Running extra: Caltrain – a clean, green commute-train machine

In 1978, when I moved from Maryland to California (now my permanent home), there were only a smattering of railroads across the U.S. that served the commuting public. Caltrain – before it was called “Caltrain” (providing such service between San Francisco – also known as the City by the Bay – and San Jose – … Read more

America riding a passenger-rail-revival wave

Lots of exciting developments on the U.S. passenger-train front. Before year’s end, Brightline service will be inaugurated between Miami and Orlando International Airport. Top speed on the section between West Palm Beach and the latter, 125 miles per hour. This will be the second such domestic operation whose passenger trains will travel that fast. Quite … Read more

Newly launched Calif. program to assist truck owner-operators switch to ZEVs

SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and transportation nonprofit CALSTART recently launched Cal Fleet Advisor, a free assistance program to help owners and operators of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and fleets make the transition to zero-emissions. Applications for the program are now being accepted. In April, CARB approved the Advanced Clean Fleets rule, which puts in … Read more

The ‘eightball’ of continued transportation-emissions rise: How to get out from behind it

“Since the 1970s, U.S. scientists and environmental regulators made significant strides in reducing air pollution by cleaning up tailpipe and smokestack emissions. Yet levels of two of the most harmful types of pollution, ground-level ozone and fine particulates, have decreased only modestly in recent years. Both still contribute to the premature deaths of more than … Read more

Are highway expansions best solutions for congestion relief? New nationwide survey shows 82% say ‘no’

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 29) — A new nationwide survey of American voters’ attitudes reveals a significant divide between voters’ attitudes about the best short-and long-term solutions for reducing traffic, versus the actual priorities of their state and local transportation agencies. In 2021 The Washington Post estimated that highway widening and expansion consumed more than a … Read more

‘1st’ U.S. HSR pike step closer to getting green light

LAS VEGAS (Jun. 28, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) received a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant award. The award will fund the final design and construction of two Brightline West intercity passenger rail stations and associated facilities in … Read more

How to ‘properly’ classify partial zero-emissions vehicles, hybrids is the question

Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicles or PZEVs for short, seem to be one of those “oddball” classes of vehicles. PZEVs have internal combustion engines but their engines produce no what are referred to as evaporative emissions. Hybrids, unlike PZEVs, emit exhaust but the amount of emissions emanating from the exhaust is comparatively much lower than that coming … Read more

Extreme weather events are a problem where they live, three-in-four Californians say

SAN FRANCISCO, July 12, 2023—An overwhelming majority of Californians say that extreme weather events are a problem in their part of the state, including about one in three who say they are a big problem. A majority of Californians think the use of electric vehicles (EVs) helps address climate change; half of the state’s residents … Read more

San Pedro Bay Port Corridor to get first-of-its-kind fuel-cell locomotive

DIAMOND BAR—The South Coast Air Quality Management District was awarded about $76 million by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) for zero-emission projects that will help transform the goods movement sector in the San Pedro Bay Port corridor. More than 80% of air pollution in Southern California is associated with mobile sources, including trucks, trains, … Read more

City rail-public transit thrived before car-/pop.-density stats-tracking began. Such can thrive again

I once had this conversation with a state transportation planning official (albeit a short conversation) having to do with criteria and what would be justification for installing a city-served, citywide rail-based public transit system such as a light-rail operation. The transportation planner’s position was, in effect, that population density is what mattered. I took that … Read more