Urban Parks’ Emerging Role as Transportation Infrastructure - Governing

In recent decades, once-struggling cities have been reimagining themselves by evolving from 20th-century-style manufacturing centers to 21st-century hubs of commerce and culture. While each city realizes its own evolution in its own way, one important ingredient of these transformations is consistent among them all: city parks. Like the cities that house them, urban parks take on different forms, from signature downtown parks to reclaimed industrial railways and corridors. Now these corridors, or linear parks, are coming to be recognized as an important part of modernized transportation systems, connecting neighborhoods and residents to new opportunities. In New Orleans, for instance, reside

Uber and Lyft changed how Philly gets around. What does that mean for the city? -

My first experience with ride hailing came as I was with a friend and grumbling about finding a cab home from a party on Boathouse Row. She mentioned “Uber,” which at the time meant nothing to me, and pulled out her smart phone. Not long after, a SUV pulled up looking for us. I was stunned by this high-tech, super-convenient service. About three years later, what was a novelty has become routine, but cities and transportation agencies are still trying to grasp what this new industry means for travel. The University of California-Davis Institute of Transportation Studies last month offered one of the most comprehensive studies to date on how people are using ride hailing services, with inform

Arlington Turns to Rideshare Service Via for Mass Transit - Dallas Innovates

Since 2013, the city of Arlington’s mass transit system was a single bus route that was used mainly by students at the University of Texas at Arlington. Earlier this month, the Arlington City Council voted to end the route, and replace it with the ridesharing service Via beginning Dec. 11. D Magazine said Arlington will become the first U.S. city to convert its entire mass transit operation into so-called micro transit. Arlington long has fought the distinction of being the largest U.S. city — a population of roughly 393,000 — without a public mass transit system. The Metro Arlington Express single bus route system was supposed to change that, but it never drew many riders. The city hopes it

Designing the Smart City - HuffPost

The buzz about smart cities is everywhere. Every local government around the world, from Auckland to Toronto and even to Ajmer, a small holy town in India, is latching on to this trend. As smart cities become the new normal, how can city governments step up their game and go full-throttle towards realizing this dream? By redesigning the customer, or rather the citizen experience and positioning themselves as ‘lovemarks’. Lovemark brands create intimate connections with their customers, and invoke deep loyalty as they deliver beyond customers’ expectations. Evolution of City Planning Historically, the development of cities was spearheaded by kings but in contemporary times, cities are activel

Transit, bicycling benefits are on the line as Congress prepares tax policy - Mobility Lab

The part of the Republican-led tax plan that most concerns readers of Mobility Lab is the pre-tax benefit for commuters, which, over the past few years, has been bandied about and punted around more than a football at a Browns-Bengals game. On November 16, the full U.S. House passed a tax package that leaves untouched pre-tax parking and transit benefits. The benefit allows employers to provide their employees up to $255 a month tax free for bus and rail fare or for parking. In 2016, Congress thankfully made pre-tax benefits for transit and parking the same amount, after transit had unfairly seen a smaller pre-tax incentive than parking prior to that. The pre-tax benefit is key for transit r

Tickets? Puh-leez. There Are Lots of New Ways to Pay Bus and Train Fares. - Governing

Depending on the city where you live, paying for a ride on public transit can be complicated. A single morning's commute can involve a confounding mishmash of cash, paper tickets and electronic swipe cards. And different parts of a transit system -- buses, subways, commuter trains -- can sometimes be independent from each other, frustrating riders who have to juggle multiple fare cards and different methods of payment. That's all starting to change. Responding to riders’ demands, many of the biggest transit systems in the U.S. are modernizing the way they collect fares. The agencies are upgrading their ticket-taking operations with technology that can take away the need for a ticket altogeth

Three Ways Austin Is Doubling the Rate It Builds Bike Routes - StreetsBlog USA

If you want to learn how a city can start doing good street projects faster, keep an eye on Austin, Texas. In 2014, when he was authoring Austin’s plan for a citywide “all ages and abilities” biking network, city bikeway designer Nathan Wilkes threw together an Excel chart that might have been easy to laugh at: It looked like the chart you might see in, for example, thousands of pitches to venture capitalists: “First, we muddle through for a few years. Then, a miracle occurs.” But here’s the thing: sometimes miracles occur. Wilkes said this month that he didn’t know, when he sketched that chart, that there would be a $720 million bond measure on Austinites’ 2016 ballots for improving mobilit

Atlanta mandates all new construction be "electric vehicle ready" - TreeHugger

Many of us TreeHuggers would dearly love for cities to ban cars and take steps instead toward promoting active, health- and life-improving transportation options. Here in the sprawling cities of the South, however, that future seems an awful long way off. (They've been talking about light rail in my town for the last two decades. Never mind separated bike lanes.) That's why I tend to still see electric vehicles and livable, bike- and pedestrian-friendly cities not as a binary choice, but as two sides of the same coin. So I was pleased to hear that Atlanta has just passed a new "EV Ready" ordinance that should significantly improve the viability of electric vehicle charging in all new buildin

Portland’s parking-policy successes will get a go now in California - Mobility Lab

Congratulations, California city leaders. Your state legislators recently spared you the pain and trouble of taking the first step in a crucial political fight against unnecessary and even socially irresponsible parking requirements. However, trouble lies ahead if you, as city officials, don’t take the important second step of guiding smarter street parking. Senate Bill 35, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, takes the smart step of ending minimum parking requirements for garages in new apartment and condo buildings “within one-half mile of public transit.” Garage mandates are costly and destructive. They’ve driven up home prices for decades by making truly transit-oriented housing all

SEPTA gets feedback on proposed Norristown High Speed Line - Reading Eagle

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA. SEPTA's proposed light rail service to King of Prussia got mixed reviews during a series of hearings last week. The $1.2 billion project would extend the Norristown High Speed Line with stops at the King of Prussia Mall, Valley Forge Casino and several high-traffic business areas in the region. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, anticipates 9,500 users per day on the rail system, said Liz Smith, SEPTA's director of strategic planning and partnerships. At a hearing Wednesday at Norristown City Hall, many, including Norristown municipal administrator Crandall Jones, spoke in favor of the proposal. "Right now, we're seeing an influx of new

Europe's Intercity Bus Juggernaut Is Rolling Into the U.S. - City Lab

The Flixbus I took from Berlin to Hamburg last month showed up about fifteen minutes late. My seat didn’t recline. The wifi was spotty. The bathroom, reasonably clean. In other words, at 18 euros, the three-hour ride was just fine—a step up from what intercity buses have historically offered, but nothing revolutionary. And yet Flixbus is the hottest thing in Europe’s long-haul bus business: It boasts 200,000 cheap, daily connections to more than 1,200 destinations in 26 countries, carrying 30 million passengers in 2016. Flixbus created this network in just five years, a growth that has little to do with the quality of the rides themselves. It’s the business model: As Uber does not own its on

Take a virtual tour of the King of Prussia Rail line - Curbed

It’s full steam ahead for the KOP Rail Line, SEPTA’s billion-dollar plan to connect King of Prussia to Philly and the region via train. In late October, SEPTA released its environmental impact study, and now two more public comment sessions remain. Efforts to create the KOP Rail Line have been years in the making for an area that’s snarled by traffic. The proposal calls to extend the existing Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia, creating a 4.4-mile extension. It would be a one-seat, express route to the town from 69th Street Station or the Norristown Transportation Center. The KOP Rail Line has the backing of a bunch of businesses and community stakeholders, many of whom are part o

An all-electric yellow school bus will roll out in 2019 - Curbed

School buses, which transport some 25 million students each weekday, are a massive transit system prime for a tech upgrade. And it’s starting to get one. Thomas Built Buses, a North American subsidiary of German automaker Daimler, just announced that it will debut an all-electric version of its iconic yellow school buses in the U.S. in 2019. Unveiled at the National Association of Pupil Transportation’s annual summit in Columbus, Ohio, last week, the SAF-T-liner C2—nicknamed Jouley—uses Daimler’s 160-kWh battery, which has about an 100-mile range per charge; additional battery packs can extend that range. The Jouley bus can transport up to 81 students at a time. Click here to read the full a

Planning Boards Must Put Healthy Communities at Center of Real Estate Decisions - Next City

People walking, people in wheelchairs, people with walkers, people who are children, people who have children, people on bicycles are all part of traffic, yet people are not included in many traffic studies. Developers are often required to show data when presenting a proposal for a project to a town’s planning board. Planning boards, in their most basic of capacities, determine two things: use in regards to zoning and safety. How can planning boards properly determine the safety of developments if there’s no requirement to measure the safety for people not in cars? People not in cars are the most important part of any development. People are not in their cars when they spend money. People w

Businesses bullish for KoP rail as neighbors push for route change -

A route shifted 30 yards or so may soothe opposition to plans for a light-rail line to King of Prussia. At the first of three public comment sessions scheduled this week, people who have opposed the plan said running the light rail north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike might address many of their concerns. “They have listened, and they’ve accommodated our needs as neighbors,” said Pamela Hale, who lives in Valley Forge Homes, a neighborhood close to the rail’s proposed path. SEPTA’s preferred route travels along the south side of the turnpike, right past Hale’s neighborhood. The transit agency is considering shifting the elevated tracks to the other side of the highway and away from homes. The

Chicago Advocates Promote the Bus as the Healthy Transportation Option - Next City

Chicagoans are rejecting the bus. Since 2012, annual Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus ridership has dropped by about 55 million rides, a more than 17 percent decrease. From 2015 to 2016 alone, the system saw 15 million fewer rides. It is unsurprising given that all but a few U.S. cities have seen bus ridership decline in recent years. Understandably, the trend has transit advocates worried that it could lead to a death spiral for a critical piece of Chicago’s transit network. With that in mind, Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance set out to find out why people are abandoning the bus and think about ways to turn things around. This month, the nonprofit transportation advocacy group re

Research: Walkability makes a street more “complete” - Mobility Lab

When people consider a street “walk-friendly,” simply put, they are more likely to walk. This is one of the findings from a new study – conducted in Salt Lake City, Utah – that sought to evaluate the success of a “Complete Street,” one that is designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. More than 1,200 Complete Streets policies exist in the United States today. The idea is now more than 10 years old, and being able to empirically confirm the long-standing hypothesis behind the movement adds strength to its importance. The study, published recently in the Journal of Environmental Researc

Can We Just Call This a Bus? - City Lab

It’s the shape of a swoopy modern streetcar, but it’s got rubber-shod wheels of a bus. Also, there’s no driver—it’s automated like a tram. The “trackless train” is sort of a jackalope of public transportation. Or maybe it’s more like a donkey than a truly mythical creature; unlike a certain infamous straddling bus, this hybrid transportation innovation is for real. Since late October, oblong, self-driving vehicles have been using sensor technology to follow markings painted on the streets of Zhuzhou, China. Operators are behind the wheel for now, but the idea is that they won’t be needed by the time the city builds a network larger than the 3.1-kilometer test track, a dedicated lane on a hea

Pittsburgh becomes first U.S. city with year-round UPS bike-delivery route - Pittsburgh City Paper

Bikes are a very contentious issue in Pittsburgh. So much so that Pittsburgh’s 2017 mayoral primary had candidates run on anti bike-lane messaging. But bike proponents are moving ahead anyway. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, a champion of bike lanes, dominated his anti-bike challengers in the May primary elections and won re-election on Nov. 7. U.S. Census figures show the city’s bike commuters increased by more than 50 percent from 2015 to 2016. And now delivery giant United Parcel Service (UPS), is getting in on the bike action. Starting Nov. 9, Downtown Pittsburgh will be home to UPS’s only year-round delivery route that utilizes an electric-assist bike-cart in the U.S. The pedal-powered c

The Real Reason Behind the Push for KOP Rail - PhillyMag

The push to build a new Norristown High-Speed Line spur to serve King of Prussia continues to gather momentum, though its critics aren’t going away either. SEPTA’s release earlier this month of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the proposed line has energized both sides in the debate over the spur’s merits. Spur proponents have formed a coalition to support the rail line project, and SEPTA made some changes to the route that was ultimately selected to keep it from literally running through people’s backyards. But those tweaks have not been enough to mollify critics of the line. That’s because this project isn’t really about reducing traffic congestion in King of Prussia, th


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