Transportation headlines, Friday, March 28

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Bullet train won’t meet targeted travel time, lawmakers told (L.A. Times) 

The High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group told legislators in Sacramento that it’s very unlikely a bullet train will be able to provide regular service between Los Angeles and San Francisco in two hours, 40 minutes — as voters were promised in 2008 before approving the sale of $10 billion in bonds to pay for the project. I count this one as the non-shocker of the day as those kind of travel times never sounded terribly plausible at any kind of realistic price-tag. Whether the Peer Review Group’s statements impact the project remains to be seen.

Apple’s new texting idea means never having to look up from your phone again (The Atlantic Cities) 

The lede says it all:

Apple has filed a patent for “transparent texting” technology, which would be a handy new mobile service that will replace a text message’s white background with a live feed of the things literally happening right in front of your face.

The technology is designed to be used to protect texting pedestrians, allowing them to walk and text without bumping into things like lampposts or moving cars. In describing the need for such game-changing technology, the patent describes the “rather unique predicament” of the text message-ers:

“A user who is walking while participating in a text messaging session may inadvertently collide with or stumble over objects in his path because his attention was focused on his device’s display instead of the path that he was traversing. Even if a user remains stationary while participating in a text messaging session, that user may expose himself to some amount of danger or potential embarrassment if he is so engaged in his device’s display that he becomes oblivious to changes in his surrounding environment.”


Sounds awful.

Washington Metro Board approves fare increases (Washington Post) 

A typical rail fare will be $2.90 while on the bus side the fare was set at $1.75, with the surcharge eliminated for those who use cash. Transfers from bus to bus are free for two hours for riders who use electronic fare cards similar to Metro’s TAP cards.

Reminder: public hearing is tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. for Metro’s fare change proposal. More info here




4 replies

  1. And so once again, with a minimum of 8 1/2 hours (2 1/2 of them on a BUS!) to get there by the San Joaquin route, or 10 hours (7 of them on a bus!) taking the Surfliner, or 11 hours on the Starlight (but at least it’s all-rail from LA to Oakland), vs. 5 hours driving or at least 3 hours by air (most of them spent in the airports), the airline and fuel industries have nothing to fear from cleaner, greener, more civilized rail transportation.

    And one wonders how much of what happened in the State Senate was politically motivated, driven by those with a pathological hatred of rail transportation.

  2. With three state senators now being charged by the federal government one ranging for bribery (Calderon), one for voter fraud (Wright) and the most recent one for international arms trafficking (Yee) and the CA Senate suspending these three criminal state legislators, the HSR is dead. The CA Democrats do not hold a super majority in the Senate anymore so there will be no way for them to ram through the bullet train project.

    Voters and the taxpayers should be outraged that this is how politicians act when they are elected to office. Even more outrageous is that these politicians will still continue to get their $90,000 salary checks (paid for by us!) even though they are on suspension.

    You have to wonder that if this is happening in the state level, what’s going on the local level?

  3. The Apple texting idea makes sense: there are ongoing reports of people texting while walking and walking into walls, down stairwells, into streets. I’m for it.

  4. Two hours and 40 minutes travel time is only possible if there’s true high-speed service on the San Francisco Peninsula. The NIMBYs don’t want it, and their “blended system” alternative is a recipe for failure. If HSR trains won’t be any faster than commuter rail, and are forced to share the same tracks, we’re better off cutting our losses by making San Jose Diridon the permanent westernmost terminal. People can transfer to and from Caltrain to complete their trip. That connection is available to and Amtrak and ACE riders today.

    San Jose is the largest city in Northern California; San Francisco has neither its population nor its wealth. If we can’t realize the original vision, I would rather amputate a limb than see the patient die. One thing that’s certain: the longer we drag this out, the more money we’ll spend with nothing to show for it.