Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 15

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ART OF TRANSIT (Photo via Instagram @thevisualmachine)

ART OF TRANSIT (Photo via Instagram @thevisualmachine)

Today’s profile of a Metro rider by Zocalo Public Square: L.A.’s a lot easier to get around in than Atlanta Sante Fe Avenue to Magnolia Avenue

Garcetti’s State of the City speech: drought response, more police, rail and Uber at LAX (KPCC)

A summary of l.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti’s annual State of the City speech. On transportation, Garcetti announced ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber will be allowed to pick-up passengers at LAX by mid-summer. Currently the services will drop off at the airport, but are prevented from picking up passengers. Garcetti also announced a data-sharing partnership between the city of L.A. and Waze (Metro already has a similar data-sharing agreement).

DART, Uber partner in an effort to fill in riders ‘first mile-last mile gap’ (The Dallas Morning News)

In other ride-sharing news, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has partnered with Uber to integrate the ride-sharing apps service within the transit agencies mobile app and ticketing system. Technologically, this news isn’t revolutionary, but a public transit agency embracing a ride-sharing  to this degree is definitely a new concept.

Depending on who you ask, ride-sharing services can either be viewed as competition or complementary to public transit. DART clearly believes the latter and is using this partnership to tackle the “first mile-last mile” issue. Excerpt:

The fact most folks don’t live near a light-rail or bus station is “a barrier to conveniently getting to transit for some people,” says Ball. “And others will resist exploring beyond the boundaries of DART due to lack of a motorized transportation. Partnering with Uber provides a solution to their problem.

A new train makes its debut for [WMATA] riders (Washington Post)

A new era started for Washington DC’s WMATA yesterday, as the first of its new Kawasaki 7000-series trains entered into service. The train is the first of more than 700 trains that will be put in service over the next decade to replace its 40-year-old rail fleet. This WaPo blog post reviews passenger response — or lack there of — to the new train. Among many of its technological improvements, highlights for passengers include clear, automated announcements and ergonomic seats.

Too risqué for New York City’s subways? Some ads test limits (N.Y. Times)

After an ad for a moving company provocatively reminding riders to “use protection” — to protect personal property, of course! — was pulled, this article takes a look at advertising on NYMTA buses and trains, and the debate over what should and shouldn’t be shown in a public space.

Public transit agencies often straddle the line between maintaining decency and allowing free speech. Of course, where this line should be is subjective. The NYMTA, like Metro, has a list of banned subjects in advertising, with the goal of maintaining a family friendly environment. Excerpt:

Among the authority’s list of banned items: violent images that could scare children, material that could “incite or provoke violence,” and ads for escort services and tobacco products. Then there is the provision about depicting sexual activities in an offensive manner, which leaves room for interpretation.

And as the article highlights, any rule left to interpretation will always incite debate.

British Transport Police urge Londoners to report sexual harassment in new video (

It’s sexual assault awareness month and many transit agencies — including Metro — are taking the issue head on and encouraging riders not to tolerate sexual harassment of any kind. In London, the British Transport Police created the video below.

The article states that the video and associated campaign came after a study that indicated 15 percent of Londoners had experienced sexual harassment on public transit and only 10 percent of incidents were reported. By comparison, in L.A. a recent survey on Metro showed that 22 percent of riders had experienced some sort of unwanted sexual behavior.