What’s happening at other transit agencies?

An Amtrak "Wolverine" train pulling into Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo by flickr user smaedli.

This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood awards $196 million to reduce train travel time by 30 minutes between Detroit and Chicago (USDOT)

According to Amtrak.com that 300-mile trip currently takes about five hours and 45 minutes. The USDOT press release notes that “these improvements will allow for speeds up to 110 mph on 77 percent of Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services.” These sorts of improvements are just what is needed to make intercity train travel more competitive with driving and flying. But it bears pointing out that we’re only now making the improvements to our largely 19th Century rail system that Europe was making in the 1960s.

Rishon Le-Ziyyon West line opens (Railway Gazette)

After Israel’s first light rail line opened in Jerusalem earlier this year, the country is pressing on with rail expansion. The first six kilometer (about 3.6 miles) segment of a commuter rail project connecting Tel Aviv to Rishon Le-Ziyyon opened for revenue service this week. The estimated end-to-end travel time is 18 to 20 minutes — due to steep grades — meaning a blistering 12 mph.

Car sharing 2.0 leaps forward in Paris (Transport Politic)

Bike sharing is all the rage in U.S. cities. Washington D.C., Minneapolis and Denver have implemented popular programs and New York is next in line. But Paris — which has had its Vélib bike share since 2007 — is trying to apply a similar model to car sharing. Yonah Freemark says the “all-electric, point-to-point system could revolutionize how we think about the automobile and significantly reduce the need for private cars in our cities.”

Chicago Transit Authority launches real-time bus info displays (CTA)

The CTA website has a small note that packs an exciting punch: “We’ve launched a campaign to install LED screens at 400 bus shelters around town, with the first 150 to be installed over the next six months (by March 2012).” The system will include a button that visually impaired transit riders can push to hear the arrivals times announced over a speaker system.

Ridership on public transportation continues to rise in 2011 (APTA)

The American Public Transportation Association — a member-based advocacy organization — reports that transit ridership saw a nationwide “increase of 85.7 million trips in the first six months” of 2011, versus the same time period last year. The biggest gainer locally in terms of percentage change was Oceanside, Calif., where commuter rail ridership was up 17.1 percent.

2 replies

  1. Yeah, if somehow HSR does get the boot (which would really be a tragic missed opportunity) then at the very least there needs to be direct 110 mph service between LA and the Bay Area/Sacramento in order to compete with driving. Actually, that would not be enough, something like the Acela would be needed if true HSR somehow does not get built, but I’m not going to put the cart before the horse, I still think HSR is on the tracks (pun somewhat intended).

  2. I hope that if CA High Speed does get derailed that funds could be used to increase speeds and expand Amtrak California existing services, (The Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, and the Capital Corridor services.) Having these trains run up to 110 miles for most of their routes would really increase their appeal to airplane and car/intercity bus travelers.