Dendera Proposes PRT to Glendale

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Dendera to Provide Feasibility Study to Glendale for PRT

Startup company, Dendera LLC, has received the go ahead from the Glendale Traffic Commission to provide the parameters of a feasibility study with the intention of bringing Personal Rapid Transit (aka PRT) to the city of Glendale, California. Bringing PRT to Glendale is being championed by Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian, who was elected on a strong forward-thinking platform of improving Glendale by attracting large employers, relieving traffic congestion and rebranding Glendale.

“Personal Rapid Transit has the privacy and availability of a car with the benefit of automated mass transit,” said Scott McNeely, a partner in Dendera LLC. Dendera is offering to attract bridge financing as well as day-to-day operational services through a public-private partnership with the city of Glendale. Federal, state and local funding for innovative transportation projects are almost non-existent. Dendera will fill this gap. PRT is currently priced at 1/10th the cost of light rail and subway systems with a faster build-time. Two PRT vendors claim they can install the guideway system at the rate of 2 miles per week. This is far faster than traditional mass transit systems where construction can go on for several years.

Glendale has a larger population than the neighboring cities of Burbank and Pasadena but has less brand recognition - something Gharpetian wants to improve. Cities the size of Glendale traditionally have smaller governments and are forced to make tax dollars count. Glendale’s traffic congestion is much the same as the rest of the county. With less mass transit connections than surrounding cities, many argue the access to and from the city is more difficult. Gharpetian is raising the issue of whether the high cost and slow installation of traditional transit systems is a good use of tax dollars compared to a cheaper well-planned PRT system.

According to scorecard.inrix.com, Los Angeles is ranked #1 as having the worst traffic in the country and 50% of the most congested freeways in the U.S. Over 500 miles of freeways exist in L.A. County alone. An 18 mile trip during rush hour from the west side of Los Angeles to the downtown area can take as much as 2.5 hours.

In addition to gridlock, the Center for Climate Change and Energy Solutions and the EPA state that 28% of greenhouse gases in the U.S. are caused by automobile emissions, 2nd only to the production of electrical power. The California Air Resources Board has imposed some of the most strict emissions guidelines in the U.S. The result has slowed construction of commercial buildings and housing due to the potential increase in greenhouse gas emissions through the addition of new traffic.

A clean, readily available mass transit system that is price competitive and quick-to-build would go far in alleviating congestion as well as reduce the amount of greenhouse gases. Personal Rapid Transit, an on-demand (yes, 24/7), automated, private vehicle system that travels on an elevated guideway, apart from traffic, is positioning itself to be such a system.

Currently, there are several PRT systems around the world that are in operation with several more cities planning to adopt PRT in their mass transportation future. Israel and South Korea are now moving forward in implementing PRT in their most congested areas. Although the U.S. has not yet fully embraced PRT, Boston, North Carolina, Austin, Colorado, New Jersey and Michigan are actively looking into PRT to address their mass transit needs.

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Scott McNeely
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