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TakeFive Jan 8, 2017 2:51 AM

CastleScott... Thanks for waiting.

I've been on a mini crash course for Bus Rapid Transit; been to a few cities with a few more to go.

BRT can absolutely be a good choice but it's tricky. Back in August of 2012 "our own Dan" had some thoughts about BRT at least according to a Ryan Holeywell piece in Governing.
Quote:

Dan Malouff, a transportation planner for the Arlington County, Va., transportation department, recently posted a piece on his influential blog that eviscerated BRT, saying cities generally pursue it in order to “cut a corner” by avoiding rail, making the service susceptible to failure. “[A]s long as U.S. planners think of BRT as a cheap replacement for rail, then the U.S. will be very unlikely to ever produce BRT that is actually rail-like...
Dan has also written about "The problem of BRT creep."


It looks like Seattle is doing a nice job with BRT as well as transit in general.


As always, more to come...

Cirrus Jan 8, 2017 3:42 AM

I'm 100% in favor of BRT when it's properly seen as the good end of the bus spectrum. That is to say, when it's buses done well. To that end, all large cities (including Denver) should have BRT on their major bus lines. Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle are all doing great things in that regard.

My problems with BRT come about when people propose it as a substitute for rail. BRT and rail have different strengths and do not accomplish the same things.

Denver Dweller Jan 8, 2017 5:56 AM

Colorado selected as one of 35 worldwide semifinalists to build a hyperloop
 
http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/07...d-a-hyperloop/

CastleScott Jan 8, 2017 9:19 PM

^ Thanks for the thoughts guys, things like this will take awhile as we all know however some of this BRT could be accomplished in incremental phases. Like has been mentioned time after time TABOR is a big crippling factor here-I remember when TABOR author Douglas Bruce first tried to get it on the ballot way back in 1990-state and local officials said then that it pretty much would cripple transportation and school funding. Then in the 1992 TABOR passed with a small but powerful margin (Doug Bruce who was a real estate investor moved to Colorado from southern California sometime back in the mid 80s and feared that the state would become and overtaxed liberal place the he left from). Over the years some politicians have tried to totally De-Bruce most transportation and school funding but in the end failed.

Oh btw when FasTracks was first proposed-it was figured that the busses used in express service to park and rides that are now served by rail would be redeployed-refocused to use in Denver proper as well as some new beefed up service around town. Anyway that idea still seems to be a work in progress..

TakeFive Jan 9, 2017 7:57 PM

Creating a better transit system is about incorporating new tech, a dose of common sense (and cooperation) and the funding to create, operate and maintain the system. Think better efficiency. :)

An easy, quick read illustrates how Los Angeles improved their system when they gravitated to their Metro Rapid routes. Fewer stops - their rule of thumb is stops spaced about 3/4 of a mile apart. Frequent service (especially) during Peak Hours, use of low-floor multi-door buses and traffic signal priority seem to be key components. There are other tech enhancements that can also add to the efficiency and appeal. One necessity is an easy and functional payment system. L.A.'s system is defined as Express service with BRT characteristics.

TakeFive Jan 9, 2017 8:54 PM

Some local trolley-like routes require more frequent stops. Check out the "new tech" that landed in River City.

http://bioage.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83...6360970b-800wi
Image courtesy LouisvilleKY.gov
All-Electric ZeroBus Fleet Launches Downtown
January 12, 2015 - LouisvilleKY.gov
Quote:

ZeroBus, TARC’s all-electric fleet, is now providing fare-free rides for passengers along Main, Market and Fourth streets. The zero-emissions all-electric buses replace diesel-powered trolleys, the highest polluting TARC vehicles.

“Louisville is the first city in this part of the country to have a fleet of all-electric buses in operation, putting us at the leading edge of high-technology, cleaner, greener transportation,” Barker said. “We encourage everyone to hop on a ZeroBus and stop along the way for some of the best Louisville has to offer in restaurants, museums and entertainment.”
How did Louisville pull this together?
Quote:

The all-electric system - 10 buses and two charging stations - is an $11 million investment, with the bulk of funding from federal and state grants. Louisville Metro contributed $500,000.
Proterra Inc., of Greenville, S.C. is the bus manufacturer but the best way to get a good read on this dandy new bus is to head out to the Left Coast and Jay Leno's Garage.

Video Link

Cirrus Jan 9, 2017 10:13 PM

Neat. The "trolleys" those are replacing are just diesel buses with a stupid old-timey shell. They were not in any way real trolleys. Big upgrade.

http://www.louisvilletrolley.com/ima...treetside-view
LouisvilleTrolley.com

I would however love to see some cities use trolleybuses on a BRT line. Nobody's done it yet, but it would give BRT more of a rail-like sense of permanence

https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6093/6...a57a9f04b3.jpg

CastleScott Jan 10, 2017 3:57 AM

^ I sure wish RTD would go electric trolley bus downtown and even on future BRT (they would look great on Colfax!).:tup:

trubador Jan 10, 2017 3:49 PM

So the DP reported that the G line to Arvada is delayed due to software issues that control the gate. I'm not sure if the 225 line uses the same software, but that line is still far behind on testing. The whole story doesn't make a lot of sense. They have know about these problems since at least April of last year. It shouldn't take that long to fix the software, unless (and this is my theory), they subbed the code part out and that contractor was offshore or is not longer responding to the vendor, or there is some sort of contract issue. It just doesn't take that long to fix software issues, unless you don't know how to fix the code.

TakeFive Jan 10, 2017 6:00 PM

^ I only know what I read but the R line issues are totally different from the G and A lines.

Previous article in the DBJ indicated that a circuit board on the R Line’s electronic systems didn’t work properly and a replacement had to come from Switzerland. If the trains are being tested (again), that would indicate that they are back on course.

CastleScott Jan 10, 2017 6:49 PM

^ Guys from what I've read I believe this could be tied into the PTC system that RTD decided to go full on with the commuter lines-this Positive Train Control system is something so highly complex that Amtrak and the freight railroads continue to struggle to implement before the federal mandate takes affect (trains communicating to signals, other trains and dispatching via a GPS type system). Just something that's quite interesting btw..

TakeFive Jan 10, 2017 7:40 PM

^ Yep, I just took the time to read yesterday's Denver Post article by John Aguilar which states:
Quote:

Henry Stopplecamp, assistant general manager of capital programs for RTD, explained that the chief problem stems from an attempt to integrate a positive train control safety system with a wireless signaling system — something that has never been done before in the United States.

“RTD is the first to use this technology,” he said.
The biggest issue has been with the at-grade crossing gates but there's been other issues with sensors too. Apparently Denver Transit Partners thinks they're on course towards a fix but until they get there... they know they'll need another FRA time extension. This is specific to the commuter rail or A, B and G lines.

PLANSIT Jan 10, 2017 7:43 PM

R-Line will be opening soon. Maybe in phases.

trubador Jan 10, 2017 7:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TakeFive (Post 7673487)
^ Yep, I just took the time to read yesterday's Denver Post article by John Aguilar which states:

The biggest issue has been with the at-grade crossing gates but there's been other issues with sensors too. Apparently Denver Transit Partners thinks they're on course towards a fix but until they get there... they know they'll need another FRA time extension. This is specific to the commuter rail or A, B and G lines.

Does that story make any sense to you? They have had problems since last April (and maybe before they opened the line). It doesn't take that long to get a replacement part. If they had to go back in the design process because the PLC or some other component isn't working that is a different story.

wong21fr Jan 10, 2017 11:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trubador (Post 7673520)
Does that story make any sense to you? They have had problems since last April (and maybe before they opened the line). It doesn't take that long to get a replacement part. If they had to go back in the design process because the PLC or some other component isn't working that is a different story.

It's the latter. This isn't some broken part, the intial PCS design in regards to the crossing gates was basically non-functional and the fix has been far more elusive then DTP expected.

transistor Jan 11, 2017 2:13 AM

How hard could this possibly be that it is taking so long. Its a gate that goes up when a train comes by, and goes down when the train is gone, not the space shuttle.

TakeFive Jan 12, 2017 5:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trubador (Post 7673520)
Does that story make any sense to you? They have had problems since last April (and maybe before they opened the line). It doesn't take that long to get a replacement part. If they had to go back in the design process because the PLC or some other component isn't working that is a different story.

Finally an explanation that makes some sense.

I probably know more about Morse Code than software code but while you can create software for most any purpose, the real challenge comes when software meets real world human variances or unanticipated issues. With respect to the crossing gates it seems they "over-designed" the software so that when human variances occurred it snowballed forward. With a software fix/update determined the last step will be to redo some of the hardware along the track.

twister244 Jan 13, 2017 6:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TakeFive (Post 7675729)
Finally an explanation that makes some sense.

I probably know more about Morse Code than software code but while you can create software for most any purpose, the real challenge comes when software meets real world human variances or unanticipated issues. With respect to the crossing gates it seems they "over-designed" the software so that when human variances occurred it snowballed forward. With a software fix/update determined the last step will be to redo some of the hardware along the track.

Great article. I personally think people are exaggerating the impacts of these "issues" a bit. The A-line does run on time at a very high percentage now, and these issues are going to be fixed sooner than later. I have taken it several times to the airport for flights now, and I have yet to have serious issues. Any new system is going to have hiccups in the first year or so, and this is no different.

TakeFive Jan 13, 2017 5:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PLANSIT (Post 7673492)
R-Line will be opening soon. Maybe in phases.

Phasing could be interesting; perhaps to Florida? It would be good to get the Iliff station open.

Delays continue for RTD’s new Aurora R Line
January 12, 2017 by QUINCY SNOWDON - Aurora Sentinel
Quote:

Now, the earliest the project could be theoretically completed is March, though even that seems to be a stretch, according to Tom Tobiassen, former RTD District F Board Member.

Tobiassen said Kiewit, the contractor building the light rail line, has yet to hand the project over to RTD for additional testing. Once that power transfer occurs, RTD will need to conduct at least an additional 45 days of daytime testing, according to Tobiassen.

TakeFive Jan 13, 2017 6:28 PM

This is pretty hilarious and a bit interesting at that.

DRCOG planning a gridlocked future for Denver Metro Area
December 16, 2016 By Bruce Baker - Complete Colorado
Quote:

The message I heard, during the November 21 Westminster City Council Study Session, is that the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) is planning to let traffic congestion get worse and that they hate cars. It wasn’t a surprise. Nearly every level of government on the Colorado Front Range seems to hate cars. That is why DRCOG thought they could celebrate their latest car-hating program at our study session, they were among friends.

We take for granted the freedom and benefits that a fast, efficient highway network gives us. It is a mixing and unifying force to the whole of society because it reduces the restrictions that geography and distance impose and that trap people.
Different rant slant than what I was familiar with; a lot of the focus here is on freedom and access versus the "urban elites" and their "wealthy islands."


In any case this year's transportation push revolves around finding funding for CDOT and their $9 billion gap in needed funding. Most Republicans recognize (now) that CDOT can't sell bonds w/o a revenue stream to pay the bonds back. Since they seem to still be averse to increasing the gas tax, I've heard that increasing the state sales tax from its current 2.9% is the most likely proposal to voters. My preference would be a bit of both; couple a (more) modest increase in the sales tax with a modest increase in the gas tax. Or maybe they'll just continue to kick the can... one never knows with legislative bodies.

Almost forgot... Laura Bliss has an exceptional piece on the I-70 redevelopment at CityLab.


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