Tag Archives: transportation

Living Up to the Potential of Clean Transportation

17 Apr

Transportation accounts for a sizable share of our carbon output. In 2006 almost a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions came from the movement of goods and people. As we continue to tackle the task of curbing emissions from this unwieldy and varied sector of the economy, local governments and policymakers are devising techniques to integrate clean transportation investment into larger sustainability and economic development goals. Everyone seems to agree that we need to invest in improved (and more sustainable) transportation infrastructure, but a coherent transportation investment strategy that serves as a driver for economic development still seems to allude us. Continue reading

Transportation Innovations Down South

20 Mar

The sequester has taken some of the wind out of the sails of efforts at federal transportation reform. With funding sources running dry, potentially game-changing transportation improvements are left on the table or scrapped completely. Those that do pass have to contend with continuing hurdles of opposition. What to do when the feds are scaling back? We’ve decided to pack our bags and head to South America: a place where winter comes in June and transportation innovations come year-round. Continue reading

Traveling the Length of California by Local Transit

15 Feb

From the guy that brought us the “when pigs fly” map of high-speed rail in the U.S., is a more reality-based (if not entirely practical) map of local transit [PDF] throughout California. For those of you who may be contemplating a grueling 32-hour trek across the state via local transit, including seven transfers and a brief stint in Nevada, this map may come in handy.

Los Angeles: Measure J – Accelerate Traffic Relief and Job Creation

17 Oct

We’ve covered this measure before, so this will be brief.

THE PROPOSAL: If approved, this bill would extend the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008. By extending the sales tax, the local transportation authority will be able to qualify for new financing options and can accelerate the timeline for completing a series of transit projects. Continue reading

The State of U.S. Transport

17 Sep

Transportation policy has gotten short shift on the national stage during this election cycle. For all the talk about the economy and jobs, it doesn’t seem like anyone is promoting sound national transportation policy as a means to help bolster the nation’s economy. Continue reading

If We Build it, Will They Get There Safely?

20 Aug

For the most part, transit projects are evaluated based on a pretty narrow set of criteria. Cost reigns supreme, but transit agencies and funders (like the FTA) also place heavy emphasis on efficiency and ridership numbers. Finishing a project on time and under budget is (rightfully) the goal of most transit providers. But the prominence of these metrics may obfuscate the aspects of transit that are most important to the end-users. And, in some cases, the focus on cost savings may negatively affect passenger safety. Continue reading

Harvesting Kinetic Energy

18 Aug

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will soon be harvesting additional energy from its rail system by taking advantage of regenerative braking. The technology, widely used in hybrid vehicles, converts the kinetic energy of the vehicle into electricity that can be used later. Continue reading

Getting Transit Built Faster

15 Jul

Image from Metro Transportation Library and Archive: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30993133@N04/2925547715/

There’s been some movement on the transportation front as of late, and much of it is good news for the Los Angeles area. First, Metro’s Orange Line extension opened on time and under budget. The line, a successful workhorse of Metro’s transit system earned praise recently, spurring a discussion about the region’s burgeoning rail-on-wheels network. The Los Angeles Times published an op-ed piece that billed LA as the nation’s most forward-thinking city in terms of transit (uh, move over Portland?). And the feds finally passed a transportation bill that extends a federal loan program that the city is relying on to put some transportation projects on the fast track.

By all accounts, the region’s admittedly ambitious plan to expand transit is well on its way to becoming a reality. But for all the cheerleading, there’s been less chatter about what it will take to make these dreams a reality. Continue reading

Show me the Money

19 Mar
Given our current economic climate, securing funds for long-range transportation projects has been a challenge for cities across the nation. Over the next decade, California’s transportation needs are projected to be funded at less than 50 percent[PDF]. Some governments have addressed the problem by turning to private entities that construct, operate, and maintain their transportation infrastructure. Similarly, the ever popular public-private partnership promises to lessen the burden on local government, but even that funding mechanism falls short. Continue reading