June 2008

For many cities the streets are still lined with wires hanging above the asphalt, a reminder of the trolleys that squeaked and whistled and clunked down the streets taking residents and commuters throughout the city. Fortunately, many cities have decided to use those old wires or even install new ones to utilize trackless trolleys or trolleybuses. The system is especially prevalent across Europe and the former USSR. (more…)

As airlines seek to combat growing fuel prices by charging passengers for everything from sodas to luggage, Boeing (in what is slightly old news) tested the first hydrogen fuel cell powered aircraft in April. Given how much fuel the industry uses, this could be a significant development. Even if commercial airplanes cannot operate on fuel cells alone, the fuel cells could perform important auxiliary functions or help with smaller planes. For those of you like me who barely understand internal combustion, here is the Dept. of Energy’s explanation of fuel cells. (more…)

Welcome to The Transit Pass. In this blog I will try to keep up to date with transportation infrastructure news, developments, and ideas around the United States and the world. I will periodically link to various news stories, groups, and events dealing with new modes of transportation and efforts to improve existing structures.

In a blog all about transportation infrastructure it might be best to first visit the website of Rep. Earl Blumenauer from Oregon’s Third District. One of my favorite congresspeople, because of his signature bow tie and constant desire to advocate for infrastructure and public transportation, has introduced H.R. 5976. The bill would establish a Commission on Rebuilding America in the 21st Century to examine infrastructure in the United States.

With $4 a gallon gas prices, many people are of course choosing to take public transportation rather than fill up their guzzlers. According to Newsweek this is a double edged sword, because ridership is at its highest point in 50 years and many transit systems are overloaded. Hopefully this will encourage states and municipalities to expand transit options and the amount of space transit systems cover.

The drama continues in Pennsylvania where Governor Ed Rendell has received the highest bid for the Pennsylvania Turnpike from a joint Spanish and American investment group. Governor Jon Corzine has not had any better luck with his plans in New Jersey to raise tolls in order to raise revenue for the state.

Chicago is making its 2016 Olympic bid and has said it will spend $27 billion on transportation financing which could certainly transform its transit system within the city and the greater metropolitan area. Chicago will need to build more rail lines to create access to Olympic sites in order to please the IOC.

I will be headed off to Boston in the fall for school. It’s great to see that the city is not only encouraging people to ride their bikes but is advertising where you can park. I personally find it fascinating that the Suffolk County Jail has 17 spaces available. Are they for bicycle cops or visitors? Either way, I approve.