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Category: APTA Rail 2010

APTA Rail 2010: photo and videos from other attendees!

SkyTrain control! Photo by <a href=http://picasaweb.google.com/113879629835241365016/SkytrainTechnicalTour#5480626651247516770>Daniel Tiang</a>.

SkyTrain control! Photo by Daniel Tiang.

A few people have sent me some photos and video to share from the APTA rail conference last week!

Daniel Tiang sent along a photo album from the SkyTrain technical tour. He also sent along four videos from the tour: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Steve Chou also sent along his Flickr set with photos from the SkyTrain tour and the trolley bus technical tour!

If you have any APTA stuff to share, feel free to e-mail me!

APTA Rail 2010: Four hours, three trains, two buses, one trolley – a multimodal tour of Vancouver!

The multimodal map!

The multimodal map!

If you didn’t know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.

So what do transportation professionals do for fun in Vancouver? A four-hour trip riding almost all of Vancouver’s transit vehicles — with an optional four-hour second leg on the SeaBus and the Grouse Mountain Skyride (with dinner at the top)!

This multimodal tour is lovingly crafted by Tom Hickey, associate vice-president at the Houston transit authority and longtime transit planner. He’s done tours like this for the past three years at APTA’s rail conferences: last year, we did a six-hour train tour in Chicago!

For the past decade, Tom has also run more intense versions of these tours at APTA operations planning workshops. One tour around Oregon took two and a half days, and another in Denver was a two-day affair as well. (People drop in and out of the tour as it goes on: Tom describes the tours as a “transit death march.”)

If you’re interested, here is a PDF download of the Vancouver multimodal tour map: it is totally worth a try if you want to experience virtually every mode of transit in town.

And here are some photos of the multimodal tour below. I’ll tell you, 43 transit professionals roving like a pack through the system is a sight to behold.

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APTA Rail 2010: Integrating Passenger Facilities into the Community

Title slide from the presentation. Oooh!

Title slide from the presentation. Oooh!

If you didn’t know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.

The conference is pretty much over today, by the way, but I still have a few posts to put up!

“Integrating Passenger Facilities into the Community” was the last session I attended on Tuesday: it talked about rail station design and its potential to transform communities. Excerpt from the session description:

What are the opportunities to serve as gateways to the community? How do they connect to the regional transit system? Hear the latest on station area planning and how stations fit into the surrounding community and offer potential for transit-oriented development.

Here are my summaries from the three presentations during this session! Again, feel free to offer corrections: I only wrote what I heard and certainly may have erred here and there.

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APTA Rail 2010: The trade show floor

The APTA Rail Products and Services Showcase!

The APTA Rail Products and Services Showcase!

If you didn’t know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.

Conferences of all stripes usually have a trade show exhibition, where different companies advertise their wares. I thought I’d post a few pictures of the APTA Rail Products and Services Showcase, as it provides an interesting glimpse at the range of things that go into a rail system.

Also, for many of these things, I had no idea that there were whole companies behind them!

The Armor Tile booth. They make rumble strips for the edge of station platforms!

The Armor Tile booth. They make rumble strips for the edge of station platforms!

For example, there’s a company who makes the rumble strips at the edge of station platforms, as well as other tactile flooring!

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APTA Rail 2010: Rail project updates from various agencies

Lillian Hames from Sonoma Marin Area Rail

Lillian Hames from Sonoma Marin Area Rail

(If you haven’t heard by now, TransLink is hosting the 2010 APTA rail conference this week! See the APTA Rail 2010 category for more posts.)

Tuesday morning was the Project Update section of the conference, where 20 agencies presented updates on their latest rail projects in 10 back-to-back 30-minute sessions. A great way to catch up on what other agencies are up to!

I couldn’t see everything, since for each session, two agencies presented updates simultaneously in two separate rooms —but I did manage catch most of the updates from Sonoma County in California, Edmonton Transit, Calgary Transit, AMT in Montreal, TriMet in Portland and Toronto’s TTC.

What follows are my summaries of each presentation. Some overarching thoughts:

a) Once again, rail projects are expensive: the cheapest project I saw was a three-mile $425 million Edmonton Ellerslie LRT extension, and everything else seemed to cost billions.

b) Big events can prompt rail investment: GO Transit’s Air Rail Link is moving due to the Pan-Am Games in 2015; a bid for the World’s Fair in 2017 is helping spur Edmonton’s LRT growth

c) Funding and oversight for rail projects is quite different in the U.S.: the federal government is the key funder and overseer, and it’s currently very keen on public transit – also lots of agencies get funding from local sales tax, which has dropped sharply in the economic recession

By the way, corrections are welcome: I’ve only transcribed what I heard so there may well be a few errors here and there!

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APTA Rail 2010: rail rodeo results

The operator team from L.A. Metro!

The operator team from L.A. Metro!

Click here for the first rail rodeo post.

Just wanted to share a few photos of the rail rodeo from Saturday’s event. Everyone was in their official uniforms!

By the way, the winners are in and here’s how it turned out:

Maintenance Competition
First place: L.A. Metro
Second place: RTD (Denver)
Third place: SEPTA (Philadelphia)
Update: Here are the full maintenance scores!

Operations Competition
First place: RTD (Denver)
Second place: SEPTA (Philadelphia)
Third place: SkyTrain
Update: Here are the full operations team scores!

Congrats to everyone who participated though! Here’s a few more photos from the event.

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APTA Rail 2010: It Takes a Region: Integrating rail investment in multimodal plans and programs

The multimodal planning discussion.

The multimodal planning discussion.

“It Takes a Region: Integrating rail investment in multimodal plans and programs” had four speakers that included our VP of Planning Mike Shiffer, so I dropped in on the session on Monday.

The speakers were:
– Charles R Goodman, director, office of system planning, FTA, Washington D.C.
– Gregory A. Walker, AICP, Planning and Development Director, Sound Transit, Seattle WA
– Richard F. Clarke, Assistant General Manager Capital Programs, RTD, Denver CO
– Dr Michael Shiffer, VP Planning, Strategy , and Technology, TransLink, Burnaby BC

They each brought a wide variety of perspectives to the table on this topic! Some were more like project updates than explorations of multimodal integration, but that was OK (and still interesting).

Here are my notes from the session. Things I thought were notable include:
a) the cost of rail projects anywhere is always in the billions of dollars,
b) sales tax sources can be quite unstable sources of revenue
c) Seattle has two floating bridges and one is slated for a light rail line
d) Denver’s project motto for their rail project is awesome: BUILD AS MUCH AS WE CAN, AS FAST AS WE CAN, UNTIL IT IS ALL DONE (it was indeed written in all caps)

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APTA Rail 2010: Canada Line session

The title slide from the Canada Line presentation.

The title slide from the Canada Line presentation.

First, a note for students who are planning to attend this week: The Canada Line and SkyTrain technical tours are already fully booked. Don’t come down if those were the only things you wanted to see! I wasn’t lucky enough to get on either of them, so if anyone has gone through them I would love to share photos and notes.

I’m at the 2010 APTA Rail Conference downtown from Monday through Wednesday, and since I’m going to a lot of sessions, I’m just going to give you my notes from the talks, in the interests of getting things online faster.

“Canada Line: Innovation from Start to Finish” was a session moderated by SkyTrain CEO Doug Kelsey in the morning. There were three parts to it: the first had speakers from TransLink; the second had speakers from ProTransBC, and the third was speakers from YVR, all discussing the Canada Line from their particular perspective. Then questions were asked by the attendees.

Bear in mind that this is a conference for transit professionals, so the aim of the session was to outline the process that put the Canada Line public-private project together and talk about the contract and partnerships from an implementation perspective.

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The APTA International Rail Rodeo gets underway

The rail rodeo sign up at VCC-Clark Station.

The rail rodeo sign up at VCC-Clark Station.

(Update: click here for the rail rodeo results!)

I spent all day Thursday and a bit of Friday out with the International Rail Rodeo participants!

As you may know, TransLink is hosting the 2010 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Rail Conference, and the Rail Rodeo is a big part of that conference.

Teams from other rail systems compete in tests of their operations and maintenance skill—operator teams compete in train operations, and maintenance teams challenge each other on diagnosing and fixing train problems.

Eight teams are competing this year: Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, Canada Line, New York, Dallas, SkyTrain, and Philadelphia. The official competition is on Saturday, June 5, but Thursday and Friday were a crash course in SkyTrain operation. Competitors needed to learn all about the SkyTrain system, as that’s what they’re going to be tested on!

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