Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 12

Here’s a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog. Don’t forget you can also follow the Metro Library on Facebook and Twitter.

Car-sharing on steroids? (Reinventing Urban Transport)

Tech folk have been using the peer-to-peer (P2P) concept – a network where users make a portion of their resources (typically files or processor power) with the network – for years and car-sharing advocates are ready to take the concept off the web and onto the streets with P2P car-sharing. What’s that mean exactly? In the broadest sense it means allowing the owner of a private vehicle to rent out the vehicle while it’s not in use thus maximizing the mobility power of that vehicle. It has the potential to bring car sharing to places it hasn’t been before since it has a lower cost to the owner opposed to a car sharing company who must maintain an entire fleet of vehicles. In P2P car-sharing, the owner just maintains the car they’re already paying for anyway. L.A. is currently hurting for citywide sharing – something that could get a lot of people riding transit on a regular basis – and maybe P2P is the answer.

Your LA to Vegas party train will start rolling next year (Curbed LA)

Introducing “X” Train – a proposed L.A. to Los Vegas train set to start service in late 2011. This is not a high-speed rail route, it will travel along traditional freight tracks and the trip is estimated to take 5 1/2 hours. What about the delays that plague Amtrak? The operators claim that’s not an issue since they are paying extra money for priority over freight. The train is scheduled to run 5 days a week, Thursday through Monday, and will offer an entertainment package with a sports bar and food/beverages. The proposed cost? $99. No specific route has been revealed, but I did a little sleuthing and did notice that a pair of Union Pacific rail tracks run parallel to the Las Vegas strip – about a half mile to the west.

Hail-a-Taxi Program Likely to Go Permanent, Possibly Citywide (LAist)

It probably comes as a surprise to most people that in most parts of L.A. it’s illegal for a cab to pick up or drop off passengers along red curbs, no stopping zones and bus zones. This means hailing a cab New York City style is not as easy. In 2008 the city established a pilot program in Downtown and Hollywood that threw these rules to the curb, and after modest success City Councilmembers are hoping to make it a permanent rule and perhaps even extend it beyond the pilot areas. For the transit oriented, being able to hail a taxi can be a real life saver and can also be a solution the infamous “last mile” problem.