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Eightball Jul 10, 2014 1:32 PM

Uber driver takes passengers on high speed chase

M II A II R II K Jul 10, 2014 7:33 PM

Russia One tram prototype revealed

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According to the designers, R1 combines ‘the up-to-date achievements of the Russian transport industry with hype-generating visual solutions’. It aims to change attitudes towards public transport by providing a ‘business class’ environment described as an ‘iPhone on rails’, and to highlight Russia’s transport engineering capabilities.

- The three-section prototype is 24 m long and 2 500 mm wide. There are four doors per side, with the door mechanisms and gangways being amongst the few imported components of the tram. The two bogies are designed to cope with poor track conditions and curves down to 16 m radius.

- Composite materials provide a lightweight and modular body, with the ability to design and fit a unique design of cab for each city. The usual design of cab gives the driver a 180° view, and the 12° reverse angle of the front is intended to offer good visibility, reduced glare and lower solar gain. LED lighting is fitted inside and out, with the interior lighting adjusting to suit the time of day, and there are internal and external CCTV cameras.

- The capacity of the tram is 150 to 190 passengers at a density of 5 m/2, including 28 seated, although various configurations are proposed including an economy version for smaller towns.

- The air-conditioned interior features Glonass and GPS-based passenger information, wi-fi, and antibacterial handrails. Regenerated braking energy could be used to heat the entrance areas to prevent icing, and battery power could be used for catenary-free operation.


Wizened Variations Jul 10, 2014 8:35 PM

I think too many in the old Common Market, the UK, and, the US, like to believe in stereotypes we were fed during the Cold War daze.

The Russians are a smart people.

My only criticism might be impact protection for the driver. The negative slope of the end cap might be good in collisions with cars, as the first tram car would ram up and over a car. I have my doubts about trucks, however.

Looks very sharp!

Muji Jul 10, 2014 8:45 PM

It's a Batmobile for the masses!

Nouvellecosse Jul 10, 2014 9:42 PM

Looks like a ship to me. The world's first amphibious, articulated tram-ship! :worship:

Busy Bee Jul 10, 2014 11:23 PM

It's no more crazy looking than these Marseille trams, which i think look quite great:

M II A II R II K Jul 11, 2014 3:35 PM

mousquet Jul 11, 2014 11:21 PM

^ It's like the most famous Moscow subway stations, almost so perfect that you wonder whether anyone ever used it. If it ever came to be operated, we'd challenge it anyway. ;)

M II A II R II K Jul 12, 2014 1:48 PM

The sorry state of Amtrak’s on-time performance, mapped

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Amtrak riders had a pretty rough Fourth of July weekend, at least judging by the talk of delays and outages in my Twitter feed.'s Max Fisher summed up the sentiment best: "Amtrak is a heavily-subsidized rail service with Russian quality at Swiss prices. It is the shame of the developed world."

- Overall, only nine Amtrak routes ran on schedule more than 75 percent of the time. The reason Amtrak's overall on-time performance stands at a relatively high 72 percent is that the majority of Amtrak traffic runs along the busy Northeast Corridor between D.C. and Boston. And compared to the long-distance routes, those trains are doing okay (not that this is any solace to the travelers stuck in Delaware for four hours last weekend). The Acela and the Northeast Regional trains saw on-time rates of 74 and 75 percent, respectively.

- There are two major forces behind Amtrak's poor performance. The first is that Amtrak doesn't own most of the track it runs on, but leases it from a panoply of freight rail companies. You might think that would be a perfect recipe for finger-pointing and buck-passing whenever a problem arises, and you'd be absolutely right! A byzantine system of regulations governs rights-of-way between freight and passenger trains running on these tracks, and Amtrak is usually all too happy to blame the freight operators whenever a problem arises. A dispute between Amtrak and the freight companies on these issues is on its way to the Supreme Court. Shoddy, out-of-date infrastructure is another leading cause of delays.

- How could we make things better? For starters, it's probably time to eliminate those costly, poorly-performing long-distance routes completely. According to a Brookings Institution study last year, few people ride them and they're costing Amtrak (and taxpayers) hundreds of millions of dollars per year. A one-way trip on the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle will cost you hundreds of dollars and last at least 48 hours (that is, if you're on one of the one-in-five trains that runs on time). And that's in the cheap seats — no sleeper car for you. At those prices and time investments, there is literally no reason to take the train from Chicago to Seattle other than for the romance of being on a cross-country train. And there's no reason to keep pouring money into what amounts to a purely recreational transit option.


LMich Jul 14, 2014 8:23 AM

Man, I can't even imagine the ridership increase if the Michigan Services performed better. Fortunately, Amtrak has bought up much of the route along the Wolverine and the state is doing extensive refurbishment of the tracks, and things are taking place in the other states along the route that will help with bottlenecks. And, really, it can't come soon enough. 36%? I believe it.

JonathanGRR Jul 14, 2014 9:00 PM

The new trains will be a great help also. On my last trip to Chicago from Kalamazoo, the train was actually completely full...but that was because the Wolverine broke-down in Ann Arbor the previous night. They had to bus everyone to Battle Creek and join with the next Blue Water train in the morning. When we were ready to go back home, we had to wait an hour and a half because the train's water systems were having issues...try riding on a train that has a hint of sewage in the air. :shrug:

SHiRO Jul 14, 2014 9:52 PM

twoNeurons Jul 14, 2014 11:10 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 6651773)

I bet the Cascades would be higher were it not for the part north of the 49th and border delays.

M II A II R II K Jul 14, 2014 11:42 PM

The Secrets of Successful Transit Projects — Revealed!

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PDF Report:



A landmark report from a team of researchers with the University of California at Berkeley identifies the factors that set successful transit investments apart from the rest. The secret sauce is fairly simple, when you get down to it: Place a transit line where it will connect a lot of people to a lot of jobs and give it as much grade-separated right-of-way as possible, and it will attract a lot of riders.

- What makes the work of the Berkeley researchers, led by Daniel G. Chatman, remarkable is that it compiles decades of real-world data to predict how many people will ride a given transit route. Their conclusions should bolster efforts to maximize the effectiveness of new transit investments. The report authors examined 140-plus factors to build these ridership models, based on data collected from 55 “fixed guideway” transit projects, including rail and bus rapid transit routes, built in 18 metropolitan areas between 1974 and 2008.

- They found the success of a transit project is almost synonymous with whether it serves areas that are dense in both jobs and population and have expensive parking — in short, lively urban neighborhoods. In the report’s model, the combination of these factors explains fully 62 percent of the ridership difference between transit projects. --- Surprisingly, the only design factor that seemed to have a significant effect on ridership was whether the route is grade-separated (in a tunnel or on a viaduct). In isolation, transit speed, frequency, or reliability did not have significant impacts, but the great advantage of grade-separated routes is that they can run quickly and reliably through high-density areas.

- While it may seem like common sense to put transit routes where they will connect people to jobs, agencies don’t always choose the best routes — often opting for expedience over effectiveness. Salt Lake City’s FrontRunner commuter rail service, for instance, very closely parallels a newly widened I-15, and many stations are located in low-density industrial or residential areas. Ridership has fallen short of expectations. Elsewhere in Salt Lake City, the authors identify the University/Medical Center Trax light rail route as a good example of a high-ridership transit project. It connects major high-wage job centers.

- Planners have long known that density is linked to higher transit ridership, but until now they have largely relied on a 1977 report by Boris Pushkarev and Jeffrey Zupan for the Regional Plan Association, which defined basic thresholds below which different kinds of transit investments would not be cost-competitive. The new report adds a generation’s worth of experience with transit investments to not only update and flesh out the older research, but to understand which aspects of density and urban form interact to create places where transit can thrive. The Berkeley researchers’ goal was to create an easy-to-use ridership forecasting model, built with data collected from finished projects across the country, that can help planners evaluate both individual transit routes and systemwide changes.


The Trax light rail system in Salt Lake City has the hallmarks of high-ridership transit.

Hatman Jul 15, 2014 3:48 AM

An important study to be sure, even if it sort of states the obvious. Grade separation is not as important for speed reasons as it is for reliability and consistency. Riders hate delays moe than they hate slow service (to a point).

And hurray for Salt Lake City! I am even riding FrontRunner right now! I would like to add that since the extension to Provo opened in December 2012, ridership on FrontRunner has climbed steadily and is now surpassing expectations at over 15,000 boardings a day.

M II A II R II K Jul 19, 2014 2:32 PM

Conservative: Streetcars nothing but outdated technology kept alive by political forces

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The first light rail transit system (LRT) was a small boxy car pulled by horses over rails imbedded into the street. Not much has changed in the streetcar world since then–about 1830, almost 200 years ago. On the streets of Toronto they still pull boxy carriages over rails imbedded in the street, the difference being that instead of a horse it takes a billion dollar’s worth of infrastructure—tracks, concrete, roadways, electrical overhead, power transmission facilities, dedicated rights-of-way—to haul the cars over tracks that are an anachronism.

- In 1972, the TTC studied the streetcar and came up with a sound and viable plan, which called for “the elimination of streetcars and their replacement by new subways, buses or electrical trolley buses.” Those plans, however, were “decisively reversed, largely as a result of citizen support for continued streetcar service. “ That “citizen support” was largely produced by a core of leftist public transit activists through a group called Streetcars for Toronto. Its backers including public transit advocate Steve Munro and William Kilbourn, a Rosedale historian. And so Toronto held on to its streetcar dreams over the next four decades, captive of a range of interests and pathologies, from nostalgia to autophobia to a belief that streetcars were superior to buses and subways.

- The option of installing trolley buses—with vehicles described by the TTC as quieter, emissions-free, smoother-riding and longer-lasting than fuel-based buses—was dismissed as requiring too much costly infrastructure. But the study did not compare trolley buses with streetcars, whose capital costs are much higher than trolley buses. The fixation on tracks running down the middle of main traffic arteries is nothing but perverse.

- Almost two centuries after the invention of horse-drawn vehicles pulled on tracks, your city is now locked into billion-dollar streetcar expansions. The economics of such expansion are prohibitive and will require endless subsidies from taxpayers, not to mention the continuing cost of inconvenience and congestion brought on by the rigid streetcar system. Now there is talk of clearing all automobile movement on King Street and other streetcar-strangled streets, all to facilitate the trundling vestige of the horsecar along tracks that lock Toronto into the 19th century.


M II A II R II K Jul 19, 2014 2:33 PM

vid Jul 19, 2014 2:48 PM

Imagine if we made an infographic about roads as negative as that? Someone with time on their hands should whip one up! :tup:

Wizened Variations Jul 19, 2014 3:01 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 6661275)
Conservative: Streetcars nothing but outdated technology kept alive by political forces

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Street cars are extremely difficult to schedule for the simple reason that they run on track down city streets.

However, there are a few basic steps, IMO, that might help Toronto.

A) Have, throughout the system, passing track stations. This enables, among other things, poorly running streetcars to be passed by same direction streetcar traffic.

B) Increase separation between streetcar right of way and road traffic when possible, via dedicated right of way down streets as light rail route designers do.

C) Have street car sets be able to change routes while en route. More facility should be made in future route design for the system to adjust to demand and road traffic in real time.

D) Think about street cars with different functions: for example on route X there would be local trains that regardless of road traffic would stop at each and every stop and "downtowners" or expresses, that would have the ability to bypass stations and travel via different routes as long as a few station points were served.

E) While subject to vandalism, good (protected) flat screen displays at or near as many streetcar stops as possible, to inform the waiting rider what delays exist and why. As people became more educated to more real time information, riders also could be informed of incipient route changes.

We now live in the networking age, and, we have the ability to individually control the routes (if the system has the trackage to be able to do so) of street cars, or individual cars, etc., much like data is "steered" via routing protocols.

As the Toronto street car network dates from the pre-Auto age and the city has grown up around it, so such moves are very complex. But, give the problem to the bright guys at University of Toronto and McGill University and a lot of efficiency improvement could occur for fairly low bucks.

M II A II R II K Jul 21, 2014 4:18 PM

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