Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 23

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 Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Running transit like a business: digging under the slogran (Human Transit)

Transit planner Jarrett Walker succintly explains why most transit agencies in North America are not run like a business. The reason: nearly all transit agencies and their elected boards believe it's their job to provide mobility to those who need it the most — even those living in areas where ridership may be low.

Apple said to be buying HopStop, pushing deeper into maps (Bloomberg)

In hopes of reducing its relationship with Google, Apple debuted its own mapping software for iPhones last year. The new maps were roundly jeered for being: A) inaccurate, and; B) dropping transit. “HopStop shows users in more than 500 cities the fastest way to travel by foot, bike, subway and car,” according to the article.

Extreme temperatures can affect every mode of transportation (Better Institutions)

With a lot of hot weather in the U.S. in recent years, here's a reminder of how it blasts the transpo world: asphalt can buckle, rail tracks can warp, airplanes lose lift and pedestrians and cyclists no longer want to walk or ride. Amazing stat: in 2011, Dallas had 71 days when temperatures reached at least 100 degrees.

 

5 replies

  1. I think most politicians in America just don’t understand how to make money with public transit while ensuring everyone, including the poor has access to cheap and efficient public transit.

    In most parts of the world, providing mass transit is concurrent with making money off of real estate. Build stations with cheap and affordable public housing so that people live there and cities can collect rent money. Or build stations like department stores where people go to buy goods and merchandise, make profit from that business and use the profits from that to subsidize mass transit. They find various ways in making extra dough to help fray the cost of running mass transit.

    Most Americans aren’t capable of this way of thinking. They just focus on one thing and try to make profit out of that, rather than doing multiple ventures and utilizing profits from one area to help pay for the other.

    But that’s exactly how Google because enormously rich. All Google is a search engine. How do you think it makes money to run all those servers and such? You all seriously don’t believe Google can trade at $900 per share just being a search engine, right? Because Google makes money elsewhere like selling what we Google to marketing companies, spreading out to ventures like Google Wallet, Google Maps, Google Voice, Google Glass, Google driverless cars, Android devices, etc. etc. where profits earned from multiple ventures all work together to become a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

  2. LA car culture,

    Mass transit in Hong Kong is run exactly that way. And interestingly, FCW, a techno-business journal for employees in the federal level, recently had a research article about how mass transit in Hong Kong is able to run as a private for-profit publicly traded stock transit companies compared to government subsidized money losing transit agencies in the US.

    http://fcw.com/blogs/lectern/2013/03/hong-kong-subway.aspx

    “That’s where the Hong Kong model is unique. MTR – which is now a privatized, stock market-listed, profitable company in Hong Kong – is also in the property business, especially in areas where new stations are being built, often on reclaimed land. Typically, MTR develops both residential and commercial property around stations. It gains revenues from rising property values.

    That means the business model of the Hong Kong subway company is to engage in its core activity – running a mass transit system – while also benefiting from some of the wealth that activity creates. And thus the Hong MTR is not a money-losing enterprise that needs to be supported by public funds, but makes a profit.”

    If Metro wants to make money in public transit, they can become a real estate developer at the same time and cash in on rising property values. Use the profits from real estate developments to help pay for transit.