Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference: Public Transportation Reform

cross-posted from Sum of Change

I just finished listening to Ruth Otte of Veolia Transportation talking about real life examples of revolutionizing, from an energy standpoint, public transportation. I will run through the bullet points with you real quick.

She spoke about three locations where Veolia came in to make public transportation easier and more efficient; Nice in France, Limburg in the Netherlands, and Salt Lake City.

Nice, France:
From the Veolia website
Quiet, electric light rail vehicles, drawing power from the street below rather than unsightly wires above, run down grassy malls beneath canopies of trees in the city’s downtown center of commerce, tourism, and culture. Bus lines with tightly coordinated schedules act as “feeders” to the trains. Together they bring people from the farthest reaches of the area into the core of the city with ease, as well as to high-speed trains that travel all over France.
And here are some of the results:
• 5 minutes waits in peaks
• train extremely popular
• Bus ridership up 35%
• 92% satisfaction
• currently testing a system to allow people to pay for rides with their cell phone

The efforts here were similar to that of Nice, France. The one mission: make travel easy. As with Nice, there was an emphasis on scheduling busses to feed the trains. Taxi's are part of the fare, and riders can access real time info to help plan accordingly.

The results:
• 36% rail increase
• bus ridership up 30%
• less fuel/labor costs
• less government funding necessary

Salt Lake City:
One of the interesting things that was done in Salt Lake City, and is being tried in other cities as well, has to do with busses. Veolia added "bus rapid transit", or bus only lanes. The busses are also connected to traffic signals and receive priority (if they are coming up on a green light that is about to change, it will hold off and wait for the bus to get through). This leads to rapidly moving bus routes.

We'll be here for the next couple days and tomorrow I'll have my video camera with me.
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