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Posts in Category: Links of Interest

Bus Carpool Go Green Light Rail Links of Interest Rideshare

How transit helps clear the road 

| Friday, November 22, 2013 4:00:00 PM

Buses, trains and other modes of transit carry more people more efficiently – a point that was made vividly clear in an image that recently circulated on the Internet.

The image sets side-by-side the amount of road space consumed by single-occupancy vehicles, pedestrians and a rail car, creating a contrast that helps underscore the impact transit can have on crowded streets.

Though it’s not always so obvious, the efficiency on display in the image plays out daily in the Twin Cities as buses and trains travel throughout the region and allow people to share the ride (40-foot buses can carry 40 seated customers).  

Creating more space on the roads is particularly important during rush hour but can have a meaningful impact at all times. Reducing congestion allows trucks and other commercial vehicles to move more freely, helping the local economy. Police, firefighters and medics can respond better during emergencies. And the environment benefits from lowered emissions.

How's that for a pretty picture?

    > Atlantic: The case against cars in one utterly entrancing GIF

    > Efficient ride = greener ride

    > Go Greener

In the News Links of Interest

Millennials trending towards transit, technology 

| Friday, October 04, 2013 12:18:00 PM

Millenials are using transit as a way to extend their workday, connect with their community and save money.

Young Americans are turning to transit as a way to save money, connect with their communities, expand their workdays and reduce their environmental impact.

Those are among the takeaways from a pair of new reports out this week from the American Public Transportation Association and the Public Interest Research Group. Taken together, the reports add new insights on why young people -- so-called Millennials born between 1982 and 2003 -- are giving up driving in favor of transit, as well as carsharing, walking and bicycling.  

In the APTA study, nearly half of respondents said they used public transit in order to save money. Convenience and interest in the environment were cited as other strong motivations. APTA's survey also found that nearly half of respondents who used transit said doing so allowed them to feel more connected to their community and gave them more opportunities to socialize online, avoiding the dangers of texting and driving. 

The survey results are based on more than 1,000 online responses from 22- to 34-year-olds in six U.S. cities. The Twin Cities were not included in the study. 

Meanwhile, the PIRG report tied the growing interest in transit use to a spike in the use of technology. The report suggests that the proliferation of mobile apps with transit information has helped eliminate barriers to taking transit and allowed people to "adopt a 'car-free' or 'car-light' lifestyles that dramatically reduce driving."

PIRG reports that, nationally, Americans 16 to 34 years old drove 23 percent less in 2009 than they did in 2001. In Minnesota, the annual per-person vehicle miles traveled fell more than 4 percent between 2005 and 2011, according to PIRG. 

A recent Travel Behavior Inventory survey released by the Metropolitan Council found metro residents took fewer overall trips between 2000 and 2010 while the average number of vehicles and licenses per household has also decreased. Transit, carpooling, biking and walking all increased in the region over the last decade, however.

> USA Today: Young people driving less, embrace other transportation

> APTA: Millennials & Mobility: Understanding the Millennial mindest

> U.S. PIRG: A New Way To Go

> NPR: Millennials and The Changing Car Culture

> Star Tribune: Driving is down, transit use up in metro area

> MinnPost: Despite population growth, car use declining in the Twin Cities

> Wi-Fi access on select Northstar cars

> Apps put transit in the palm of your hand

Bus Go Green In the News Links of Interest

KFAI: Metro Transit's super-hybrid buses cleanest in the nation 

| Monday, September 16, 2013 11:00:00 AM

Metro Transit’s super-hybrid buses – dubbed the cleanest hybrid-electric buses in the United States – were recently featured in a KFAI radio segment.

Introduced at the Minnesota State Fair in 2012, Metro Transit’s two Xcelsior buses are unique among transit providers and can operate in all-electric mode for short intervals — such as when idling at bus stops or traffic lights, within garages or potentially while operating on Nicollet Mall. Systems such as the air compressor, power steering and air conditioning systems run directly off battery power, saving additional fuel and further reducing emissions.

Jan Homan, deputy chief operating officer for buses, tells KFAI that the Xcelsior buses get around 35 percent better fuel economy than traditional diesel-fueled buses. Metro Transit’s standard hybrid buses get around 25 percent better fuel economy than diesel-only buses.

Metro Transit’s two Next Generation hybrid buses were purchased with a $1.2 million federal grant and were manufactured by New Flyer Industries in St. Cloud. Components from several Minnesota companies are also included in the buses.

KFAI rode the bus along Route 10, which runs on Nicollet and Central avenues between downtown Minneapolis and Blaine. A customer interviewed in the piece said he feels as if he’s 'riding on air' when the engine stops – a common feeling for Xcelsior passengers.  

“You notice once in a while it just shuts down and I think everybody is thinking ‘We’re going to have to get off and get on another bus,’” Homan told KFAI. “Well, no, it’s actually operating the way it should.”

Update, Sept. 16, 2013: Metro Transit's super-hybrids were featured in a Midwest Energy News story highlighting new efforts to better understand fuel efficiency in Metro Transit buses. The University of Minnesota's two-year study seeks to determine which engine components offer the greatest potential for efficiency and provide more insights on how routes, climate and customer loads impact fuel use. 

> KFAI: Metro Transit’s super-hybrid bus cleanest in the nation

> CTS Catalyst: Advanced hybrid buses have better fuel economy, fewer emissions

> Midwest Energy News: Research seeks best bang-for-buck on bus efficiency

> Metro Transit vehicles go greener

Bus Light Rail Links of Interest Transit Information Transit Planning

Apps put transit in the palm of your hand 

| Friday, June 07, 2013 4:04:00 PM

In addition to Metro Transit’s mobile website, the agency provides third-party developers the information they need to build apps that provide route and schedule information, frequently in real time. That trove of data comes primarily from The Minnesota Geospatial Commons, which collects GIS information from the seven-county metro region, and Metro Transit's real-time departure info system, NexTrip.

Standing at the corner of East Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue and need to find a bus to Uptown? There’s an app for that. In fact, there are several.

Several developers have already put that data to use, creating apps that offer information about Metro Transit routes and schedules. The Pioneer Press has reviewed several available options; a complete list of apps with Metro Transit information can be found here.

Here’s a quick look at some of the available apps that could be of help to Metro Transit riders:

The Transit App. The Transit App automatically locates the nearest transit stop or can be used to find the nearest stop to a manually-entered address. After the stop has been identified, the app shows the next scheduled arrival and provides real-time information about the location of the bus or train. After entering a desired destination, the app can be used to get specific route information and to provide an estimated travel time. Free,  iPhone,  thetransitapp.com

HopStop. Like The Transit App, HopStop allows users to enter their location and preferred destination to find the nearest stops, routes and estimated travel times. The app also features full schedules and allows users to post live updates, adding a unique conversational element. Free. hopstop.com

Google Maps. Like its web-based bigger brother, Google’s map app automatically locates a user or allows a start address to be manually entered. Enter the final destination and select the bus icon to see what transit options are available. Free, iPhone, web. google.com

Twin Cities Tripr. The Tripr app allows users to search by route or stop and provides information about the next available local service or express bus. Information on Northstar, the Blue Line and the Red Line is also available. Free. iPhone. appannie.com

In addition to these apps, Metro Transit’s website is available in a web-friendly format. Simply enter metrotransit.org or metrotransit.org/mobile into your browser. The site allows users to view schedules, NexTrip (real-time departures), plan trips and locate service. On GPS-enabled devices, the “Find Me” feature can also be used to determine your location with just a touch.

Twin Cities Transit and mspbus.org also serve mobile web users.

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