How did that song go? It’s like [a] train on your wedding day? It’s a free ride when you already paid? Something like that, maybe.
Love those poppy orange beauties. Glad you like them too. On that note…
The making of the L.A. Metro “M” (CityLab)
CityLab’s Eric Jaffe talked to Metro’s creative director Michael Lejeune about the history behind the Metro “M” logo. Prior to the creation of the present-day logo, Metro’s logo was a little too similar to Washington D.C.’s WMATA. It was also difficult to read and used without consistency in a variety of colors and formats.
Lejeune and a newly formed in-house creative team went to work on making the Metro brand stand out. The first move was to add a splash of color to the Metro bus fleet and then the team looked to create a new, standardized logo.
It’s true that most “M” logos are associated with public transit across the world, but there are a few subtle features of Metro’s “M” that make it unique, like the notch in the middle of the letter. Excerpt:
The notch does separate L.A.’s “M” from other designs, but Lejeune says it isn’t just for show. Rather, the idea was that splitting the letter reflected the agency’s dual mission: on one hand Metro is a transportation provider, and on the other side it’s a planner and visionary for L.A. mobility. “The thought with that ‘M’ was it’s two sides of the house, and they come together, and it’s a holistic circle,” he says.
For anyone interested in hearing more about what went behind Metro’s redesign, Lejeune spoke about it during a talk at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2012. You can view the talk below (grab some popcorn though, the video is more than an hour).
Over at Gizmodo, Alissa Walker has a great post exploring what might become of public transit as Uber and Lyft experiment with services that look identical to what public transit offers. We mentioned one of those, Uber’s Smart Routes, on Tuesday.
Alissa is sticking to public transit because to her it represents a world full of transit options, including high-speed trains, smart buses, biking, walking, kayaks and “hover-boardy things.” It’s a world that allows an individual to consider factors like convenience, cost and time when deciding the best transit option. But as rideshare companies fill in the gaps for public transit — for example, by partnering with transit agencies to solve the first mile last mile problem – she wonders what’s to stop riders from using the service for the entire trip when cost is low enough it’s no longer a factor.
That could be disastrous for public transportation — especially for those who rely solely on it — and disastrous for a person’s ability to choose their method of transit. Referencing a piece by Matt Buchanon at The Awl that delved into the topic first, Walker says:
…Uber’s success will lead to what’s essentially privatized mass transit. That’s not really a concern in a place like New York City where ridership is very healthy and the subways are the best way to get to many places. But when you look at any smaller American city that’s trying its darnedest to get a new transit system off the ground, ridership numbers make a difference. Building new infrastructure requires the numbers to back it. If elective riders—the people who have a choice—aren’t boarding, that transit system is going to fail.
You can bet that discussions about whether rideshare companies should be treated as partners or competition are taking place at many public transit agencies across the country. It appears thus far it’s the former.
By the way, we also posted a story yesterday about how carpooling might make a comeback with the help of technology. Put that in the context of this story, and it actually sounds like carpooling may soon rule the transit world.
This city has the absolute worst traffic (Fortune)
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute released its annual Urban Mobility Scorecard report on the most congested cities in the United States. Topping their list this year is Washington D.C., where commuters lose about 82 hours of delay every year.
Must be tough to live in D.C., eh? Well, Los Angeles drivers don’t fare much better losing 80 hours stuck in traffic every year, putting L.A. in second place on the institute’s list. San Francisco, New York and San Jose rounded out the top five.The report also found that traffic levels are back to pre-recession levels largely thanks to the rebounding job marketing putting more people on the road.
Now is the time I tell you that Metro riders don’t have to worry any of this and can use their commute time for better things like reading or napping, but you already knew that right?
Another tall tale from the Texas Transportation Institute (City Observatory)
And here’s an article that looks to debunk the report above. It’s sort of their thing. You be the judge.
Phoenix votes pass Prop 104 transit tax (The Arizona Republic)
Phoenix voters yesterday passed a .3 cent sales tax to help fund the city’s $31.5 billion transportation plan. The proposition passed with 55 percent of the vote with about 35,000 votes left to be counted.
The tax will be added to existing .4 cent transportation sales tax, making Phoenix’s total sales tax 8.6 percent starting next year. The tax will last 35 years and will be a funding source for new light rail projects and expanded bus service. More than half of the tax will also go to improving the city’s existing bus service and a little less than one-third for maintaining and expanding its nascent light rail system.
TRANSIT-GEEK MOMENT OF ZEN:
Drone footage over the public preview of the Tilikum Crossing transit bridge in Portland, Oregon a few weeks ago. A celebration took place over the weekend in anticipation of the bridge and the TriMet Orange Line opening in September. The bridge will carry the new light rail line, as well as buses, streetcars, bicyclists and pedestrians over the Willamette River.
Joe is on Twitter @joseph_lem.
Categories: Transportation Headlines