I-35W MnPass (HOT lanes) to open this week

From MPR I-35W MnPass (HOT lanes) to open this week The entire article talks about MnPass without mentioning I-394 (the link includes animations).
The interesting bit from a transportation perspective is the variable priced shoulders, and how well that works.

Honda’s U3-X Personal Mobility Device is the Segway of unicycles

From Engadget (h/t Kurzweil): Honda’s U3-X Personal Mobility Device is the Segway of unicycles

Journal of Transport and Land Use Vol 2, No 2 (2009)

Journal of Transport and Land Use Vol 2, No 2: Access, Aging, and Impairments Part B: Accessibility Planning is now out.
Table of Contents:
Access, Aging, and Impairments Part B: Accessibility Planning
edited by Jan-Dirk Schmöcker
Implementing accessibility in municipal planning — planners’ view
by Hanna Wennberg, Agneta Ståhl, Christer Hydén
Can measuring the benefits of accessible transport enable a seamless journey?
by Alice Maynard
Assessing the extent of transport social exclusion among the elderly
by Helena Titheridge, Kamalasudhan Achuthan, Roger L Mackett, Juliet Solomon
Older people and local public transit: Mobility effects of accessibility improvements in Sweden
by Anders Wretstrand, Helena Svensson, Sofi Fristedt, Torbjörn Falkmer
Urban Mobility Plans and Accessibility
by Maryvonne Dejeammes
Book Reviews
Book Review of the Code and the City
by Arthur Huang

Mayor orders Thames back on map

From BBC Mayor orders Thames back on map
The most recent TfL Tube map had deleted the Thames to simplify presentation.

Monitoring the Effectiveness of HOV-to-HOT Conversions

Monitoring the Effectiveness of HOV-to-HOT Conversions
Speaker: Randall Guensler, Ph.D.
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Date: September 18, 2009
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Civil Engineering Building Room 210
+ Live Webcast Link
Please sign into the webcast 15 minutes early. Be sure you have the Flash Player installed on your computer. You can install and test the player here. For questions or connection issues, e-mail umconnect@umn.edu.
A critical element of the planning process is the ongoing evaluation of consumer response to transportation strategy implementation. Ongoing evaluation is especially important for high-cost intelligent transportation system (ITS) deployments and value pricing initiatives involving economic incentives that may impact user groups disproportionately. For pricing strategies to be sustained economically and politically in major metropolitan areas, policymakers need hard evidence as to the actual costs and benefits of such strategies. Too often in the debate over converting HOV lanes to HOT lanes, sweeping generalizations are made by advocates in favor of and against pricing initiatives without sufficient evidence to back their positions.
To date, studies have provided pretty clear and convincing evidence that variable toll pricing on congested freeway facilities can reduce congestion on the priced facility. Studies also indicate that managed lane facilities are used by all income groups (although not at the same levels). Previous research efforts have focused primarily on the commute trips. However, the use of HOT lanes affects mode choice, departure time, and travel time for the journey to work, as well as supplemental trip-chaining activities and even the long distance travel made by a household. Ongoing value pricing studies in Atlanta and elsewhere have yet to provide solid evidence as to the impacts of congestion pricing on total household travel and emissions. The data collected to date are inadequate to draw solid conclusions. Ongoing household panel data collection efforts that would provide a detailed look at changes in household travel behavior and emissions before and after congestion-priced facilities are opened have not been implemented concurrent with managed lane introduction due to cost. In the proposal for federal funding support for the HOV to HOT conversion in Atlanta, Georgia committed to implementing a comprehensive study to quantify the effects of the implementation on congestion, travel behavior, emissions, and equity.
Dr. Guensler will provide some background on the Commute Atlanta Value Pricing study in which more than 1.8 million vehicle trips were monitored on a second-by-second basis. He will discuss the major research issues that the team identified in assessing consumer response to pricing and the problems encountered in conducting long term panel studies. He will also demonstrate some of the new instrumented fleet monitoring systems and online electronic travel diary tools developed for various research efforts. Finally, he will provide some information on the planned Atlanta deployment designed to quantify the impacts of HOV-to-HOT conversion.
Refreshments will be served in the rotunda following the seminar.

Rail down in Ohio

Via EP: Amtrak says 3C passenger plan to cost $500 million to get under way in the Plain Dealer.

Passenger train service between Cleveland and Cincinnati would carry nearly half a million passengers a year, but cost more than $500 million to get under way, according to a study released Tuesday by Amtrak.

Or in other words $1000 per annual passenger (divide by number of years to spread the total cost over all users) to get under way, without considering operating costs. Let’s say 10 years, so $100 per passenger (ignoring discounting).

But a one-way ticket from Cleveland to Cincinnati would cost $25.50 at the Amtrak average of 10 cents per mile, said Ken Prendergast, executive director of All Aboard Ohio, a nonprofit agency that promotes rail travel.

So it won’t cover costs, how disappointing.

Varner said ODOT is studying ways to find more funds for bus service. But the state has to invest in all modes of transportation. The Amtrak report shows Ohioans support passenger rail and nearly 6 million people live within 15 miles of the 3C route, he said.
“What we are seeing is the pent-up demand,” he said.

Sure, Ohioans support the rest of the country paying for their service at a subsidy exceeding $75 per trip, why wouldn’t they? And of those 6 million people near the route, only 500K per year are going to use, or one trip per person every 12 years.
But, wait, there is the economic development potential, according to this article: Passenger rail service brought $7B in investments, jobs, developer says in the Dayton Daily news.
Now I am convinced. Rail magically turns $100M to $7B, what a great investment.

On India’s Railways, Women Find New Peace in Commute

Women only trains in India to reduce sexual harassment. From NYT: On India’s Railways, Women Find New Peace in Commute

Timelapse USA

Driving North America, from San Francisco to DC, in 4:36 with time lapse photography (via DailyKos):

See also London to Glasgow in five minutes by train

Bob Johns goes east

Since it is now official…. Congratulations to Bob Johns for his appointment at Volpe. Good luck to Laurie McGinnis as acting director in his stead.

Subject: New Volpe Center Director
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Robert C. Johns as the Director of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center(http://www.volpe.dot.gov/).
As you know, the Volpe Center is a jewel in the DOT family and a global leader in transportation research. Selecting a leader for the Center was among the most important decisions we have had to make, and we took this decision very seriously. We launched a broad national search, proactively reaching out to a wide range of individuals at leading organizations in the private and public sectors. Our search team included representatives from Volpe, RITA headquarters, and the customers of Volpe across the modal administrations. We were very pleased with how many very senior and knowledgeable individuals applied; this strong applicant pool is testament to Volpe’s 40-year reputation as the leading institution of its kind.
Bob Johns stood out among the applicant pool as a leader who brings a strong combination of deep transportation knowledge, research experience, management skills, and extensive ties within the national and global transportation communities. He brings entrepreneurial leadership in building multimodal and interdisciplinary research programs along with his strong management and organizational development expertise.
Bob has been director of the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota since 2001. During this period, he more than doubled the revenue attracted to the University for transportation research, education, and outreach, leading CTS to the top echelon of university transportation centers in the U.S. Prior to joining the University in 1988, Bob held research and management positions with the Santa Fe Railway, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities. He also has over 20 years of experience in leading Transportation Research Board committees and currently is chair of the Technical Activities Council, which oversees TRB’s 200 technical committees. He received a B.S. in Engineering Operations from Iowa State University and an M.B.A. and M.A. from the University of Iowa.
I have had extensive discussions with Bob about how strong a team we have up at Volpe, and the tremendous opportunities we have to leverage this talent to address the transportation challenges that we face as a nation. I want to thank the acting Volpe Director, Dr. Richard John, for his excellent stewardship of this team during an extended interim period. The Volpe Center has never missed a beat in delivering high-quality results for its clients, and Dick has been a critical leader in ensuring this continuity and success.
Bob will be joining us on Monday, September 28. Please join me in offering him a warm welcome to Volpe and the extended RITA and DOT family.
Best regards,
Peter H. Appel
Research and Innovative Technology Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Office: (202) 366-4180