Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Dec. 7

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.

The future of transit: it’s frequency (Halifax Magazine)

Reporter Tom Mason looks at transit around Halifax, a city that has sprawled into suburbs in recent times. Relying heavily on an interview with transit planner and writer Jarrett Walker, the article concludes that simplifying the bus system and concentrating on frequent service on fewer lines would probably make transit a more reliable option for many more people. Good article.

Gingrich on climate — the 2007 version (New York Times Dot Earth blog)

Former House speaker and Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has a long record of talking about climate change — and many criticize his shifting positions from supporting a bill to clamp down on greenhouse gases (1989) to saying he’s not sure global warming is occurring (2011). The Dot Earth blog has a video interview from 2007 in which Gingrich talks about global warming and the environment in a nuanced way, something missing from presidential campaigns these days.

LaHood defends high-speed rail program (D.C. Streetsblog)

Interesting back-and-forth between U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and fellow Republicans on the House’s Transportation Committee. The gist of it is that LaHood says that many states want high-speed rail while House Republicans say it’s not really all that high-speed, it’s too expensive and should be confined to the Northeast Corridor of the U.S., where there is demand. I would call the pseudo-debate a draw.

Untangling New York City traffic (MSNBC)

A good and short video segment on Janette Sadik-Khan, the well-known transportation chief in New York City who hasn’t been shy about giving preference to pedestrians and cyclists in parts of the Big Apple. And not without some controversy. Of course, to watch the video I first had to sit through a 15-second ad for Chevrolet.

4 replies

  1. I love to hear this: <>

    I guess the last 20 years of transit improvements in los angeles have been counterproductive. The MTA along with the author of this blog continue to promote counterproductive transit.

    The problem, which MTA knows very well, is that more frequent service is fiscally counter-productive. More frequent service requires more drivers (expensive). Less frequent service with larger vehicles (think accordion buses) requires less drivers (cheap). Of course, as a commuter, I would prefer slower, more frequent, smaller buses that are comfortable to sit in.

    Even BigBlueBus has followed this trend with their new Rapid 7 buses. It would be much better to have a smaller bus every 5 minutes than a huge slightly faster bus every 15.

  2. More frequency is a good thing, but again how to approach this question differs quite a lot from transit agencies in Asia.

    In the US, the solution to this problem is always “let’s just carpet bomb the entire transit system with more buses and milk taxpayers for more of their paycheck.”

    In Asia, the solution is “we can maximize the frequencies of the buses by analyzing collected data and increasing frequencies on routes, times, and the need for express and limited stop services where they are warranted the most.”

    And guess which solution creates a more efficient public transit system?

  3. I have been riding the Red and Purple line trains now for over 4 years (almost daily) and have yet to be on one that broke down.

    Sure it happens from time to time (machines do breakdown), yet to say “A Lot” makes me wonder.

    Does Metro have any stats on breakdowns? I am sure they do.

  4. The Red Line train from North Hollywood to downtown I was on this morning broke down at McCarther Park. This I have to say happens A LOT. We made it to 7th and Metro but everyone had to get off and I had to walk to Civic Center. It just seems so often that Red/Purple Line trains break down. Are these trains old? Is there a plan to finally replace these old Italian made trains and replace them with newer and more reliable trains?