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    The Seattle tunnel is a pile of cow dung.



    This is very exciting. I’ll do what I can to promote this. Thank you for championing this cause to make the Inland Empire a better place to thrive. Do you know when the voting ends?


    Essex Porter

    @kimirhochelle @krprmedia shared! go and retweet her tweets to vote!



    The simple railroad safety formula

    100 million divided by total train miles. That number times number the
    railroad murdered during the same period. Pretty much shows the
    railroad idiots outrunning their sight stopping distance are at fault.

    State – All States County – All
    January To July, 2014
    Total fatalities: 488
    Total train miles: 441,055,279
    SELECTION: Railroad – Amtrak [ATK ]
    Total fatalities: 69
    Total train miles: 23,669,936
    Amtrak kills 292 people in 100 million miles NOT 1.
    BNSF Rwy Co. [BNSF]
    Total fatalities: 53
    Total train miles: 108,586,539
    BNSF kills 49 people in 100 million miles NOT 1.
    Buffalo & Pittsburgh RR, Inc. [BPRR]
    Total fatalities: 1
    Total train miles: 266,196
    Buffalo & Pittsburgh RR kills 376 people in 100 million miles NOT 1.
    Caltrain Commuter Railroad Company [PCMZ]
    Total fatalities: 5
    Total train miles: 824,636
    Caltrain Commuter Railroad Company kills 606 people in 100 million
    miles NOT 1.
    Canadian National – North America [CN ]
    Total fatalities: 17
    Total train miles: 12,090,848
    Canadian National – North America [CN ] kills 141 people in 100
    million miles NOT 1.
    Canadian Pacific Rwy Co. [CP]
    Total fatalities: 3
    Total train miles: 6,947,821
    Canadian Pacific Rwy Co. [CP] kills 43 people in 100 million miles NOT
    CSX Transportation [CSX ]
    Total fatalities: 58
    Total train miles: 58,168,604
    CSX Transportation [CSX ] kills 100 people in 100 million miles NOT 1.
    Kansas City Southern Rwy Co. [KCS
    Total fatalities: 6
    Total train miles: 6,655,815
    Kansas City Southern Rwy Co. [KCS] kills 90 people in 100 million
    NOT 1.
    MARC Train Service [MACZ]
    Total fatalities: 1
    Total train miles: 767,058
    MARC Train Service [MACZ] kills 130 people in 100 million miles NOT 1.
    Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority [MBTA]
    Total fatalities: 5
    Total train miles: 2,485,094
    Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority [MBTA] kills 201 people in 100
    million miles NOT 1.
    Norfolk Southern Corp. [NS ]
    Total fatalities: 73
    Total train miles: 55,592,180
    Norfolk Southern Corp. [NS ] kills 131 people in 100 million miles NOT
    Northeast IL Regional Commuter Rail Corp. [NIRC]
    Total fatalities: 12
    Total train miles: 4,359,210
    Northeast IL Regional Commuter Rail Corp. [NIRC] kills 275 people in
    100 million miles NOT 1.
    Pan Am Rwys/Guilford System [GRS]
    Total fatalities: 1
    Total train miles: 1,065,586
    Pan Am Rwys/Guilford System [GRS] kills 94 people in 100 million miles
    NOT 1.
    South Florida Regional Transit Authority [SFRV]
    Total fatalities: 3
    Total train miles: 664,799
    South Florida Regional Transit Authority [SFRV] kills 451 people in
    million miles NOT 1
    Trinity Rwy Express [TREX]
    Total fatalities: 2
    Total train miles: 264,364
    Trinity Rwy Express [TREX] kills 757 people in 100 million miles NOT
    Union Pacific RR Co. [UP ]
    Total fatalities: 106
    Total train miles: 101,183,089
    Union Pacific RR Co. [UP ] kills 105 people in 100 million miles NOT
    Virginia Rwy Express [VREX]
    Total fatalities: 1
    Total train miles: 214,212
    Virginia Rwy Express [VREX] kills 467 people in 100 million miles NOT


    Essex Porter

    @kimirhochelle @krprmedia shared! go and retweet her tweets to vote!





    That occurred to me too, but then they seem to lump Amtrak and commuter rail together in another statistic (“Table 2″). They also lump rapid transit and light rail in together on the same table.

    Near as I can tell, they don’t define exactly what they mean by any of those terms, and AFAIK they’re all a bit vague. And the categories are a bit arbitrary, since light rail arguably has more in common with urban transit buses in terms of danger and exposure than it does with heavy rail. Light rail could be fully grade-separated, but rapid transit is by definition grade-separated.

    It makes the point that transit is safer than cars well enough, but it doesn’t do much else.



    Maybe heavy rail is intercity rail (Amtrak) and commuter rail is for suburban regional commuter rail. If so, Amtrak could be lower because intercity trains run more miles in rural areas with fewer potential conflicts with passenger vehicles.

    Seems like any incident that involves a train is counted under this category. In reality, most commuter rail fatalities are caused by suicides, or by drivers that try to cross when they shouldn’t. If driver error causes the crash those fatalities should be counted as passenger car fatalities.



    It probably is grade crossing accidents. Counted against only one mode or not, a car-on-train collision is proportionately going to impact rail numbers more. Car passenger-mileage must so overwhelm train mileage that it’s easy for something that’s scarcely a statistical blip for automobiles to be a huge effect for commuter rail.

    They seem to use “heavy rail” as shorthand for what is properly called rapid transit – the big, grade separated electric urban rail transit with frequent service (e.g., Chicago El, DC Metro, NYC Subway). Commuter rail is “heavy rail” too, but it’s the suburban rail service on mainline rail track. They don’t seem to count light rail/streetcars/trams at all.

    Commuter rail is exposed to grade crossings, while “heavy rail” rapid transit is not – this probably explains the difference.



    Are grade crossing incidents counted towards the commuter rail numbers, or the cars that violated the right of way? Still seems odd that “Commuter Rail” is so much worse than heavy rail.

    What is “Commuter Rail” anyway? Commuter Trains tend to be Heavy Rail in US terminology. Or is “Commuter Rail” used for Light Rail / Street Cars / Subways here?


    John Greenfield

    In both Seattle and Sherman Oaks, I got the feeling that something ain’t right.


    C Monroe

    They should extend the greenline northwards instead of southwards(make that the crenshaw line) have it join the crenshaw line pass LAX then have it follow 405 through the westside, across the pass, to the northern end of the valley(connect it to metrolink, also in Norwalk at the other end).


    Matt Korner

    Running along a corridor of the old Pacific Electric Railway, sbX is the first high-quality transit system to be built in southern California’s Inland Empire in more than half a century and is the only local fixed-guideway service in the mega-region outside of metropolitan hubs in Los Angeles and San Diego.

    With one station located approximately every mile, the 16-mile-long sbX system embodies the first major implementation of a plan to re-establish San Bernardino as southern California’s third metropolitan core, alongside Los Angeles and San Diego.

    The corridor now features many “complete streets” improvements, including: more pedestrian-friendly street geometries; smaller curb radii; new pedestrian refuges and medians; more signalized crossings; center-running dedicated guideways for the transit system, itself; traffic-signal prioritization for the transit system; public art in the form of sculptures, glass panels, and mosaics; new street trees and other landscaping; narrower and fewer travel lanes; other traffic-calming features; bicycle racks at the transit stations and aboard the sbX vehicles; and, more visible crosswalks with higher-quality paving materials.



    And usually when people are thinking about “safety”, they are looking at it from the “user” point of view. The old “I’d rather be a hammer than a nail” idea.


    Matt Korner

    sbX System as a New Fixture along the Revamped E Street Corridor in San Bernardino



    “Safety” as a selling point, whether for automobiles or transit vehicles ranks rather far down the list of desirable features. Convenience, comfort, travel time and to some extent, snob appeal are more important to the general public.



    GDP from making things began its terminal decline in the late 1960s and 1970s, at least in constant dollar per capita. The GDP from moving around financial instruments began replacing it. Nobody has to drive anything anywhere to move around financial assets. Of course less real wealth is produced which is why americans are becoming increasingly poorer and have their lifestyles supported by debt.

    PS: trucking stuff from the ports to the stores is not nearly enough to offset the movements of an entire supply chain. At best it replaces moving the finished goods.



    I think you’re overreacting to the safety “threat” here. You can’t make safety issues zero, but these are deaths per billion passenger-miles. These are also fatalities, no other casualties like maiming or expensive medical care or economic cost (probably all highest for the passenger car mode).

    And I have my doubts any measure discrete risk. Trucks and buses are dangerous to pedestrians making right turns. Heavy rail transit keeps outsiders off tracks, so most exposure is in stations. Drivers seem likely to kill themselves, and trucks probably have the added dangerous of crushing cars.

    Then there is a question of methodology. Does a train hitting a car count against the train mode, the car mode, or both? Or does it depend on who is at fault (if the train can be at fault)?


    Shane Phillips

    As Bolwerk mentioned, and as I can confirm, most commuter rail deaths are suicides by people standing on the tracks. They clearly ARE including those in the above graph, but blaming trains for that is obviously silly. The fact that they’re appealing ways to kill yourself in this country doesn’t have a whole lot of policy relevance, anymore than it should mean we need to stop building bridges because people might jump off of them (another relatively popular suicide method).



    Litman concludes that transit agencies should make the safety of bus and rail travel more of a key selling point, instead of broadcasting messages like the “If you see something, say something” campaign that end up contributing to a heightened sense of risk.

    Definitely the important message here, and probably understated by using mileage rather than per trip.


    Jym Dyer

    Except that nothing changed during the “let’s forget about fuel efficiency and buy SUVs” madness of the 1990s.


    Adam Herstein

    If you’re evaluating the safety of a transportation mode, both internal and external users need to be considered. If a portion of the deaths is suicides, then that should be reflected in the graph.

    Claiming that buses are safe because riders are safe, while people are getting run over by buses is not a valid claim. It’s like claiming guns are safe because the shooter is safe, while 90% of deaths are by people the gun is pointed at.



    It probably is, to people outside the vehicle. Some, maybe most, of that is presumably suicides and grade crossing accidents though.



    The transformation of E Street is simply amazing. There is a lot to be proud of: dedicated bus lanes, beautiful landscaping, and BRT stations with original art whose themes share the rich histories of our local communities. Ongoing events like the weekly Downtown San Bernardino Farmshare and Market and the monthly Third Thursday Food Fest (located by the E Street Civic Center Station) feature local farmers, vendors and food trucks to attract the city’s lunch crowd. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview and photograph several passengers on the sbX rapid transit line and hear firsthand how these changes have positively impacted their lives. E Street has not simply molded the landscape of our city. It has transformed the lives of many with our community.


    Adam Herstein

    From that graph, it seems that commuter rail is almost as dangerous as driving. Also, none of the numbers (e.g. riding metro or light rail is about 30 times safer) match the graph. In my example, the graph shows 2 vs 8, or 4 times.

    How did you come to these conclusions based on the graph?



    Roll Call’s round up was not nearly as encouraging as I’d hoped.



    PLEASE VOTE FOR “E Street San Bernardino!” MY City of 210,000 is in Bankruptcy. God KNOWS we need something… anything GOOD to happen. And soon.

    So many are working hard to make SB a better place. We used tobe an “All American City” and we need people from all over this COUNTRY to both PRAY & VOTE for us!



    Kenny Easwaran

    That explains the difference between these two graphs. But the first one is a graph of miles driven per economic activity, which seems if anything to be held back by fuel efficiency. (After all, if you only need 20 gallons rather than 50 gallons to go 1000 miles, then that’s 30 gallons less of gas purchases and refinery outputs associated with the given amount of driving.)


    ATL Urbanist

    Thanks — that makes sense. Designing places and roads for peak-hour car capacity is harmful enough. Doing that with inflated projections of driving behavior makes things even worse.



    Looking at the Y, it could simply be increasing fuel efficiency since the oil crisis’ of the early 1970′s.


    Angie Schmitt

    The reason it matters so much is this: All these DOT types that have been doing this forever (and decide how many roads we need more or less) have been resistant to accept the idea that a long-term change in driving behavior has occurred. They think, once the economy rebounds some more, driving will go back to normal, and they can resume planning for endless growth in driving miles.



    There is no doubt that development is becoming more compact. However, my compact suburb views mixed use development as a “variance” and still zones everything, for the most part, single use. Commercial, housing, but not both together. Therefore, people still need to drive as the bus service is pathetic and non existent by my house and it’s not bike friendly here. Plenty of sidewalks but distances are too long and four lane arterial roads to cross to boot.

    I think most of the decline in driving has to do with baby boomer’s getting older. I wish I could fool myself into believing everyone rides a bike to work like I do, but in the winter I am the only one here doing it, and there is no snow on the ground here either, zero.


    Alon Levy

    No, pkm and vkm per capita both kept rising until the mid-2000s, they just rose more slowly than GDP per capita.


    Angie Schmitt

    It’s ok. Actually this didn’t survive editing but my original version said Sivak’s previous four studies found the correlation peaked in 2004. This one was different though.


    Brian Higgins

    The point I see it is that new roads are continually justified based on the idea of economic development, but that this is a false argument. Driving miles have sunk, but the economy has grown in spite of that fact. (a graph showing the growth of the economy since 1972 would have been helpful to illustrate this.)



    Oops, looks like I missed a major point in the article. I deleted the comment.


    ATL Urbanist

    I’ve seen this info on “de-coupling” of driving and the economy a couple of other places and it didn’t quite sink in, but after reading this I thing I get it. That last paragraph in the post seems to say it all:

    “other factors, such as growth in transit use and “changes in the age composition of drivers,” probably contribute as well. The changes, he says, “likely reflect fundamental, noneconomic changes in society.””

    So if I am indeed finally understanding this issue, it’s about the way that driving levels were perhaps at one time in our past a decent indicator of economic growth because of the way personal-car mobility was ingrained as a necessary part of our economic activities. But various cultural and technological changes in society have made car mobility less important for economic activity. Is that right?


    Angie Schmitt

    You didn’t actually read the article did you?



    These graphs show more the improvements in vehicle fuel economy since the 1970s. The decoupling of vmt and GDP appears to be much more recent, and most graphs I’ve seen put that date at around 2004.


    james rojas

    It would be great if you could nominate the the best Latino streets in the US


    Brett Amione

    That was my first thought. I get that there’s an agenda here but c’mon that’s bad statistical analysis.


    Ben Fried

    Michael Sivak says in the paper that the figures are inflation-adjusted.



    I mean peak net extracted energy available to do work per capita. Not energy usage per capita.

    Renewables are still a small percentage of overall energy available. They’re about 12% of electricity generation, but generated electricity is only 40% of overall energy usage.

    Transportation is 30% of US energy usage alone.


    C Monroe

    Lot of that was due to energy efficiency guidelines for home appliances early on and then when companies found out they could pad the bottom line by being more energy efficient of course they jumped on it. There are two modern Ford auto factories in Michigan that produce 70% of its own energy from wind, solar and heat capture from manufacturing. There are pig and cow farms that now produce enough energy to power the small town they are near through methane from manure.


    Matt Korner

    Optional Station Location for California High-Speed Rail at the New Multimodal Terminal (Metrolink Regional Rail; Light Rail; sbX; Express Shuttles; etc.) Now Being Constructed at E Street and Rialto Avenue in San Bernardino



    The top chart would be more useful if it were normalized for inflation. Otherwise it could be argued that the drop is due to inflation instead of better productivity.


    Matt Korner

    Transit-Oriented Development (T.O.D.) Overlay District with Regulatory Architectural Standards and Reduced Parking Requirements in the Mile-Wide Areas around the sbX and Future Light-Rail Stations in San Bernardino


    Matt Korner

    Nighttime View of the sbX Station at Court Street in San Bernardino


    Matt Korner

    sbX Station at E Street and Marshall Boulevard in San Bernardino


    Matt Korner

    Southbound sbX Vehicle Departing Court Street Station