All posts by Sarah Kaufman

Citi Bike Usage and the Future of the Program

NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management released a study today entitledCiti Bike, What Current Use and Activity Suggests for the Future of the Program,” which takes stock of the system’s strengths and areas for growth as policymakers determine the City’s role in bringing Citi Bike to all five boroughs.

Key findings include:

  • Citi Bike is most heavily used in Manhattan- 83% of September trips started & ended there, with concentration around major transportation networks. If the system expands to the outer boroughs ridership is expected to be lower, speaking to the need for additional private or public financing— but will likely still primarily transport New Yorkers to commercial centers and other forms of transportation like buses and subways.
  • The majority of Citi Bike trips are short in both time and distance; 98% lasted under 45 minutes and 48% lasted under ten minutes— highlighting the importance of station density to match how people are using the system.
  • Only 112 stations (18%) are located in Zip Codes that have median household incomes of less than $50,000—reinforcing the importance of improving bike equity and access throughout the system.

The paper, published by Sarah M. Kaufman and Jenny O’Connell, is the result of an open forum on the status of Citi Bike hosted at the Rudin Center in November of 2016.  Expert speakers included Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Transportation Committee; Tracey Capers (Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation/BSRC); Elena Conte (Pratt Center for Community Development); and Paul Steely White (Transportation Alternatives).  NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Director Mitchell L. Moss moderated.

The panelists agreed that Citi Bike provided a valuable transportation service, and alternative funding methods would be necessary to support expansion to a five-borough Citi Bike network.

Download the report here [pdf].

Glenn Thrush Delivers Breakfast Keynote

Glenn Thrush, chief White House political correspondent for the The New York Times, delivered the keynote address at the NYU Rudin Center’s annual Excellence in Transportation breakfast on March 9, 2017. The event was held at The Modern.

 

A Primer on Hyperloop Travel: How far off is the Future?

By Joanna Simon

Supersonic travel in pods through frictionless tubes may sound like the basis for the next George Lucas creation, but it may be a reality in the near future. Planning for high-speed travel via a Hyperloop system is underway and could drastically reduce travel times between major cities.

Hyperloop One Desert Tube
Hyperloop One Desert Tube

What is Hyperloop?

The Hyperloop is a proposal for high-speed inter-city travel through steel tubes, in pod-like vehicles, for both passengers and cargo. This technology is estimated to reduce travel time from Los Angeles to San Francisco to a mere 35 minutes, a trip that takes even the fastest of drivers 5 hours to complete.

How does it work?

Hyperloop infrastructure consists of steel tubes, either underground in tunnels or elevated, which serve as a mechanism to transport pods. The tubes create a near-vacuum environment and utilize air and friction resistance technologies to transport pods at speeds faster than airplane travel. The technology is energy efficient: it requires relatively low power, and some companies suggest that the entire system can be powered via solar panels (however, some experts are skeptical).

What’s in a travel pod?

            Several versions of passenger travel pods will exist, including a standard coach pod resembling economy airplane seating, a meeting pod with tables and angled chairs and a sleek and comfortable lounge cabin.

Hyperloop Pod Rendering

How will a Hyperloop ride feel?

The idea of riding in a small and windowless capsule may raise concern for some passengers; engineers are working to consider comfort factors. They are also considering how to minimize pod vibration, as even the slightest tectonic movement could cause a jolt that would be felt while traveling at near-sonic speeds.

Where will Hyperloop be built?

Several companies are currently working to perfect the technology and have developed route proposals around the world. Many of these proposals are in development stage and have completion forecasted for 10-20 years from now:

Cities Travel Time by Car Travel Time by Plane Travel Time by Hyperloop Company
LA-San Francisco 5.5 hours 1.5 hours 35 minutes Hyperloop One
Stockholm-Helsinki 12 hours *includes ferry 1 hour 30 minutes Hyperloop One
Paris-Amsterdam 5.5 hours 1.5 hours 30 minutes Delft Hyperloop
Kracow-Gdansk, Poland 6 hours 1.3 hours 35 minutes Hyper Poland
Toronto-Montreal 5.5 hours 1 hour 30 minutes Transpod
Vienna-Budapest 3 hours 45 minutes 20 minutes HTTP


How much will it cost to build?

Hyperloop One, the company spearheading the California project, is privately funded. Their estimates show that the project will cost $5.4 billion and gross $300 million in annual revenue.

How much will it cost to ride?

With route and pod design still underway there have been few estimates to how much a single ticket to ride the Hyperloop will cost. Some design teams claim that it will cost the price of a bus ticket, but few actual figures are currently available.

What challenges exist?

Cost: Concerns are widespread about Hyperloop’s feasibility and success, particularly considering construction and testing costs. Much of this work relies on unproven technology; it is not yet known how much it will cost to bring it to reality.

Safety: Hyperloop travel is arguably safer than other transportation options: the system is enclosed, protected from the elements and controlled by pressure and internal dynamics, making it immune to human error. However, experts are concerned about the availability of oxygen in the chamber should an unexpected event result in a loss of pressure. Additionally, emergency braking and power outage scenarios are currently being tested.

Policy: Hyperloop infrastructure, whether above or below ground, will pass through towns, other cities and will disrupt public and private resources. A feasibility study of land use issues and potential human impact is needed to move forward.

Connectivity: One of the biggest concerns with the Hyperloop system is its’ potential connection to other modes of transportation. A 35-minute trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco could be doubled if the destination is downtown, but the docking stations are 30 minutes outside.

Demand: As driverless cars become more of a reality, they will make highway driving safer and more pleasant. Driverless cars may become more appealing to travelers, as they will provide door-to-door transport, rather than the less convenient and Hyperloop.

 

Information sources:

Hyperloop One

Business Insider

 

 

 

Why we need a LaGuardia AirTrain

In today’s Daily News, NYU Rudin Center Director Mitchell L. Moss makes the case for a 21st-century AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport in his op-ed “Getting from point A to point LGA: Why we need a LaGuardia AirTrain.”

“Improving LaGuardia Airport without transforming the way in which passengers can get to and from the airport makes no sense. With the proposed AirTrain, we will finally have an airport commensurate with New York.”

Read the full piece here.

Congratulations to WTS Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2017 winners of the Women’s Transportation Seminar of Greater New York awards, including two members of the Rudin Center for Transportation family:

Lily Gordon-Koven
Lily Gordon-Koven
  • Lily Gordon-Koven and her team at the NYC Department of Transportation won the Innovative Transport Solutions Award for their work on Queens Boulevard Safety Improvement. Lily worked as a Graduate Assistant at the NYU Rudin Center during her studies at the NYU Wagner School, focusing on bicycle share and infrastructure.

 

  • Sutapa Bhattacharjee,‎ Principal
    Sutapa Bhattacharjee
    Sutapa Bhattacharjee

    Transportation Planner at the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, earned the prestigious Member of the Year award. Sutapa was a Rudin Center Emerging Leader in Transportation in the 2016 class.

Additional award winners are:

  • Employer of the Year – ARUP
  •  Honorable Ray LaHood Award – Patrick A. Nowakowski, President, MTA Long Island Rail Road
  •  Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership  – Denise Berger, AIA, Assistant Chief Engineer,  PANY&NJ

Congratulations to all. Information about the annual meeting on January 23rd is available here.

Inter-City Bus Outlook 2017

The NYU Rudin Center for Transportation is hosting today’s report release by the DePaul University Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development : “Running Express: 2017 Outlook for the Intercity Bus Industry in the United States.”

Watch the event on Facebook Live starting at 12:30 p.m. on January 13th, and read the report here.

 

Inter-city bus routes competing with Amtrak - Chaddick Institute.
Inter-city bus routes competing with Amtrak (Click to enlarge) – Chaddick Institute.

A frontal attack on Midtown gridlock

In the op-ed “A frontal attack on Midtown gridlock, NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg lays out the agency’s battle plan to combat Manhattan street congestion “to keep people and goods moving as our city grows, sustaining the energy and dynamism that makes New York such a brilliant, uniquely attractive place to live and work.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/frontal-attack-midtown-gridlock-article-1.2905332