What’s happening at other transportation agencies?

This week we’re kicking off a new regular feature to highlight news from transit agencies and planners from around the world. Do you like the new feature? Have an idea for a story? Let us know in the comments.

Bus “adjustments” may be coming to a line near you (Washington D.C.)

The Greater Washington blog reports that D.C. Metro is shaking up its bus lines in hopes of improving reliability on its busiest lines and reducing costly and inefficient service. If the changes are approved, those goals my be achieved by redirecting some late-night buses to more crowded lines, according to GGW writer David Alpert. He also notes that those who see their service cut may just end up driving if they can — thus adding to congestion — or may be left with no alternative.

New ways to find your way: An interview about TransLink’s new transportation wayfinding strategy (Vancouver, Can.)

Vancouver’s transit agency TransLink is rolling out new wayfinding tools that it hopes will make riding the bus and rails easier for veteran transit riders and newbies alike. For instance, each of Vancouver’s rail lines and bus services presently have “different approaches to use of text and icons, sign placement and [the] type of information provided,” says Project Manager Joanne Proft. The goal is to apply one consistent style across all services so that the important distinctions can be more easily emphasized and recognized by riders.

New York MTA awards contract for new subway station (New York City)

The $301-million contract goes to two contractors to dig the cavern for the new 86th Street station for the much anticipated 2nd Avenue Subway project. They will also do utility work, install a concrete lining in the cavern and help reinforce buildings in the area.

Time-based bicycle destination signage: Tools from Brighton, England

Denver Urbanism blogger John Hayden reports on some good bike infrastructure design practices that he’d like to repatriate to his Rocky Mountain city. Hayden is a particular fan of Brighton’s bike signage that tells bicyclists how far away — in time, not distance — it is to various important destinations, assuming a manageable 10 mph pace. Hayden argues that posting the time would help disabuse Denverites of the impression that biking is a slow way to get from A to B. Commenters: Would you rather see a sign saying 2 miles to the beach or 12 minutes?

Santa Monica City Council approves master cooperative agreement with Expo Construction Authority

On the heals of the Expo Phase II groundbreaking, Santa Monica officials approved a motion at a Tuesday council meeting that commits the city to coordinating with the construction authority on the three-mile stretch of the line that runs through Santa Monica. The council also authorized the City Manager to negotiate with the Authority and the contractor, Skanska-Rados, about station “betterments” at the future Bergamot Station and 17th Street/Memorial Park Station sites. Councilmembers emphasized the importance of embracing complete streets principals along the stretch of Colorado Ave. where the Expo Line will run in the street.

Want to keep appraised of Expo construction activities in S.M.? Consider following @ExpoInSM on Twitter or checking out the city’s official Expo construction webpage.

Footnotes for September 2011 (Foothill Transit)

Did you known that Foothill Transit has a monthly newsletter [PDF]? Check it out!

Ridership experts confident in California’s model (Calif. High-Speed Rail Authority)

A while back some questions were raised about the reliability of the ridership projection model that the Authority was using to formulate its business plan. Well, a blue ribbon peer review panel was convened to look over the ridership projections and the results are in: “We are satisfied with the documentation presented in Cambridge Systematics, and conclude that it demonstrates that the model produces results that are reasonable and within expected ranges for the current environmental planning and Business Plan applications of the model.” There you have it!



5 replies

  1. Actually, the ridership experts are NOT confident in California’s model. They are giving their patron what it wants, while giving themselves a backdoor exit.

    In the September 2011 report, they say, “The longer-term issues mentioned in Section 5 of our report from January, 2011 remain unaddressed. We continue to view these as critical to a full assessment of the credibility of mode forecasts for future applications. These were examined in the panel’s August meeting and our conclusions will be reported shortly.”

    The most important of these issues, in my opinion, is the macroeconomic picture, “Sensitivity testing [should be done] of the effects of alternate levels of socioeconomic variables used in forecasting, using independent estimates of growth from sources such as Global Insight, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, and published U.S. Department of Commerce and Census trends” (quotation from the January 2011 report)

    In my view, that should be FIRST on their list of variables. Instead it gets kicked down the road while they parse numbers and project their continuance from a macroeconomic climate that is changing all around us.

  2. “Would you rather see a sign saying 2 miles to the beach or 12 minutes?”

    2 miles.

    I know how fast I bike: about 10 mph during noncommuter periods, and I’m almost always the slowest road-biker on the road. If I saw 12 minutes, I would assume that was intended for the average (faster) biker.

    The time is also meaningless for families with children and people on misfitted bikes.

  3. “Would you rather see a sign saying 2 miles to the beach or 12 minutes?”

    Again, why only one or the other instead of both?