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Mass Transit

A moonshot for infrastructure

The Biden administration is requesting funding for a program called ARPA-I, a ‘skunkworks’-style R&D project for infrastructure. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the goal is to design things ‘we can’t even imagine today.’

San Francisco’s BART isn’t ditching Twitter alerts... yet.

After New York’s MTA announced it was leaving Twitter yesterday, The Verge contacted Bay Area Rapid Transit — which like the MTA was knocked offline earlier this month by Twitter’s API changes — to see if it would follow suit. “We are continuing to use Twitter while closely monitoring the situation,” media relations manager James Allison tells us.

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Kids are literally crawling under stalled trains because the rail industry is beholden to no one.

The photos and videos in this ProPublica piece about blocked train crossings really help sell how utterly atrocious it is that the rail industry is forcing kids to risk their lives just to get to school. This part in particular made me want to tear my hair out.

“I feel awful about it,” said Scott E. Miller, the superintendent. His district has asked Norfolk Southern for its schedule so that the schools can plan for blockages and students can adjust their routines. The company has disregarded the requests, school officials said.

The Verge
PRT making a comeback?

According to Bloomberg, the city of San Jose just approved a personal rapid transit (PRT) system in which pod-sized autonomous vehicles would travel on their own dedicated road back-and-forth between the airport and a nearby rail connection. It’s an incredibly dumb idea and a repudiation of proven high-capacity transportation systems like buses and trains. Nobody asked for this, and yet...

If you want to read about the fascinating history behind PRT, read my colleague Adi Robertson’s piece about the Alden staRR Car at West Virginia University. It’s still in operation!

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The Great American Bus Crisis.

A private bus route from my town in New Jersey to New York City was just cancelled because the pandemic has wiped out ridership. But apparently the problem is much, much worse than just that one route.

Nearly half of private US bus companies have shut down since 2019, according to the American Bus Association, and more could close as work-from-home policies have altered commuting patterns and more people turn to driving amid the pandemic.

“There were about 3,000 bus companies in 2019, there’s closer to 1,500 or 1,600 bus companies left,” American Bus Association President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Pantuso said in an interview. “It’s possible we could lose more.”

That is very bad.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg on the future of transportation

‘This is a major, major investment in setting America on the right path for the years ahead’

The people wanted Lego bike lanes, and Lego is finally listening

The quest to get one of the most popular toymakers in the world to make a little space for bicycles