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Could Miami’s rail project be test model that
changes mass transit in US?
The Guardian
Edward Helmore in Miami April 1, 2016
http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/could-miamis-rail-project-be-test-model-thatchanges-mass-transit-in-us/ar-BBqWPc9?li=BBnbfcN&ocid=mailsignout
What do you get if you put Hitachi’s Japanese engineers, their counterparts from the Italian rail
firm Ansaldo, a schoolgirl choir and the mayor of Miami together in the swamps of Florida? A
new metrorail system that Miami’s urban planners hope will bring commuting from the city to its
ribbons of suburbs into the 21st century.
Suggested from Windows Store
But behind the hoopla and celebration surrounding the $375 million project unveiled last week is
a serious effort to switch U.S. commuters in a major regional city from overcrowded, inefficient
and polluting dependence on cars to a model that resembles the European or Asian adoption of
mass transit.
Miami, like many other cities across the U.S., is attempting to redress decades of underinvestment in the sector. While cities such as Charlotte, San Diego and Dallas have been
successful with the new light rail commuter-moving systems, other cities, including Los
Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., report falling rider numbers despite enormous and
costly efforts by transportation officials to entice people out of their cars.
There have been other, unsuccessful attempts to build a light rail in Miami and other cities have
run into issues with their own plans, but the engineers here are quietly optimistic that any
incoming administration will increase infrastructure budgets, some of which would be targeted to
mass transit.
Hillary Clinton has vowed to increase federal funding by $275 billion over a five-year period,
warning “it is not possible to remain economically competitive in a very, very competitive global
economy if we don’t have the infrastructure we need”.
Here on the border of the Everglades, the gleaming new blue and silver cars look enticing: cleanrunning, silent, with free Wi-Fi and other enticements, but will they help turn the tide against
Miami’s congested roadways?
The city’s construction boom has caused chaos on its roads. Coupled with fears that rising sea
levels could begin to make tidal flooding more frequent, as well as the intermittent threat of
hurricanes, have added to the incentive to overhaul its transportation systems.
For Hitachi, with part ownership of the Italian manufacturer Ansaldo, is looking for deeper
penetration in the U.S. market. Current projects include a driverless system in Honolulu
scheduled to open next year.
“We believe the rail business in the U.S. is sustainable and growing because many cities have a
mass transit system,” noted Kentaro Masai, head of Hitachi global rail. “We’ve already received
support from the government, but were optimistic that ridership, especially among young people,
will grow. There are challenges but we are optimistic.”
© Provided by Guardian News Hitachi’s proposed light rail cars for Miami
That optimism is buoyed in part by signs that millennials, facing higher levels of unemployment,
lower pay and the likelihood of greater college debts, do not share the same enthusiasm for cars
as previous generations. Whereas a car once connoted adulthood, Uber, Zipcar and public transit
will now suffice. Only half of millennials get their driver’s licenses at 18.
“The new generation is not in love with the car,” says Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade
County. “They’re just as happy to get into a railcar or a bus, or be driven round by an Uber. Cars
to them are a hassle whereas for us they were a luxury. It’s a different mindset and we’re seeing
more and more in this community.”
Ridership on Miami’s metrorail system stands at 75,000 daily, says Alice Bravo, director of
Miami’s department of transportation and public works. There are no projections for increase in
riders, but studies have shown congestion on US 1, which runs into downtown Miami, would be
considerably worse without the rail service. “We have ample capacity to grow,” Bravo says,”
and we’re contemplating light rail expansion and provide incentives for using the system. ”
The problems with adoption date to the 1930s when municipal authorities began digging up
commuter rail systems and trolleys as the public adopted cars and buses. The system Miami is
considering for direct access to Miami Beach is in fact on the identical path that existed in 1927.
Miami is considering a public-private tender for that service.
“I think the time is right,” says Charles Scurr, head of the Citizens Transportation trust. “You
can’t think of it just being the auto industries against everyone else. Mass transit is what you
need to be a successful big city, and that’s what people want. It’s essential for growth.”
But there’s a larger question that overhangs Miami: the rise of the oceans. Even in that event,
says Gimenez, the Metrolink is largely elevated so there’s no immediate concern.
“The problem of rising of water is something we’re going to be dealing with but were not
underwater yet,” he says. “And a lot of this talk is of doomsday scenarios which, frankly, I do
not believe. We’re going to adapt to the environment like we always have. We’re ahead of it, and
anything we do is with any eye to sea level rise and sustainability.”
Could Miami’s rail project be test model that
changes mass transit in US?
The Guardian
Edward Helmore in Miami April 1, 2016
http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/could-miamis-rail-project-be-test-model-thatchanges-mass-transit-in-us/ar-BBqWPc9?li=BBnbfcN&ocid=mailsignout
What do you get if you put Hitachi’s Japanese engineers, their counterparts from the Italian rail
firm Ansaldo, a schoolgirl choir and the mayor of Miami together in the swamps of Florida? A
new metrorail system that Miami’s urban planners hope will bring commuting from the city to its
ribbons of suburbs into the 21st century.
Suggested from Windows Store
But behind the hoopla and celebration surrounding the $375 million project unveiled last week is
a serious effort to switch U.S. commuters in a major regional city from overcrowded, inefficient
and polluting dependence on cars to a model that resembles the European or Asian adoption of
mass transit.
Miami, like many other cities across the U.S., is attempting to redress decades of underinvestment in the sector. While cities such as Charlotte, San Diego and Dallas have been
successful with the new light rail commuter-moving systems, other cities, including Los
Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., report falling rider numbers despite enormous and
costly efforts by transportation officials to entice people out of their cars.
There have been other, unsuccessful attempts to build a light rail in Miami and other cities have
run into issues with their own plans, but the engineers here are quietly optimistic that any
incoming administration will increase infrastructure budgets, some of which would be targeted to
mass transit.
Hillary Clinton has vowed to increase federal funding by $275 billion over a five-year period,
warning “it is not possible to remain economically competitive in a very, very competitive global
economy if we don’t have the infrastructure we need”.
Here on the border of the Everglades, the gleaming new blue and silver cars look enticing: cleanrunning, silent, with free Wi-Fi and other enticements, but will they help turn the tide against
Miami’s congested roadways?
The city’s construction boom has caused chaos on its roads. Coupled with fears that rising sea
levels could begin to make tidal flooding more frequent, as well as the intermittent threat of
hurricanes, have added to the incentive to overhaul its transportation systems.
For Hitachi, with part ownership of the Italian manufacturer Ansaldo, is looking for deeper
penetration in the U.S. market. Current projects include a driverless system in Honolulu
scheduled to open next year.
“We believe the rail business in the U.S. is sustainable and growing because many cities have a
mass transit system,” noted Kentaro Masai, head of Hitachi global rail. “We’ve already received
support from the government, but were optimistic that ridership, especially among young people,
will grow. There are challenges but we are optimistic.”
© Provided by Guardian News Hitachi’s proposed light rail cars for Miami
That optimism is buoyed in part by signs that millennials, facing higher levels of unemployment,
lower pay and the likelihood of greater college debts, do not share the same enthusiasm for cars
as previous generations. Whereas a car once connoted adulthood, Uber, Zipcar and public transit
will now suffice. Only half of millennials get their driver’s licenses at 18.
“The new generation is not in love with the car,” says Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade
County. “They’re just as happy to get into a railcar or a bus, or be driven round by an Uber. Cars
to them are a hassle whereas for us they were a luxury. It’s a different mindset and we’re seeing
more and more in this community.”
Ridership on Miami’s metrorail system stands at 75,000 daily, says Alice Bravo, director of
Miami’s department of transportation and public works. There are no projections for increase in
riders, but studies have shown congestion on US 1, which runs into downtown Miami, would be
considerably worse without the rail service. “We have ample capacity to grow,” Bravo says,”
and we’re contemplating light rail expansion and provide incentives for using the system. ”
The problems with adoption date to the 1930s when municipal authorities began digging up
commuter rail systems and trolleys as the public adopted cars and buses. The system Miami is
considering for direct access to Miami Beach is in fact on the identical path that existed in 1927.
Miami is considering a public-private tender for that service.
“I think the time is right,” says Charles Scurr, head of the Citizens Transportation trust. “You
can’t think of it just being the auto industries against everyone else. Mass transit is what you
need to be a successful big city, and that’s what people want. It’s essential for growth.”
But there’s a larger question that overhangs Miami: the rise of the oceans. Even in that event,
says Gimenez, the Metrolink is largely elevated so there’s no immediate concern.
“The problem of rising of water is something we’re going to be dealing with but were not
underwater yet,” he says. “And a lot of this talk is of doomsday scenarios which, frankly, I do
not believe. We’re going to adapt to the environment like we always have. We’re ahead of it, and
anything we do is with any eye to sea level rise and sustainability.”
How Design Can Help Build a ‘Transit
Culture’
Transit “branding,” from a system’s logos to its stations, can have a real impact on riders.
•
•
•
•
Eric Jaffe
@e_jaffe
Mar 14, 2014
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/03/how-design-can-help-build-transitculture/8633/
•
•
•
stevecadman/Flickr
Earlier this month the transit agency serving metropolitan Rochester, New York, announced a
million-dollar “rebranding” effort. That means everything from a new logo to new uniforms —
all aimed at changing the public perception “that buses are only for people who have no other
option,” the Democrat and Chronicle reports. The next brand will try to surround Rochester
transit with a sense of comfort and ease.
Rochester isn’t alone in its desire for a transit brand. Jeff Doble, director of transportation design
for the Vancouver office of architecture firm Perkins+Will, says system branding is becoming
“more and more prominent and important to cities.” From the architectural design of stations to
the wayfinding style of signage and maps, branding can help cities that are “trying to build a
transit culture.”
“You realize how much a brand — whether it’s station design or just a refresh of signage within
the city itself — really becomes part of the experience of the rider,” says Doble. “[Cities] are still
struggling to get people to really appreciate the benefits of public transit. I think branding plays a
big role in that.”
Public perception of a transit system is no superficial matter. Recent studies suggest it can have a
ridership impact on par with actual service quality. The most iconic transit brands tend to conjure
up positive feelings; think the art nouveau entrances of the Paris Metro, or Beck’s famed map
design of the London Tube. On the flipside, consider the negative image people had of New
York City’s subway when its cars were covered in graffiti.
The key to an effective transit brand, says Doble, is to connect a design with the local culture of
the city itself. He points to Vancouver’s transit system as a great example. The city’s involvement
in the Pacific Northwest forest industry inspired an architectural style that incorporates wood
into the transit stations. Exposed wood now graces canopies and shelters throughout the system.
Photo
by Nic Lehoux
Photo
by Enrico Dagostini
Some of the other projects Doble has been involved with lately include transit station designs in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and in Honolulu, Hawaii. A unifying element in both places is strong
canopy that unifies the system and becomes identifiable to city residents and visitors as a transit
hub from afar.
“It’s mostly about providing a nice environment that elevates that experience,” says Doble.
“Transit stations — it’s important to make them very durable, but through that you don’t want to
make them sterile environments that aren’t inviting or comfortable for passengers.”
Courtesy Perkins+Will
Via Honolulu Transit
Designing new stations is one thing; reinventing an existing system, as is the case in Rochester,
often poses additional challenges. In such cases, says Doble, architects must consider whether to
tweak the present identity, start completely fresh, or impose new brands on individual parts of
the system — especially routes serving neighborhoods that see themselves as unique
communities. Balancing the character of an individual line with the branding of an entire system
can be tough.
“It’s working within those existing systems that I think is probably more of a challenge,” he says.
“To look at ways to modernize them and expand upon a language that’s been established.”
The Next Century of Sustainable
Communities Will Be Organized Around
Transportation
The era of transit-oriented development and “networked livable communities” has arrived.
•
•
•
John L. Renne
@jlrenne
Apr 29, 2014
•
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/04/next-century-sustainable-communities-willbe-organized-around-transportation/8980/
•
Flickr user Montgomery County Planning Commission
The Great Recession has fundamentally changed the trajectory of both real estate and
transportation in the United States. For the past century, our nation’s economy revolved around
the production of vehicles, highways, sprawl, and more vehicles. Transportation policy
emphasized a supply-side approach of building highways to increase the speed and mobility of
our nation’s vehicular-based mobility system. However, in the 21st century, transportation’s
focus will shift to a sustainable transport paradigm of managing existing infrastructure (as
opposed to building new roads) and improving accessibility. This will be enhanced through
transit-oriented development and “networked livable communities.”
As their name suggests, networked livable communities are networked into both the Internet and
multi-modal transportation systems. They’re also also networked into the professional economy:
they are hubs and corridors of cafes, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and shared-office settings. They
include art, live music, and animated street life. These communities are emerging in former
warehouse and industrial districts, downtowns, historic districts, inner-suburbs, TODs, collegetowns, and artistic communities that have bucked national trends over the past five years of
decline and eroding land values. As the saying goes, “being in the right place at the right time” is
important to source opportunities. Networked livable communities are the post-recession “right
places.” Residents there network for jobs, business financing, new partnerships, and overall
professional connectivity.
Several interrelated events have set the stage for sustainable transport and the rise of networked
livable communities over the next several decades. During the first decade of the 21st century,
America’s total vehicle miles traveled peaked. Since our transportation system is funded from the
gas tax, the peaking of VMT means that we no longer have a growing source of federal funds to
expand highways. The Great Recession also reduced suburban sprawl, which has lost favor with
many Americans now looking to live, work, and play in denser, mixed-use areas. A recent study
reported that close proximity to shopping and transit was important to the majority of Americans.
There is a pent-up demand for TOD, which is an important element for the success of networked
livable communities. As a nation, we have built more than 4,500 fixed transit stations, most of
which are rail. However, only 38 percent of these station areas achieve a minimum gross density
of eight residential units per acre within a half-mile of the station — the level of density
identified by researchers as needed to support transit usage. Density is also vital for business
establishments to survive.
A study that I authored last year with Reid Ewing reveals that TOD station areas have
outperformed low-density transit adjacent developments (TADs) significantly in terms of
sustainable commuting. TADs are the opposite of TODs; they are low-density, auto-oriented
communities around rail stations which do not facilitate walking or transit ridership other than
via car access. In 2010, nearly 53 percent of commuters in TODs traveled by transit, walking, or
bicycling as compared to less than 16 percent living in low-density TAD station areas.
Perhaps surprising, TADs in the U.S. are wealthier on average than TODs, earning $68,409 in
household income compared with $51,335. However, TOD residents only spent 37 percent of
their income on the combined cost of housing plus transportation compared to TAD residents,
who spent about half their income. In other words, the location efficiency afforded to TOD
households yielded them significantly more in disposable income than TAD households for the
year. On average, TOD residents earn less but have about the same disposable income in
comparison to their wealthier counterparts in TADs, who drive for most of their commute trips.
TOD residents spend less on housing and transportation costs.
Given these findings, it’s no surprise that over time TOD home values have significantly
outperformed the national market, including TADs. The TOD Index reveals that from 1996 to
2013, homes in over 449 TODs across the United States appreciated 325 percent, as compared
with homes in 817 TAD station areas, which appreciated about 200 percent — same as the
overall national market.
In sum, homes in TODs are worth more, which generates more local property taxes for cities.
Residents spend less on housing and transportation costs, which means they have more money
for other purchases from local businesses. The higher densities and higher share of non-car
commuters means that transit agencies can earn more revenue by expanding TODs around
vacant stations.
As Americans demand more networked livable communities, cities can begin with increasing
densities around empty rail stations and incentivizing more TODs. Metro areas that build at 8
units per acre (4,000 residential units or 10,000 people per station area) around all empty stations
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