Sunday, September 30, 2007

transportation rundown

Just some transit musings that have been piling up:

From the Transportationist Blog comes a note via the BBC that Germany is now building its own maglev using the Transrapid technology. Why worth noting? Transrapid is the technology the local Pittsburgh Maglev project has been working on for decades. Although there is nothing at all current on their web site. Might be worth asking whether they really expect the federal demonstration money that they were counting on to ever come.

Wired Magazine makes note of Bus Rapid Transit. Again why important here? Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is essentially the use of dedicated busways and Pittsburgh's busways are one of the early adopters in the United States. The use of actual purpose built busways is even more extensive than just the use of dedicated bus lanes some cities call BRT. Of course, "purpose built" may be stretching it since our busways are really the "Plan B" after the plan to build Skybus collapsed.

Also from the transportationist is a note on new research research showing traffic ticket revenues are correlated with the fiscal condition of municipalities. I swear I also thought of trying to work out that research, but never got around to it. But a local connection? I would suggest it would be fun to look at what revenue categories for the City of Pittsburgh had the biggest percentage increase between 2005 and 2006?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your transportation note reminded me that Pittsburgh is thinking about installing the ultimate revenue-enhancing traffic device: the red light camera. Multiple studies have shown that extending the yellow light to at least 5 seconds virtually eliminates red-light running and concommitant accidents. But cities install the cameras because they are a quick and easy generator of cash (for it and for the installers--who process and keep a good portion of each ticket). Studies have shown that--surprise--while the number of side-impact collisions go down at intersections with such cameras, the number of rear-end collisions goes up. Maybe I'd support these cameras if the money went into a pot that paid for the re-establishment of the city's transportation engineering department.

Monday, October 01, 2007 2:54:00 PM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

During the big Pittsburgh 250 kickoff meeting, one of the speakers from Jim Ferlo's orbit mentioned Maglev. I turned to Ferlo with an expression meant to convey, "Maglev, still? Really?"

And he nodded gravely in return as though to say, "Yes. Maglev. Really."

Monday, October 01, 2007 5:45:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

what's that joke.... Red means stop, green means go, yellow means go faster. its a funny thing to talk about revenue generation and red light cameras. If red light cameras were successful at deterring crime then they should decrease revenue in the end... or at thevery least not be a big windfall revenue generator.

but yeah... I know city planning has a transportation consultant on staff these days.. but I am not sure they have actual traffic engineers which are sorely needed around town.

Not the same thing I know, but I am reminded of the "don't block the box" movement about cars in intersections which was a NYC thing long ago.

Monday, October 01, 2007 6:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Texas Transportation Institute have concluded that red light cameras increase accidents:

Which leads me to the conclusion that they are good for three entities: cities, the companies that make them (and share in revenue), and the insurance companies who raise rates.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 10:26:00 AM  

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