Art of Transit:
Metro CEO Phil Washington appeared on Airtalk with Larry Mantle on Thursday; click on the link above to listen online. Asked about crowding on the Expo Line, Washington said:
We’re doing that right now. We are building train cars right now. Our contractor, Kinkisharyo, is producing about 4 cars per month. We bring those cars in, we test them, we commission them and put them right on the Gold Line and on the Expo Line; you’re going to see big relief on both those lines very, very soon. Those cars are coming in at 4 a month, we’re trying to increase that to 5 per month, you’re going to relief, you’re going to see 3-cars consists on both those lines very soon.
Attentive Source readers know that the delivery of rail cars has been underway for some time now and that the new rail cars are also being used on the Gold Line. At this point, Metro has received 40 of the initial order for 78 new cars. After the rail cars arrive, it takes some work to break them in and get them ready for regular service. Please see this post for a more thorough explanation.
Phil also was asked about security on the system. He said:
We are doubling down on our security. You’re going to see much more of a security presence on all of our lines –the Red Line and the Blue Line especially. We understand what’s happening out there in terms of safety. Crime has actually decreased since our double-down efforts about 6 months ago.
Here’s the latest crime stats that went to the Board — they’re through April. They show a 10 percent system-wide decrease in crime between January and April of 2016 compared to the same time period in 2015.
The post is pegged to a recent study that looked at what would happen to a city that had a fleet of self-driving shared cars — i.e. you pay to ride — and on-demand mini-buses that had mostly fixed routes. Their conclusion:
Congestion disappeared, traffic emissions were reduced by one third, and 95% less space was required for public parking in our model city served by Shared Taxis and Taxi-Buses.
Vox writer David Roberts sees this as yet another sign that urban mobility is about to be upended by technology. He also acknowledges that getting to the day when folks give up their privately owned cars in favor of a shared fleet is “tricky.”
I’m a little skeptical and think such a day is still more than a few years away. I don’t have the faintest idea how you get everyone in a city or neighborhood to rely on shared cars — perhaps by making ownership of private cars prohibitive, I suppose. Skepticism aside, I wonder which American city is progressive enough, nimble enough, dense enough and transit/bike/pedestrian-friendly enough to perhaps give this a try one day.
My best guess: it will be a West Coast city — and I consider Portland to be West Coast.
Can self-driving technology save the bus? (Curbed LA)
And while we’re on the subject of self-driving buses, L.A.’s Alissa Walker makes an excellent point:
The timing for improvements like these is important because cities need to push the use of their existing transit in partnerships with these coming-soon shuttles, vans, jitneys, taxi-buses, mini-buses—whatever you want to call them—right now. Getting people to leave their cars at home needs to be the overall goal here, because cars—specifically, parked cars—are taking up too much space in our cities. Reducing car ownership is the best possible strategy, from a vehicular congestion angle, land-use perspective, and an environmental standpoint. And to do that, people need options that work for them.
Most importantly, though, is getting this kind of shared, smart bus service right first, before self-driving cars hit the market. A good experience may very well convince people who are bullish on autonomous technology that they don’t need to purchase their own self-driving car at all.
I completely agree and I’d go a step further: why wait for buses to be self-driving to make them a desirable species? A lot of the things that turn people off from the bus are fixable: routes, schedules and bus stops can be changed. Boarding can be sped up. Bus lanes and traffic signal priority are existing technologies, so to speak. Dynamic, on-demand routing can be done with a real, live, human bus operator who can smile, say hello, answer a question and keep an eye on things.
Or we can hand all the work to the machines, who will no doubt pay us back in glorious fashion at a later date:
Categories: Transportation Headlines