Transportation headlines, Thursday, March 11

Now you can follow Amtrak on Twitter and find out what’s up with our nation’s passenger rail service in 140 character snippets. Amtrak joins a growing number of transportation providers (Metro included) that are embracing social media as a way to connect with customers. Like most large organizations hopping on the social media bandwagon, Amtrak is facing a sort of digital Wild West where rules have yet to be established and the risks and rewards are unclear. Worry not though, the passenger rail company has hired a social media director (hottest job title in the 2010’s?) to wrangle Amtrak’s Twitters and Facebooks.

The Santa Monica Daily Press has an opinion piece that concludes that monorail is better than light rail for transit in Santa Monica. In transit circles, the monorail versus traditional rail argument is a long standing one, with the majority of transit advocates claiming that monorails are theme park technology that have no practical application or advantage over traditional rail while a select few see monorail as the mode of the future and cite its affordable cost, quiet operation and sleek aesthetics as reasons. In his column, this author notes the Metro Red/Purple Line cost $5.6 billion and runs on taxpayer money while the Seattle Monorail was significantly cheaper and turns a profit for its private owner. The comparison might not be completely fair though. The Seattle Monorail is a mile long, the trip takes about 2 minutes, and it has a daily ridership of about 7,000 people. The Metro Red/Purple Line is about 17 miles long and has about 158,000 daily riders.

Have you ever wondered how online trip planners work? Congratulations, you’re a super nerd. But developers from MyTTC, a group of Toronto developers who are using the Toronto Transit Commission’s open transit data to produce their own apps, have made a video describing how their new trip planner works. The video is kind of funny, features some cool animation, but to be honest I don’t know if I’m any closer to understanding how trip planners figure out the best route.

The rest of today’s headlines, which are compiled by the Metro Library’s complex transportation news finding algorithm, after the jump.

All Aboard – Amtrak Set To Rail About This Or That On Twitter

Angels Flight Opening By April 15th, Says Railway President
Curbed LA

Angels Flight Railway Gets PUC Safety
Los Angeles Times

Bicycle Sharrows Expected To Be On L.A. Streets By Summer

Budget Woes Hit Public Transport Hard (video)
MSNBC via Mefeedia

CA Transit Operators Hopeful state Diesel Tax Will Create Stable Funding
StreetsBlog LA

Cycling Coming To Google Maps In Los Angeles…Today?
StreetsBlog LA

Fuel Tax Increase Necessary To Cut Transportation Emissions
The City Fix

Google Maps Rolls Out Trail And Street Directions For Cyclists: A New Layer On Google Maps Will Let Cyclists Access Maps Of 150 Cities Around The U.S. – It’s A Bike Geek’s Dream Come True
Christian Science Monitor

High-Speed Rail: A Social Cohesion Strategy For the U.S.?
Brookings Institution

L.A. Parking Enforcement Officers Wrongly Issue Tickets At Broken Meters: After Numerous Complaints From Constituents, Councilman Tom LaBonge Asks Transportation Department To Clarify The Issue
Los Angeles Times

Looking Inside A Bus Routing Algorithm (video : creative depiction of how planners used Toronto Transit Commission’s open data to create a trip planner)
Flowing Data

Metro Gold Line Noise Solution On Track
USC Annenberg Neon Tommy

Opinion: Santa Monica Needs A Monorail
Santa Monica Daily Press

Railway Shift Could Save Buena Park
Orange County Register

South Korea Unveils “Recharging Road” For Eco-Friendly Buses

Categories: Transportation News