Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

It’s simple: Put in the turnstiles

November 26, 2009

The Province


TransLink, our toothless regional transportation agency, just doesn’t seem to get it. It keeps saying it is starved of cash and needs to raise more money from metro residents.

Yet it continues to lose badly needed funding because it is unwilling to tackle the continuing problem of widespread fare evasion.

Not only are freeloaders costing the transit system millions of dollars annually in unpaid fares, they’re also avoiding paying millions in fines levied against them by transit police.


Community Transit debuts ‘Swift’ line

November 26, 2009


Swift buses will operate on a 17-mile corridor in Snohomish County between Everett Station and the Aurora Village Transit Center in Shoreline, primarily along Highway 99. (Community Transit photo)

When Community Transit’s new Swift Bus Rapid Transit service debuts this weekend, it will be the first Bus Rapid Transit line in Washington state and at 17 miles, one of the longest in the country.

“More than 18,000 people have come out to check out the buses. There has been a lot of buzz,” said Martin Munguia, a spokesman for Community Transit in Snohomish County.

So why do they call it “Swift?” During weekdays, Swift buses will run every 10 minutes from 12 stations between Everett and Shoreline along the State Route 99 corridor, each one to two miles apart.


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


Denver chooses light rail to airport

November 20, 2009


DENVER – Travelers in the metro area are closer to being able to take light rail to Denver International Airport. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) announced Friday that the environmental approval for the FasTracks project to the airport has been completed.

During Friday’s news conference, leaders from RTD and DIA shared their excitement.


Ottawa rapid transit network trains will be low-floor electric light rail

November 19, 2009

Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa rapid transit network trains will be low-floor electric light rail, powered by overhead wires that will be automated along the Transitway, but manually operated at street level.

With little ceremony yesterday, the city’s transit committee unanimously approved the technology that will someday form the main line of the city’s rapid transit network.

A single type of car will be used for each section of the completed network, rather than a mixed fleet with small trains serving lower capacity routes.


Private partner may design, build and finance new TTC projects

November 19, 2009

By Allison Hanes, National Post

Metrolinx and the Toronto Transit Commission are in talks to bring in private partners to design, build and most notably finance the new Finch Avenue light rail line, the overhaul of the Scarborough rapid transit line and possibly the 33-kilometre partially buried Eglinton Crosstown line.

While the TTC often contracts out design and construction work, it would be the first time a major infrastructure project in the city is bankrolled by the private sector and paid for with public dollars on delivery, said John Howe, the vice-president of investment strategies for Metrolinx.