Posts Tagged 'Central Subway'

The French: masters of the train

Cable Car at Doha International Airport (planned)Switching Modes has launched a new website that explores how each era of the railway began in France, not as a new technology, but as a movement. This new website looks at the history of steam engines, the creation of the Paris Métro and the subsequent creation of the RER. Then the website looks into the introduction of the TGV and the next-generation of high-speed rail, the AGV. For each of these technologies the website discusses who made it, and why. Then it refers to the historical context of the trains in France. Finally, the website reveals how each era of the railway in France has become a model for other rail systems around the world.

The French history of rail is explicative of more than a chronological history – it shows that these projects take a national commitment. I encourage anyone who feels that the rail system in America is lacking to read on about French rail as a model for the world >>>.

© Brian A. Tyler and Switching Modes, 2009.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brian Tyler and SwitchingModes.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Capital Costs vs. Operational Costs: the general state of misdirected anger

Oakland Airport ConnectorRail projects are expensive. Take, for example, the San Francisco Bay Area: Despite the fact that BART is having budget difficulties they moving ahead with a $500 million 3.2-mile Oakland Airport connector, a $3.4 billion rail car fleet replacement and a $6 billion extension to Silicon Valley. MUNI, which is also in the midst of a budget crisis, is moving ahead with $1.58 billion 1.7-mile surface/subway expansion program. It should be no surprise then that the amount general outrage directed at this apparent disparity between these ‘elitist’ projects and the service cuts faced by the same agencies seeking these glamorous expansions is growing.

What is lacking in this debate however is that these rail projects have lower operating costs than the services they are meant to replace. For example BART has one of the highest fair box recovery ratios of transit system in the country! Furthermore these projects increase transit capacity, speed and reliability and thus are able to entice more people to switch modes.

Making a statement with transit

These projects also make a statement – they’re massive monuments to transportation. They’re immovable and permanent. This is important because people who are willing to give up their car need some reassurance that transit is there for them. Switching modes is perhaps one of the hardest and most life altering changes that a person can make; the automobile is almost an extension of a person. To give up one’s car, for many people, is to give up a part of oneself – a part of one’s identity. That void needs to be filled, and a bumpy, impermanent bus route just won’t do it – not even if you label it BRT.

Rail. It WorksNow, I know that there are people out there outraged that I am concerned about people who have cars when there are people out there who barely have access to, or who may no longer be able to afford the bus. There is no excuse for the transit services to be cut, especially when ridership is at such high levels and global warming is peaking its’ ugly head. Everyone should be outraged by this! However, the solution is not to attack the projects that put transit on the right track for the future. These projects will allow buses to be replaced by trains that cost less to operate and simultaneously allow for increased reliability and capacity. These projects are the way forward. We should support them.

No Good.

IMAGE CREDIT: BART; BART; Flickr by ‘Will aims to rage’ and ‘pbo31’; Charles Cushman

© Brian A. Tyler and Switching Modes, 2009.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brian Tyler and SwitchingModes.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Patience Is A Virtue

On the slow track

San Francisco’s Central Subway Delayed Two-Years
The San Francisco Examiner reports that the Central Subway project will be delayed two-years and cost $278 million more ($1.58b total) then expected. There is some ‘good’ news though: the federally mandated study that arrived at these figures gave a green light to project funding thus allowing project officials to comment that, “This project is very much on track.”

At SwitchingModes.com we promote Putting Transit on the Fast Track. While we support the Central Subway project, we are dismayed at this rate of progress. Of course, that is just our subjective opinion. That is why we calculated the expected average speed of the 1.7 mile project from now until the 2018 completion date announced today: The project is moving along 0.179 miles per year; 0.0148 miles per month; 0.000041 miles per day; and just 0.00000169 miles per hour. This is just 2.566 inches per day! In other words, the Central Subway might be on track, but it’s certainly not the fast track.

© Brian A. Tyler and SwitchingModes.com, 2009.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brian Tyler and SwitchingModes.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



© Brian A. Tyler and SwitchingModes.com, 2009.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and/or concepts without express and written permission from this websites’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brian Tyler and SwitchingModes.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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June 2017
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