LIRR Evaluates Use of DMUs for Low-Ridership Branch Lines

Bombardier VLocity 160 DMU

» Service changes on Long Island would reduce the number of one-stop rides into Manhattan but lower operations and capital costs.

Though the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is the busiest commuter rail operation in the United States, with more than 300,000 daily boardings, its 700 miles of track make frequent services to all parts of the island too expensive to be economically viable. The stations at the end of the system’s two longest branches — to Greenport and Montauk, at the eastern tips of the island — are out of convenient commuting distance to Manhattan, so the LIRR provides only a few trains a day. From Montauk, a more than three-hour commute, there are only five trains daily to Penn Station; from Greenport, there are only three.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the LIRR as well as the New York City Subway and other regional services,

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San Diego Plans Extension to Its Trolley Network, Mostly Skipping Over Inner City

San Diego Future Transit Plans Map

» Metropolitan Transit System will nominate Mid-Coast Corridor Trolley Extension for federal New Start funding, but it has limited other future routes to bus rapid transit.

You would think, with an ideal climate year-round, that San Diego would be one of the nation’s most livable cities for pedestrians and transit users. What is the good excuse for being stuck in the car when the weather’s perfect?

Yet San Diego remains one of the nation’s sprawl capitals, with 85% of the population using private automobiles to get to work every day and only four percent riding transit. That’s in spite of a light rail system called the Trolley that first opened in 1981 and that now carries about 93,000 daily riders across 53.5 route miles and three lines. But most of San Diego and the surrounding region is of only moderate density and an extensive freeway network makes

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Pennsylvania Releases State Rail Plan, Promotes Increased Investment in Intercity Systems

Pennsylvania Priority Passenger Rail Corridors Map

» A state rail plan does not mean Pennsylvanian will move forward with a specific project. A lack of ambition, or a reflection of few funds?

The U.S. government’s unwillingness to commit to prioritizing certain rail corridors and its fear of moving beyond empty rhetoric to describe the country’s future rail system are frustrating reactions to the sometimes paralyzing federal system. But intercity rail advocates should take some comfort in the fact that certain states are taking advantage of their governing responsibilities to promote projects and develop detailed long-term proposals. The investment made by states like California, Illinois, and Wisconsin in specific new lines is one indication of this take-the-first-step strategy; so are the proliferation of state-level rail plans.

Several states have assembled long-term reports that indicate how spending would be distributed over the years; Virginia’s 2025 proposal, for instance, highlights what could be accomplished with

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U.S. PIRG Slams American Transportation Priorities as Roads Fall Apart

Cracked Pavement

» State DOTs spend too many of their funds on road construction, when they really should be focusing on maintenance.

A year ago, the Federal Transit Administration released a report on the state of good repair of the nation’s transit agencies. The study articulated a massive need for maintenance work on the country’s rail systems and suggested that the federal government contribute an additional four billion dollars annually to its fixed guideway modernization program, which funds capital improvements for existing transit systems. In the ensuing months, the Congress made no such effort.

It’s unsurprising, then, that the American highway network is no better off. After more than half a century of major federal investments in new roads for the Interstate Highway System, there is plenty of repair to be done. According to a new report from U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group), 150,000 miles of road, including 45%

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Merging Transportation and Land Use Planning at the Federal Level

» The federal government must ensure that its investments in housing and transportation align. The newly cooperative Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development may improve that prospect.

Roosevelt Island lies in the middle of the East River, a 2-mile-long stick of an island between Manhattan and Queens. Even before its first apartments opened in 1973, New York City officials for years understood the place’s potential — its amazing views and fantastic location would have made it a business bonanza had its land been sold off to private developers. Unlike many of the neighborhoods that had been bulldozed by urban renewal programs in the preceding years, it was virtually empty in the early 1970s, meaning there would be little citizen opposition to new construction.

Under the leadership of Governor Nelson Rockefeller and planner Ed Logue, the state’s Urban Development Corporation coordinated a campaign beginning in 1968 to build

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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