Don’t Buy The Hyperloop!

Elon Musk is a very smart man.

The billionaire entrepreneur has spawned several successful companies, including Tesla and Space-X. He’s widely recognized as one of the visionaries in today’s tech landscape, with many putting him on-par with the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Given this, it’s a bit odd to see Musk so aggressively market the Hyperloop, a concept that has not been built, or really tested, anywhere in the world. Yet, Musk set the Twitterverse on fire, by tweeting that he had received “verbal approval” for building a “Hyperloop” between New York and Washington. According to Musk, the new transportation option would allow passengers to travel between the two cities in just 29 minutes (compared with 3 ½ hours today). He claims, and has claimed in the past, that construction will commence soon and will be far cheaper and more cost effective than high speed rail travel. He has even gone so far as to draw comparison with high speed rail efforts that are underway today, seeing these as a waste of time and money.

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Annotating Rahm Emanuel’s Subway Op-Ed

Last weekend, the MTA’s recent struggles went national when the Mayor of Chicago, published a Monday New York Times Op-Ed entitled “In Chicago, The Trains Actually Run on Time.” The haughty, headline of Emanuel’s opine earned a swift backlash from New York’s press and many ordinary citizens. New Yorkers may hate the MTA, but it’s our MTA! Beneath all of the noise, there was a rare, thoughtful and prominent critique of urban mass transit best practices.

For me, many of Emanuel’s argument’s resonated, while other’s didn’t.

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New York’s Citibike Records Its First Fatality

Yesterday, a tragic accident in Manhattan claimed the life of a cyclist. Dan Hanegby, a 36 year old from Brooklyn, is the Citibike’s first fatality in its four years of operation.

The New York Times provides a summary of the accident below:

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NYC Ferry Sees Rocky Launch

New York’s shiny new ferry service, which officially launched on May 1st, is experiencing a few growing pains which underscore the operational challenges of reliable and scalable new transit service, particularly ferries, within the five boroughs

Though the problems have not been well documented by the media, a quick glance at the service’s twitter feed quickly reveals a broad array of complaints from frustrated passengers, though:

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Understanding the History Behind The Chaos at Penn Station

The last 60 days were hell for commuters who rely on New York’s Penn Station, the busiest transit hub in the North America. In several separate incidents, train derailments and other problems have caused delays that have, quite literally, affected millions of passengers.

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The Problems With Uber’s Flying Cars

This week Uber created quite a splash when it unveiled plans for its “flying taxi” service, which aims create a network of airborne craft that will whisk passengers through busy metropolitan areas at speeds of more than 100 mph. That’s not even the most audacious part of the scheme; the company plans to have the first trials in place in just three years with the program fully implemented by 2023!

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Yes, LA’s Vermont Avenue Needs A Subway

With many tens of billions of dollars in the bank, LA’s city planners are hard at work laying out an ambitious array of transit improvements for the county’s ten million citizens. More than a dozen projects, each of which would be a show-stopper in another major city, are planned over the next fifteen years, essentially a doubling of the region’s transit millage.

More recently, however, the conversation has shifted to the type of infrastructure that is most appropriate for specific corridors and neighborhoods. Opportunities to transform a city only come so often, and thus planners and the citizenry alike want to ensure that infrastructure projects are built to adequately serve the needs of a growing metropolis. Nowhere is this debate drawing more attention than on Vermont Avenue.

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