Friday, August 5, 2011

Did you know?

CTA’s new energy-efficient trains return energy to the rail for reuse.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) just purchased 406 new Bombardier 5000 Series rapid transit cars for all eight rail lines.  The new cars will first be used on the Red Line—the busiest in Chicago—and fully dispersed by 2013.  The aging stock was overdue for a replacement; of CTA’s 1,190 train cars, around 336 are 32 to 41 years old.  Manufactured at the Bombardier plant in Plattsburgh, N.Y., the 5000 Series fleet cost around $674 million, a deal financed by capital-improvement funds and $550 million in revenue bonds, approved by the CTA board in February 2010.

Updating the rail stock will lower energy and operational costs.  A “black box” type apparatus will record mechanical and operational data, keeping maintenance more up-to-date.  Alternating current propulsion will actually return energy to the rail for reuse, through a regenerative braking system.  This energy-efficient system is employed by trains around the world and in the U.S. on Amtrak’s Acela Express, which runs between Washington D.C., New York, and Boston.  Capable of 70 mph, the 5000 Series cars are smoother and faster than the old cars.  During the testing phase, the biggest difference noticed by riders was rapid acceleration and a smoother ride.    

In addition to running more efficiently, the trains will carry around 30 more people per car during rush hours while only removing eight seats.  They also have improved ventilation and an active suspension system, which holds cars level with the platform for easier boarding.  Better lighting, glow-in-the-dark floor strips and safety signs, improved door sensors that better detect obstructions, and electronic maps showing the train’s location in respect to the entire system will further enhance the transit experience.  

The over half a million customers who board CTA trains every day will now enjoy a smoother, faster, roomier ride on more efficient cars.  And possibly most important: a safer ride, as new train cars will be equipped with security cameras and improved communication between the passenger and conductor.


Blagojevich name still appropriate for tollway signs.
News headline: Illinois road tolls would almost double. Other than state impeachment papers and federal jury forms stamped “guilty,” the most appropriate place for Rod Blagojevich’s name was always on Illinois tollway signs.

Tour of Elk Grove draws record number of pro cyclists. A record number of professional men and women cyclists — 125 riders for the men’s race alone — have registered for the Tour of Elk Grove, which begins Friday.  

Stott: Initial investment is troll in tollway. The Illinois Tollway has announced an ambitious plan to increase tolls to fund the repair and expansion of highways, including an overhaul of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway between Chicago and Rockford.   

Write of Way: City of Blue Island adopts Complete Streets ordinance. Recently, I checked off the first of seven big, important boxes on my to-do list. On Tuesday, July 12 the Blue Island City Council adopted a Complete Streets ordinance. They are the first that we know of in Illinois to adopt this policy by legislative ordinance. One adopted: Six to go!  

Chuck Sweeny: Even with higher fees, tollway still a bargain.
The Illinois Tollway folks want to raise the tolls systemwide to make $12 billion in improvements over the next 15 years. Our tolls will increase from 40 cents per toll plaza to 75 cents.

Claypool hopes for "full-blown" bus rapid transit project on Western Ave.
Here’s the last installment of my interview with CTA President Forrest Claypool.

Fortune Magazine Calls Electronic Toll Collection One of “100 Great Things About America.” DOWNERS GROVE, IL –
The Illinois Tollway salutes Fortune magazine for recognizing that electronic toll collection is one of the “100 great things about America” in its July 1 issue.,2972599&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

$65M bond sale likely for start of Orland Main Street project. Orland Park will sell as much as $65 million in bonds to finance construction of the first phase of the Main Street triangle development, which will include nearly 300 luxury apartments.

Hard to tell where Illinois tollway fee hike will go. When the tollroad first opened, we piled some out-of-state guests into the car and drove a section of the new road just to show them how quiet it was.

Time and Money Spent on Harlem Avenue Median Are Worth it, Offials Said.
 Tinley Park drivers may have noticed the Harlem Avenue median is undergoing a face-lift with new plants, greens and even a few trees.



Why We Need Infrastructure Investment. For the sake of near- and long-term job creation, stronger economic growth, and enhanced U.S. competitiveness, the Chamber strongly supports robust surface transportation reauthorization legislation that addresses revenue shortfalls and includes necessary and urgent policy and program reforms.

Bicycling and the Wealth and Happiness of Cities
. Riding a bike through a city, David Byrne wrote in his book Bicycle Diaries, “is like navigating the collective neural pathways of some vast global mind.” Biking, he adds, “facilitates a state of mind that allows some but not too much of the unconscious to bubble up. 

The U.S. Chamber of Tax Hikes. Some national business leaders are outright opposing measures of fiscal responsibility. Fortunately, fiscal conservatives in Congress are fighting back.

From Sprawling New Jersey, a New Way Forward for State DOTs. Despite the rather obvious link between transportation investments and development patterns, land use planning is simply not a consideration at your average state DOT. 

Study: Red Light Cameras Reduce Crashes. New research says red light cameras in Texas have dramatically reduced crashes in that state.

The Public Interest and Private-Sector Involvement in High-Speed Rail. The issue of privatization of public infrastructure was polarizing enough before the recent House proposal to take the Northeast Corridor away from Amtrak and turn it over to private firms.

Controversial Agreement: Mexican Trucks to Haul Goods Throughout U.S. Mexican trucks may begin hauling freight throughout the United States by the end of this month or early September under a bilateral trade agreement that resolves a long-standing trade dispute, but not the controversy over driving goods across the U.S.-Mexican border.

Guess Who Has a Lot to Lose From an MTA Meltdown: Drivers. Can you spot the flaw in this excerpt from the New York Times’ Saturday backgrounder on MTA chief Jay Walder’s pending departure for Hong Kong? 

Vacca Watch: Transpo Chair a Big Booster of Parking Minimums. The Bronx is booming. Over the last decade, no borough added more new residents or posted faster wage growth. 

Transit and a shrinking U.S. government. The recent "deal" intended to cut the US Federal deficit looks like it can only lead to further cuts in Federal spending on almost everything. government.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HumanTransit+%28Human+Transit%29 

To game or not to game: teaching transportation planning with board games. Recent working paper: Huang, Arthur and Levinson, David (2011) To game or not to game: teaching transportation planning with board games. 

U.S. DOT Awards $336.2M for Next-Gen Trains. U.S. Transportation Ray LaHood announced that California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri will receive $336.2 million to purchase next-generation, American-made trains that will run on rail corridors in those states.

Transit grants set to improve mobility for residents of rural tribal lands. The Obama Administration is firmly committed to improving tribal transportation resources. The Recovery Act, for example, included a $310 million boost for the Indian Reservation Roads Program, and we increased the annual amount of that program from $275 million to $450 million.

Boxer, Feinstein Announce $9.7 Million for Bus Rapid Transit in Los Angeles. Washington, D.C.—Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein both (D-CA) today announced a $9.7 million grant for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to enhance bus rapid transit on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.



Zimbabwe: Standard Bank Announces Key Cross-Border Infrastructure Deal. Standard Bank has financed the entire debt requirements for the South African Infrastructure Investment Company, (SAIIC), to upgrade the Beitbridge Border Post (BBP) between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

CORE77 DESIGN AWARDS: TRANSPORTATION. All vehicles or modes of transportation used to get people or objects from one place to another, in any context.    

RSA report “Inside the Mind of a Cabbie” explores how to influence more fuel-efficient driving Behavior. Shell in the UK, in partnership with think tank RSA (Royal Society of the Arts), has been conducting a study/challenge in July involving cab drivers from 10 regions across the UK competing to see who could drive in the most fuel-efficient manner to substantially lower their fuel costs.

Bus Rapid Transit to ease gridlock. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a form of mass transit system that meets the demand of public transportation of cities in which the system is applied and at the same time, offers an alternative for urban development.

The Commuting Paradox. According to a paper by the Swiss economists Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer, a person with a one-hour car commute must earn 40 percent more money to have a sense of well-being equal to someone who walks (or rides their bike) to work. 

Billionaires’ Rise Aids India, and the Favor Is Returned. MUNDRA, India — On a recent wind-whipped morning, a steel-hulled behemoth arrived at a desolate stretch of India’s western coast groaning with enough coal to power a city of one million people for more than two weeks. The ship, the Vanshi, was carrying coal from Indonesia, a two-week trip across the Indian Ocean. India has its own abundant reserves of coal, which raises a question: Why did India need to go so far to get something it already had?

Pike Research forecasts more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations to be operational worldwide by 2020. According to a new report from Pike Research, more than 5,200 hydrogen fueling stations for cars, buses and forklifts will be operational worldwide by 2020, up from just 200 stations in 2010. 

Europe Mobilizes Private Finance for Infrastructure Development. We are today faced with a great infrastructure challenge, one that is compounded by climate change. It is no longer enough to build new transport networks or establish waste management systems.

Argentina says could issue debt for infrastructure. BUENOS AIRES, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Argentina could issue debt to pay for infrastructure projects but not to pay normal government costs or bond obligations, Economy Minister Amado Boudou told local radio on Thursday.  

Bus Rapid Transit system in Bhubaneswar city soon. Bhubaneswar, July 29: Orissa government has planned to develop a Bus Rapid Transit system in Bhubaneswar city to meet the growing demand for public transport.

Watered-down bus rapid transit: the U.K. edition. We often hear that proper Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] is impossible in the US because any such proposal gets watered down by the defenders of traffic lanes until it's nothing but a fancy bus stuck in traffic. edition.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HumanTransit+%28Human+Transit%29

AFDB LOAN TO RVR. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a Sh3.59 billion ($US39m) loan to finance the rehabilitation of the dilapidated Kenya-Uganda metre-gauge railway. 

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