North Bay Area passenger rail is back, BIG time – 2

The wait has been long but a wait well worth it. The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District, or SMART for short, has announced that beginning on Aug. 25, 2017 SMART passenger train service will commence, stating that it has been granted the all-clear from the Federal Railroad Administration in regards to rail passenger service being … Read more

High-speed trains + autonomous electric vehicles or HSTs and no AEVs: What will it be?

High-speed trains have been part of the landscape, a fixture, if you will, since 1934, with Pennsylvania Railroad’s (PRR) model GG1 electric locomotive whose top speed was 100 miles per hour and for a non-electric, Union Pacific’s M-10001 diesel-electric trainset, its maximum velocity, a reputed 120 mph. Certainly not to be overlooked were the many … Read more

Proposed New York-to-D.C. vac-rail tunnel: ‘Down-to-earth’ or ‘pie in the sky’?

Have you heard? Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, has this idea about boring a tunnel on the eastern seaboard between the Big Apple and D.C. Its purpose? Transporting people between the two cities and in 29 minutes, no less. Proposed too are stops in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland, based on what I understand … Read more

The thing about Valley smog, the ‘muck’ stops here

Oppressive is how San Joaquin Valley, California summertime heat can be. Temps of 104, 105, 106, 107 and higher aren’t uncommon. Heat as high as that becomes more than a bit uncomfortable and gets old rather fast the longer those triple-digit temperatures hang around. When that happens, talk about such in these here parts seems … Read more

Transportation on a roll: Getting better all the time – 2

May is always a good time to talk transportation. Amtrak, the national passenger rail carrier, as of May 1st has offered rail-based passenger service in the 48 contiguous-states region of the U.S. for 46 years. May, apparently, is a good time, too, to bike, the month being designated National Bike Month. Meanwhile, this year National … Read more

Transportation on a roll: Getting better all the time

There is this old saw: “If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it.” All well and good if it can be determined unequivocally if some “thing” is working properly and therefore is not in need of fixing. To toot my own horn, that’s a pretty good analysis if I do say so myself. This is not … Read more

In 2017, do as California is: Make air cleanup, job one – Part 3 (mobile sources 2/2)

Background California’s transportation system, which consists of highways and roads totaling more than 175,000 miles, is valued at around $1.5 trillion. The Golden State, moreover, has north of 500 transit agencies, 12 major ports and an 800-mile total high-speed rail system now under construction. There is more to the state transportation network, so much more. … Read more

California fast-train building progress one-and-three-fourths years in

June 16, 2017 will mark two years since construction on California’s planned total 800-mile high-speed rail system got underway. It could be year 2033 when the entire project is completed or 18 years from start to finish. Progress-wise, in getting to where the program is now, wasn’t easy. High-speed rail finally made it as a … Read more

Serious but stable: U.S. infrastructure condition: What it means for air

As with air quality, when it comes to infrastructure, condition matters. So, right now, according to one measure – the one just out Mar. 9, 2017: the American Society of Civil Engineers’ “2017 Infrastructure Report Card,” condition-wise, overall, America’s infrastructure got a D+. A serious situation: make no mistake. So, what is going on here? In … Read more

Will four disparate transportation projects hurt or help Fresno air?

In case you are not aware, the city of Fresno in California’s interior Central Valley, a metropolis whose residents number a half-million and who breathe some of the poorest quality air in the United States, has four major transportation projects going on simultaneously. These are: The Q: A 15.7-mile bus rapid transit install Midtown Trail: … Read more