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Jan 17, 2011
Light Rail & Streetcars, Thoughts, Urban Planning & Design

Are Gondolas Too Cheap To Be Accepted As Transit?

Any good marketer knows that it’s better to sell a product with a higher margin than with a lower one. Furthermore, the higher the margin on the product, the more likely it will be viewed by the buyer as prestigious and luxurious. It doesn’t matter that one car may be identical to another, the higher...

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Jan 11, 2011
Research Issues, Urban Planning & Design

An Easy Way To Help Spread The Idea Of Urban Gondola Transit

Published by the Transportation Research Board, the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual is a kind of bible for the transit planning industry. I use it constantly. Now Kittelson & Associates is preparing the 3rd edition of  the manual and they want your help. By clicking here, you’ll be taken to a survey detailing...

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Nov 26, 2010
Urban Planning & Design

The Standard

Over at Strong Towns Blog, Charles Marohn has a wonderful post entitled “Confessions of a Recovering Engineer.” In it, Marohn argues that the current state of civil engineering is built around mindlessly applying bible-like standards passed down from generation to generation. It doesn’t matter if those standards have the exact opposite effect than intended (as in...

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Nov 24, 2010
Urban Planning & Design

Im Viadukt, Zürich

Recently I was in Zurich, Switzerland and stumbled across this: What you’re looking at is Im Viadukt, a new commercial and shopping district built into the stone mason arches of Zurich’s Wipkingen Viadukt. Originally the Viaduct dates from 1894 and was used to ferry passenger trains into the core of Zurich. Like most elevated infrastructure, the...

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Oct 26, 2010
Urban Planning & Design

Privatized Public Transit: A Sacred Cow?

Yesterday in my hometown of Toronto, former city councillor Rob Ford was elected Mayor. Rob Ford, to say the least is a divisive character. He’s more a rorschach diagram than a candidate. How you feel about Ford, I suspect, says more about you than it does about him. He fanatically rants against things the city...

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Sep 06, 2010
Urban Planning & Design

Elevated Beauty

Elevated roadways, busways, light rail lines, subways, automated people movers and cable cars are far cheaper to build than underground systems. They’re not as cost-effective as street-level systems, but street level systems are subject to all the whims and unpredictability of intermingling with other forms of traffic. Problem is, most architects, urban designers and politicians...

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Aug 28, 2010
Urban Planning & Design

The Ten Day Traffic Jam

Last week, a variety of news outlets (Associated Press, CBC, New York Times, The Drudge Retort and dozens of others) reported on a massive 100 km long traffic jam outside Beijing, China. The jam lasted ten days and stretched into Inner Mongolia only to ‘vanish’ seemingly overnight. Of all the reports on this story, the one that caught...

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Jul 26, 2010
Blogs & Other Sites, Bus, Light Rail & Streetcars, Urban Planning & Design

Forecasting as Voodoo

There’s nothing more common and consistently wrong in the transit planner’s toolbox as ridership forecasting and projections. It’s like voodoo: 90% of the time it doesn’t work, and the 10% of the time it does no one knows why (hint: it’s not because of the voodoo). So here comes Tom Rubin, a veteran transit consultant...

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Jul 23, 2010
Medellin MetroCable, Urban Planning & Design

Things Spread Quickly

Last month CUP conducted a study of all planned, conceived or under-construction cable systems in South America. Our findings shocked even us: Almost 5 dozen systems are in the works on that continent and that number doesn’t even include Brazil (because of the Portuguese language issues – as in, we don’t speak Portuguese), the largest...

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Jul 22, 2010
Thought Experiments, Urban Planning & Design

A Wait Time Thought Experiment

According to the Transportation Research Board’s Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, wait times for transit are around 2 times more onerous to riders than actual in-vehicle time. They see that ratio rise to 2.5 times when wait times are coupled to transfers. With that in mind, how long is the following journey: A...

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