Transportation headlines, Friday, Dec. 10

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 blog.

California gets $616 million more in fed funding for bullet train (Sacramento Bee)

Politicians in Ohio and Wisconsin said “no thanks” to federal funding for high-speed rail projects there — saying they’d never get completed. So the U.S. Department of Transportation is re-plopping that money elsewhere, with the Golden State the biggest beneficiary. The money, reports the Bee, may be enough to allow the state to extend the initial stretch of track it wants to build south of Corcoran toward Bakersfield.

Seattle rolls out its new Rapid buses (Human Transit)

The big features are fewer stops, a new paint scheme for the buses and the ability to pay fares before boarding the bus AND the ability to board the bus using both the front and rear doors. Key point by Jarrett Walker:

The last point is especially important because there as been so much resistance to all-door boarding in the North American and Australasian bus operations worlds, even as it becomes routine in Europe. I’ve always thought that the ritual of front-door boarding, which includes paying the driver and often feeling judged or inspected by him or her, is one of the most offputting aspects of bus-riding, especially for people who aren’t used to it every day.

In the last 30 years of light rail and streetcar development, many cities have settled into a practice of requiring fare payment to the driver on buses, while allowing all-door boarding and alighting, with roving fare inspection, on rail. This has created an often subliminal but powerful difference in “feel” that has nothing to do with the intrinsic value of rail vs bus technology.

Vancouver chooses Cubic for its smart card, gating system (Buzzer Blog)

The contractor that produces TAP cards — as well as smart cards in London, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami — gets the nod to do the job in Vancouver along with IBM.

The Ice Man warneth (New York Times)

“”Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization,” writes Lonnie Thompson in a new research paper on global warming. Thompson has probably spent as much time as anyone studying the melting of ice on mountains around the world. The NYT’s Andrew Revkin notes that more climate scientists are making personal statements to go along with their scientific ones. Attentive readers know that the transportation sector in the U.S. contributes nearly one-third of the nation’s CO2 emissions, the leading greenhouse gas.