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Chicago Ridge, IL, United States

Newmark G.,Regional Transportation Authority | Deakin E.,University of California at Berkeley
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2012

Travel demand modeling is a key tool in transportation planning, but the practice of such modeling at metropolitan planning organizations has been widely criticized as resistant to innovation. This resistance is a major concern for transportation planners who would like to investigate policy options such as value pricing and smart growth, which are poorly considered with traditional methods. Advanced modeling methodologies are better suited for such policy analysis but, to date, attempts to systematically encourage such practices have not been successful. An emerging exception to this pattern is the experience of the state of California, whose pioneering climate change legislation has launched a multipronged challenge to the modeling status quo. This paper examines the enabling legislation, the subsequent guidance, and the implementation experience of the state's 18 metropolitan planning organizations to understand the combination of elements that are advancing modeling practice. The findings suggest that modeling can be advanced effectively when such innovations are seen as necessary for fulfilling a policy mandate. California identified travel demand modeling as essential for estimating greenhouse gas reductions of proposed land use and transportation policies. This recognition led to formal steps to overhaul and extend state modeling guidelines, dedicate funding for model development, daylight existing modeling practices, and establish a path toward implementing innovation. These steps have cultivated informal linkages among stakeholders that have proved critical to altering existing modeling practice. Although the California experiment remains ongoing, the early experience provides critical lessons for other regions seeking to use legislation to advance the practice of travel demand modeling. Source

Allen J.,Regional Transportation Authority | Levinson H.,5305 Ashlar Village
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2012

During the first third of the 20th century, 16 commuter rail operations in major North American metropolitan areas adopted electric traction. Ten of these electrifications survive. The other six were discontinued between 1929 and 1949, although parts of the alignments of some properties have been returned to regional transit use. With a comparison of the histories of the former electric railroads with those of operations that survived, the reasons for their discontinuance are investigated. Perhaps unexpectedly, the Great Depression does not solely account for the demise of most of these lines. Instead, major geographic barriers precluding direct downtown service and the construction of new highway links appear to have been at least as important. Furthermore, all surviving electrifications addressed practical operating needs. However, no installations undertaken as technological test beds or in response to competing lines have survived. Source

Allen J.G.,Regional Transportation Authority | Lu A.,Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2010

Developments in the ownership and control of railroads affect commuter rail. Vertical integration and open access are widely seen as mutually exclusive options for rail reform. North American railroads were relieved of passenger service obligations and granted commercial freedom to improve profitability-all within the vertically integrated tradition. In Europe, infrastructure separation aims to encourage competition on traditionally monolithic and unprofitable government railways. Australia and Argentina have opted for business sectors and vertically integrated operating concessions. These differing policy initiatives have triggered remarkably similar responses by commuter rail authorities. Commuter rail is now managed with more local control than previously, with governments providing necessary operating support and infrastructure investment. Separation between commuter rail operators and control of rail infrastructure has generally increased, and greater institutional coordination is now required to deliver effective commuter service. Regardless of national rail policy, commuter rail agencies can improve service by obtaining or retaining control of the carrier core functions. Under vertical integration, agencies may purchase control of rail infrastructure assets and invest in improvements as opportunities arise. Under open access, this must be accomplished by consolidating regionwide purchasing power for train paths to foster productive relationships with the infrastructure steward. Source

Allen J.G.,Regional Transportation Authority | Aurelius J.P.,P.O. Box 612
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2011

Electrification offers many advantages for commuter railroads. But to derive electrification's full benefits, the traction power supply must meet demand. Several factors should cause commuter rail properties to assess their traction power investment needs: aging generation, transmission, and distribution systems; new cars with improved amenities and higher acceleration rates; and the addition of train starts. The traction power on all North America's electric commuter railroads and on certain overseas properties where shortfalls have occurred is reviewed. Preventive action may be appropriate on some North American properties to guarantee steady supplies of traction power. Strategies for managing power demand are discussed. Traction power is vitally important for electrified commuter railroads, because any failure to provide all necessary electricity can have serious consequences for speed and reliability. Source

Allen J.G.,Regional Transportation Authority | Levinson H.S.,5305 Ashlar Village
Transportation Research Record | Year: 2011

Traditional rail rapid transit systems are primarily limited to central cities, but a modern variant, regional rapid transit (RRT), extends far enough into suburbs to be considered truly regional in scope. RRT uses automatic train driving, other advanced technologies, long station spacing, and park-and-ride lots to serve suburban as well as city travel. Inaugurated between 1969 and 1979, RRT operations in several regions (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C.; and Atlanta, Georgia) combined advanced rapid transit technology with station spacing and market functions akin to inner-zone to midrange commuter rail. To establish similarities and differences between the properties of RRT and other rail systems, data are analyzed for these and other rapid transit systems, as well as for historically established commuter railroads. RRT operations today face challenges of aging infrastructure but continue to be vital in the areas that they serve and have undergone incremental expansion in some instances. Source

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