. Hail Google!

No one ever saw that B horror film “Return of the Pod People?” (I guess that’s the name..) Your neighbor would be eaten (or something) and this alien plant would cocoon his zombie duplicate until ripe in a “pod”.

Scarred me for life ; )

A Transportation Enthusiast said...

The term "pod" is much more cool now than it was 5 years ago, thanks to Apple. There are probably 20 people who think "iPod" for every one who thinks "pod people". So I don't see a problem with it.

By the way, I think this effort is a great idea. If I find time I may try to get involved.

Matt Young said...

Podcars do not need to be large scale. They actually scale pretty good, one or two at a time.

Nor do Podcars need special tracks or skyways, that is a myth. Some Podcars follow the curbs, some go down the middle of the street, etc. But Podcars will be most effective if we use Green Paint to indicate their likely path. That way other cars and pedestrians will know where they roam.

And some Podcars are not cars, but vans, Podvans which deliver groceries. They have an arm with which they grab a box of groceries and place it appropriately in the loading zone of a house.