So perhaps we ultimately disagree on the solution, but we at least agree that we have very serious problem looming in our future with respect to fuel.
Yep, we agree there. As of now, I figure we are about half a dozen years, give or take a couple depending on just exactly how things play out, from what amounts to catastrophe.
Your solution seems to be a system that does not service people door-to-door, but instead is just "more traditional public transportation".
Planning, building, and working the bugs out of the PRT system - *IF* it actually is doable - would take decades, probably something on the order of half a century. The way I see it, there are going to be a great many civilian gasoline powered personal auto's going nowhere in less than a decade - gasoline will either be rationed, or it will be too expensive for most people to afford on a regular basis. When that realization hits, the options are either
1) Anarchy - riots, martial law, Road Warrior type stuff, or
2) cobble together some sort of mass transit system in a hurry. Maybe integrate the school bus system with regular mass transit somehow.
Once the realization hits that the good old days of the internal combustion powered personal rigs ain't coming back, and once it becomes apparent the electrical grid can't support all that many electric cars being plugged in every night, people will start wanting to 'move up' from the improvised mass transit system to something else. In big dense urban areas, something like the PRT might be chosen. But for the rest it will almost certainly be some combination of busses and light rail.
As time goes by, I see a gradual emptying out of suburbia, especially those parts of suburbia which are not connected to the rest of civilization by some sort of reliable mass transit. Energy costs - electric and home heating will also force a lot of people to move out of the suburbs. A few decades down the trail, except for gated and/or 'green' communities, most suburbs will be the haunt of drug dealers, squatters, criminals, religious fanatics, and 'hicks', for want of a better term. Most folks will live in urban areas, close to where they work, shop, and go to school; mostly in apartments or townhouse deals.