Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.
Forbes’ writer Jon Bruner gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the centralized computer system that controls Los Angeles’ traffic signals, adroitly extending green lights here and improving timing there. The end result? “Repeated studies since the 1990s have found that travel times fall by 15% near connected signals and motorists make 20% to 30% fewer stops.” The benefits are so manifest that L.A. has licensed its proprietary technology to other cities for a cool $75,000. In my experience, the lack of signal timing is a major gripe among big-city residents around the country.
LaHood not bullish on new surface transportation bill this year (Transportation Nation)
At the Transportation Research Board conference, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seemed resigned to no new surface transportation bill this year. Here’s his quote: “Given the politics, the number of days that remain, the differences between what the Senate and House are looking at — I think its very unlikely we will have a surface transportation bill during this year of Congress.” Attentive readers will recall that the current bill expired in 2009 and has been living on short-term extensions since — and that makes it harder for states and localities to do long-range financial planning.
Does California need high-speed rail? (NYT Room for Debate)
In my humble opinion, over the next couple decades we’ll absolutely need it: to improve mobility, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to avoid expanding airports and highways. But I’d agree with some of the critiques in this NYT discussion that there are a number of different ways to get to that end — and it doesn’t necessarily have to look like what’s currently being proposed. The Sacramento Business Journal reported the other day that new CAHSR chairman Dan Richard says there’s a “big surprise” on the way, so stay tuned.