Posts Tagged ‘BRT’

Discovering the Other Silver Line

September 1st, 2014 5 comments

MBTA’s Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is impressive and efficient, but could be easier to use for visitors.

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Boston’s Silver Line BRT at one of its Logan Airport stops. Photo by the author.

I recently flew to Boston for the first time in years and had the opportunity to ride their Silver Line BRT  that provides service between Boston Logan Airport and south Boston.  The service features some dedicated right-of-way, real-time arrival signage and a few actual stations.

The Silver Line has real-time arrival screens at Boston Logan, easing the wait time for customers excited to explore a city or return home.  The buses used are dual-power, meaning they run on electricity via overhead wires at some times and on diesel when there are no wires.  The switching between the two takes a few minutes but it really wasn’t very noticeable.

I was very impressed with the stations.  For example, the World Trade Center station is a significant and impressive structure, and felt more like a traditional rail station that a bus stop by far.  It features a multi-story tower topped with the “T” logo.  The station interior features side platforms, escalators and stairs, real-time arrival screens and public art.  A station like this makes a statement that high quality transit service will be operating here for a long time, despite not having rails in the ground. Read more…

Categories: Transit Travelogue Tags: , , ,

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: , , ,

How Do Different Modes Compare?

May 14th, 2014 6 comments

The region either already has or is planning for a variety of different modes. How do they compare? The Silver Line will soon open as a Metrorail line. Later this year, a streetcar will be operating on H Street, NE with others planned for Columbia Pike in Arlington and the District. Arlington and Alexandria are jointly building a bus rapid transit (BRT) line between Crystal City and Potomac Yard. Once funding is finalized, Maryland will build the Purple Line and light rail transit (LRT) will connect New Carrollton and Bethesda. This is all in addition to the region’s existing commuter rail, commuter bus, Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroExtra services. The region is not only expanding transit services, but it also expanding the types of transit modes that will operate. At long last, instead of talking about Portland (streetcar), Jersey City (light rail), or Cleveland (bus rapid transit), we’ll be able to point directly to services and infrastructure in our backyard or take a trip and experience the pros and cons of these modes for ourselves.

So how do the different modes compare? What kind of purposes does each serve? There are many external factors and trade-offs that influence how agencies and jurisdictions select which mode to implement.  As we see from the ongoing debates in jurisdictions across the region between LRT and BRT or streetcar and enhanced bus, there is not always one perfect choice. However, an array of transit and land use measures can provide context to the conversation. As part of ConnectGreaterWashington: The 2040 Regional Transit System Plan, we developed the below table to compare commuter rail, commuter bus, heavy rail, light rail, streetcar, bus rapid transit, and enhanced bus across land use intensity (households and employment), vehicle capacity, stop spacing, trip length, and capital and operating costs.

What do you think? Does this information better inform the rail vs bus debate? What other information would provide more clarity on what modes work where?

Comparison of High-Capacity Transit Modes

Comparison of High-Capacity Transit Modes

 

LA Metro thinking and investing BIG

January 28th, 2014 No comments

The Los Angeles area is aggressively leveraging billions in local tax dollars to transform the region into a more vibrant place with a variety of transportation options.

Measure R Spending Breakdown

Measure R Spending Breakdown

The conventional wisdom today is that the days of big expensive transportation investments are over.  Los Angeles apparently didn’t get the memo.  The main transportation planning and development agency in the LA area, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), is currently leading the development of the nation’s largest regional transportation expansion program.  The program of projects, Measure R, was overwhelmingly approved by more than two-thirds of LA county voters in 2008, and raised the local sales tax one-half cent.  The half-cent sales tax is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years (including an estimated $590 million in 2012) to provide the lion’s share of funding for Measure R transportation projects around the region, helping Angelenos avoid some of the area’s legendary traffic congestion.  Not satisfied with the already impressive pace of expansion, LA Metro’s Board of Directors is now exploring a second ballot measure that could come as early as 2016.

Measure R includes an impressive array of transit projects, including the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit extension, Expo and Regional Connector light rail lines, and the Westside Subway, among others.  Below is a map of the transit projects fully or partially funded by Measure R (click on the map below for the interactive version):

Measure R Transit Map

Measure R Transit Map (source: LA Metro)

Read more…

More than Metrorail: The Region’s Most Important High-Capacity Surface Transit Corridors

December 19th, 2013 14 comments

In parallel with the proposed 2040 Metrorail network, we have identified 25 regionally significant corridors that merit high-capacity surface transit by 2040. Depending on the corridor, high-capacity surface transit can be provided more efficiently and effectively by modes other than Metrorail.

The best transit systems in the world are comprised of large networks served by multiple modes. In the National Capital Region, due to the growth and dispersal of activity centers, the high demand placed on Metrorail, and the realities of transit funding, expanding the transit network needs to occur by expanding transit on the region’s roads and highways not just by Metrorail. Metrorail is not and cannot be the best mode for every corridor because the vast majority of corridors do not have the land use, density and ridership to support it.

But don’t despair! There are plenty of other high-capacity modes such as bus rapid transit (BRT), light rail (LRT), streetcar, and enhanced bus that can provide:

  • high-frequency;
  • all day service;
  • large, comfortable vehicles; and
  • lower capital and operating costs than Metrorail.
Regionally Significant High Capacity Surface Transit Corridors as part of 2040 Regional Transit System Plan

Regionally Significant High-Capacity Surface Transit Corridors as part of 2040 Regional Transit System Plan

Read more…

Three Reasons for Faster Buses

December 10th, 2013 10 comments

Priority treatments speed up buses, which saves everyone time and money, uses street space most efficiently, and attracts development.

Bus priority projects, such as those begun through the regional TIGER grant and included in the Metrobus Priority Corridor Network Plan, will improve travel times, increase service reliability, and attract thousand of new riders once fully implemented.

But let’s step back for a moment.  Why are these improvements needed?

November2009_AMSpeedMap (cropped)

Average AM Rush Hour Bus Speeds (Nov. 2009)

Read more…

Categories: Impact Tags: , , ,

moveDC Public Workshop Announcement – Comment on DC’s long-range transporation plan!

October 18th, 2013 No comments

moveDCThe District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting its third and final round of public workshops in October to discuss moveDC, DDOT’s initiative to develop a strategic, multimodal long range transportation plan for the District.  The public is encouraged to attend a workshop to review the draft plan and help prioritize the transportation options. The October workshops will enable you to:

  • Share your ideas and observations on future plans for transportation;
  • Learn how three approaches to a future DC transportation system perform;
  • Review the results of our survey research;
  • Provide input into the draft transportation plan; and
  • Learn more about the moveDC local bus study.

Online Survey

Throughout October, you are also invited to participate in a survey to comment on and critique three approaches that have the potential to transform the way people travel in the District.

Public Meeting Dates and Locations

Monday, October 21

7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Union Station

625 First St NE

Tuesday, October 22

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.

Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library

3935 Benning Road, NE

Saturday, October 26

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

DCUSA Retail Center, 2nd Floor, between Target and Best Buy

3100 14th St. NW

Wednesday, October 30

6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.

Petworth Neighborhood Library

4200 Kansas Ave., NW

Web Meetings

Visit www.wemoveDC.org for more details and to sign up.

October 24, noon – 1:00 p.m.

October 28, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

 

TIGER Builds Momentum for Metro 2025

August 6th, 2013 No comments

Federal TIGER Grant-funded bus priority projects are moving forward, setting the stage for the Metro 2025 Priority Corridor Network.

In 2010, a local consortium of agencies including WMATA was awarded a $59-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant for bus priority in the Washington Region. The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is the primary project manager and recipient of the of the grant, and TPB staff provided a briefing of the status of the implementation of the TIGER projects (PDF). This post provides a summary of the projects in which Metro is engaged, as well as a history of the TIGER grant award to the region.

Construction of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, from May 30, 2013.

Construction of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, from May 30, 2013. Source: TPB.

When will you see projects being built?

Read more…

Categories: In The News Tags: , , , ,

Delivering the Transit System the Region Needs

August 6th, 2013 No comments

Delivering the transit system that Columbia-Heights-Sta-041007-018the region needs will require an unequivocal commitment of additional resources from internal and external stakeholders. Simply put, the rehabilitation work being accomplished at the time of the writing of this document will not be nearly enough to keep up with the region’s needs, and without additional resources it will be unlikely that the region can continue to enjoy a transit network that contributes to competitiveness and makes the Washington metropolitan area one of the most desirable places to live and work.

Metro – Doing Business Differently

Metro recognizes that rebuilding the region’s transit system also means rebuilding the region’s transit authority – and will continue to be hard at work on this task in preparation for the implementation of Momentum.  In the near term this means revamping nuts and bolts elements of the authority, including but not limited to: identifying ways that Metro can do its job more efficiently while increasing performance; evaluating its contracting and procurement philosophy to emphasize lifecycle contract and asset management; engineering a budgeting process that allows Departments to strive to achieve the goals of Momentum within the context of tight fiscal and financial discipline; and a human capital strategy that must have the right talent in-place and in-queue.  In the long term, this means completing the journey to a much more business-like operating and execution philosophy for the organization.

Read more…

Metrobus Priority Corridor Network (PCN)

July 5th, 2013 1 comment

Metrobus’ Priority Corridor Network (PCN) Plan will improve bus service, travel speeds, and reliability on 24 regional corridors, which serve half of Metrobus ridership. Improvements include:

  • Improved operational strategies such as transit signal priority and exclusive bus lanes
  • Increased frequency and span of service
  • Improved customer information
  • Added MetroExtra, Metro’s limited-stop bus service, routes and buses
  • Expanded fare payment options
  • Added safety, security and incident response measures
  • Enhanced bus stops and facilities

PCN Map Read more…