Transportation headlines, Thursday, Jan. 6

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.

Metrolink looking to test express service (KCET So Cal Focus)

Metrolink CEO John Fenton thinks the commuter rail agency should be carrying more passengers and that one way to get more people on board would be to make trains more competitive with driving. As a result, the agency is looking at testing express routes on some of its longest trips, which can take upward of 90 minutes at present. The goal would be to shave 30 to 45 minutes off those trips as a way to possible incentivize people out of their cars. Caltrain, which runs between San Jose and San Francisco, did something similar a few years ago by making upgrades that greatly sped up trains and resulted in a ridership bump.

NYC Tries ‘Rapid’ Buses in Bid to Cut Transit Costs (New York Times)

For decades, “World Class Transit” has been synonymous with subways. But times are changing: New York City is rolling out its own bus rapid transit projects, joining a host of regions including L.A. County, Paris and Syndey.  The new system has a number of features that should speed up travel times. The bus-only lanes speak for themselves, but another way the buses are saving huge chunks of time is by requiring passengers to buy tickets before boarding, a la Metro’s Orange Line.

Transport study derails thinking on outer suburbs (The Age)

A study by researchers in Melbourne, Australia, suggests that the correlation between residential density and transit ridership may not be as strong as previously thought. They point to the fact there is relatively high average density in Los Angeles County but low transit ridership compared to cities with similar densities. But, beware the perils of average density! The keys to good transit patronage in the suburbs, according to the report, are: “more frequent buses, running at least every 10-15 minutes, and not just in peak hour; better co-ordination with rail services; more convenient transfers; and fares that allow free transfers between modes.”