rail

Honolulu Rail Costs Balloon, Ridership Projections Called High

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has released an independent analysis of the proposed Honolulu rail program to the public and to elected officials. The report was commissioned by the state Department of Transportation.  read more »

Soccer Moms Against Rail Transit in Tampa

On election day, the voters of Hillsborough County, Florida (Tampa) will vote on a one-cent sales tax that would fund transit (75%) and roads (25%). Part of the funding would be used to build a new light rail line, which is the focus of campaigns on both sides.

The proponents are the usual well financed coalition of business, rail construction companies and consulting engineers, who could well profit from the program going forward.  read more »

California's Cities Should Look to Oxfordshire

California, now in the midst of a heated debate on high-speed rail, could learn a thing or two from a few small villages in England about consolidating their opposition. Residents from five villages in Oxfordshire created the Villages of Oxfordshire Opposing HS2 (High-Speed Rail 2) action group to voice their concerns about the proposed project.  read more »

Commuter Rail Brings Slower Transit in Austin

Commuter rail is often sold to the public as a faster means of travel than buses. This can be true if the drive to the park and ride lot is short and your destination is within walking distance of a station. However, it is apparently not true in Austin.  read more »

Transit in Los Angeles: Celebrating the Wrong Thing

Los Angeles area transit officials celebrated 20 years of urban rail at a Staples Center event on July 23. Over the past 20 years, Los Angeles has opened 2 metro (subway) lines, 4 light rail lines and two exclusive busways (though apparently busways aren't worth celebrating). Surely, there is no question but that Los Angeles has been successful in opening a lot of new transit infrastructure.  read more »

The Fifth Estate Clarifies US Driving and Transit Figures

Late on July 26 (Washington time), The Fifth Estate corrected the attribution by Professor Peter Newman of Curtain University to the effect that driving was down 43% and transit up 65% in the United States. This issue had been the subject of my column on the same morning. It was a simple decimal error (in the reporting) and has now been corrected on the site. Driving is now reported as being down 4.3% and transit up 6.5%.  read more »

CA State Treasurer Skeptical of High-Speed Rail

California High Speed Rail officials and the Governor’s office seem to be suffering from selective hearing. Lawmakers and experts at the University of California’s Institute of Transportation continue to challenge the high-speed rail project’s viability due to precarious statistical projections on ridership and cost. One wonders if developers will reconsider upon hearing California treasurer Bill Lockyer’s recent criticisms.  read more »

University of California Report Calls Cambridge Systematics High-Speed Rail Ridership Forecast Unreliable

A just-released report by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Berkeley finds that the ridership projections prepared by Cambridge Systematics (CS) for the California high speed rail system are "not reliable."  read more »

Curbing Euro-Envy

Times are tough in the newspaper business. For example, The New York Times used to have a robust fact-checking department. Either the staff has been laid off or maybe they can't keep up with the errors, either of which could explain the op-ed piece "Europe Energized."  read more »

Rail Transit Expansion Reconsidered

More than two years ago we suggested in these pages that the era of multi-billion dollar system-building investments in urban rail transit is coming to an end. We wrote: "The 30-year effort to retrofit American cities with rail infrastructure, begun back in the Nixon Administration, appears to be just about over. The New Starts program is running out of cities that can afford or justify cost-effective rail transit investment.  read more »