Archive | Transportation Operations

I Learned a New Acronym Today

On Friday, I had the chance (because of my TPAC alumni status) to sit in on a class given for local transportation managers. The new acronym I learned was TSM&O (pronounce that “tismo”).

It stands for Transportation Systems Management and Operations. The general idea is to take a more integrated look at the transportation system, understand it as a system that spans multiple jurisdictions, get good real-time data about how it’s operating, and run it smarter. This lets you get more capacity out of the same road network, without building new lanes.

Some of the tools and techniques of TSM&O:

  • Traffic Incident Management (get the wreck off the road ASAP)
  • Travel Information Services (get told about the tie up on I-5 before you leave the house in the morning)
  • Automatic Vehicle Location for Transit (when is the next bus coming)
  • Traffic Signal Coordination
  • Work Zone Traffic Management (better planned construction detours)
  • Roadway Weather Information
  • Electronic Payment (for transit, parking, tolls)
  • Freight Management

It’s about more intelligence instead of more asphalt. A local example of this approach is the http://www.keepportlandmoving.org/ web site. It will tell you about all the construction projects in the downtown core that impact traffic. Jim Mayer of the Oregonian covered this site in the context of Portland’s upcoming construction projects.

On a larger scale, it’s about collaboration between agencies.

Here’s to working, and moving, smarter.

Hey, it Could Have Been Worse

I got a kick out of the article in yesterday’s O about a spat between the parking folks at PDOT and the vendor who manages all those paystations downtown. Apparently some (percentage TBD) of the machines accepted money on Monday, which was a holiday with no parking enforcement.

While I quite agree that the City and vendor need to do better, it seems like a bit of a tempest in a teapot. After all, not so long ago those now-old-fashioned meter heads would take your quarter any hour, day or week of the year, regardless of whether it was within the hours of enforcement! How quickly we become reliant on our technology…

[Disclosure: I was a participant in the process for selecting the paystations, as they were under consideration for use in my neighborhood in NW Portland.]

In fact, I was at a 7:45 meeting this morning downtown where several of the participants remarked happily that when they fed the paystations at 7:40, the expiration time for the coins they put in was calculated from the 8am start of enforcement, NOT from the time they plugged the machine.

I think the biggest bonus is that the machines take debit cards! No more hunting for quarters.

I wouldn’t go back. Would anyone else?

Bikes Play Key Role in New York Transit Strike Response

Vancouver bike advocate Todd Boulanger passes along some notes on how bikes are playing a role in getting commuters in and out of New York City this week.

While the official transit strike information site offers little in the way of info for cyclists, Transportation Alternatives (NY’s answer to the BTA?) has a comprehensive information page.

Vancouver bike advocate Todd Boulanger passes along some notes on how bikes are playing a role in getting commuters in and out of New York City this week.

While the official transit strike information site offers little in the way of info for cyclists, Transportation Alternatives (NY’s answer to the BTA?) has a comprehensive information page.

Some of the measures in place:

  • Valet and guarded bike parking facilities
  • Coning of bike lanes to make them more protected

Maximizing the Value of Carsharing

Yesterday’s Willamette Week features an article about the cities (including Portland) and state agencies converting the motorpools to use carsharing companies like Flexcar.

Clearly this is a good deal for the governments, they are saving real dollars on the vehicle costs. And presumably it’s good business for Flexcar.

But why is it good for transportation in Portland generally? Because carsharing is a ‘virtuous circle’ operation. The more customers there are, the more vehicles there are, which means using them becomes more convenient, generating more customers. So the conversion of any fleet to Flexcar makes carsharing more useful for all of us.

And carsharing is good for the community for a number of reasons:

– Reduces auto-ownership (freeing up parking in dense neighborhoods like mine)
– Research shows that carsharing users are more likely to use transit, bikes and their feet for many trips, with all the accompanying benefits to the community in reduced congestion and environmental advantages.

So my question is, what are other fleets, perhaps in the private sector, that we could encourage Flexcar to go chase?

It all started on the bus

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man 50 years ago, her courage gave face to a movement that would forever change our society and institutions. Her heroic act on Dec. 1, 1955 sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and for 381 days blacks, who made up the majority of bus riders, refused to ride. By saying “no” to inequality, Parks said “no” to discrimination of Black Americans through segregation that included separate drinking fountains, restrooms and schools.

TriMet & community remember Rosa Parks &
50th anniversary of Montgomery bus boycott

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man 50 years ago, her courage gave face to a movement that would forever change our society and institutions. Her heroic act on Dec. 1, 1955 sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and for 381 days blacks, who made up the majority of bus riders, refused to ride. By saying “no” to inequality, Parks said “no” to discrimination of Black Americans through segregation that included separate drinking fountains, restrooms and schools.

TriMet, the Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) and the community commemorate Rosa Parks’ legacy and the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott.

TriMet is also displaying a historic photo essay commemorating Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement inside and outside buses from December 1 through February. You can also see them at trimet.org/rosa to learn more about Rosa, the boycott and the civil rights movement.

Moment of Silence

TriMet wll also briefly stop all buses at noon to observe a moment of silence for Rosa Parks. Bus operators will make the following announcement: “We ask for a moment of silence as we remember Rosa Parks’ legacy. Today marks the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ arrest after refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama.”

Rosa Parks died October 25, 2005 at the age of 92.