Category Archives: Transit

The 3 Essential Ingredients for Cooking Up Transit That People Want to Ride

Streetsblog USA via California Rail News

Speed. Routes should be direct, instead of cutting labyrinthine paths across a city. Fare payment needs to be fast and easy, via off-board fare collection or tap-and-go entry at every door. Transit can’t get bogged down in traffic, either, so features like dedicated space on the street and priority at traffic lights are needed to keep things moving.
Frequency and Reliability. People won’t ride transit if they can’t depend on it…
Walkability and Accessibility. Transit works best when people can walk to it. That means both concentrating transit in compact, walkable places, and making it easier to walk to transit in places where pedestrian infrastructure is lacking…
On the Dublin buses you can pay your fare with a tap card. Passengers can walk past the farebox next to the driver to tap the card reader and not wait behind cash paying riders to dig out their money.

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Paris to Rome in one hour: France backs the Hyperloop

PenneyVanderbilt

Photo: Hyperloop Transport Technologies

Imagine Paris to Marseille in just 40 minutes, or Paris to Rome in just over one hour. French rail chiefs believe it’s not just a pie in the sky idea.

Hyperloop One startup, intent on zipping people along at near-supersonic speeds in pressurized tubes, announced Tuesday that the French national rail company had joined its growing list of backers.

Hyperloop One said that it raised $80 million in fresh funding from an array of investors, including GE Ventures and France’s SNCF.

“The overwhelming response we’ve had already confirms what we’ve always known, that Hyperloop One is at the forefront of a movement to solve one of the planet’s most pressing problems,” Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar said.

“The brightest minds are coming together at the right time to eliminate the distances and borders that separate economies and cultures.”

While the idea of the Hyperloop replacing France’s already high-speed TGV services might seem a little…

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Metra to use $14 million TIGER grant to replace Fox River Bridge

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded Metra a $14 million grant through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery VII (TIGER) program, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) announced yesterday.

The Chicago commuter-rail agency will use the funds to replace the existing 134-year-old bridge over the Fox River. A new double track bridge will be built to eliminate a traffic bottleneck between freight rail and Metra’s Milwaukee District-West Line. The new bridge also will allow for new positive train control technology, according to a joint press release from the lawmakers.

“Traffic is only going to increase in the future and our region’s infrastructure needs to keep up if we want our economy to grow,” said Duckworth.

The only remaining single-track segment of the line into Chicago, the bridge is the source of traffic delays for the 50 Metra trains and up to eight freight trains that pass over it every day.

“Metra’s improvement plan will bring an outdated bridge into the 21st century with new technology that will dramatically improve safety and double tracking that will increase speed and reliability for the 6.8 million passengers that rely on the MD-W line every year,” said Durbin.

Duckworth and Durbin are among U.S. lawmakers and state leaders that began announcing TIGER VII grant awards on Monday, after the USDOT began notifying states and cities of grant money coming their way.

Kansas City Streetcar wires go live

Last week, Kansas City Streetcar Authority officials began testing the streetcar’s overhead wire.

Testing continued throughout the week along the streetcar route, KC Streetcar officials said in a press release.

“This latest round of streetcar activity signifies the intense progress being made on this project as we prepare the infrastructure for the arrival of the first streetcar vehicle,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

The first streetcar is expected to arrive by the end of this month, at which point integrated testing can begin.

In the meanwhile, KC Streetcar Constructors are testing track, facilities, power infrastructure, and communication systems associated with the project, streetcar officials said.

The KC Streetcar project includes more than 24,000 feet of both overhead and underground wire.

MBTA plots improvements to Worcester/Framingham commuter line

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito yesterday announced a series of enhancements to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Worcester/Framingham commuter-rail line.

The changes include the addition of nonstop train service between Union Station in Worcester and Boston beginning in May 2016.

“For the first time ever, nonstop train service between Worcester and Boston in under one hour will become a reality,” said Polito. “The new schedule will give commuters more options on an improved schedule that reflect the needs of today for both our residents and our economy.”

The nonstop service is expected to trim 30 minutes of travel time for Worcester Line riders, MBTA officials said in a news release.

Additionally, crews have begun the process of de-stresssing the rail, which is aimed at reducing the need for speed restrictions during periods of sustained, extreme heat. They’re also installing new rail and working on making the entire commuter-rail system more resilient during the winter, MBTA officials said.

New York City getting easier to get around

Navigating the crowded streets of New York may be getting easier for millions of business travelers as the city sees the biggest boost in public transportation in recent memory.

On Sept. 13, the city opened the first new subway station in 26 years, ushering conference goers to the doorstep of the once isolated Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. A citywide ferry system will extend service to the city’s outer boroughs over the next three years. The city’s bike share program is rapidly expanding, expected to double by 2017. And an app, created by the company that provides payment technology to over 60% of New York City cabs, has become the latest to allow riders to hail a taxi with the tap of a button.

So many options, says Chris Heywood, spokesman for the city’s destination marketing organization NYC & Company, “just makes the city more appealing and is a huge selling point for us as we try to draw more business travelers, more convention delegates and more leisure visitation.’’

Last year, a record 56.4 million people visited New York City, 12.2 million of them here on business, NYC & Company says.

Now, the 6.3 million people expected to attend meetings and conferences here this year no longer have to trek blocks or hunt for a cab to get to the city’s convention center, which lies a stone’s throw from the Hudson River. Last week, the 7 subway line began stopping at 34th Street and 11th Ave., the only subway stop south of 59th Street on the far West Side.

“The extension of the 7 line to the far West Side is a game changer in many ways, especially from a business  travel perspective,’’ Heywood said of the $2.42 billion project.

The city’s subway system will gain an even more significant addition next year, when the first phase of a new Second Avenue line is expected to be finished in December. It will mark the first major expansion of the city’s subway network in over half a century.

“The number 7 and opening of the Second Avenue subway … reflect a serious recognition we have to invest in our infrastructure,’’ says Mitchell  Moss, director of NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation. The numerous other  transportation initiatives taking place are significant as well. “We’ve spent a lot on fixing, repairing and investing in the maintenance of the system. But it’s also clear we can’t just maintain it. We need to expand it. That’s the real change.’’

Citi Bike, New York’s bike share program, will increase from 6,000 to 12,000 bikes in the next two years. Bicycles became available in Queens for the first time last month, and new stations will soon be popping up on Manhattan’s Upper East and West side, and deeper into the borough of Brooklyn.

There are also plans to expand the city’s ferry service by 2018 to the Lower East Side, Astoria, Queens and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

For those visitors who prefer cabs to ferries and trains, there is now another app allowing a cab to be summoned via a tap on a smartphone.

Way2ride’s hailing function launched in July. The app is from Verifone, which provides in-cab technologies to nearly 14,000 of the city’s 20,000 yellow and green cabs. It is joining over 70 apps for taxis and hired car services, including Uber and Lyft, that are in New York City according to the NYU’s Rudin Center.

“What the last few years have shown is there is a demand among consumers for the ability to hail a cab with a phone … and we’re in a unique position to be able to provide the scale that consumers would expect of a taxi-hailing app,’’ says Jason Gross, vice president of strategy and innovation for Verifone, adding that would-be riders who’ve downloaded the Way2ride app can send requests to a taxi’s existing equipment.  The app, which previously just facilitated the payment of the driver, will roll out the e-hail function in several other cities, including Miami, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C., in October.

Heywood says that it’s not just the accessibility of New York’s public transit that makes it appealing to visitors, but the affordability as well.

“We’re not a city that requires you to rent a car,’’ said Heywood who noted that unlike some other cities where the price of a subway ride increases based on geographic zones, a business trekker or tourist can travel from Manhattan to Coney Island for $2.75. “Take the Citi Bike … pick up a ferry, then take a subway. There’s so many different ways you can mix and match all of our public transportation options and really have fun with it as well.’’