Transportation headlines, Friday, June 4

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.

David Lazarus: Blue ribbon transit committee mails it in (L.A. Times)

Times columnist David Lazarus continues his focus on public transit in L.A. –  this time with a scathing review of the Metro Blue Ribbon Committee. Lazarus explains that the committee was established to “come up with a new transit vision” but to him it feels like more of the same. What Lazarus was hoping for was a greater focus on attracting “choice” or “discretionary” riders – essentially people who aren’t forced by circumstance to rely on public transportation – but the committee’s language shied away from such wording. There was some talk about mobile applications and real-time arrival signage, but perhaps Lazarus’ most interesting observation came during a break when members were asked if they needed parking validation. All but two or three said “yes.”

Car-Sharing Gaining Momentum, Maybe Saving the World (Infrastructurist)

Earlier this week we mentioned that a new car-sharing company has popped up in town and now the Infrastructurist features a blog post about the growing popularity of car-sharing. How timely.

Transit Maps in the Palm of Your Hand (N.Y. Times)

Here’s another post that coincides with a post I did earlier this week where I reviewed some local transit apps. The N.Y. Times notes that since more and more agencies are providing their transit data to the public, more and more apps are being put on the market – and often only a select few are worth a download. The article also praises the simplicity and power of finding transit directions using Google Maps – something I agree with wholeheartedly.

Walking in L.A.: What Is Happiness and Can It Run You over? (GOOD)

New York based Ryan Bradley continues his trek across L.A., this time almost getting smashed by a BMW on a particularly pedestrian unfriendly part of Sunset Boulevard in West L.A. This leads Bradley to contemplate how cars fit into the American definition of happiness. Freedom, convenience and speed are all things that make people smile, and happiness leads to longer, healthier lives, right? Bradley isn’t convinced that the happiness cars bring is the same type of happiness that makes people live longer. I’d tend to agree, especially when you consider the very real fact that in the United States automobile accidents are the number one cause of cutting lives short (according to the Center for Disease Control car accidents are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 44).