Mass transit’s State of the Union (Huffington Post)
Given President Obama’s State of the Union address last night, today’s a good time to reflect on the state of transportation in the U.S. That’s what is being done in the Huffington Post, which reports that even in the midst of budget headwinds, public transit as a whole managed to increase ridership some 2 percent over the previous year in the third quarter of 2011, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). How that happened and what it means for transit in 2012 and beyond as Congress takes up a new surface transportation bill are questions put to the president of APTA Michael P. Melaniphy, whose term began in November. He paints a surprisingly optimistic picture for the future, as long as the federal government does its part.
How Los Angeles found religion on transit: A lesson for Toronto? (Spacing Toronto)
Is L.A. finally getting positive attention for building 79 miles of rail in 20 years and serving 183 bus routes? It looks like it with this story from Toronto that lauds the growing system. “If you want to figure out how to rapidly and permanently crack the long-term funding riddle, then look to Los Angeles — a quintessentially car-addicted city that … has found religion on transit in a serious way.”
‘I hate the Blue Line’ and other things transit systems can learn from Twitter (The Atlantic: Cities)
No, not our Blue Line. This one refers to Chicago but the point is well taken. Comments and complaints on Twitter are becoming the voice of the rider, as The Source’s Twitter Tuesday column notes. Researchers at Purdue University tested this notion on prolific tweeters who ride the Chicago L. The study concluded that following transit Tweets could be useful to agencies. (We knew that.) “The most interesting thing we found is that transit riders do not give any positive sentiment at a particular time. They only give negative sentiment. But that’s not very disappointing because we found that the lack of negative sentiment is basically what transit authorities should look for. If there’s no negative sentiment at any given time, that means that things are running smoothly.” Not so in L.A. On Twitter Tuesday riders regularly compliment bus operators, on-time trips and such arbitrary thoughts as the joy of sunshine.
Not sure why the Daily Mail is running but there are great old images of L.A. in this photo feature tracing life here from rural outpost to streetcar-laced town to modern city without streetcars. There’s an amazing image of East Side Bicycling Club members — wearing long coats and top hats — and their bikes. And take a look at the comments following the post. It appears that in other parts of the world, at least in English, there are similarities.