TVMs in University Street Station
TVMs, Photo by Oran
  • President Obama  has listed Eugene-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver (aka Amtrak Cascades) as one of the corridors for his high speed rail plan. That’s great news, and means that Cascades will likely get some of the $8 billion in HSR stimulus money, and maybe some of the $1 billion in the annual high speed rail the feds are going to give out. I’m pretty happy about the choice of lines in general, though I think Dallas-Houston would be a better route than San Antonio-Dallas-Tulsa. Expect more news on this to come, in the mean time the Transport Politic is on top of it.
  • Matt Yglesias points to a bus rapid transit (BRT) plan for Washington DC, which looks pretty awesome. Ygelsias says he hopes that these one day become streetcars, but I don’t know. While I don’t know DC that well, I’m not so sure that streetcars are necessarily suited to replace BRT in all cases.
  • Apparently the HOT lanes on SR 167 are getting mixed review, according to the Auburn Reporter. To me the numbers seem mostly positive.
  • Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, a very libertarian economics blog, asks why people like streetcars. I don’t agree with much of what he says, I’ve found streetcars to be at least as if not more comfortable than buses, and I don’t like to “affiliate myself with the past”. The comments are quite good, though.
  • The media is way over-reacting to the Link-car collision, as I worried they might.
  • Link ticket vending machines (TVMs) are all over the tunnel, as Oran’s photo the right shows.

15 Replies to “News Round Up: HSR, BRT, TVMs and Streetcars”

  1. You’re right about the alignment of some of the lines (There are parallel lines going across Michigan and Ohio, one ending at Toledo and one ending 60 miles north in Detroit. Wouldn’t it make sense for both of those lines to follow the same track for most of the run? Maybe even scrap the Chicago-Detroit line completely in favor of a Chicago-Toledo-Detroit line. The Chicago-Detroit line is 282 miles. You only travel an extra 17 miles by going through Toledo, meaning the Chicago-Toledo-Detroit line is almost half as much track (and therefore half as expensive) while only taking 15-20 minutes longer or less.

    But, it’s a great first step. I’m hopeful they can get the SEA-PDX trip under 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

    1. I agree with everything you said, but the actually track may not reflect the picture shown.

      1. very true. This was just the first planning effort by Amtrak. Now that they might have a budget for further planning, i expect the new line to make much more sense & avoid duplication (similar to the way CA HSR’s plan changed from what they show).

  2. Well, excuse me for asking, but how does this relate to recent news that the DOT shut down the office coordinating DOT-Amtrak-BNSF improvements to the Cascade Corridor?

    I’m having a hard time squaring this particular circle.

  3. Will this ensure that the Pt. Defiance bypass will be built on schedule, or is that still being held up by the City of Tacoma?

  4. To answer the inevitable–no the TVMs don’t do anything (yet). I was in the tunnel on Wednesday and the ones I passed had dark screens. I didn’t stop to play with them as I was late already (took an extra 20 minutes getting down Eastlake and into the tunnel).

    1. Argh. I did too. And they are blaming it on Southeast Seattle people who complained that they would lose service ont he #39 to make way for the #50. Well, this Southeast Seattle person would rather see more crosstown buses. The 39 riders would still have been able to get between downtown and the VA with a transfer at the busway, IIRC, which is not a huge slowdown, but having to go downtown to get to West Seattle from SE Seattle is.

      1. One of the ideas for bringing back the 50 would have had it using the grade seperated crossing at Atlantic St./Edgar Martinez Way, getting it pretty close to Downtown anyway. I was one of the people who said it was a good idea to bring this route back in the survey. Every other route-realignment survey I suggested the same.

  5. As for DC BRT vs. Streetcars, some routes will work good for streetcars, plus it could be a great lab for future off-wire equipment tests, as there is a prohibition on overhead wires near the Capitol. Both Streetcars and BRT will work great for feeding the big MetroRail system.

    1. A lot of these corridors are quite dense, and so BRT in the long run won’t have enough capacity, and it will probably be switched to streetcars.

      1. If it were not for all the off-wire streetcar ideas being proprietary, I would say D.C. would make a good laboratory for testing all off-wire vehicles. The old system in D.C. used a conduit line with a collector on the Capitol Hill area, even the PCCs DC Transit used had this system.

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