This is an ongoing series that will keep you informed about the goings-on in the transit industry. Hopefully, it will provide little perspective on the larger environment in which DART operates.
Financial relief, futuristic travel, GoPass technology adoption -- there's a lot of transit in the news this week. Let's dive in.
Relief rolling in
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding a bill making its way through Congress that will provide relief to Americans generally, as well as to the transit industry specifically. The American Rescue Plan Act provides $30.5 billion to transit agencies. The American Public Transportation Association weighed in with its support of the bill, summarizing: “We greatly appreciate that the bill distributes these funds in a manner that ensures that all public transit agencies can continue to be a lifeline for our essential workers, ensure Americans can get to vaccine distribution sites, and advance our communities’ efforts to rebuild from the economic fallout of the pandemic.”
Bus Ride notes the appointment of a new Board member to the Southern Dallas County Inland Port Transportation Management Association (IPTMA). The agency helps connect workers with the DART System, and its services can be booked through GoPass.
Mobile ticketing making headway
Speaking of GoPass, the technology behind DART’s pioneering app is being embraced by more and more systems across the nation. Most recently, Metro Magazine reports, New York’s Nassau Inter-County Express introduced an app with similar capabilities.
The shape American cities may take in the future can be glimpsed in some forward-thinking activities going on as we speak.
In November, Virgin Hyperloop plans to unveil the its passenger-carrying hyperloop – a sealed tube through which futuristic transit vehicles can travel at speeds approaching air travel, but with fuel efficiency more in line with rail. Metro Magazine explains: “By combining an electric motor, magnetic levitation, and a low-drag environment, hyperloop systems can carry more people than a subway, at airline speeds, and with zero direct emissions – completely transforming the way we live, work, and play.”
Needless to say, there are many steps and hurdles before this mode of travel can be implemented on anything like a widespread basis. But you can view a prototype in November at the FUTURES exhibition in the Smithsonian Arts + Industries building.
In New York City, meanwhile, there’s a movement afoot to expand the city’s pedestrian space. (See what we did there?) This doesn’t involve transit per se, but the intersecting world of urban design. The upshot: one-quarter of the Big Apple’s road space could one day be devoted to pedestrians, cyclists and community uses. According to Slate: “The architect Vishaan Chakrabarti proposed a radically redesigned Manhattan. City Comptroller Scott Stringer is running for mayor on permanent open streets, doubling bicycle ridership in four years, and promising to be the ‘Bus Mayor.’”
You don’t have to be an urban-planning geek to check out this proposal for NYC. It’s a quick read, and there are some cool conceptual illustrations.