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Transportation News Roundup

March 27, 2009


Budget woes hit mass transit as revenue falls.  A familiar theme that continues to arise in the midst of the current economic crisis is that transit agencies are plagued by operating deficits despite record ridership levels.  Tough economic times are drying up traditional revenue sources that transit agencies depend on to operate, such as Minnesota’s Motor Vehicle Sales Tax (MVST).  Transit officials are raising fares and cutting service in order to reduce deficits, but this strategy only hurts Main Street Americans who depend on transit to look for jobs, get to doctor appointments, and commute to school.  Officials must find new, long-term sources of revenue to fully fund the growing demand for public transit. 

Japan: Blurring the line between bullets and trains.  By 2025, Japan aims to develop a network of bullet trains featuring magnetically levitated linear motor trains running at speeds of more than 310 miles per hour!  Japan’s goal, plus their current train system that achieves speeds reaching 186 mph, are shining examples of transportation possibilities in the US.  The economic stimulus package appropriates $8 billion for high-speed rail, an unprecedented amount of funding that will help to build transportation alternatives that will reduce carbon emissions and cut congestion.

Bicycling and Walking

Introducing livable streets education.  Livable Streets Education (LSE) is the newest member of the Livable Streets Initiative, partnering with schools, cultural institutions, and community-based organizations working for improved urban livability, greener transportation, and safer streets.  LSE is currently working with K-8 students at 15 schools around New York City.  The groundbreaking curriculum represents a new strategy to educate children and community organizations about the benefits of pedestrian-friendly streets.  

Pedestrian-activated crosswalk signal.   Check out this video about a new strategy to improve pedestrian safety.  The Seattle crosswalk featured in the video boasts two rows of blinking lights that alert drivers when a pedestrian wishes to cross a busy intersection.


Transit-oriented development: Beyond the big city.  A recently-released report from the American Institute of Architects and the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota concludes that small town/small city life is an ideal fit with principles that encourage walkable pedestrian environment and connected communities with urban centers.  In fact, before the wide acceptance of the automobile, small towns and small cities in America depended on railroads and walkable developments as main lifelines.  The report demonstrates that transit-oriented development should be a goal not only for major cities, but for smaller towns as well.

Full Digest

Transit and Roads

Financing transportation into the future (MN 2020) 
How far can $1.3 billion take Amtrak? (Planetizen) 
Hausman's transit reform bill (Politics in Minnesota) 
MN House votes to spend stimulus cash on roads (Pioneer Press) 
MnDOT launches big 35W construction project this weekend (MPR) 
Budget woes hit mass transit as revenue falls (Wall Street Journal) 
High-speed rail: A hot topic (Fast Lane) 
For 14 months in a row, Americans drive less (Infrastructurist) 
Japan: Blurring the line between bullets and trains (Los Angeles Times) 
AARP joins Transportation for America (T4America) 
Duluth mayor to announce major plan to improve streets (Duluth News Tribune) 
MnDOT study to strengthen rural roads (KARE 11) 
Transit capital expenditures sought (Session Daily) 
St. Cloud lets residents name new bridge (Finance and Commerce) 
In a fix: Fill potholes, empty out wallets (Star Tribune) 
Metro Transit gives nod to its best bus drivers (Star Tribune) 
San Francisco rail: A living history (Planetizen) 
Reinventing infrastructure with tech (Planetizen) 

Bicycling and Walking

Bike registrations improve bike safety (Planetizen) 
Bicyclists urged to weigh in on MN transit plan (KSTP) 
Pedestrian-activated crosswalk signal (Twin Cities Streets for People) 
Introducing livable streets education (Streets Blog) 
Washington DC bike-sharing program is growing up (Tree Hugger) 
Houten, a suburb built for people on bike and foot (Twin Cities Streets for People) 
Cycling news photographer catches drivers in the act (Streets Blog) 
BRT and bikes on LA's Orange Line (Streets Blog) 
San Francisco plans pedestrian street (Planetizen) 


Transit-oriented development: Beyond the big city


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