Town Square

Post a New Topic

Council asks Congress for pod-car funds

Original post made on Apr 23, 2013

The City Council decided Tuesday to push for federal money to help get "automated transit network" technology -- also known as pod cars -- off the ground, possibly in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 11:58 AM

Comments (18)

Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Well, since real live PEOPLE cannot drive without crashing into things for no damned good reason at all (other than the fact that they were TEXTING OR TALKING ON THEIR CELLPHONES at the time of the collision), then SURE --- let's put DRIVERLESS VEHICLES on the roads! Makes PERFECT sense! ALL legal suits and court cases should be addressed to: Google, Mountain View, CA, Attn: [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] who think cars without drivers is a good idea.

Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Mark [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] didn't even hear about automatic google cars driving already on the streets. never mind segregated guideways and automated transit systems etc.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Slater
on Apr 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm

If this is such a great idea, then why do we need to get government funding? For a percentage of the profits, there are plenty of venture capitalists who would gladly pony up the needed funds if this was in fact a viable idea. Can you say Solyndra?

Like this comment
Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

I am very pleased to see the city council moving this forward again.

Yes, lets ask for federal funding to help defray the cost to our own local government, since it can also help to advance technology that the United States is the leader in developing. Other countries vigorously support technology development and we need to as well if we want to be globally competitive.

No, this is not the same as Google's automated cars. This won't be on the streets, taking up space being used by drivers and sitting in that same traffic. This is an elevated system, so it adds additional capacity to the areas it serves, up where the cars can't go. Learn about it before you blindly criticize it. It holds a lot of promise and the proposed deployment area seems ideally suited.

Like this comment
Posted by Finally
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Thank you Rossta. Finally, a legitimate, sensible respond.

I don't need for people to agree with the article. But, it is certainly unnecessary for people to give smart-alec and offensive responses (Bob, Tom & Mark)

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Slater
on Apr 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

Rossta & Finally, You both look first to big government for solutions that the private sector can accomplish in less time and under budget than any government agency. This valley got its reputation by being innovative and most if not all of the innovation came with private funding. Have you been up to Sand Hill Rd lately, where venture capital is alive and doing well? Again I state that if this idea has merit, then let those who would use their own money, fund the project. It's funny that when you are spending your own money you are much more careful than say a politician who is spending someone elses money. Can you say Fiskar?

Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

But Main Streets Still all cracked and broken
Sorry, Mom, the Mob has spoken

Like this comment
Posted by Research_It
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

This type of transportation has had a checkered history. Which is why it is tough to get venture capital funding.

West Virgina University has had a ground group transporter running for 30 years (15 people). Taxi 2000 was approved by Chicago in the 90s but the contractor Raytheon grew the vehicle specs that made it too heavy, so the track was heavy and expensive and ended up failing.

The London Heathrow airport system works well and they are expanding it, but I do not think it would work well in areas with a lot of snow and they have a limited duty cycle so the batteries can recharge.

SkyTran has neat technology with magnetic levitation, but I think it would be difficult to keep the cost of that system down and the small 2 person pods are not at all family friendly.

I like the technology, and hope it can come to market. It would save a lot of lives, be greener and clear traffic congestion.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm

These are your tax dollars. These are your tax dollars on drugs. But seriously, it isn't any sillier than a million dollar bike sharing program.

Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I'm shocked that the city council would give any amount of credence to these PRT foamers. There's a reason why neither the private nor public sectors have been interested in this technology, it wont work. Whats worse is that it makes it harder for people pushing for *real* transit solutions.

Like this comment
Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Well said, Robert, especially about this being a distraction from people pushing for real transit solutions. This Council likes to strut and pose about things like pod-cars but when it comes to practical things like a citywide shuttle or improved bus service along El Camino, they become completely timid.

Like this comment
Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

Seems like Mayor Inks is the only rational thinker on this council.

Like this comment
Posted by Patrick
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Heathrow airport (3rd busiest airport in the world) has a PRT / pod car system that is wildly successful and popular, so for anybody (Mark, Robert, OMV, etc) saying these systems won't work are simply wrong. They already exist and working today.

Every major transportation system (including private autos) in the USA receives federal subsidies, so it's perfectly reasonable to use them for these systems as well.

Like this comment
Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

@ Patrick,

Working at an airport is not the same as working in a city. People park and go to the airport. Basically 2 spots to pick up and drop off. Wildly successful is an overstatement since their is no metric to measure success. Privatize these pods and lets see how they survive.

Private autos are not subsidized and cars do pay gas taxes to fund streets and highways. Subsidizing unsustainable forms of transportation does not make sense. Its perfectly reasonable to not support systems that cannot survive in a private market place. It still remains to be seen if electric cars can replace gas powered cars.

Like this comment
Posted by Tyler
a resident of another community
on May 25, 2013 at 9:01 am

I would just like to add that without infrastructure, like transportation, where would we be? If we don’t invest in our infrastructure will that make us flourish or cause major issues? We all know infrastructure is vital to our success. So then why do we not want to pay for it? Why don’t we want to pay for better roads and bridges or innovative forms of transportation? Stop being scared of a better tomorrow and start investing in it!
Ohh and PRT isn’t new it has been around for 60 yrs and the only reason it hasn’t evolved is because we decided cars were cooler then them. This is my favorite video of PRT. It shows how versatile PRT can be, without the danger of human failures.
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Carl
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Interurbans (inter-city shuttle bus) were profitable enterprises until the Federal government built the interstate highway system. This "subsidy" for the individual automobile shifted the economic balance, destroying a free enterprise form of transportation.
In most places gasoline taxes only pay for the construction of roadways. Property taxes pay for upkeep, which you pay whether you drive or walk.
How much worse does traffic need to get before new modes are embraced? There is little room left at grade level to add more capacity. Quality of life, health, enjoyment and passion are all affected by living in this automobile saturated valley. You need a new prospective.

Like this comment
Posted by Ray
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Very forward thinking by the mayor or Mountain View. The automobile is no longer the most cost-effective transportation solution. However, the auto industry is very afraid of the competition from a cheaper solution and will use all there power to stop Pod cars including creating autonomous vehicles. Pod cars are definitely better suited for daily commutes and super safe due to grade separation from pedestrians and other forms of transportation.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Sylvan Park

on Jun 5, 2017 at 6:10 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

By Laura Stec | 29 comments | 1,626 views

Are We Really Up To This?
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 1,042 views

Couples: Initiators and Implementors
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 769 views

Nobu Palo Alto eyes next-door expansion
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 685 views


Top restaurants to check out

Mountain View Voice readers have officially decided. See which local restaurants and businesses can now claim the title — Best Of Mountain View 2017.

View Winners