Detroit practiced with its new red-and-white Q-LINE streetcars for two weeks this month. It’s getting ready for their long awaited debut on May 12. The 66-foot-long vehicles are simulating normal operations, but without passengers, by traveling along a 3.3-mile route on Woodward Avenue. They travel up to 35 miles per hour.
“It’s really to get the drivers accustomed and also the vehicular, pedestrian, cycling public… getting used to seeing the cars everywhere and working out any final kinks,” said Dan Lijana, a spokesman for M-1 Rail, the organization responsible for the system’s construction and operation.
Brookville Equipment, in Pennsylvania, delivered all six of the three-section streetcars last year. Each weighs 87,000-pounds and can carry an average of 125 passengers.
“QLINE’s grand opening will be a historic day in Detroit,” said Matt Cullen, M-1 RAIL ceo. “We’re bringing rail transit back to the heart of the city and connecting the Woodward Corridor in a way that’s already begun to transform the entire district.”
The $142-million project has been under construction since July 2014.
(freep.com, mlive.com, usnews.com, wikipedia.com, photo from twitter.com/qlinedetroit)
Minnesota Groups Rally for Transit
Advocacy groups in Minnesota are targeting suburban Metro Transit commuters with a message about possible transit cuts. The groups are urging riders to contact their local representatives about a transportation budget bill that could cause the cuts.
The groups have started an information campaign and website to promote Metropolitan Council claims that there could be a 40 percent cut in bus, light-rail and commuter rail service. The council predicts this would eliminate between 20 and 70 percent of Metro Transit’s 151 bus routes and cut “thousands” of trips.
The Metropolitan Council is the regional policy-making body, planning agency and provider of essential services for the Twin Cities metropolitan region.
The Minneapolis Regional and St. Paul chambers of commerce and the transit advocacy group East Metro Strong are at the forefront of the campaign. They will be hosting events next week. Transportation Forward, a coalition led by Transit for Livable Communities & St. Paul Smart Trips, is also holding a rally May 16 to support transit.
Metro Transit provided more than 82 million rides to passengers last year, and about 40 percent of the people who work in downtown Minneapolis use transit for their commute.
(startribune.com, metrocouncil.org, stoptransitcuts.com, photo from scoopnest.com)
CA “Perks” Nudge Rider Travel
Bay Area Rapid Transit learned earlier this year that incentives can successfully shift the travel behavior of their riders.
The San Francisco transit agency held an incentive program called “BART Perks” that motivated an average of 250 participants to avoid the peak morning rush hour on weekdays. Participants shifted their ride to either the hour before or the hour after. This freed up two entire BART cars each weekday during BART’s busiest hour.
“BART Perks” was offered by BART and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which serves as the congestion management agency for the county.
BART believes the program is the first of its kind in North America. It was modeled after successful international programs used in places such as Singapore. The program’s incentive model is based on the economic theory of “nudging,” which argues that even a small reward can lead to adjustments in behavior.
(bart.gov, pleasantonweekly.com, citylab.com)
Australia Funds Transit Development
The Australian Government awarded a 10-year grant last month to develop the country’s transport and mobility technologies. The grant is worth AU$55 million and has been awarded to the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre.
CRC is a consortium of members from industry and research who are developing ways to use emerging technologies to improve the mobility of people and freight.
“We are excited to finally receive the green light” said bid leader Ian Christensen. “Transport is the backbone of our economy. As a country, we will fall behind if we cannot find ways to move our people and goods more effectively and efficiently.” He said the project will start in July.
Jim Wilson, General Manager