I attended the 11am group today to pay visit to the ULTra station. My camera's the good-old Canon EOS film model, so no pics online from me. Yet.
They are beautiful, the vehicles. Absolutely gorgeous, and they seem instantly to have a character to themselves. Sneaked the first sight through a door opening to their 'stables' and it made me feel to say something. To them. The feeling is gracious, and even more so when seeing them in action. They are whisper-silent (unlike the WRROOOOMING planes above us).
In my opinion, ATS has gone a good job on the vehicles. They are iconic, and I imagine driving them will be pure pleasure. Most likely people would like the journey to go on longer than the short trip from parking to T5.
We took some pictures, sat inside the vehicle for a while. Saw a video and moved on.
The only negative thing that I noticed is entering them. You enter from the side doors (there are doors on both sides, but I doubt that would be needed; 2GetThere vehciles are only having doors on one side) and while entering, it is difficult to see inside the vehicle, to make sure it's actually empty.
I bet most city-people have grown to doing that kind of check-my-back, at least in public transport. At least I instinctively check the people within a subway carriage for potential hazards (though they've never happened to me). I want to enter the vehicle seeing it all, and select my seating so that I can observe others. I don't want to have someone messy right behind my back.
Surely ULTra has cleared this (the phenomen even got a name in Dr. Paul Firmin's presentation later today; 'podlurking') but still it's important to feel confident about such new vehicles. If the doors opened more, or maybe with better lighting one can give a better view of the empty cabin for passangers about to enter.
As to Dr.Firmin, the presentation was a Thrill and would have deserved to be taped for Youtube. It was a nice mix of mad scientist, objective evaluation and nail-on criticism of the PRT concept, or implementations, or both. Nothing new, really, but rather stating the known hazards to be considered in implementations that are to-be. Social things, s.a. visual intrusion, possible criminal use of the pod network, etc. etc. (sorry Paul E. I don't remember them all).
Dr.Firmin had made a Google search on "PRT" and "social study" (or something) and said he'd only found the paper he'd prepared for this meeting! (Not sure if this is true; anyways he'd probably be delighted to get such studies for comparison so mention here if you know of any?).
One more thing.
I saw through the Vectus presentation again just now, and truly, what's wrong with us PRT people? The concepts we're drawing are not believable. They don't convey a truthful and working image.
Please see through the video once now.
- Why only one vehicle? the tracks are clearly underutilized
- Too clean. Add dirt. Makes the video more believable (video games suffered from this a while back, but No More)
- Why does the camera dive into the vehicle over and over? I feel like crushing into it.
- Dark mask like Darth Vader's. Use some dummies inside.
- Narration: "..that turns a train into reality." I thought trains _were_ a reality?
- "Brave new world". Gosh. I'm sure the people hadn't read the book, since it's not really a world one would like to be in. At the least this gives mixed signals to people who've read it.
- 1. Vectus style. Don't start with design. That just needs to be there, but it's NOT a selling criteria. Like quality either. Both are expected, so keep shut. People will either realize your design is good, but saying it is is irrelevant.
I could go on and one and on. In my understanding, this kind of concept art only keeps PRTs further away from being reality in people's minds. One more thing I want to say about the video, though:
- At one point, there's a lot of cars in traffic jam and two lone Vectus pods supposedly providing a better service? Really? :) Don't they realize the mixed signal of this: if 6 lanes of cars can't take the people through, how could 2 pods. An easy fix would be simply to FILL THE TRACK with more pods. Make Things Realistic.
- "Aerodynamic Designed Vehicle". Really. That's not your selling argument, and actually you're not even aerodynamic (have a look at Porche and compare). So keep quiet about it.
- Use better background music. And remember: you're not selling to car shoppers, you're selling to architects and city planners. What convinces them of the benefits? Use numbers. Use sample cases. Be real. Please stop marketing Utopia.
If you're from Vectus, have a look at this:
13 Killer Differentiators: Strategies to Grow your Brand