Issues and Insights
This page provides links to recent articles, reports and announcements relating to transportation policy, legislation and research. The entries are drawn from a wide range of sources, including the NJTPA and its member agencies. If you come across interesting transportation reading that might deserve posting here, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Minnesota Is Making Bike-Friendly Cities Across the State
Minneapolis, Minnesota, consistently ranks in the top 10 for best biking cities nationwide, but the state isn’t content to stop there — a statewide effort is making communities across the North Star State more bikeable. Inspired by a Michigan program called Training Wheels that helps communities provide on-road bike facilities, Minnesota has been offering Bikeable Community Workshops since 2012.
Uber Copter Will Only Make New York Transit Worse
There are three ways to get from Manhattan to the city’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. All of them are pretty bad. First, there’s the subway: You can take the A or E out to eastern Queens, and then hop on the AirTrain. It’ll cost you $7.75, and take an hour, but delays are common. Then there’s commuter rail: Take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) from Penn Station to the Jamaica terminal, then AirTrain it, which is $15.75 at rush hour, or $9.50 on weekends, and cuts the time down to about 35 minutes, plus the 15-minute AirTrain ride. Finally, you can take four wheels: A cab, private shuttle, or for-hire vehicle can cost up to $100 during surge pricing and take anywhere between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the status of New York City’s record-high congestion.
Japan begins testing its 248 mph next-gen bullet train
Japan’s next-generation bullet train, the Alfa-X, has gone into testing. The train, which will be built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi, is capable of hitting a maximum speed of 400 km/h (248 mph), but it’s expected to carry passengers at 360 km/h (224 mph) when it opens to the public in 2030. Before that happens, DesignBoom notes that the train has to go through years of testing, making nighttime runs between the cities of Aomori and Sendai. To cope with the high speeds, the Alfa-X has a 72 foot-long aerodynamic nose, which is designed to minimize pressure and reduce the amount of noise that the train creates, particularly as it goes through tunnels. DesignBoom reports that a 52 foot-long nose is also due to be tested. The train is equipped with roof-mounted air brakes and magnetic plates on its underside for braking.
Los Angeles is now offering car rides to metro stations
Wired.com, January, 29th, 2019 - PUBLIC TRANSIT AGENCIES are not known for their flashy, up-to-date technology. In many cities, you’re lucky if your diesel bus shows up on time. But this week, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is trying something new. Starting today, riders who live near three Metro stations will be able to download an app, tap a few times, and have a car show up at their door—or at least within a few blocks—and take them to that station. The service, provided by ride-hail company Via, will cost riders with the system's TAP cards $1.75, though it will be free for those who already use Metro’s low-income subsidy programs. Riders will share their car trips with between two and five others, but the agency says they shouldn’t have to wait longer than 10 minutes for a pick-up
‘The cars just disappeared’: What happened to the 90,000 cars a day the viaduct carried before it closed?
The Seattle Times, January 24th, 2018 - The Alaskan Way Viaduct carried 90,000 cars a day before it was shut down. Where did they all go?Since the closure of Highway 99 through Seattle on Jan. 11, commute times have been slightly above average — but have fallen far short of the most dire predictions. And fewer cars and trucks than normal have been traveling on the region’s other major highways. There have been some bad commutes, and we’ll forgive you for knocking on wood before reading too much further. But about halfway through the longest highway closure in local history, Viadoom hasn’t been that doomy.Public transit seems to have picked up some of the slack, although the two principal transit agencies — King County Metro and Sound Transit — say they can’t yet provide ridership data.
Shipping innovation is moving faster than regulation
Frieght Waves, Januaery 23rd, 2019, - Innovation in the field of autonomous shipping is moving at a far greater pace than the international rules that will regulate the industry can be established, according to Rolls-Royce. Kevin Daffey, director ship intelligence, engineering and technology at Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine, told the Maritime Autonomous Ships Regulatory Working Group conference that Scandinavian countries are moving ahead with the development of autonomous ships that will prove the technology in local waters, and will operate under local regulations.
Stuck and Stressed: The Health Costs of Traffic
The New York Times, January 21st, 2019 - Sometimes the seemingly small things in life can be major stressors. Nobody likes sitting in traffic, for example. According to one study, commuting is one of the least pleasant things we do. But it’s not just an annoying time waster — there’s a case that it’s a public health issue. According to analysis by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average American commuter spends 42 hours per year stuck in rush-hour traffic. In the Los Angeles area, the figure is nearly twice that, equivalent to more than three days. A 2015 Los Angeles Times poll found that among residents of that city, traffic concerns exceed those pertaining to personal safety, finances or housing costs.
Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret
The New York Times, December 10th, 2018 - The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets and bike trails — each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user. One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark to a nearby Planned Parenthood, remaining there for more than an hour. Another represents a person who travels with the mayor of New York during the day and returns to Long Island at night. Yet another leaves a house in upstate New York at 7 a.m. and travels to a middle school 14 miles away, staying until late afternoon each school day. Only one person makes that trip: Lisa Magrin, a 46-year-old math teacher. Her smartphone goes with her.
Showcasing the City of the Future
Huffington Post, Dec 6, 2018 - Last week Alphabet, formerly known as Google, announced that it is seeking “Cities with large swaths of land they want redeveloped - likely economically struggling municipalities grappling with decay - perhaps through a bidding process.” Sidewalk, their partner, would “build up the districts, which are envisioned to hold tens of thousands of residents and employees, and to be heavily integrated with technology.” The aim is to create proving grounds for cities of the future, providing a demonstration area for ideas ranging from self-driving cars to more efficient infrastructure for electricity and water delivery.
Why Are Millennials Leaving New Jersey?
Citiyab, Nov. 30, 2017 - For 69-year-old Jeff Whipple, Bergen County, New Jersey, was about as good a place to grow up as anywhere. “Suburban New Jersey in the ‘50s, in a working-class town—it was like Leave It to Beaver,” he said. “I lived on a block where there were probably 50 other kids. I had four brothers, I married a girl from my hometown … That’s just the way things were in those days.”