Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Nov. 8

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.

Patience was a virtue for a popular California freeway. Does high-speed rail warrant a similar approach? (Sacramento Bee)

A little history for context, as we debate the merits of high-speed rail for California. When the I-5 began in the Central Valley it was called the “road to nowhere” and “too expensive.” But today it’s the backbone of surface transportation, not to mention many a nice weekend away. Also at turtle pace, Spain completed its first high-speed line from Madrid to Seville in 1991 but then had to build the rest of its network in short increments over 17 years. This article urges Californians to consider the benefits of high-speed rail, as well as the consequences if the project is abandoned.   

The hidden (and frightening) toll of traffic jams (Wall Street Journal)

Here’s a scary one: Scientists are increasingly linking vehicle exhaust with brain-cell damage and higher rates of autism. Researchers suspect that tailpipe exhaust from cars and trucks — especially tiny carbon particles already implicated in heart disease, cancer and respiratory ailments — may injure brain cells and synapses key to learning and memory.

In Chicago, buses take to freeway shoulders for quicker commutes (Chicago Tribune)

Pace Suburban Bus Service, the transportation agency for the Chicago suburbs, hopes by spring to have twice as many riders commuting on express buses that use the newly widened shoulders of the Stevenson Expressway from downtown Chicago to the western suburbs to maneuver around traffic jams. Officials also hope to take cars off the road by luring commuters with amenities, including free Wi-Fi. The service starts next week so we’ll need to keep watch to find out if it’s successful.


1 reply

  1. In many cases, the shoulder is more useful for bus transit than HOV lanes that are in the center of a freeway because buses don’t have to cross multiple lanes of bumper to bumper cars when accessing and exiting the freeway for passenger stops. Even a segment as short as one mile of useable shoulder can provide a huge transit reliability benefit when there is a major back-up. A bus traveling at 20mph on the shoulder for just one mile will arrive nine minutes earlier than a vehicle traveling the same mile in the regular lanes at five miles per hour.