A crowd-sourcing transit app with the tag, “Want to choose the fastest, least crowded route every time? moovit - social GPS for public transport”. Will it take off? Well, not in Canada unless they add it to the countries they cover. Here’s more on it.
Gordon Price writes about China giving up on motordom. There’s a lot of investment going into using more buses in the Chinese urban environment, but will it cure the purchase of automobiles?
In case you missed it earlier this month, the London Underground turned 150 (loads of neat stuff if you click on the link)! It incorporates the oldest section of underground railway in the world, which opened in 1863. Google even made it their doodle of the day. The BBC also has some great underground pictures and Transport London has some greats links as well!
Another historical note is the 100th birthday of Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The New York Times wrote a nice piece on the beautiful and historic building (as well as the video above).
For fans who like to sit at the front of the SkyTrain and watch the world go by, here’s a collection of SkyTrain videos that capture that very experience!
We always love a good photo of our vehicles, but it’s important to stay safe while you take that perfect photo or video. Let these videos be cautionary notes to those who want to get as close as possible to their favourite train or bus.
Here’s a funky tune to groove to this fine and lovely day.
Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting tidbits and links about transportation from the last week or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us!
We can’t stop staring at this mesmerizing site. Programmer Andrew Walker has put together incredible videos showing people moving on transit throughout the day in various cities, including New York.
Celebrities take transit, too–including Jay-Z who recently had a priceless conversation with a senior on the Subway. (Thanks Tyler H. for sending us the link.)
Jason Vanderhill sent us a great shot of a night–er, early evening–bus. Thanks, Jason!
For all our fellow map lovers, The Atlantic Cities has posted six great transit maps that don’t map transit routes at all.
Our own Bob Paddon is part of this video from CUTA that talks about the economic benefits of transit in cities.
Christmas is over, but a new Kickstarter project hopes to make 100 ELFs soon. The ELF combines solar panels and bike pedals to create the ultimate efficient vehicle that keeps you dry and comfortable. (Thanks Sheba!)
Suffering from SAD? Our own Tina Robinson discovered this article about light therapy bus shelters in Sweden. Personally, just looking at it makes me smile.
Also from Sheba: What really happens when transit is free? A French town did just that and the findings are fascinating (although experts caution different cities would have different results).
John Carmichael sent us a link to this article out of Calgary. The city has opened the first new LRT line built there in 25 years. It’s also Calgary’s biggest infrastructure project in its history. What’s next? It’s laid out in the Calgary Transit’s new 30-year plan.
‘Tis the season to get nostalgic! We’re looking back on the top transit highlights of this year. The first installment of top five lists highlighted the wackiest transit news, now here’s a review of 2012’s top five transit videos! For more quirky posts of 2012, take a look at our Links and Tidbits series.
What was it like back then? CBC showcases some old time transit history! It includes interviews with bus operators, Oakridge Transit Centre and life back then. Check out the ‘A Day In The Life Of A Bus Driver (1965) video above.
Tired of the way transit looks on your daily commute? This video will definitely give you a different perspective: it traces one day of transit service in the Lower Mainland, using info from our public data feeds! Jhen talked to the video’s creator, Andrew Walker – read about it here.
With 2013 quickly approaching, we thought we’d take a look back at 2012 and remember some of the highlights. This first installment of top five lists for 2012 looks at some of the weirdest transit news we posted in our Links and Tidbits series of posts this year.
This video is one of those cases where you wonder if you’re being fooled. Could such a helmet really exist? Are we looking at the future of cycling safety or is this just a wasted endeavour or a well thought out practical joke? Whatever it is, it sure gets the old grey matter going.
This four part Slate series on walking looks at why Americans don’t walk as much as they used to. One reason given is that walking is so obvious that people forget to do it. The thought of people forgetting that they could and should walk is both fascinating and depressing at the same time.
Finally, if you think that you have your local transit system connection down to a science and couldn’t make your trip any faster, you may be wrong. Have you heard of transit marathons before? People compete to see who can make a trip on transit from a to b the fastest. There are rules to follow so that the Guinness Book of Records can document the winners!
Links and tidbits is our semi-regular roundup of interesting stuff around transportation from the last week or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments, or email us!
Check out the video above: it traces one day of transit service in the Lower Mainland, using info from our public data feeds! I talked to the video’s creator, Andrew Walker, and here’s what he said:
My usual work involves software for satellite missions, including some visualisation software (www.stltracker.com) for orbiting satellites. There are some similarities between visualising the locations of buses and satellites, so I thought I’d investigate what approach transit companies took with their data.
After learning about the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), putting together videos from the data seemed like an interesting challenge, which led to the creation of the videos you saw on youtube.
I started with TransLink as I live in Vancouver, but once you’ve done one city the others are simply a case of plugging the data in to the program. I thought these might also help to promote transit in some small way.
This video features TransLink’s Jeff Busby and Geoff Cross speaking about the service we provide and our plans for the future of transit. The mission of Get on Board BC is, “…to obtain improved funding mechanisms for public transit in Metro Vancouver by raising the issue’s profile among the public, media and decision makers.”
Blog reader Max Gardiner had us in his thoughts when he visited a bookstore and picked up this piece of transit history. Published in 1987 when we were BC Transit, People Moving People provides a short history of our system and an overview of the SkyTrain, buses, SeaBus as well as transit in other areas of the province.
The cover of - People Moving People
Photo of Ray Maxwell as Mr. Buzzer from - People Moving People
Some more love from Translinked. This post is about, Third and St. Davids – a comic cell by legendary underground cartoonist Rand Holmes that has a great image of one of our old buses. And here’s a cool cover of a transit planning pamphlet from 1946.
Starting on September 15 and running until November 10, 2012, Centre A has an exhibit on 100 years of BC Electric. I can’t wait to see it!
Eugene Wong sent this revealing and funny look at how getting a seat on transit is like devising strategies in war. Jhen and I can’t stop thinking how this could be applied to the #99 on a very busy day.
LA is trying to build up their transit system and it’s going to take some time. In order to do this, voters are being asked to extend transit tax another 30 years into the future. Talk about stable funding!
“You can do it in rural areas and small cities where demand is low. You can do it in university-dominated towns, where students are most of the market and are riding anyway. And you can do it in a downtown area, specifically to make short trips within downtown easy. In each of those cases, you’re giving away something for which you anticipate low demand, and for which you have adequate supply. But citywide free transit in a big city, especially during the peak commute, is the opposite. You’re giving away something that is in high demand, and for which you have a limited supply.”
The new operating system for the next iPhone, iOS6, will not be using Google Maps. Instead, Apple will have its own map which doesn’t have transit info included :(. Now a start up app creating company is promising to fill that void. Although, I have a feeling that the service may be U.S. only – at least in the beginning.
RATP, the Paris public transport company, created a website with a series of images of poor etiquette on transit, similar to our Pet Peeve series. They cleverly opened it up to the public to create memes with captions! The site is called Cher Voisin 2 Transport (“Dear Transport Neighbour”).
Derek Cheung has a trolley print and he's looking to identify the artist. Details below --- let us know if you have any info!
Here’s our semi-regular roundup of interesting tidbits and links about transportation from the last week or so. If you have links to contribute, put them in the comments or email us!
Buzzer pal Derek Cheung sends us a question: Can you help me identify the unknown artist (image above)? It was given to me by a retired trolley coach operator ten years ago. She said she picked it up at a community centre swap meet, flea market, etc. and that the artist in fact called him/herself “Trolley Bus”. It was just a rolled-up sheet of paper when she gave it to me. I had it dry-mounted and framed. Maybe the Buzzer Blog readership can help identify the artist? If you know, please tell us in the comments!
Amazing: a Kickstarter project to crowdsource a better transit app for the Chicago Transit Authority. The target audience is mostly Chicago residents, but there is a role for “Urban Scouts” to provide design input drawing on their experience using transit around the world!
The cover of Ferry Across the Harbor by James Barr.
History moment! North Shore ferries before the SeaBus: Via the lovely Jason Vanderhill, we received a question asking about the passenger ferry that ran from Vancouver to the North Shore in the 1930s. One of our resident transit history buffs pointed us to a book from the 1970s written about the North Shore ferries, Ferry Across the Harbor by Captain James Barr. Its cover is at right! He also produced this answer from Transit in British Columbia – The First Hundred Years by Brian Kelly and Daniel Francis, pages 126-27:
“The original ferry service from the North Shore began in 1866, not long after Sewell Moody took over the Burrard Inlet Mills and the surrounding settlement became known as Moodyville. This irregular ferry service carried passengers across to the summer resort at New Brighton, near the present site of the PNE. Later in the century, development in North Vancouver shifted westward to the vicinity of Lonsdale Avenue, and in 1900 ferries began regular commuter service from the Lonsdale pier across the harbor to the wharf at the foot of Carrall Street.
Over the years the ferries grew large enough to accommodate horses and wagons, then several automobiles. In 1909 service began to the foot of 14th Street in West Vancouver. As car traffic increased, however, so did pressure to have a bridge crossing to the North Shore. In 1925 the Second Narrows Bridge opened. The original span was a wooden trestle bridge, with a set of railway tracks running between the two lanes of car traffic. In September 1930, a freighter collided with the middle section. It was the depression, the owners of the bridge could not afford to fix it, so it remained closed for the next four years. Meanwhile, plans went ahead for a bridge to connect downtown Vancouver to the British Properties residential subdivision in West Vancouver. Completed in 1938, the Lions Gate Bridge was privately owned and operated until the province purchased it in 1955.
With two North Shore crossings in place, and commuters preferring the convenience of their own automobiles, the harbor ferry seemed unnecessary. Service to West Vancouver ceased after the war; the ferry to North Vancouver continued for another decade, then sailed into retirement in 1958.”
And last but not least, a Metro newspaper article asking whether customers do love transit, in honour of I Love Transit Week. Turns out the answer is mostly yes! Thanks to Dan B for the link.
Michael Schabas sent us renderings of Expo Line SkyTrain stations. He mentioned that he was the design coordinator involved with the Main Street, Waterfront, Burrard, Granville, Statium and New Westminister stations. Illustration by Ron Love.
The New York Subway map has mistakes. Or are they mistakes by design? This is an issue its creators can’t seem to agree on. My questions are: Does a transit map need to depict the geography 100%? Or is it okay for the map to just accurately depict the transit system? This is a debate many transit authorities are having.
Have Americans forgotten how to walk? This Slate article claims they have. One reason given is that walking is so obvious that people forget to do it. Have we in Metro Vancouver also forgotten how to walk? I’m curious to read your thoughts!
TransLink is one of five transit agencies (and the only Canadian one) used as an example in this research document on how social media can be used by a transit agency.
Gordon Price points out that during a recent talk by real estate superstar Bob Rennie, Rennie mentioned that proximity to transit will be the big factor that new home buyers in the region will be looking for. Here’s the quote: “In the ’70s and ’80s, it was location, location, location. In the ’90s through mid-’2000s, it was timing, timing, timing. And from here forward, it’s transit, transit, transit.”
A new book on transit around the world, Straphanger, rates transit in Vancouver highly. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Have any of you?
About once a month, I receive an email regarding the board game “Vancouver Buses.” I wrote about the game in the Back Issues section of the February Buzzer. Sheila Kirkby of Vancouver sent us some photos of the game. She said she played it when she was a kid!
Have you ever wondered where the SkyTrain name came from? Well, before it was the train, it was a train in the sky. The name SkyTrain was first used by a now defunct British airline.
This guy tells you how to travel by train almost anywhere in the world.
And this guy is into transit marathons. That’s right. You can compete to see who can make a trip on transit from a to b the fastest. There are even rules to follow so that you can be documented by the Guinness Book of Records. If this hasn’t already been done in Metro Vancouver, then I think it’s time to start the competition!
This study shows that with real-time transit information, people’s perceptions of how long they have to wait for transit are more accurate than they are for systems without real-time transit information. I wonder if perceived wait times for people using transit in Vancouver have changed now that Next Bus is in real time?
In the February issue of the Buzzer, I asked readers to send in photos of what they thought could be a version of the Transit Game. Jason Vanderhill sent in this photo. Thanks, Jason!
The Canada Line has a new website. Check out all the latest service updates and blogs about the line!
A belated Happy New Year to you all! The trolley busses we use may not be that old, but the technology is pretty much the same as when BC Electric ran the trolley buses. Here’s a fun piece on dewiring and resetting trolley wires on Global News.
A subway bench that is clean, stain resistant and doubles as an art piece and leaning device. Could this be the coolest/best transit bench yet?
Montreal has the biggest one in North America, and Vancouver will soon have its own bike share. But it seems like U.S. cities are not as on board with the idea as their Canadian counterparts for a variety of reasons.
A look at the London Tube map of 2015 and 2019 – This blogger talks about expansion of the Ginger Line. I wonder if this will take you to the house of a certain Spice Girl?
Melbourne has a new rail stop (Epping), and it looks kinda like something the Empire would build in Star Wars. Here are some time-elapsed videos of the Epping and Thomastown stations and others in the state of Victoria in Australia.
Even cooler (and probably nearly as bright) is the new 1.4 billion dollar Fulton Street Transit Centre in New York. It features an amazing skylight called an “oculus” that brings light four storeys below street level.
What if you had your own personal pod to take you from your car you parked at the airport to the terminal? Heathrow Airport has done it, and they’re kinda cute! Did I mention they’re good on the environment as well? What do you think of this transportation option compared to our Canada Line to the airport?
Good friend of the Buzzer blog and smart and interesting fella Jarrett Walker has a new book coming out! I’ll have a short interview with him on the blog next week!
This is really cool. The Albula-Bernina railway line in Switzerland will be the first railway in the world to be given the Google Street View (or should I say, “Rail View”) treatment. Wouldn’t it be awesome to do the same thing for the SkyTrain line? Thanks Dan at TransLink Planning for the link!
A nice bit of history on France’s fast, affordable and environmentally-sustainable high-speed rail system and questions about its future.
I’ve been interested in maps recently after hearing an interview with Ken Jennings (also known as the master of Jeopardy) on his new book, The Poetry of Maps. I recently came across this boutique Design Shop website with some incredible subway maps. Thanks to Austin’s Metro Blog for pointing me to this!