Friday, June 3, 2011

Did        you know? 

Six months after starting a bike sharing program in Lyon, France, 2 million bike rides replaced about 150,000 car trips.

Washington, DC bike sharing program

Photo: Stephen Rees

With the number of bike sharing programs around the world growing each year, this mode of transportation provides opportunities for commuters, people running errands, and visitors to travel, while promoting healthy living, and reducing carbon emissions and vehicle congestion. In more than 240 cities around the world, riders can rent bikes in one location and return them to another, Typically, users pay a monthly membership fee and an hourly fee when they want to ride, with the first 30 minutes free to encourage short trips when bicycling is the best way to travel. Several programs have started just in the last month, including in Hawaii; Boulder, Colo.; Berlin, Germany; Toronto and Ottawa, in Ontario, Canada; and Madison, Wisc. The largest U.S. program, Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., has 1,100 bicycles across 110 stations. Its nearly 11,000 members take about 3,500 rides per day, or 3.5 trips per bike.  

Bike sharing stations are often pre-fabricated and solar powered, and use wireless technology to allow for easy installation and low capital costs. The start-up costs for Capital Bikeshare were $6.4 million, with 80 percent coming from the federal government. Most systems pay for themselves after a few years, with revenues from user fees and advertising.

Successful bike programs have the following features:

  • Convenient, self-service models with Smart Card technology, preferably the same technology as a transit Smart Card.
  • First half hour is free.
  • Bikes are widely available, usually every few blocks.
  • Stations are located at rail stations to increase accessibility to transit, particularly on the first or last leg of a transit trip, also reduces issues with limited bike rack space at transit stations.  

Bike Sharing in Chicago

The Chicago Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) recently submitted an application for federal funds to establish a large pilot system in the city. The pilot would have all the elements of successful programs around the world. On the campaign trail, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, an avid cyclist, talked about significantly improving Chicago’s bike network. His new CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein oversaw the creation of Capital Bikshare when he was director of the Dept. of Transportation in Washington, D.C. A large-scale bike-sharing system in Chicago that encompasses proven elements of successful programs would be the best way for the city to fully gain the benefits cities with successful programs enjoy.


Local news

 Local transportation projects put at risk: State about to change funding process and may raise threshold for projects to $12 million. SPRINGFIELD — Local officials are worried about proposed changes to the way that state funds large transportation projects. The Ohio Department of Transportation is accepting comments this week on revising the Transportation Review Advisory Council process. A major proposed change is raising the threshold for funding from the current $5 million floor to $12 million.

Illinois could OK new partnerships on road projects. SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois could turn to private companies for help building new roads, saving money and potentially changing government's approach to major transportation projects. A bill moving through the Legislature would allow the state to form partnerships with private companies that would share construction costs and any revenues, such as tolls.

Chicago Transit Authority adding wait-time signs at bus stops. (Crain's) — The Chicago Transit Authority plans to install LED signs at 160 bus shelters to display estimated arrival times. The signs, which will be installed at busy transfer and connection points, aim to provide information similar to what's available on the agency's online Bus Tracker program.

Illinois tollway, Argonne team up on fuel solutions. They can chase down bad guys and frighten speeding motorists into slowing down to a crawl on sight. But how fuel efficient are the squad cars Illinois State Police troopers use? The Illinois tollway is using the resources of Argonne National Laboratory to answer that question. The two entities announced a partnership last week in which Argonne researchers will study Illinois State Police District 15 squad cars for ways to improve fuel efficiency.

2011 Click It or Ticket mobilization kicks off in Illinois. Springfield, Ill. —  The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and law enforcement officials today announced the start of the 2011 Click It or Ticket mobilization focusing on nighttime law violators across the state. The Illinois State Police (ISP) and nearly 500 local law enforcement agencies are emphasizing nighttime safety belt violations now through Memorial Day weekend. In conjunction with enforcement activities, IDOT is rolling out a series of public service announcements (PSAs) geared toward young male motorists, the demographic group that research shows is most likely to drive unbelted or impaired.

National News

Tired of high gas prices? Consumers can now look to American-made electric cars for relief. Rising gas prices are putting a strain on family budgets across America.  With gas above four dollars per gallon, working families are often paying more than $60 to fill their tanks, and consumers are increasingly turning to more fuel efficient hybrid and electric vehicles for relief.

Montano Intermodal Center will help connect Albuquerque residents, communities. By 2030, the fast-growing Albuquerque, New Mexico, region expects automobile travel times to double.  When you couple that with soaring gas prices, area residents badly need transportation options. The Department of Transportation understands that need, and yesterday, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff was in Albuquerque to award the Rio Metro Regional Transit District $6.7 million to help construct the Montano Intermodal Center. By providing new transit connections in a safe facility with real-time rider information and wi-fi access, the new center will soon become a centerpiece of the region's transportation network.

Forget the gas tax - a driving tax may be next. NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Washington lawmakers are kicking around a new idea to help raise funds to fix our highways and infrastructure: a national driving tax charging motorists by the mile. A driving tax could either replace the current 18.4 cent a gallon federal gas tax or, possibly, add to it.

Avoiding rail distraction requires a team effort. Earlier today, we released a powerful video, "Faces of Distracted Driving: Jacy Good," about the dangers of cell phone use while driving.  That's just the latest effort in the fight we've been waging against this deadly epidemic for more than two years. But our safety initiatives to prevent distraction don't end with motor vehicles on our roadways.  In fact, all modes of transportation are susceptible to dangerous distractions caused by the improper use of electronic devices.

Global news

Victoria moves closer to LRT commitment. The Victoria Regional Transit Commission in British Columbia on Tuesday endorsed a C$950 million light rail transit line to link Victoria and nearby Langford, B.C. But the commission cautiously noted it still needs a commitment of provincial and federal funding before any LRT project proceeds. LRT was chosen over public transit options, including Bus Rapid Transit, despite LRT’s higher initial capital costs.

Rival political parties promise billions for infrastructure. At a Krungthep Turakij-Nation forum on "Election Campaign: Mega-project Investment", Pheu Thai campaign strategist Pichai Naripthaphan said infrastructure investment was an integral part of the party's goal to turn Thailand into an Asian leader. 

India's Infrastructure: Much Work To Be Done. Perhaps no other economy in the BRICS has long-term promise like India. A stable democracy, well-educated workforce and population/income growth are all hallmarks of the emerging market nation. However, without the proper infrastructure, the nation's talents and potential will go unutilized. This vital economic "backbone" still needs developing. As India transitions into an economic powerhouse, the government has pledged to spend well above $1 trillion on various infrastructure projects over the next five to six years. For investors, this new building binge represents just as much opportunity as China did 10 years ago.

EAC seeks $25bn for infrastructure projects. Arusha. More than $25 billion is needed to implement roads infrastructure projects in East Africa in the next 10 years, it was announced here on Thursday. The  amount covers the cost of massive upgrading, modernisation and construction of roads to improve intra-regional connectivity and also link up EA with countries outside the bloc. "The estimated cost of these roads infrastructure development in the next 10 years is in excess of $ 25 billion,” disclosed Ms Hafsa Mosi, the Chairperson of the East African Community Council of Ministers, when unveiling the Community's 2011/12 budget.

Lagos to run smoothly on rails soon. LAGOS, Nigeria – A giant billboard towers over a stretch of road in central Lagos, offering a tantalizing vision of the future: a sleek, modern station from which Lagosians will be whisked efficiently around the city on a light rail transit line. But beyond the billboard is the current reality of traffic in one of the world’s fastest-growing cities: a bumper-to-bumper crawl of cars, trucks, and rickety minibus taxis known as “danfos.” The dusty construction site for the new transit line is a jumble of motorbikes, hawkers and pedestrians who ignore warning signs and weave through the concrete foundation pillars.

Hydro-Québec announces rollout of advanced metering infrastructure. MONTRÉAL, May 25 /PRNewswire/ - Hydro-Québec has announced the signing of a contract with Landis+Gyr for the acquisition of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and 3 million next-generation meters. With this contract, Hydro-Québec is entering a new stage in the development of a smart grid, which, in the long term, will cut costs to customers.

Contact Information

For comments, suggestions, or submissions, please contact Chrissy Mancini Nichols, at or (312) 863-6042. 

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