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Posts from the ‘Public Transport’ Category

Coronavirus recovery: public transport is key to avoid repeating old and unsustainable mistakes

The Conversation 26 May 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our cities in profound ways. People adapted by teleworking, shopping locally and making only necessary trips. One of the many challenges of recovery will be to build on the momentum of the shift to more sustainable practices – and transport will be a particular challenge.

While restrictions are being eased, many measures in place today, including physical distancing and limits on group numbers, will remain for some time. As people try to avoid crowded spaces, public transport patronage will suffer. Thousands of journeys a day will need to be completed by other means.

If people switch from public transport to cars, road congestion will be even worse than before, emissions will soar, air quality will be poor and road safety will suffer.

Re-imagining our cities

Cities are repurposing streets to meet higher demands for walking and cycling.

But not everyone can walk or ride a scooter or bike to their destination. Public transport must remain at the heart of urban mobility.

We will have to rethink public transport design to enable physical distancing, even though it reduces capacities.

Public transport drivers need protection. Some responses such as boarding from back doors and sanitising rolling stock are needed but don’t reduce crowding. Crowding at platforms, bus and tram stops also has to be avoided.

Crowding on public transport puts lives at risk. A recent study that looked at smartcard data for the Metro in Washington DC showed that, with the same passenger demand as before the pandemic, only three initially infected passengers will lead to 55% of the passenger population being infected within 20 days. This would have alarming consequences.

More measures are needed. There are things we need to stop doing or start doing, and others that need to happen sooner.

Increasing capacities by running more services, where possible, will help. Staggering work hours will reduce peak demand. Transport demand management must also aim to reduce overall need for travel by having people continue to work from home if they can.

Managing passenger flow and decreasing waiting times will also help avoid crowding. Passenger-counting technologies can be used to monitor passenger load restrictions, control flow and stagger ridership.

We need to start trying new solutions using smart technologies. Passengers could use apps that let them find out how crowded a service is before boarding, or to book a seat in advance.

Other solutions to trial include thermal imaging at train stations and bus depots to identify passengers with fever. There will be many technical and deployment challenges, but trials can identify issues and ease the transition.

We need to accelerate digitalisation and automation of public transport. This includes solutions for contactless operations, automated train doors and passenger safety across the whole journey.

Public transport also has to be expanded and diversified to be effective in dense areas and deliver social value to residents. In some areas, it may function as a demand-responsive service and be more agile in its ability to transport people safely and quickly.

Improving resilience

The lessons we have learnt about adapting how we live and work should guide recovery efforts. The recovery must improve the resilience of public transport.

Infrastructure investments, which are crucial for rebuilding the economy, must target projects that protect against future threats. Public transport will need reliable financial investment to provide quality of service and revive passenger confidence.

Importantly, the harm this pandemic is causing has not been equitable. The most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged have been hit hardest by both its health and economic impacts.

While many people are able to work from home, staying at home remains a luxury many others cannot afford. People who need to return to work must be able to rely on safe public transport.

Building on momentum

By the time the lockdown is over, many of our old habits will have changed. The notion that we need to leave home to work every day has been challenged. The new habits emerging today, if sustained, could help us solve tricky problems like traffic congestion and accessibility, which have challenged our cities for a long time.

If there’s one principle that should underpin recovery efforts, it should be to make choices today that in future we’d want us to have made. If driving becomes an established new habit, congestion will spike and persist, as will greenhouse gas emissions. Faced with these kinds of challenges, rash “business as usual” measures and behaviours will not protect us from this emergency or future crises.

Cities that seize this moment and boost investment in social infrastructure will enter the post-coronavirus world stronger, more equitable and more resilient.

Let us commit to shaping a recovery that rebuilds lives and promotes equality and sustainability. By building on sustainable practices and a momentum of behavioural change, we can avoid repeating the unsustainable mistakes of the past.

A Post-Pandemic Reality Check for Transit Boosters

Citylab 6 May 2020

After lockdowns ease, public transportation ridership in the U.S. is likely to remain low for years. But some see a way forward for a new understanding of transit’s role.

In 1918, streetcars were the top urban transportation mode in the United States. And they were packed: Americans made about 140 trips per capita, about 15 billion trips total, that year.

Then came the Spanish flu. As influenza ripped through cities, crowded systems were forced to make health-centric changes, including requiring masks on passengers, limiting streetcar capacity, and staggering commute hours to keep riders distanced. Some vehicles were briefly decommissioned due to a shortage of operators. Still, the popularity of mass transit did not suffer dramatically in the succeeding years — at least not until the Great Depression put a quarter of the country out of work and, later, when the private automobile began to displace it.

What about today? Coronavirus has walloped bus and rail networks. The top transit systems in the U.S. have seen 70% to 90% ridership losses as commuters have been laid off, worked from home, or opted for other means of travel since March. With few passengers, daunting finances, sick operators, and a heightened imperative to sanitize, agencies have dramatically scaled back service. San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Agency has ceased rail operations and eliminated nearly 70% of its bus network. In Washington, D.C., buses are serving just 26 “lifeline” routes and Metro trains are running on Saturday schedules. The New York subway has stopped running 24 hours a day for the first time in 115 years.

Transit’s current situation is partly a reflection of the overall travel freeze on driving, flying, and all other modes during stay-at-home orders in major cities. But when lockdowns ease, there are reasons that transit commuters in particular may not return in force.

First, bus and rail ridership tends to be more sensitive to economic changes than other modes, and the financial effects of coronavirus are poised to stretch long into the future, said Brian Taylor, an urban planning professor and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Second, some proportion of would-be passengers are likely to continue to work remotely, while others may change their commute patterns to driving or biking. “We know that people will be scared to use public transportation from a health perspective,” said Ahmed El-Geneidy, a professor of urban planning at McGill University who has studied transit ridership. Based on what’s happening in China, a post-pandemic car sales boom may be in the offing.  

Third, assuming rider demand and revenue remain low, transit agencies may have to keep service cuts even after lockdowns lift, despite the fact that more vehicles, not fewer, are needed to allow for social distancing. Academic literature shows that such cuts themselves can be rider-deterrents. “There’s an elasticity that shows if you cut service by 10%, you can generally expect ridership goes down 3-6%,” said Greg Erhardt, a civil engineering professor at the University of Kentucky who specializes in travel behavior and transportation planning.

A final and pernicious factor is that 2020 was primed to be the sixth consecutive year of what Taylor calls a “disturbing trend”: U.S. transit ridership has been in decline since 2014, even as transit agencies have added service on the whole. Much of that new service has come in light-rail extensions and some bus-rapid transit lines usually designed to attract “discretionary riders,” or people who can afford to choose between driving and transit, and often financed through sales tax measures.

Explanations for ridership’s downward slide during these years abound. Cheap gas and easy credit for auto loans increased the appeal of car use, while service quality deteriorated on the older parts of transit systems. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft emerged, and a housing affordability crisis pushed many people outside the range of reliable transit.  

In Southern California, Taylor and his colleagues have found that the largest drops in ridership have come from groups that were traditionally the heaviest, most economically dependent users of transit. Lower-income immigrants in particular have abandoned buses as car ownership among those communities has increased. While the share of discretionary riders has increased slightly, thanks to increased investment into rail and rapid bus service geared toward more affluent commuters, “their added trips are still overwhelmed by lost trips from others,” Taylor said.

Who will ride in the wake of coronavirus? Passengers will inevitably return in dense cities with extensive systems, such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, where transit is critical for thriving urban economies to function, Taylor said. But the best indication of the future face of transit may be the people on board right now. And there are still a lot of them: By the end of March, New York City subway ridership cratered to 10% of its usual five million weekday trips, but that still meant it was providing more than 500,000 trips. The 65% ridership drop on L.A.’s Metro buses, reported in mid-April, still equates to 500,000 daily boardings.

It isn’t clear how many of these trips were made by essential workers, but analyses based on census data show that more than 30% of normal transit riders have jobs that have been deemed pandemic-critical. Individuals riding to work right now are also less likely to have the option to drive, and they are more likely to be people of color, as evidenced in photos of crowded subways and buses that have sparked online outrage in recent weeks. Transit, an urban mobility navigation app, has found that 68% of the people using it to plan bus and metro trips right now are women, most of them black and Latinx.

There is one grim new potential reservoir of future transit riders, Taylor said: lower-income households that have bought vehicles in the last few years. Their car-owning status could be vulnerable to an economic downturn.

These circumstances point to a potential shift in the way transit is used, viewed, and potentially funded, experts said. Traditionally, a successful transit system is one with a lot of riders, with packed buses and cars and a large share of revenue derived from passenger fares. But in a world where social distancing means life or death, and a 40-foot bus has an eight-passenger capacity limit, emphasizing ridership and fare recovery as the metrics of success may no longer make sense. Yet the nurses, orderlies, grocery store workers and pharmacists boarding today are proof that transit itself is a critical social institution. “Transit agencies should be switching their brains to serving those riders,” said El-Geneidy. “We have to accept that public transport is an essential service. We can’t think about it as a for-profit organization that can make money from ridership.”

That could create a stronger demand for federal funding for transit, instead of local agencies continuing rely on fares and tax measures tied to projects like light-rail expansions sold to affluent voters with the promise of congestion relief. For Taylor, that may mean something like a reality check for transit-boosters.

“For many years we have a lot of aspirations for transit: We want it to beat traffic, fight climate change, and revitalize communities,” he said. “But the two things it has demonstrably done in last half century is provide mobility for those without — whether that’s due to age, income, or disability — and allow highly agglomerated places function. My educated guess is that we will see the rise of transit as a social service.”

www.citylab.com/transportation/2020/05/public-transit-riders-coronavirus-bus-subway-public-funding/611203/

In a pandemic, we’re all in this together

Citylab, 7 April 2020
Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

As health authorities tell us to stay at home and to maintain a six-foot distance from one another, public transit ridership has understandably collapsed. A TransitApp analysis suggests that this collapse has now stabilized around 70% below pre-crisis levels, but many major agencies report bigger declines, especially on longer-distance and commute-oriented services. San Francisco’s BART system, for example, has lost 93% of its riders.

The financial disaster transit agencies face is hard to overstate. Most U.S. transit agency revenue comes from fares and payroll and sales taxes, all of which will have collapsed or can be expected to as the effects of the pandemic ripple down through the economy.

There is no silver lining here. The recent federal CARES Act includes $25 billion in emergency funds for transit agencies. This will keep the lights on for a while, but not if the crisis drags on.

In response to this emergency, major agencies are doing their best not to cut service much. Typically, agencies have deleted rush-hour express service (whose wealthier riders are almost all working from home) and have shut down tourism and recreation services. After that, their next step has usually been running Saturday or Sunday schedules every day, which implies reduced frequencies, although San Francisco is turning off some routes to protect frequency and prevent crowding on most-used routes nearby. Based on my informal discussions with many agencies, the service cuts seem to be in the range of 10% to 40% at this point, far less than the roughly 70% drop in ridership.

Even these service cuts aren’t all motivated by the need to save money. The first impetus has been a staff shortage. Bus and train drivers are ill, or afraid of becoming ill, or arestuck at home caring for children who would usually be in school. Even where budget is a consideration, agencies are desperate to avoid major layoffs and furloughs, both because they care about their employees and because they need a highly trained workforce to still be there when demand comes back.

At least agencies can save money by running smaller vehicles, right? Labor is most of bus operating cost, but agencies could save power, fuel, and wear-and-tear. But no: Agencies are trying to run big buses and long trains, so that their few passengers can stay six feet apart, and they’re being criticized when loads are too high. In short, they are intentionally creating the “empty buses” look that so many people misread as evidence of transit’s failure or irrelevance. (Good luck getting that much distance when usingUber.)

Why are agencies behaving this way? Because they are not businesses. And if there’s one thing we must learn from this moment, it’s that we have to stop talking about transit as though ridership is its only purpose, and its primary measure of success.

Right now, essential services have to keep going. It’s not just the hospital, the grocery store, and basic utilities.  It’s the entire supply chain that keeps those places stocked, running, and secure. Almost all of these jobs are low-wage. The people using transit now are working in hospitals that are saving lives. They are creating, shipping and selling urgently needed supplies. They are keeping grocery stores functioning, so we can eat.

In transit conversations we often talk about meeting the needs of people who depend on transit. This makes transit sound like something we’re doing for them. But in fact, those people are providing services that we all depend on, so by serving those lower income riders, we’re all serving ourselves.

The goal of transit, right now, is neither competing for riders nor providing a social service for those in need. It is helping prevent the collapse of civilization.

What’s more, transit has always been doing that. Those “essential service” workers, who are overwhelmingly low-income, have always been there, moving around quietly in our transit systems, keeping our cities functioning. Too often, we have patronized them by calling them needy or dependent when in fact everything would collapse if they couldn’t get to work.

Transit agencies rarely get credit for this work, and journalists rarely stop to consider it. For the last decade or more, the default news story about transit has been about ridership. When it’s down, we get alarmist stories. What are transit agencies doing wrong? How are they going to fix it? The near-universal assumption is that transit should be judged as though it were a business, and that transit ridership is the primary measure of transit’s usefulness or relevance. This assumption has always been wrong, but now it’s obviously wrong. If it were true, agencies wouldn’t still be running so much service right now.

Right now, in interviews, I’m being asked what transit agencies must do after the crisis to get ridership back. The false implication is not just that the return of ridership should be their only goal, but also that there’s something that they could do to bring ridership back to what it was. In normal times, transit agencies can improve ridership by making service more useful — that’s what I do as a consultant — but ridership has always gone up or down for reasons outside their control. That’s never been more obvious than right now.

In fact, there’s good reason to suspect that the return of previous riders could take a year or more. This crisis won’t end overnight. At some point we’ll emerge from our holes and start moving around again, but the virus will still be there and we’ll all be cautious about it. If you had an easy option to drive your own car — a car that you cleaned yourself and whose inner surfaces nobody outside your family has touched — would you choose instead to get into a transit vehicle, full of strangers and the surfaces they’ve been touching?

It’s quite possible, then, that ridership will rise only gradually, and that for some time, most of the people ridingwill be those who we too-often call the “transit dependent.” This term, like its opposite “choice rider,” has always been misleading, because most urban people are not totally dependent or totally “choice.” Instead, we each have a range of travel options with their own incentives and disincentives, and may make different choices for different trips. Some people also “choose transit dependence” by not owning cars even though they could afford one, thus revealing the absurdity of describing all riders as either “dependent” or “choice.”

But even for those with the fewest options, the term dependent has allowed us to imagine helpless people in need of our rescue, rather than people that we depend on to keep things running. Everyone who lives in a city, or invests in one, or lives by selling to urban populations is transit dependent in this sense.

Meanwhile, if we all drive cars out of a feeling of personal safety, we’ll quickly restore the congestion that strangles our cities, the emissions that poison us and our planet, and the appalling rates of traffic carnage that we are expected to tolerate. Once again, we’ll need incentives, such as market-based road pricing, to make transit attractive enough so that there’s room for everyone to move around the city. That will mean more ridership, but again, ridership isn’t exactly the point. The point is the functioning of the city, which again, all of us depend on.

So let’s take this moment to reframe our journalism and commentary around transit issues. Let’s learn from the remarkable work that transit agencies are doing now, and recognize that this is something they’ve always done and that we’ll always need them to do. Let’s look beyond ridership or “transit dependence” and instead measure all the ways that transit makes urban civilization possible. In big cities, transit is an essential service, like police and water, without which nothing else is possible. Maybe that’s how we should measure its results.

www.citylab.com/perspective/2020/04/coronavirus-public-transit-subway-bus-ridership-revenue/609556/

250 km/h ‘high speed metro’ in Guangzhou urban rail plan

Railway Gazette, 17 January 2020

CHINA: The Guangzhou municipal government has approved a 15-year plan to increase public transport’s market share to 80% through the development of a comprehensive urban rail network based on three metro, ‘express metro’ and ‘high speed metro’ networks.

Read more

ON-DEMAND BUS SERVICE LAUNCHED FOR NEW SYDNEY METRO

Australasian Bus and Coach Newsletter 11 June 2019

BUS OPERATOR Busways has launched an on-demand app as a new way to connect passengers with the recently opened Sydney Metro and conventional rail services, it’s reported recently.

Proclaimed as “…public transport that comes to you”, Busways is providing the new on-demand Hino Ponchos to residents in The Ponds and Schofields areas in the growing north-west of Sydney, NSW.

Cooee Busways launched late May, 2019, to coincide with the opening of Sydney Metro Northwest and operates Monday to Friday from 5.00am until 9.00pm, connecting customers with Schofields Station and the new Sydney Metro stations at Tallawong and Rouse Hill, the company states. 

“Integrated public transport options will alleviate commuter’s frustrations with congestion on western Sydney roads when they’re just trying to get to work and back home each day,” managing director Byron Rowe said.

“The Ponds and Schofields are growing areas and the Cooee Busways on-demand service provides a crucial first- and last-mile link to the train and Metro.

“On-demand is the way of the future of public transport and we’re pleased to be able to offer it to residents in need of improved options now.

“Cooee Busways is a safe and reliable pick-up and drop-off on-demand service to and from the local transport hubs,” Rowe explained.

REDEFININING MOBILITY

Passengers will be able to book the service through the Busways Cooee smartphone app, powered by Via, the leading provider and developer of on-demand shared mobility solutions, according to Busways.

They can book a service for travel between a bus stop within the service area and one of three transport hubs: Tallawong and Rouse Hill Metro Stations, and Schofields Train Station.

“Via’s technology is redefining mobility across the globe and we are thrilled to partner with Busways and Transport for NSW to provide residents with a convenient, affordable, and congestion-reducing transportation alternative,” said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via.

“Via’s powerful passenger-matching and vehicle-routing algorithm is the solution to solving the first- and last-mile challenge, seamlessly integrating into the existing public transit infrastructure to connect residents to transit hubs in their communities.”

HOW IT WORKS

Using the Cooee app, riders will be able to hail a shuttle directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the vehicle, it claims.

The powerful technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick-up and drop-off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules, the company explains.

“The Cooee Busways service is just a glimpse into the changing-nature of public transport. By simply taking out your smart phone and using an app, you’ll be able to travel where you need to go when you want to,” Rowe said.

https://www.busnews.com.au/industry-news/1906/on-demand-bus-service-launched-for-new-sydney-metro

Unblocking Paris

International Rail Journal 12 June 2019

With the start of tunnel boring on the eastern extension of RER Line E in Paris, momentum is building for the project which promises to ease congestion on the city’s saturated commuter network. Kevin Smith explores the intricacies of the undertaking and outlines the challenges facing contractors.

THE ground beneath the streets of Paris, like many modern metropolises, is a Swiss cheese of tunnels and underground infrastructure. Work on the latest addition, a 6km underground extension of RER Line E from St Lazare west to La Défense began on February 19 when TBM Virginie entered the ground.

The €3.7bn project is in effect the final stage of Line E, the first phase of which opened in 1999. The line improved connectivity from the east to the centre of Paris and this latest extension is aiming to improve connectivity from the west.


The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year.

As well as the underground section, the scheme involves upgrading 2km of existing underground infrastructure between La Défense and Nanterre-la-Jolie and upgrading the 47km line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie to accommodate Line E trains on the same tracks used by Transilien Line J services to Vernon.

Ile-de-France Mobility and French National Railways (SNCF) are also spending €2bn on new RER New Generation double-deck EMUs (pictured) built by Alstom and Bombardier that will be used on Line E as well as RER Line D from 2021. The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year. The plan is to complete the extension to Nanterre and the complete project, including high capacity signalling in the central section, by 2024.

The impact of the project for Paris commuters is expected to be significant.

The majority travel from the east and the west suburbs of the city during the morning and evening peaks. This places significant pressure on RER Line A, which currently serves 1.2 million passengers per day. With passengers packed into these trains, and the first sections of the Grand Paris Express orbital metro network not due to open until 2030, the extension of Line E is considered a more immediate solution to ease congestion. The trains will operate at speeds of up to 120km/h on the core section, saving commuters travelling from the western suburbs to La Défense around 17 minutes on their current journey.

Mr Xavier Gruz, director of the Eole-Nexteo project at SNCF, says it is estimated that more than 50% of Line A passengers travelling through the central section will switch to Line E once it comes on line. “For instance, people who commute from La Défense to Gare du Nord will no longer go through Châtelet and will use Line E,” Gruz says. “We also see that 10-12% decrease in traffic on lines B and D, which go through Gare du Nord. The objective is to take off some of the load that is supported by the RER lines inside Paris.”

Line E itself is forecast to carry 700,000 passengers per day, up from around 340,000 at present. Operation on the line’s 20km core underground section will be enhanced by the introduction of CBTC, which will enable 22 trains per hour, per direction to use the complete Rosa Parks – Nanterre-la-Folie section during the peak, with 16 of these trains operating on the line east of Rosa Parks, which comprises branches to Tournan and Chelles-Gourney, and six on the western section from Mantes-la-Jolie. There is the possibility to increase capacity to 28 trains with headways of 108 seconds once the Paris – Normandy upgrade is completed around 2030. Currently trains are operating at 180-second intervals.


“It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

SNCF Engineering is designing the Nexteo CBTC solution with support from Paris Transport Authority (RATP), which has deployed CBTC on Paris metro lines 1, 3, 5, 9 and 14, and industry partner Siemens, which was awarded a €186m contract in 2016. Trains will operate at GoA2 in the central section, which encompasses the new line as well as the existing underground line from Haussmann-St Lazare to Rosa Parks.

Siemens France is supplying its Vicos operational control system and Airlink radio communication for the project. While preparatory work to install the new signalling system alongside legacy equipment began earlier this year, installation of Nexteo equipment will begin in 2022. Gruz says the new tunnel will open initially with the use of a lineside signalling system, with the aim of commissioning Nexteo by the end of 2023 and fully opening the line the following year. “It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

The new project will add three new stations, including two new entirely-underground stations at CNIT-La Défense and Porte Maillot, and a new surface station at Nanterre La Folie, which will connect with the existing underground platforms. Modifications will also be made to existing stations with the line set to interchange with RER lines A and C, metro Line 1, light rail Line T2, and lines 15 and 18 of the Grand Paris Express network.

THE ground beneath the streets of Paris, like many modern metropolises, is a Swiss cheese of tunnels and underground infrastructure. Work on the latest addition, a 6km underground extension of RER Line E from St Lazare west to La Défense began on February 19 when TBM Virginie entered the ground.

The €3.7bn project is in effect the final stage of Line E, the first phase of which opened in 1999. The line improved connectivity from the east to the centre of Paris and this latest extension is aiming to improve connectivity from the west.


The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year.

As well as the underground section, the scheme involves upgrading 2km of existing underground infrastructure between La Défense and Nanterre-la-Jolie and upgrading the 47km line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie to accommodate Line E trains on the same tracks used by Transilien Line J services to Vernon.

Ile-de-France Mobility and French National Railways (SNCF) are also spending €2bn on new RER New Generation double-deck EMUs (pictured) built by Alstom and Bombardier that will be used on Line E as well as RER Line D from 2021. The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year. The plan is to complete the extension to Nanterre and the complete project, including high capacity signalling in the central section, by 2024.

The impact of the project for Paris commuters is expected to be significant.

The majority travel from the east and the west suburbs of the city during the morning and evening peaks. This places significant pressure on RER Line A, which currently serves 1.2 million passengers per day. With passengers packed into these trains, and the first sections of the Grand Paris Express orbital metro network not due to open until 2030, the extension of Line E is considered a more immediate solution to ease congestion. The trains will operate at speeds of up to 120km/h on the core section, saving commuters travelling from the western suburbs to La Défense around 17 minutes on their current journey.

Mr Xavier Gruz, director of the Eole-Nexteo project at SNCF, says it is estimated that more than 50% of Line A passengers travelling through the central section will switch to Line E once it comes on line. “For instance, people who commute from La Défense to Gare du Nord will no longer go through Châtelet and will use Line E,” Gruz says. “We also see that 10-12% decrease in traffic on lines B and D, which go through Gare du Nord. The objective is to take off some of the load that is supported by the RER lines inside Paris.”

Line E itself is forecast to carry 700,000 passengers per day, up from around 340,000 at present. Operation on the line’s 20km core underground section will be enhanced by the introduction of CBTC, which will enable 22 trains per hour, per direction to use the complete Rosa Parks – Nanterre-la-Folie section during the peak, with 16 of these trains operating on the line east of Rosa Parks, which comprises branches to Tournan and Chelles-Gourney, and six on the western section from Mantes-la-Jolie. There is the possibility to increase capacity to 28 trains with headways of 108 seconds once the Paris – Normandy upgrade is completed around 2030. Currently trains are operating at 180-second intervals.


“It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

SNCF Engineering is designing the Nexteo CBTC solution with support from Paris Transport Authority (RATP), which has deployed CBTC on Paris metro lines 1, 3, 5, 9 and 14, and industry partner Siemens, which was awarded a €186m contract in 2016. Trains will operate at GoA2 in the central section, which encompasses the new line as well as the existing underground line from Haussmann-St Lazare to Rosa Parks.

Siemens France is supplying its Vicos operational control system and Airlink radio communication for the project. While preparatory work to install the new signalling system alongside legacy equipment began earlier this year, installation of Nexteo equipment will begin in 2022. Gruz says the new tunnel will open initially with the use of a lineside signalling system, with the aim of commissioning Nexteo by the end of 2023 and fully opening the line the following year. “It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

The new project will add three new stations, including two new entirely-underground stations at CNIT-La Défense and Porte Maillot, and a new surface station at Nanterre La Folie, which will connect with the existing underground platforms. Modifications will also be made to existing stations with the line set to interchange with RER lines A and C, metro Line 1, light rail Line T2, and lines 15 and 18 of the Grand Paris Express network.

Tunnelling commenced when TBM Virginie entered the ground at La Défense station in February. Excavation is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Inevitably building a new tunnel in the heart of Paris presents challenges. Gruz says the area around La Défense in particular is difficult because of the density of the buildings and because construction of the station itself is taking place directly below the iconic Centre for New Industries and Technologies (CNIT) building.

The 11-storey structure is supported by temporary jacks while work takes place in a vault which has been excavated with three contact points to the building. Gruz says great care has been taken to ensure that the work does not disturb everyday activities in the building, which is home to shops, a hotel and offices. “We also have to comply with the maximum permissible level of noise and vibration night and day because of the hotel,” Gruz says.

Contractors face similar challenges at Porte Maillot. Here work is complicated by the station’s proximity to the Paris Congress Hall as well as the presence of the neighbouring automated metro Line 1, which is used by 800,000 passengers per day as well as RER Line C, road tunnels and a car park. “We are trying to build the new station in between all of these pieces of infrastructure,” Gruz says.

Logistics

The final major challenge relates to minimising the impact on everyday Parisians. With construction taking place in the heart of the city, Gruz says care is taken when delivering equipment. For example, the concrete segments used by the TBM, which was built by Herrenknecht, Germany, and at 1800 tonnes and with an 11m-diameter, is the biggest currently working in Europe, are delivered by rail up to the last mile where transport switches to road. In addition, barges on the River Seine are transporting spoil from the double-track single bore tunnel out of the city centre. However, with work taking place at 30m below the city’s streets, and with the area under construction only inhabited in the 19th century, Gruz says disruption from archaeological finds is not likely.

Work to upgrade the existing infrastructure is taking place alongside construction of the new tunnel. Specifically, this involves upgrading the existing line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie, including realigning tracks and infrastructure on the section beyond Nanterre La Folie. Contractors will also construct a new 800m elevated section and deliver improvements to increase speed and capacity on existing passing loops, and enhance platform capacity at stations, including the total reconstruction of Mantes-la-Jolie.

A significant element of the work is to upgrade signalling. As well as CBTC through the core section, Gruz says the project is also upgrading signalling on the outlying network. While the ATS+ solution is partially derived from Nexteo’s specification, Gruz says a complete rollout of Nexteo is too expensive on the outlying sections.

The work will involve installing new computerised interlockings, with Alstom responsible for the western section to Mantes-la-Jolie under a €112m contract, and Siemens delivering the eastern portion to Chelles and Tournan under a €163m agreement.


SNCF will be keen to avoid the problems that have delayed the London project and deliver the scheme on time and budget.

“We are currently developing tools to ensure the connection with the ATS+ system for the operators using this system,” Gruz says. “The objective is to gain one path during the peak and also to make the system more robust and reliable. This is a line that does not work very well when there are a lot of delays.”

Gruz compares the Line E project with London’s Crossrail and the signalling upgrades in Copenhagen. “These are the two benchmarks that we have worked from,” he says.

Like Crossrail, the Line E project will offer enhanced cross-city connectivity and go a long way to providing desperately needed extra capacity. Although as the project ramps up in the next few years, SNCF will be keen to avoid the problems that have delayed the London project and deliver the scheme on time and budget. Long-suffering RER Line A commuters cannot wait much longer.

www.railjournal.com/in_depth/unblocking-paris

UK public transport rolls out ‘chat day’

The Guardian 9 June 2019

Buses, coaches, trams and trains will be a bit chattier than usual on Friday as a day-long experiment to encourage travellers to talk to strangers is rolled out on Britain’s transport network.

Commuters on West Coast Virgin trains will find every coach C is designated a “chat carriage”, while bus company Arriva is placing “conversation starter” cards on vehicles servicing their UK network.

Transport for London, Greater Anglia and the Go Ahead Group are also all taking part, with posters at three London tube stations encouraging people to talk to staff. Counsellors trained by the charity Relate will ply London buses as part of an initiative with Greener Journeys, encouraging passengers to open up.

National Express said it would invite people to take part in “some stimulating activities” on Birmingham’s number 11 route, the longest urban bus route in Europe.

The series of initiatives, orchestrated by a BBC team focused on solutions journalism, is designed to combat two of the most toxic issues of the age: polarisation and isolation.

Emily Kasriel, a BBC editor behind the project, said the aim was “to encourage people who are up for it to get out of their comfort zone and emerge from their screens to interact with the adult sitting next to them”.

“Many people are reluctant to talk to strangers, but perhaps someone is battling loneliness and an exchange could provide a meaningful moment that changes their day,” said Kasriel, the head of the BBC’s Crossing Divides season, which seeks to combat antagonism through conversation.

“Everyone has an interesting story to tell. These chance encounters can provoke a new way of looking at the world, and an opportunity to understand someone else’s story.”

Though typical commuter behaviour these days might involve inserting earbuds and avoiding all and any interaction with fellow travellers, research indicates that those who do open up to strangers tend to feel happier as a result.

In a 2014 study led by Nicholas Epley at the University of Chicago, the authors wrote: “Connecting with others increases happiness, but strangers in close proximity routinely ignore each other.”

In a blogpost for the BBC, Epley wrote that one reason why a sudden conversation might improve a day is that “the experience of talking with others and hearing a stranger’s voice makes us realise they have a rich inner life of thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences, just like us”.

He added: “These brief connections with strangers are not likely to turn a life of misery into one of bliss. However, they can change unpleasant moments – like the grind of a daily commute – into something more pleasant.”

Not everyone agrees. Last month, Uber started trialling a “quiet driver” mode to prevent drivers from striking up conversations on journeys.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/13/uk-public-transport-rolls-out-chat-day d

India Offers $360 Million Subsidy For 5,000 Electric Buses

Cleantechnica .com 8 June 2019

The Indian government plans to incentivize cities to include electric buses to their public transport fleet through financial subsidies.

The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) document to invite proposals from states, government departments, transportation departments, and municipal bodies for procurement of electric buses across 40 cities. The subsidy will be provided under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India or the FAME-II scheme.

The central government will offer subsidies worth Rs 2,500 crore (US$360 million) for the deployment of 5,000 electric buses. Under the current exercise, a total of 40 cities shall be selected where a subsidy will be distributed for deployment of electric buses based on population.

Cities with a population of more than 4 million must deploy a minimum of 300 electric buses each, those with more than 1 million population must deploy at least 100 electric buses each. 50 electric buses each shall be deployed in cities under other categories. In order to be eligible for the subsidy, cities must guarantee that each bus slot will run for at least five lakhs km during its contract period and also inform about the number of buses they plan to deploy.

Eligibility for this subsidy scheme will be limited to states with a separate electric vehicles policy and other incentives to promote use of electric vehicles. State transportation units will be required to submit competitive bids to access the financial subsidy.

Among other conditions for disbursement of the subsidy is that the manufacturer of the electric buses must be an Indian company with a manufacturing facility in the country. The subsidy shall be disbursed in a phased manner with 20% issued at the time of signing the supply order for the buses, 40% at the time of delivery of the buses, and the balance 40% after six months of successful commercial operation of the buses.

The timeline set for the complete delivery of all buses has been set at just over 18 months from now. 

The FAME-II scheme has been designed by the Indian government to support electrification of public and shared transportation. The total budgetary allocation for this scheme is Rs 10,000 crore (US$1.4 billion). Around 35% of this allocation has been set aside to facilitate deployment of 7,000 electric buses across various cities in the country.

A number of state transportation agencies have already announced plans to induct electric buses to their fleet. These include agencies in the cities of Mumbai and Bengaluru. The state of Kerala recently issued a tender to lease 1,500 electric buses for a period of 10 years.

The Indian government is pushing for a widespread electrification of the transportation system. It has first targeted the public and shared transportation system. We recently reported that the government may ban sale of three-wheelers using internal combustion engines by March 2023 and all two-wheelers using internal combustion engines with less than 150 cc by March 2025, and that cab aggregators like Uber and Ola Cabs may be required to have at least 40% electric vehicles in their fleet by 2026.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/08/india-offers-360-million-subsidy-for-5000-electric-buses/

Unblocking Paris

International Rail Journal June 12 201

With the start of tunnel boring on the eastern extension of RER Line E in Paris, momentum is building for the project which promises to ease congestion on the city’s saturated commuter network. Kevin Smith explores the intricacies of the undertaking and outlines the challenges facing contractors.

THE ground beneath the streets of Paris, like many modern metropolises, is a Swiss cheese of tunnels and underground infrastructure. Work on the latest addition, a 6km underground extension of RER Line E from St Lazare west to La Défense began on February 19 when TBM Virginie entered the ground.

The €3.7bn project is in effect the final stage of Line E, the first phase of which opened in 1999. The line improved connectivity from the east to the centre of Paris and this latest extension is aiming to improve connectivity from the west.


The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year.

As well as the underground section, the scheme involves upgrading 2km of existing underground infrastructure between La Défense and Nanterre-la-Jolie and upgrading the 47km line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie to accommodate Line E trains on the same tracks used by Transilien Line J services to Vernon.

Ile-de-France Mobility and French National Railways (SNCF) are also spending €2bn on new RER New Generation double-deck EMUs (pictured) built by Alstom and Bombardier that will be used on Line E as well as RER Line D from 2021. The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year. The plan is to complete the extension to Nanterre and the complete project, including high capacity signalling in the central section, by 2024.

The impact of the project for Paris commuters is expected to be significant.

The majority travel from the east and the west suburbs of the city during the morning and evening peaks. This places significant pressure on RER Line A, which currently serves 1.2 million passengers per day. With passengers packed into these trains, and the first sections of the Grand Paris Express orbital metro network not due to open until 2030, the extension of Line E is considered a more immediate solution to ease congestion. The trains will operate at speeds of up to 120km/h on the core section, saving commuters travelling from the western suburbs to La Défense around 17 minutes on their current journey.

Mr Xavier Gruz, director of the Eole-Nexteo project at SNCF, says it is estimated that more than 50% of Line A passengers travelling through the central section will switch to Line E once it comes on line. “For instance, people who commute from La Défense to Gare du Nord will no longer go through Châtelet and will use Line E,” Gruz says. “We also see that 10-12% decrease in traffic on lines B and D, which go through Gare du Nord. The objective is to take off some of the load that is supported by the RER lines inside Paris.”

Line E itself is forecast to carry 700,000 passengers per day, up from around 340,000 at present. Operation on the line’s 20km core underground section will be enhanced by the introduction of CBTC, which will enable 22 trains per hour, per direction to use the complete Rosa Parks – Nanterre-la-Folie section during the peak, with 16 of these trains operating on the line east of Rosa Parks, which comprises branches to Tournan and Chelles-Gourney, and six on the western section from Mantes-la-Jolie. There is the possibility to increase capacity to 28 trains with headways of 108 seconds once the Paris – Normandy upgrade is completed around 2030. Currently trains are operating at 180-second intervals.


“It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

SNCF Engineering is designing the Nexteo CBTC solution with support from Paris Transport Authority (RATP), which has deployed CBTC on Paris metro lines 1, 3, 5, 9 and 14, and industry partner Siemens, which was awarded a €186m contract in 2016. Trains will operate at GoA2 in the central section, which encompasses the new line as well as the existing underground line from Haussmann-St Lazare to Rosa Parks.

Siemens France is supplying its Vicos operational control system and Airlink radio communication for the project. While preparatory work to install the new signalling system alongside legacy equipment began earlier this year, installation of Nexteo equipment will begin in 2022. Gruz says the new tunnel will open initially with the use of a lineside signalling system, with the aim of commissioning Nexteo by the end of 2023 and fully opening the line the following year. “It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

The new project will add three new stations, including two new entirely-underground stations at CNIT-La Défense and Porte Maillot, and a new surface station at Nanterre La Folie, which will connect with the existing underground platforms. Modifications will also be made to existing stations with the line set to interchange with RER lines A and C, metro Line 1, light rail Line T2, and lines 15 and 18 of the Grand Paris Express network.

THE ground beneath the streets of Paris, like many modern metropolises, is a Swiss cheese of tunnels and underground infrastructure. Work on the latest addition, a 6km underground extension of RER Line E from St Lazare west to La Défense began on February 19 when TBM Virginie entered the ground.

The €3.7bn project is in effect the final stage of Line E, the first phase of which opened in 1999. The line improved connectivity from the east to the centre of Paris and this latest extension is aiming to improve connectivity from the west.


The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year.

As well as the underground section, the scheme involves upgrading 2km of existing underground infrastructure between La Défense and Nanterre-la-Jolie and upgrading the 47km line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie to accommodate Line E trains on the same tracks used by Transilien Line J services to Vernon.

Ile-de-France Mobility and French National Railways (SNCF) are also spending €2bn on new RER New Generation double-deck EMUs (pictured) built by Alstom and Bombardier that will be used on Line E as well as RER Line D from 2021. The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year. The plan is to complete the extension to Nanterre and the complete project, including high capacity signalling in the central section, by 2024.

The impact of the project for Paris commuters is expected to be significant.

The majority travel from the east and the west suburbs of the city during the morning and evening peaks. This places significant pressure on RER Line A, which currently serves 1.2 million passengers per day. With passengers packed into these trains, and the first sections of the Grand Paris Express orbital metro network not due to open until 2030, the extension of Line E is considered a more immediate solution to ease congestion. The trains will operate at speeds of up to 120km/h on the core section, saving commuters travelling from the western suburbs to La Défense around 17 minutes on their current journey.

Mr Xavier Gruz, director of the Eole-Nexteo project at SNCF, says it is estimated that more than 50% of Line A passengers travelling through the central section will switch to Line E once it comes on line. “For instance, people who commute from La Défense to Gare du Nord will no longer go through Châtelet and will use Line E,” Gruz says. “We also see that 10-12% decrease in traffic on lines B and D, which go through Gare du Nord. The objective is to take off some of the load that is supported by the RER lines inside Paris.”

Line E itself is forecast to carry 700,000 passengers per day, up from around 340,000 at present. Operation on the line’s 20km core underground section will be enhanced by the introduction of CBTC, which will enable 22 trains per hour, per direction to use the complete Rosa Parks – Nanterre-la-Folie section during the peak, with 16 of these trains operating on the line east of Rosa Parks, which comprises branches to Tournan and Chelles-Gourney, and six on the western section from Mantes-la-Jolie. There is the possibility to increase capacity to 28 trains with headways of 108 seconds once the Paris – Normandy upgrade is completed around 2030. Currently trains are operating at 180-second intervals.


“It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

SNCF Engineering is designing the Nexteo CBTC solution with support from Paris Transport Authority (RATP), which has deployed CBTC on Paris metro lines 1, 3, 5, 9 and 14, and industry partner Siemens, which was awarded a €186m contract in 2016. Trains will operate at GoA2 in the central section, which encompasses the new line as well as the existing underground line from Haussmann-St Lazare to Rosa Parks.

Siemens France is supplying its Vicos operational control system and Airlink radio communication for the project. While preparatory work to install the new signalling system alongside legacy equipment began earlier this year, installation of Nexteo equipment will begin in 2022. Gruz says the new tunnel will open initially with the use of a lineside signalling system, with the aim of commissioning Nexteo by the end of 2023 and fully opening the line the following year. “It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

The new project will add three new stations, including two new entirely-underground stations at CNIT-La Défense and Porte Maillot, and a new surface station at Nanterre La Folie, which will connect with the existing underground platforms. Modifications will also be made to existing stations with the line set to interchange with RER lines A and C, metro Line 1, light rail Line T2, and lines 15 and 18 of the Grand Paris Express network.

Tunnelling commenced when TBM Virginie entered the ground at La Défense station in February. Excavation is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Inevitably building a new tunnel in the heart of Paris presents challenges. Gruz says the area around La Défense in particular is difficult because of the density of the buildings and because construction of the station itself is taking place directly below the iconic Centre for New Industries and Technologies (CNIT) building.

The 11-storey structure is supported by temporary jacks while work takes place in a vault which has been excavated with three contact points to the building. Gruz says great care has been taken to ensure that the work does not disturb everyday activities in the building, which is home to shops, a hotel and offices. “We also have to comply with the maximum permissible level of noise and vibration night and day because of the hotel,” Gruz says.

Contractors face similar challenges at Porte Maillot. Here work is complicated by the station’s proximity to the Paris Congress Hall as well as the presence of the neighbouring automated metro Line 1, which is used by 800,000 passengers per day as well as RER Line C, road tunnels and a car park. “We are trying to build the new station in between all of these pieces of infrastructure,” Gruz says.

Logistics

The final major challenge relates to minimising the impact on everyday Parisians. With construction taking place in the heart of the city, Gruz says care is taken when delivering equipment. For example, the concrete segments used by the TBM, which was built by Herrenknecht, Germany, and at 1800 tonnes and with an 11m-diameter, is the biggest currently working in Europe, are delivered by rail up to the last mile where transport switches to road. In addition, barges on the River Seine are transporting spoil from the double-track single bore tunnel out of the city centre. However, with work taking place at 30m below the city’s streets, and with the area under construction only inhabited in the 19th century, Gruz says disruption from archaeological finds is not likely.

Work to upgrade the existing infrastructure is taking place alongside construction of the new tunnel. Specifically, this involves upgrading the existing line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie, including realigning tracks and infrastructure on the section beyond Nanterre La Folie. Contractors will also construct a new 800m elevated section and deliver improvements to increase speed and capacity on existing passing loops, and enhance platform capacity at stations, including the total reconstruction of Mantes-la-Jolie.

A significant element of the work is to upgrade signalling. As well as CBTC through the core section, Gruz says the project is also upgrading signalling on the outlying network. While the ATS+ solution is partially derived from Nexteo’s specification, Gruz says a complete rollout of Nexteo is too expensive on the outlying sections.

The work will involve installing new computerised interlockings, with Alstom responsible for the western section to Mantes-la-Jolie under a €112m contract, and Siemens delivering the eastern portion to Chelles and Tournan under a €163m agreement.


SNCF will be keen to avoid the problems that have delayed the London project and deliver the scheme on time and budget.

“We are currently developing tools to ensure the connection with the ATS+ system for the operators using this system,” Gruz says. “The objective is to gain one path during the peak and also to make the system more robust and reliable. This is a line that does not work very well when there are a lot of delays.”

Gruz compares the Line E project with London’s Crossrail and the signalling upgrades in Copenhagen. “These are the two benchmarks that we have worked from,” he says.

Like Crossrail, the Line E project will offer enhanced cross-city connectivity and go a long way to providing desperately needed extra capacity. Although as the project ramps up in the next few years, SNCF will be keen to avoid the problems that have delayed the London project and deliver the scheme on time and budget. Long-suffering RER Line A commuters cannot wait much longer.

https://www.railjournal.com/in_depth/unblocking-parismuch longer.

https://www.railjournal.com/in_depth/unblocking-paris
https://www.railjournal.com/in_depth/unblocking-paris

Four European cities leading the way in eco-friendly transport

European cities are starting to make headway in green technological initiatives and are transforming urban spaces to reduce carbon emissions. But which cities are making a difference and what are they doing to make mobility greener?

Solar panelled bus stops to transform the city in Rzeszów, Poland

As part of Rzeszów’s commitment to investing in renewable technology, the Polish city will be implementing 140 new eco-friendly bus shelters and reducing CO2 emissions with electric buses by the end of September this year. The city’s new smart bus shelters do not just provide you with a bench and shelter from the weather, they also have solar panels that are continually working to absorb the sun’s energy. What’s more, the director of the digital municipal infrastructure division at Asseco Data Systems, Paweł Sokołowski, tells us about the main station itself:

“[It is] covered with photovoltaic cells – on the façades, shelters and even the blinds. The air-conditioning system automatically adjusts to the weather outside. As a result, the station is a zero-emission and energy self-sufficient structure.”

This green urban improvement is contributing to the city’s aim of becoming a ‘smart city’ – a lot of European cities could learn from this technological initiative!

London’s first hydrogen powered buses to be introduced by 2020

By 2020, London will be putting the world’s first hydrogen-powered double decker buses on its streets in light of the capital’s commitment to becoming an ultra-low emission zone. The 20 buses that have initially been bought by TFL (Transport for London) will run on green hydrogen and will only have water exhaust emissions. This initiative aims to tackle the capital’s problem with polluted air.

Mayor Sadiq Khan comments that “London now has the largest zero-emission bus fleet in Europe.” The buses will drive more smoothly, provide USB charging points and ensure 10 million passenger journeys are greener.

More electric car charging points to be implemented in Ruesselsheim, Germany

The German city of Ruesselsheim plans to build 1,300 charging points for electric cars by 2020, as a result of the growing popularity of this greener way of road travel.

Between 2015 and 2018, the number of electric cars in Germany increased by five times, but the ratio of charging points to electric cars did not increase. So this is certainly positive news!

Copenhagen to switch from diesel buses to electric

Known for its biking culture, Copenhagen is going one step further to improve its air quality and to reduce carbon emissions. The Danish city is encouraging greener forms of mobility by switching from diesel buses to electric, when bus contracts expire this year.

The aim is to start making public buses carbon neutral by 2025.

https://www.euronews.com/living/2019/06/07/four-european-cities-leading-the-way-in-eco-friendly-transport

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