‘Engage’

BRT comes to DC via Hollywood

June 4th, 2014 1 comment
Video still showing Cleveland's center-running BRT, from the filming of Captain America, Winter Soldier.

Video still showing Cleveland’s center-running BRT, from the filming of Captain America, Winter Soldier.  Click image for original video.

I recently watched “Captain America:  The Winter Soldier” with some friends recently at the theater near Gallery Pl-Chinatown.  I had heard rumors that the film was set in DC, which was a selling point since it’s always fun hearing names of local streets or venues and picking out inconsistencies between Hollywood’s portrayal and the real thing.  Our friends over at Greater Greater Washington already noted that this film replaces parts of Rosslyn and Roosevelt Island with a massive S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters complex.

But little did I know that the film would take me to Cleveland.  Read more…

Categories: Transit Travelogue Tags: , , ,

Singapore MRT Rail Map Diagrams Show the Way

January 27th, 2014 2 comments
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Paya Lebar MRT Station Map (click & zoom for detail)

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Travel Times Between Stations

While waiting for a Metro train one day in Singapore, I noticed their rail map diagram had a big white space and then the rest of the map. Upon closer inspection the ‘white’ part was actually a grayed out part of the rail map showing the route the train had already covered. Having that information is very useful, particularly for a traveler unfamiliar with the system. One knows if they are starting at this particular station (Paya Lebar), what their options might be if he/she actually wanted to go in the opposite direction. This information gives the rider a helpful reference point in relationship to the rest of the system.  Also upon closer inspection I saw that the map gave expected travel times between stations. How great is that?

Categories: Transit Travelogue Tags: ,

PlanItMetro at Metro Hack Night

January 23rd, 2014 No comments

I was invited to present a wide variety of data visualizations featured on the blog at a recent meeting of transportation techies.

I had the honor of being invited to present at the 2nd meeting of the Transportation Techies Meetup group, Metro Hack Night on January 2, 2014.  I used this opportunity to illustrate some of the data visualizations I’ve developed using Metro data and talk a bit about the technology behind them.

The first was the the visualization of 9 years worth of rail ridership data.  This visualization was created in D3 (“data driven documents”) using code originally developed by “mbostock” posted on the D3 examples page.  D3 is a javascript library that allows the creation of really powerful and interactive visualizations.  The downside of D3, as I noted, is that the code itself can be confusing and hard to follow.   So much of learning a new coding language is looking at what others have done and learning from it.  D3′s simplified notation makes it really hard for me to follow.  (NOTE: this visualization has recently been updated to include daily Metrorail ridership for all of 2013.)

The second was the visualization of one day of Metrorail station activity.     This video was created using Processing, a Java-based visualization tool that takes care of a lot of the coding “grunt work” and allows a programmer to focus on the data and the visualization.  I really enjoy Java so I took the opportunity this project provided to add a few flourishes such as a clock face and “sunrise” and “sunset.”  Read more…

Categories: Engage Tags: , ,

Courtesy Messages – Singaporean Style

January 13th, 2014 1 comment

I was recently in Singapore for vacation and while I was there I used their delightfully clean and efficient rail system (more on that later). While walking through the stations, I spotted several movie posters, which actually happened to be posters for YouTube-based public information message ‘movies’. The movies are put out by the Land Transport Authority, which is a part of the government that does the planning for their transit systems.

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‘May I Have a Seat Please?’

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‘Can You Move in Please?’

Can you move in please? leaves viewers with two messages: 1. move to the back of the bus so that everyone can get on, and 2. take off your backpack or move any bags you may have out of the way. Some of the movie is lost in translation I think culturally speaking but still, you get the point.

Excuse me, May I have a seat please? is about exactly what the title suggests. This movie especially rings true in this day and age as a lot of commuters have their noses buried in their books and cell phones (even more prevalent in Singapore – a lot of people walking in stations and outside while watching movies!!).

The courtesy issues that Singapore is tackling rings true here in DC too, as well as any city that has transit.

FY2015 Budget and Beyond

January 7th, 2014 1 comment

We want to hear from you! Interested Image for MM - Proposed Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Budgetin the FY2015 budget? Answer our survey or participate in an upcoming public meeting. Want to talk more long-term strategy? Connect on MindMixer.

We are seeking feedback from riders and offering multiple ways to comment on the proposed FY2015 budget and fare changes, as well as Metro’s Capital Improvement Program. You can participate in any or all of the following:

  • Survey: The survey includes questions about the fare changes, costs, and the benefits you will see going forward. The survey is open until 5 p.m. on February 11, 2014.
  • Public Hearings: The six public hearings will provide an opportunity for riders to give formal testimony on the docket of proposed budget actions.

Looking to get into the weeds and talk about some long(er)-term opportunities? We have started a new discussion on MindMixer to gather your ideas and thoughts about priorities and potential future changes to the balance of funding between riders and local government, continuing to allow fares to be paid in cash on Metrobus, parking, new fare options, and priorities for a down payment on Metro2025 initiatives.

Read more…

Tokyo Metro Signage – You Can Find Your Way Without Reading Japanese

January 6th, 2014 2 comments

Ten years ago I moved to Tokyo for work. Unfortunately, my Japanese language skills were non-existent, so I spent much of those early months perpetually lost on Tokyo’s streets. But underground it was a different story. If you’ve ever been, you know that many of the central Tokyo stations are massive – multiple exits, mezzanines, pedestrian tunnels, and tons and tons of people. However, Tokyo Metro, the JR East Lines and the private rail lines that together create the city’s rail network have a good wayfinding system provided in Japanese and English that make it fairly easy to get around underground.

Which car should I stand in?

Which car should you use?

Read more…

Survey Analysis Details Non-Work Trips on Metrorail

December 17th, 2013 10 comments

Almost one in five trips on Metrorail are NOT work-related. Who is making these trips, and where and why are they making them?

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Metrorail is how many of us in the region get to work.  But, as we will illustrate below, many of us also use it to do other things.

Using data from the 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey, we were able to determine that about 125,000 or 17% trips on an average weekday do not involve travel either to or from ones’ place of work.   This is virtually identical to the results from the 2007 survey.  In order to understand how people use the system for non-work trips, we sorted out everyone who is either going to or coming from work from everyone else.    For example, a trip stopping off at the store after work would not be counted; however, a trip starting out at home and traveling to school would be counted.  In terms of where these non-work trips are going, most are returning home followed by “personal trip” and “shopping or meal.”  

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Read more…

On-Street Bike Parking in Buenos Aires

December 16th, 2013 2 comments
On-Street Bike Parking in Buenos Aires

On-Street Bike Parking in Buenos Aires.  Photo by the author.

I spotted this cool on-street bike rack in the trendy Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It says “One car = ten bikes”.  It’s a very cool, visual way of providing bicycle parking in a neighborhood with narrow sidewalks and heavy pedestrian activity that also educates the driving public on the efficiency of travel by bicycle and the need for on-street bike infrastructure.

Metro’s planners recognize that bike parking is a really efficient use of space and a cost-effective way for us to provide alternatives for how our riders get to our stations.  Read more about Metro’s bike parking efforts on PlanItMetro.

Editor’s note: we have been made aware that this bike rack design is very similar to or perhaps based on a bike rack design by a company called Cyclehoop.  Congrats to Cyclehoop for such an innovative and educational design.

Bus Priority Requires More Than Paint

December 9th, 2013 3 comments
Photo of New York City bus lane violation.

Photo of New York City bus lane violation.

This picture of a bus lane in New York City shows how easily bus priority treatments can be violated without enforcement mechanisms in place. Traffic control officers, bus-mounted cameras or self-enforcing contra-flow lanes can help ensure that street space dedicated to buses is available for them to use.  Bus priority is a hot topic here at PlanItMetro.

Twenty-Plus Reasons for Off-Board Fare Collection

November 12th, 2013 4 comments

 

New Orleans Streetcar Off-Board Payment

A crowd of tourists wait to board the St. Charles Streetcar.

 A few years ago I visited New Orleans and took the St. Charles Streetcar from downtown to the terminus by Jefferson Ave.  The stop where my friends and I boarded had a ticket vending machine, which we used.  The stop pictured, however, did not.  I shared this picture with friends, entitled “Twenty-Plus Reasons For Off-Board Fare Payment.”

Metro is currently investigating options for off-board SmarTrip loading.