This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.
Moscow Metro: The world’s best subway system?
Thomas Sigler defends keeping the “public” in public transportation for The Atlantic Cities by arguing that Moscow’s government-run system is, in his opinion, the best subway system in the world. A couple key figures back him up: Many lines in the system have headways (aka train frequency) of 90 seconds and trains in the system average 25 m.p.h., beating an “average of 17 m.p.h. in New York and 21 m.p.h. in London.” And then there are the attributes that cannot be quantified, like the elegant station design and the Soviet-era public artwork.
Boston transit ridership hits record high
Several confluent factors have made this September the busiest month in the modern history of Boston transit. All told, Bostonians took an average of 1.35 million trips each weekday that month. The Boston Globe takes a look at what’s driving those numbers. First, Septembers are always busy in Boston as students return to the metro area’s 50-plus colleges and universities. Second, employment is on the rebound across Massachusetts and gas prices have remained high, meaning those who are going back to work are increasingly hopping on buses and trains. But there’s an anti-silver lining: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is considering raising fares and cutting service to close a $161 million deficit next year.
Record call volume for San Francisco’s 511 service
The Bay Area’s main transit planner, Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), reports that record numbers of transit riders are using its 511 information hotline this November. Why you ask? “‘[It] is being completely driven by the fact that real-time transit departures are easier-than-ever to access and popular with Bay Area transit riders,’ said Nisar Ahmed, 511 program coordinator.” In particular, Alameda County Transit and San Francisco’s MUNI have been busy installing decals at bus stops that instruct riders on how to obtain real-time arrival information by calling 511. Moral of the story: Everyone loves real-time transit information.
Reduced speed limit among D.C. City Council’s proposed pedestrian safety measures
The blog DCist reports that D.C. Councilwoman Muriel Bowser has introduced a measure that would lower speed limits on residential streets from 25 to 15 m.p.h. — I love it. The Federal Highway Administration notes that a decrease of just a few m.p.h. significantly increases the likelihood that a pedestrian will survive being hit by a car. Moreover, Bowser hopes that slower traffic will encourage residents to bike and walk around their neighborhoods more. The law would not decrease speeds on arterial roads.
Why create an infrastructure bank when we could just expand TIFIA?
Here’s a good story from last week that fell through the cracks: D.C. Streetsblog’s Tanya Snyder wrote an expansive piece that weighs the pros and cons of creating a new infrastructure bank versus expanding TIFIA as a means of financing transportation projects. TIFIA, readers may recall, is a program that Metro hopes to utilize for the accelerating L.A. County’s Measure R transit projects. Snyder quotes Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair John Duncan (R-TN) lavishing praise on TIFIA. U.S. Department of Transportation official Roy Kienitz notes, however, that TIFIA is geared towards funding individual projects; an infrastructure bank, Kienitz argues, would be a good fit for regions with comprehensive transit plans, like Los Angeles, Denver, Salt Lake and Seattle.