August 2011

MTA shuts down for Hurricane Irene - can you use transit for evacuation?

7th Avenue Station

As the East Coast braces for Hurricane Irene, New York MTA announced a system shutdown on noon Saturday. This after Mayor Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuations. Given that 41% of New Yorkers rely on tranist as their primary mode, this makes evacuation interesting. There has been research on using transit for emergency evacuations. Such as this case study from Alabama, Transit Evacuation Planning: Two Case Studies by Turner et al., and Transit-Based Emergency Evacuation Simulation Modeling by Naghawi and Wolshon. 

Our thoughts are with you all on the East Coast this weekend. Good luck and stay safe. 

 

 

Friday Seminar - Jay Primus from SF Park

in

SFPark on Terry Francois Blvd.

The TRANSOC Friday Seminars kick off this week with Jay Primus of SFPark presenting, "Putting Parking Management Theory into Practice." 

"SFMTA established SFpark to use new technologies and policies to improve parking in San Francisco . . . To help achieve the right level of parking availability, SFpark periodically adjusts meter and garage pricing up and down to match demand. Demand-responsive pricing encourages drivers to park in underused areas and garages, reducing demand in overused areas.  Through SFpark, real-time data and demand-responsive pricing work together to readjust parking patterns in the City so that parking is easier to find."

The seminar will be this Friday, August 26, from 4-5 PM in 406 Davis Hall. Don't miss Cookie Hour before hand in the library. We're baking something special.

TOD is big in CA: How SF BART and LA Metro are working with developers in cool ways

Ed Roberts Campus2

Recently the Architects Newspaper published a feature about collaborations between transit agencies and developers. They discuss the approaches used for some of the different projects, listing pros and cons. They also split it regionally by the Los Angeles Metropolitan area and the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the project highlighted include the Del Mar Transit Village in Pasadena, Amstrong Place in San Francisco, and the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley (pictured above).  (via Planetizen.)

19th century cyclists paved modern roads

Cyclists and Pedestrians

From the Guardian's Bike Blog - Who could advocate for flat, paved roads before there was a critical mass of automobiles and moroting associations? In the UK and US, it was cycling organizations!

Many motorists also assume that roads were built for them. In fact, cars are the johnny-come-latelies of highways.

The hard, flat road surfaces we take for granted are relatively new. Asphalt surfaces weren't widespread until the 1930s. So, are motorists to thank for this smoothness?

No. The improvement of roads was first lobbied for – and paid for – by cycling organisations.

Of course, the automobilization of these (and other) countries changed the way planners approached roads, but this is an interesting bit of history nonetheless. 

Derailment Raises Issue of Second NY/NJ Transit Tunnel

A Northeast Corridor train derailment disrupted New Jersey Transit service to and from New York earlier this week. The derailment and resulting commuter nightmare has some transit riders calling for officials to reconsider the decision to kill the Mass Transit Tunnel. Groundbreaking for that project, which would have resulted in a second transit tunnel under the Hudson River, was held in 2009, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed the over-budget project in October of last year. The governor has indicated a willingness to consider other projects to increase transit capacity between New Jersey and New York. An Amtrak derailment earlier today is causing further headaches for NJ Transit.

2011 Data Visualization Student Challenge

Can you convert datasets to relevant information? Can you use visualization techniques to shed new light on transportation issues? US DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) is looking for great data visualization ideas from students to support better informed policy and investment decisions. The themes are Transportation Safety and Economic Development. The Challenge website provides details and offers suggestions of possible datasets from the Census Bureau, FAA and other sources. Entries are due by October 31. The two best submissions will be recognized at TRB's Annual Meeting in January 2012; travel expenses will be paid for one member of each of the two teams, and each will be awarded a $2000 scholarship.

Bay Area Infrastructure Report Card: Do we pass?

yay for sunroofs

This week the ASCE's Report Card 2011: Bay Area Infrastructure was released. It's been six years since the last report card was issued, but as Infrastructure USA puts it, there's a lot to be concerned about:

Since the last update of the American Society of Civil Engineer (ASCE)’s Bay Area Infrastructure Report Card in 2005, we have seen several major infrastructure failures: the gas line explosion in San Bruno, California with major loss of life in 2010; wastewater discharges from Marin County into the San Francisco Bay; and a collapse of the Interstate Route 35 Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota with significant loss of life in 2007. All of these are classic examples of aging infrastructure allowed to perform without sufficiently funded monitoring, rehabilitation, and replacement programs. The 2011 Bay Area Infrastructure Report Card for the San Francisco ASCE Section aims at bringing awareness to, and quantifying the need for, funding to upgrade our area’s essential infrastructure to acceptable levels.

The ASCE San Francisco Section’s Infrastructure Report Card Committee’s reevaluation of the various infrastructure categories in 2011 resulted in an overall grade of “C”, with some of the categories being as desperately low as a “D+”. The Committee has determined that in order to bring all categories up to a grade of “B”, which was deemed the minimum acceptable level, we will need additional annual funding of $2.83 billion.

Of course, given the current economy and the state of the California budget, these improvements might be a long way off. Hopefully there won't be any more disasters in mean time.