Archive for the ‘Research’ category

There is a good reason only seven SkyTrain type systems have been sold in the past 30 years.

November 25, 2009

Vancouver Courier

Letter to the Editor

The article “TransLink’s Prendergast offers parting advice” contains an error, which is commonly made by those who know little about modern LRT, which must be rectified.

The comment: “At-grade light rail typically can’t carry as many people or run as fast as grade-separated SkyTrain,” is absolutely false.

The maximum capacity of a modern LRT line is over 20,000 persons per hour per direction and even some European streetcar or tram systems do manage 20,000 persons per hour in peak hours on portions of their lines.

SkyTrain, limited by automatic (driverless) train control can only manage under 15,000 persons per hour and needs a billion dollars or more in upgrades just to match what modern LRT can achieve today.

As for speed, SkyTrain’s higher commercial speeds can be, in part, accounted for fewer stations per route kilometre than comparable LRT systems.

The maximum speed for SkyTrain is about 80 km/h, yet in Portland, their MAX LRT line travels at 90 km/h on portions of their line.

MAX’s commercial speed is lower than SkyTrain because it has about twice as many stations per route kilometre than SkyTrain and the light rail travels as a streetcar through downtown Portland, with no track reservation or signal priority at intersections.

St. Louis’ LRT system in fact has a higher commercial speed than our SkyTrain light metro.

One would wish the media stop listening to the many SkyTrain urban myths and start dealing with established facts about modern light rail.

Malcolm Johnston


Symposium To Explore ‘Podcar’ PRT Rapid Transit

November 18, 2009

Minnesota transportation officials are branching out from roads and rail to look at personal rapid transit systems

The state Department of Transportation is holding personal rapid transit symposium on Tuesday at the Rochester Civic Center. MnDOT is looking for Minnesota cities with an interest in personal rapid transit.

Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel says MnDOT should explore a concept that is being developed around the world.

Personal rapid transit consist of small automated vehicles — sometimes called podcars — that run on a dedicated network of guideways. It offers on-demand, nonstop public transit.

American cities including Santa Cruz, California, and Ithaca, New York, are working to develop PRT. Students at West Virginia University already have such a system, which dates to the 1970s.

Ottawans have transit on the brain: survey

November 10, 2009

Ottawa Business Journal

brain1Seventy-five per cent of those in Ottawa say transportation issues such as traffic and public transportation are the biggest facing the city, according to a new Angus Reid survey released Tuesday.

That was the highest percentage among large cities within the survey, commissioned by IBM, that polled more than 2,000 Canadians across the country on important issues facing cities such as public services, livability, economic development and education.


“Major Translink Reform Needed” Part 2

November 10, 2009

Stephen Rees Blog

This post is intended to be a more thorough analysis of the Comptroller General’s recent report on Translink.   I know that she also looked at BC Ferries but that is not going to be part of this post, although I think it is interesting to note that the two corporations are treated rather differently. (Anyway The Tyee has already done a good piece on that.) My first go round was an admitted fast response.

The report has something very important to say about governance, and it is not complimentary to the provincial government. After all, it is only eighteen months since the new structure was imposed on what had been a regionally controlled body. That reorganisation was not well thought out and was based more on political spite than the public interest, and what we are seeing now are those chickens coming home to roost.



PRT now a reality

November 9, 2009

THE BIRTH OF THE PRT concept can be traced back to the 1950s when research was first conducted into alternative public transportation methods– a new, innovative transport system using advanced, commercially-available automation to address the needs of urban transportation.

The 1970s witnessed considerable theoretical analysis of PRT, and how such a system would operate as a viable means of transit. However, the proposals were too advanced for the technology of the time and were considered too complex and expensive.

With today’s advanced technology and the experience accrued over the last 30 years, together with the global imperative to pursue an eco-friendly, sustainable transport system, PRT has evolved from a high-tech dream in the 1970s into a practical, cost-effective, convenient and desirable transport system, custom made for the stringent demands of 21st century living.


“Major Translink Reform Needed”

November 8, 2009

Stephen Rees’s blog

Stephen Rees

Comptroller General Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland released her report on Translink and BC Ferries on Friday morning. I only heard about it on the CBC News that evening.

It was a rush job and was politically targeted to be critical of the role of the Mayors in this region, and was also designed to direct attention away from the province’s actions. Specifically it was designed to highlight attention on cost control and executive compensation.



– Video: efforts to derail mass transit in America

November 2, 2009

gmTaken for a Ride

55:32 run time

Taken for a Ride is an amazing documentary by Jim Kleina and Martha Olson that documents the efforts to derail mass transit in America.



Ever wonder why the U.S. has the worst mass transportation system in the industrialized world? Using historical footage and investigative research, this film tells how GM fought to push freeways into the inner cities of America, and push public transportation out.

Prohibiting or destroying transportation that competes with the automobile is no longer acceptable. Yet, massive subsidies to the automobile and truck transportation system, and government requirements for private subsidies to the automobile, have almost the same result. Only a small minority, in what used to be a majority, use transit, bicycles, or walk.


The Fight to Save the Streetcars and Electric Trains

The Desired Result: Drive People to Drive

General Motors’ Destruction of California Transit Systems