Here are a couple of links that got me thinking about different forms of “mass” or “public” transportation. These are topics we’ll be getting into with the Shaping Our Towns and Cities project.
The first is a recent NPR story on “PRT” or “personal rapid transport,” often referred to as “pod cars.” The other is an Oregonian story about streetcars (and a local manufacturer of streetcars being invited to Obama’s upcoming jobs summit). At first glance these transportation systems seem to be variations on a theme of emphasizing mass transit development rather than gearing everything around the automobile. But the more you think about it, they start to look like very different visions of mass transit with very different implications about the ways our cities or towns will take shape. Just think of street level development if you had a streetcar system–and then imagine what the pod car system might look like. These are some of the kinds of issues we’ll get into the project.