Strides in Energy-efficient Transportation: New York Power Authority Partners with MTA

New York TransitTransit agencies across the globe are pushing the envelope on energy efficiency. We recently wrote on how India’s train system is being transformed rooftop solar panels. Today we’re bringing you another optimistic story about green public transit, this time on American soil. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to boost energy efficiency at the North White Plains Train Yard. The MTA/NYPA partnership is also moving forward with energy-efficiency upgrades at other MTA facilities, with the end goal of saving New York State over $300,000 per year in energy savings, while eliminating nearly 1,200 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

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How Can Transit Agencies Create a “New Transit Safety Narrative”?

Transit Safety ImageThe real risks related to public transit safety are quite low. However, many people still associate public buses and trains with danger, and these perceptions can reduce their likelihood of using transit. Some researchers, including Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, suggest that transit agencies are partially to blame for the public’s stubborn belief that public transportation is unsafe. Today we’re taking a look at how transit agencies can create a new transit safety narrative. We begin with a review of the actual safety of public transit.

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Bus Simulator Training Technology – How to Get it Right

Excellent bus operation begins with excellent training. Many transit agencies are installing simulators to improve their driver training programs. The idea is that bus simulators provide a low-risk environment for practicing proper reactions to high-risk situations. As such, simulators can reduce wash-out rates for new hires and increase safety for rookies and veterans alike.

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How Important are Students to the Growth of Public Transit Agencies?

Across the country, transit agencies are seeing booming ridership numbers, in part due to increased patronage by college students. For instance, Riverside Transit Agency hit an all-time high of 9.6 million boardings in the past financial year. The agency attributes the growth to ridership among college students. In 2015, Riverside TA saw 1.6 million student boardings from six area schools. What’s more, the agency reports a 6% increase in student ridership over the past two years.

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Solar Panels on Trains May be in Our Future

Solar technology can make train travel greener. This summer, Indian Railways (IR) ran pilot tests for installing solar panels on the roofs of trains. As IR is India’s largest user of high-speed diesel, and one of the country’s largest consumers of electricity, the railway aims to reduce energy use by installing alternative energy sources. After a successful pilot program, the government has promised to install solar panels on the roofs of 500 trains.

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Increased Public Transit Options Lower City Crime

Compared to automobile travel, public transit is the low-crime transportation option. As transit expert Todd Litman writes in the Journal of Public Transportation, 500 times more crimes are committed against motorists than against transit passengers, and “transit travel has significantly lower crime rates per passenger trip, mile, and hour.” Still, some crimes do occur on public transit, and transit operators can make improvements to reduce overall crime risk. In this blog, we will review how city transit networks actually serve to reduce crime. We’ll also look at how public transit WiFi and other improvements can make public transit even safer.

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Public Transit Accessibility for Autistic Adults a Priority

Adults on the autism spectrum may be aware of public transit options, but many don’t use them. That’s what a recent study conducted by Rutgers University’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation discovered. While using a nearly $400,000 grant from the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism, the Rutgers researchers are creating and conducting a holistic skills test to help autistic adults and their caretakers understand which skills are needed to ride public transportation. The skills test is also helping transit managers understand how to improve autism programs.

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Crime on Public Transit is Far Lower than in Autos

Many people perceive public transit as dangerous and crime-ridden. This may be due to the depiction of public transportation in popular culture. Cinema has depicted public transportation, particularly New York City’s subway, as crime-ridden and dangerous. The mid-‘70s were an especially pessimistic time in this regard. The poster for 1972’s “The French Connection” showed a murder on the covered stairs of a Brooklyn elevated subway station. Three years later, “Death Wish” and “The Taking of Pelham 123” portrayed the New York subway as a location of more murder, mayhem, and hijackings. Political groups have also used the perception of the subway as an unsafe place. In 1975, for instance, a group of labor unions stymied the mayor’s proposal to eliminate 11,000 public safety officers by threatening to distribute a million copies of a tourist pamphlet titled, “Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York.” The copy urged visitors to “never ride the subways for any reason whatsoever.”

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Light Rail & Public Transit Encouraging U.S. Economy

The concept of “aging in place” has transformed the real-estate world, as homebuyers seek properties with universal designs, allowing for continued private residence as individuals grow older. Similarly, “investment in place” is changing economists’ concept of effective growth. In both concepts, the idea is to build with the future in mind. Homeowners can opt for universal design features and city planners can opt for investments that will attract talent and businesses by improving quality of life.

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Can Private Charter Bus Travel Help Keep Rural Communities Connected?

Public Transit RuralWhen airline transportation was deregulated in 1978, the EAS (Essential Air Service) program was established to ensure rural communities would continue to see regular airline service. The Transportation Department currently subsidizes commuter airlines flying to 163 rural communities through EAS. While some reforms have been applied to the EAS program over the years, air travel has continued to be the sole mode of transit considered for this important program. Today, we’re considering whether rural travel connections could be provided by motorcoaches at a cost savings over air travel.

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