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.
The ExpressLanes opened on the 110 freeway on Saturday night; this article reports that everything has gone well through Monday. My understanding is the commute on the ExpressLanes this morning went smoothly. Anyone drive them today? Comment please.
A look at what it will take to build 141 miles of high-speed rail between Bakersfield and Los Angeles — a stretch of track in which preliminary estimates say 59 percent will need to be in tunnels or on viaducts. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is working on the plans now and says this stretch of track will cost about $20 billion — or about $141 million per mile. That’s comparable to what it will cost to build some light rail lines in the L.A. area — lines that don’t need to burrow over/under the Tehachapi and San Gabriel ranges.
Ballots are being mailed this week to the roughly 20,000 downtown Los Angeles residents who will be voting whether to create a new tax district to raise money for the project. The election is being done entirely by mail — results will likely come in early December. A two-thirds super-majority is needed to pass. A lot is at stake: without a new district the $125-million project would lack the local dollars needed to secure federal funds.
Is transit speed obsolete? (Human Transit)
One transportation academic says that slow transit works better in terms of building cities. Transportation planner Jarrett Walker isn’t convinced. I agree. Slow transit is usually just a great way of encouraging people to keep and use their cars.
The International Energy Agency has revised its numbers, saying the U.S. could overtake Saudi Arabia earlier than expected. About 55 percent of the chane is due to more production and 45 percent from greater efficiency. Natural gas in the U.S. is also booming, meaning less coal is needed here — and meaning more coal will likely be consumed elsewhere. While the news may be good for the U.S. economy, it’s not seen as good overall for climate change as the world’s reliance on oil, natural gas and coal remains very high.
Fuel economy of vehicles in U.S. hits new high (University of Michigan)
The average in October was 24.1 mpg, which is four gallons better than five years ago — a major increase. Check out the charts. I’m guessing the Toyota Prius (now in several models) and other hybrids have helped.