Headline News

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  • ...San Francisco has been waiting for Van Ness BRT a long time. The line was a signature project in the half-cent sales tax referendum, Proposition K, that city voters approved in 2003. The original plan called for Van Ness to be up and running by late 2009. The latest timeline has BRT beginning operations in 2018—a full decade and a half after the Prop K vote (which itself came years after the route concept emerged).

  • From the Marin IJ headline "Feds hail Marin's $28m bike path program" a reader would assume that Marin's Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program, implemented by Walk Bike Marin, was a resounding success...However, the actual bike counts and buried deep in the report and tell an entirely different story.

    Marin Independent Journal
  • As part of Mayor Ed Lee's Transportation 2030 Taskforce Initiative, the city and county of San Francisco is planning to ask voters to approve a $500 million general obligation bond on the November ballot. Among other things, the tax dollars would fund numerous street repairs; add to and improve the existing bicycle-lane network; and improve Muni service by implementing signal prioritization, purchasing new buses and light-rail vehicles, and constructing bus-only lanes along especially congested corridors. But the one public transit service that is vital to San Franciscans, yet only proposed to be allocated $30 million (for elevator and escalator refurbishment), is BART.

    SF Chronicle
  • ...(F)or years the bike commuting rate has remained roughly steady at just over a third of trips. Then last year the city’s bike commute mode share increased from 36 percent to 41 percent. Meanwhile, driving declined 3 percent as a share of commuting trips.

    Streetsblog SF
  • A Japanese rail giant wants to build a train that floats inches above the tracks using magnetic levitation, and whisks passengers from Tokyo to Osaka in less than half the current journey time. The proposal for the maglev train by Central Japan Railway, better known as JR Central, is expected to be approved (paywall) by Japanese lawmakers this year and form part of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to stimulate the Japanese economy. But the problem with the proposed maglev isn’t just its expensive price tag—at $90 billion, it would be one of the most expensive railway projects ever built–but its timing.

  • ...The good news this week for my dream vacation is that I no longer need to sign up for either: Amtrak announced that all its long-distance trains will feature baggage cars, which feature luggage racks that double as bike racks. By the end of the year, all 15 long-distance routes, including the Northeast Corridor, may have these cars. Which means no more messing with bike boxes. 

  • A judge has rejected a challenge by a property-rights group to Plan Bay Area, adopted by regional agencies to guide land use and transportation through 2040 by concentrating new housing and jobs in areas served by public transit. The Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission approved the plan in July for the nine-county area, which is projected to grow in population from 7 million to nearly 9 million in 26 years.

    SF Chronicle
  • A key portion of the BART to Silicon Valley extension has been delayed by nearly a year, but it's too soon to know if the timeline for the overall $2.3 billion rail line will be pushed off track.

    Mercury News
  • ...With the advent of bike-share, there's a move towards seeing cycling as a more basic form of transportation, especially in cities. The case for bike-share as transit is getting easier: A forthcoming study from Susan Shaheen and Elliot Martin reports that 40 percent to 55 percent of bike-share trips are work commutes. 

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    ...Maybe traffic engineers in U.S. cities happen to know exactly the right amount of roads to build to satisfy driving demand. But Turner and Duranton think that’s unlikely.  The modern interstate network mostly follows the plan originally conceived by the federal government in 1947, and it seems incredibly coincidental that road engineers at the time could have successfully predicted driving demand more than half a century in the future. A more likely explanation, Turner and Duranton argue, is what they call the fundamental law of road congestion: new roads will create new drivers, resulting in the intensity of traffic staying the same.