Is Sound Transit light rail stuck in the 19th Century? Self-driving Personal Rapid Transit shows us the future

While Sound Transit crisscrosses the surface of our cities with rail tracks, companies like skyTran are rising above with a fast, safe, efficient and economical solution for our transit needs

Consider these two transportation modes for our future:  

1. Sound Transit Light Rail
Fixed rail.
Benefits: large capacity; existing; political backing
Downsides: very expensive; limited locations; inflexible, at street crossings

2. Personal Raid Transportation (PRT)
Self-driving, personal monorail.
Benefits: less expensive; more possible locations; flexibility; 20 ft. above street level
Downsides: new, untested, lack of consumer awareness or political support

Imagine if instead of Sound Transit's ever-expanding fixed rail system crisscrossing the surface of our region we had the foresight to build something better... perhaps that something is personalized rapid transit? What benefits might that bring to our commutes? What downsides might there be? The thought of one day flying above the surface streets in a PRT is a very enticing proposition for many when compared to being herded like cattle into rail cars built by Sound Transit. 

PRTs are personal, economical and green.

That's the idea behind skyTran, a self-driving monorail designed to hover 20 feet above roads and travel up to 155 mph. According to skyTran CEO Jerry Sanders, the system would cut a two-hour car commute to just 10-minutes. Recent articles in The Science Explorer and Tech Insider tell us of this exciting new technology backed by NASA.

Is this idea just pie in the sky?

Would you prefer to commute in a PRT or in a Sound Transit rail car? Imagine if there were a PRT line connecting Kirkland/Bellevue to Seattle over the SR-520 bridge. How would that impact the Sound Transit's light rail over the I-90 bridge? For many in Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond, taking a train to Seattle via the I-90 bridge is a non-starter. We need new ideas and skyTran shows us one actually designed in this century.

skyTran is available now and it may be a better way to commute for forward-thinking communities like ours. 

Sound Transit builds light rail so from their perspective, light rail is the solution to every problem. Not everyone in our region thinks Sound Transit has all of the solutions. There are may scenarios where light rail simply does not make sense but Sound Transit does not have the capacity to do anything other than BRT and light rail.

Is PRT the perfect solution for every scenario? Certainly not. But Sound Transit has proven it doesn't have all of the answers either. Perhaps there is room in our region for fresh thinking and skyTran shows us one possible way forward.

About skyTan

skyTran is a NASA Space Act company, headquartered at the NASA Ames Research Center near Mountain View, California and it created a patented, high-speed, low-cost, elevated Personal Rapid Transportation (PRT) system of the same name. The skyTran network of computer-controlled, 2-person “jet-like” vehicles employs unique, state-of-the-art, SkyTran Magnetic Levitation (STML) technology. skyTran moves passengers in a fast, safe, green, and economical manner.

With its NASA relationship, skyTran has access to a wide range of cutting-edge technologies and capabilities. It is able to combine NASA expertise, assets, and information with its own core competencies.

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