Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 9

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.

ART OF TRANSIT: Nice shot of an eastbound Expo Line train at Culver City station. The crane in the background is building the bridge that will take the train over Venice Boulevard. Photo by Brian Hsu, via submission.

ART OF TRANSIT: Nice shot of an eastbound Expo Line train at Culver City station. The crane in the background is building the bridge that will take the train over Venice Boulevard. Photo by Brian Hsu, via submission.

Subway kiosks will guide riders — in between the ads (New York Times) 

The new six-foot-four-inch wide touch screen displays will be installed throughout the New York subway system and are intended to replace the old print maps. They will also feature service alerts — of which there are no short supply in the vast New York system. But they will also feature ads and the Times notes that it will be hard for riders, a captive audience, to avoid them. That said, there’s already a lot of advertising in the Big Apple’s subway, just as there is in many transit systems that need the revenue.

The golden age of gondolas might be just around the corner (The Atlantic Cities) 

New urban gondola systems have popped up here and there across the globe and La Paz is planning a seven-mile system. Proponents cite their cost, saying gondolas go for $3 million to $12 million a mile compared to, say, a $400 million-a-mile-or-more subway. Skeptics (such as yours truly) point to the fact that a train holds a lot more people. That said, gondolas do seem to work well in some places — i.e. hilly areas where they can serve a direct route and not have to carry crushing commuter loads. If memory serves, I recall one was studied to connect Chinatown and Dodger Stadium; lack of capacity was seen as the issue. I think at some point there was also a Griffith Park plan that mentioned a gondola to the Observatory, an idea that made some park neighbors hopping mad.

Why Google Transit will never be enough for small- to medium-sized transit agencies (Human Transit) 

Guest blogger Nate Wessel, who makes transit maps in Cincinnati, argues that Google Transit may offer specific information about a particular trip but fails to show users an entire transit system. Excerpt:

Exploring a transit system with Google Transit is like blind men trying to understand an elephant by touch. This part is thick, this part is bumpy, we don’t know how any of the parts attach to each other, and the whole thing is constantly, inexplicably moving. A thoughtfully hand-rendered transit map tells us what the elephant really is. It doesn’t go into detail about the dimensions of it’s toenails, but tells us of it’s overall size, shape and temperament. It tells us that you might be able to ride the thing and that you probably don’t want to try poking it with a sharp stick. Once we know these basics we can begin to ask exactly what the trunk is for.

2 replies

  1. I liked the article about the gondola technology. When I first heard that this technology was being considered for Austin, I thought that it would be a legitimate alternative to the streetcar being planned for downtown LA. Count me as very skeptical of streetcar technology. Streetcars won’t provide any travel time savings over the rubber tire alternative (i.e. Dash buses) because they will travel on the same roadways as the mass of auto traffic. Think about the Flower Street section of the Expo Line, that’s how much signal delay you can expect on the downtown streetcar. Streetcars will also be far more expensive and inflexible to route modifications. On the other hand, a gondola system could operate much faster through, or actually above, city streets. Too bad it’s too late to consider other alternatives in downtown LA. Or is it?

    Like