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Commentary

Sound Transit

Why Streetcars Aren’t a Waste of Money

This article was originally published at Architect This City. Last weekend a friend of mine sent me an article from The Economist talking about why trams, streetcars, and light rail are a waste of money. The argument is basically that steetcars are expensive, less efficient, and that — despite North America’s renewed interest in them —… Read more »

Missed Connections Map

Where to Find Love? Ride Public Transportation

There seems to be quite a lot of flirting, or at least furtive glancing, taking place on public transportation. A new series of Metro ads celebrating the opening of the Silver Line suggests the new rail line to Reston might not only connect Washington D.C. residents with jobs and housing, but with dating opportunities as… Read more »

Earl Kiang and Panel of Judges at GMU Outside the Box Conference

Idea for Smarter Transit Fares Wins George Mason Competition

Transit would be better served if the pay-per-ride and unlimited fare schemes that currently dominate were expanded to include more fine-tuned pricing structures similar to those offered by cell phone companies. That was the idea that won the recent second annual Outside the Box transportation conference and competition at George Mason University’s (GMU’s) School of Public Policy. Winner… Read more »

Bike Lane Walk

U.S. Government Should Improve Its Trip Data

This article was originally published by the Alliance for Biking & Walking. There are two major surveys that are a tremendous help to bicycle and pedestrian advocates in better understanding the progress for our cause. They are great, yet they still could be much improved. The American Community Survey (ACS), which is performed every year… Read more »

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Bike Parking Overtakes Auto Parking in Some Places

At a recent tour of Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington, D.C., Dr. Ted Eytan displayed a photograph of Kaiser Permanente’s Colorado Springs, Colorado medical office (see below), and asked: “In this picture, what’s the most toxic structure to humans?” You might guess the correct answer was the office building, or the carbon dioxide-emitting automobile. But… Read more »

TDM in Arlington

Demand-side Transportation Strategies Are Secret to Arlington’s Success

Two recent headlines really sum it up nicely for Arlington County, Virginia. As Arlington Booms, Traffic Drops was written by Canaan Merchant in Greater Greater Washington and The Suburb of the Future is Here – How one city avoided the worst of suburbanization and revealed the path toward sustainable urban development was by Henry Grabar… Read more »

SFpark: A stylish change in parking policy for stylish San Francisco. Source: SFMTA.

When parking prices are based on demand, everybody wins

(This article was originally published by Greater Greater Washington.) When San Francisco let parking prices fluctuate with demand, drivers found it easier and faster to find parking. The city maximized its valuable curb parking spaces and modestly sped up buses. These are some of the results from a recently-released evaluation of SFpark, a pilot program that started in… Read more »

Bike Kids

Bicycling Gains Could Eventually Put U.S. Cities on Par with Copenhagen

The mainstreaming of bicycling is nothing short of a comeback story in the United States. Bicycle ridership generally is up, and so is bike commuting, particularly in some key urban markets. In automobile-congested but bicycle-friendly regions such as New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., the ability of bikes to outmaneuver automobiles and avoid headache-inducing… Read more »

Shanghai

Gamification, Technology, and Improving Transit Rider Satisfaction

What’s the current state of the rider experience? Are transportation systems meeting the demands and expectations of the general public? These questions were posed to a panel of speakers at a plenary session of the Mobility Lab-sponsored Innovation in Public Policy Summit. Technology – in particular the power of information – was shown to be a… Read more »

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Other Places Nipping at Heels of Arlington’s Transit-Oriented Development

Arlington, Virginia has long been a national and local leader of transit-oriented development (TOD). It’s been the jurisdictional equivalent of an iPad when the majority of places were still desktop PCs. Now, many other places are patterning themselves based on the traits Arlington perfected; that is, relatively dense and containing mixed-use, walkable, and bikeable neighborhoods… Read more »