What’s happening at other transit agencies?

The Institute for Transportation Development & Policy hopes to define the gold standard for BRT (and Silver and Bronze too). Photo via ITDP.

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.

Bus rapid transit systems getting an international rating standard

The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy — an organization that “works with cities worldwide to bring about transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life” — has released a report card that seeks to standardize the way we assess the quality of bus rapid transit lines.

After all, a variety of bus lines get lumped in together as BRT, despite having very different levels of amenities, speed, frequency, etc. ITDP sought to remedy that by assigning points to different factors that play an important role in the quality of a BRT line. Then, depending on how many points a given line picks up, you end up with a ranking of gold (85–100 points ), Silver (70–84 points), Bronze (50–69 points); anything lower and ostensibly it’s not BRT at all.

The features that will earn you the most points include some of the big time-savers like off-board fare collection, a segregated right-of-way and level boarding. The report doesn’t go through the steps of actually assigning scores to existing services, but it does give a shout-out to the Metro Orange Line for doing a good job integrating bicycling infrastructure.

New York bike share gets a name, price schedule

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that the city’s soon-to-debut bike-sharing program has a name: Citi Bikes. The New York Times reports that the name comes courtesy of Citibank, which has ponied up for the official corporate naming rights to the tune of a $42 million contribution to the program. That money and other private contributions mean no public funding will be required for the system, which will feature 10,000 bikes docked at 600 stations spread throughout lower Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn.

The Transportation Nation blog breaks down what it will cost you to rent a bike and how that compares to other cities’ bike sharing programs. For $95 per year, all rides under 45 minutes will be free of charge. After that, fees will be tacked on to discourage New Yorkers from hanging onto one bike all day.

Salt Lake city breaks ground on region’s first streetcar line

U.S Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood kicked off the groundbreaking for a “two-mile route [that] will run from the 2100 South TRAX [Light Rail] Station to the Sugarhouse commercial district,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff touted in a statement that the project would help the region avoid the consumption of one million gallons of fuel over the next 20 years. The streetcar will travel primarily on an old rail right of way — much like many of L.A.’s light rail lines — and will feature pedestrian and bike paths in a greenway that will run parallel to the tracks.

Google, Mass. Bay Transportation Authority debut innovative station indoor maps

Here’s a neat feature coming to transit riders in the Boston area. Google is unveiling the ability to peer “inside” transit stations in its map view in order to see where various facilities are located. Here are some key details from the official blog of Massachusetts DOT:

Google Maps for Android users will now see indoor maps when they zoom into select MBTA stations. With indoor maps, users will be able to see station features such as stairs, escalators, elevators, entrances and exits to help guide them through the system. The “blue dot,” familiar to Google Maps users can now help riders find their own location in many indoor stations.

2 replies

  1. “The features that will earn you the most points include some of the big time-savers like off-board fare collection, a segregated right-of-way and level boarding.”

    I would also think that proper signal priority would be one of those features. That can be every bit as much of a time saver as the rest. The orange line busway is an example of just how much time is wasted at lights, which should be a model for other BRTs of what to avoid and ergo shave many minutes off their respective run times. If there was just one thing to fix on the orange line busway in its current form (as a BRT) it would be the signals for sure. If that’s ever fixed, actually FIXED not just slightly improved, then the orange line bus may be eligible for a “gold” rating (minus the level boarding).

  2. Those inside station maps would have been incredibly useful when I was in Tokyo. I found it the easiest city to get around (maps on nearly every street corner with YOU ARE HERE) dots, but the one place I got lost time and time again was inside the transit stations.