April 29, 2011
The vancouversun has a story about a man claiming it is not clear enough to where you have to validate your ticket. He could have a point:
Whether you are a bit distracted, it can be very easy to find yourself without properly validated ticket on the train. Not only nowhere there is a physical line reminding you to validate your ticket, but ticket validators are rather hidden in some stations. without going to turnstiles, that doesn’t need to be as I have already mentioned here
March 5, 2010
recently the BC government made some budget announcement concerning transportation  and transit observers will have noticed a shortage of funding for “number one priority” transit project when the deep unbalance between transit and road investment could call for a better equilibrium as we have already noticed…but to add insult to injury, the government is not hesitating to make up the number for transit…and the Gordon’s Lanes illustrate how.
These Gordon’s Lanes are the bus lanes announced with great fanfares (and funded at 50% by the provincial government):
- 16$ millions for a “bus lane” on highway 7 in Pitt Meadows  where there is no bus route
- 13$ millions for a “bus lane” on Highway 99 in Surrey  where there is only one regular bus route serviced every 15mn  and little congestion
Every one in Lower Mainland, with a little sense of observation, can easily think of way better transit investment : If the government was serious about transit it could have easily found some investment bringing more bang for the buck!
So what is the real reason of those bus lanes?
Not that there is something wrong with it, but what is certainly wrong is to tout an investment as “transit” when the obvious reason is only to create more road capacity, which will be marginally used by public transit services if any.
Where the cynicism of government proves to be boundless is that it will fund this road investment from earmarked “transit money” 
The Gordon’s bus lanes fallacy shows how our shameless government is willing to ostensibly burn our tax money on complete useless project while it refuses to address real pressing public transit need. This strategy will accredits the idea in the general public that public transit is no more than a waste of tax payer money…
It shows that the contempt of our Government for the public transit matter is even worse that most could suspect
 it is the bus 351, Crescent Beach, Bridgeport. route 352 and 354 are peak service only
 Examples of sounder investment include the Surrey 399B line (which has been ditched due to lack of funding) or improvement of the bus traffic on Highway 99 in its Richmond part : for example the Hy 99 North bound doesn’t have bus lanes south of Westminster highway, there is no queue jumper at the Bridgeport exit, used by all suburban buses connecting with Canada line, ..investment here could benefit to the existing bus route targeted by the government funding among other converging to Bridgeport station. One could also give a look at the 699B line idea to foster an attractive transit presence in our suburbs…
 Eventually the government will deny it (remember the HST?), but there is no doubt on the fate of under used lanes
 The Blog follower will have also noted that the “hydrogen bus” experiment is funded from transit “earmarked money”…
February 15, 2010
Number 3 is still dotted by numerous strip malls , where the viaduct doesn’t necessary help to improve the visual experience, except at night (picture at lansdowne mall). the space below viaduct is also used to exhibit some sculptures.
On daytime, the pedestrian experience can be particularly pleasant, with the viaduct pillars contributing to form a buffer zone with the motorized traffic. Note that a bikpath is also sitting under the viaduct (photo credit: Richard).
thumbs up for Richmond!
And the stations
The Canada line station have got their fair share of critics, too short, blend architecture,…But they seems to past the test of heavy usage, thanks eventually to deep platforms, and also present numerous positive upside: let’s see below:
The viaduct pillar is here used as an advertising opportunity, cyclists take advantage of the weather protection provided by the viaduct, and visibility from a station offering lot of transparency and safety feeling (for bike parking also)
The station platform offer a pleasant waiting experience. warm and good quality material is contributing toward it. Transparency provide a safety feeling as well as keeping the station in symbiotic with its urban environment.
The Canada line stations are short (40m), but paradoxally this eventually help to their integration in the environment: their footprint is small, and couldn’t be larger than a “tram station”. The complete transparency of the station doesn’t separate the waiter of its surrounding
The entrance of Aberdeen at night: The station is right along the street, the pedestrian is supposed to contourn it by the East (left side of the picture): this aspect doesn’t work that well: pedestrian tend to walk on the bikeway, eventually because the experience is otherwise quite unpleasant (lack of lighting, construction site), eventually the extension of the Aberdeen Mall will correct this issue (the location of the bike rack behind the entrance is also questionable since it doesn’t provide the safety feeling of the passer-by eye looking at the bikes like we have at Brighouse but provide weather protection).
February 4, 2010
It is a tale of two approaches:
- Identify a break through technology, find an application for it and pour money toward a demonstration project, hoping to find a demand
- Identify a demand, then pour money to develop technologies and synergies to enable an answer to the demand
Both can work, but one involves more risks than the other.
The train’s world example
In the later case, we find the “conventional” High Speed train: the demand is to travel “from down town to to down town” in a “time competitive with air travel” and at a “price competitive with the automobile“: that was roughly the French TGV project requirement back at the end of the 60’s, when the French railways company was also considering to address the congestion on its Paris-Lyon railway line.
There is no really break-through technology in the French TGV, or its direct competitors: they are all trains moved by traditional century year old electrical motor concept, and running on centuries old rail track concept …but there is a combination of incremental advance making the whole product a break through advance in the railway world.
In the former case, we find the magnetic levitation technology. A break through technology associated mainly with train demonstration projects.
Today, there are 1850km of High speed train lines in revenue service in France only . From the original speed of 260km on the first line (Paris-Lyon), the train has accelerated to 320km/h on its later extension toward Strasbourg. To not embarrass anyone, we will not mention the line mileage of commercial “maglev” train .
Hynovis is a concept bus, output a of a french program called “affordable and clean vehicle” from the french government agency PREDIT which has benefited of €120 million in total on the period 2002-2008, the Hynovis bus being only one project in that program covering most mode of transportation.
the Hynovis program mandate is to answer to a demand: cleaner bus for sure but must also answer to the need of “fund starved” transit agencies, so the bus cost must be economically justified by
- the saving on the bus consumption
- improved operation like
- reduction of dwelling time
- improvement of the loading capacity
- improved social role, like better accessibility for disabled people, improved attractiveness…
This program has teamed the Paris transit agency with a bus manufacturers and bus part providers  on the conception of the bus. As you can see (click for video), the Hynovis design try to answer to all requirement without “break through” technology but presents nevertheless a new product by incremental step on numerous fronts:
- the improved consumption is provided by an hybrid engine and light weight material
- reduction of dwelling time is provided by a better circulation inside the bus:
- A back door moved further toward the rear of the bus, allowed by a rear axles moved under the rear bench, allowing more smooth flow on an enlarged low floor area
- A twin steering axle fitted with low-profile tires, allowing the central corridor to be enlarged to ~4 feet alongside the front wheel housings, compared to ~3feet for a standard bus (note how this can accelerate the boarding of wheelchair and other strollers)
- the reorganization of the wheels allow an increase of capacity of 8% 
To be sure, the Hynovis innovations don’t come for free, and the Paris agency experiment will tell whether the return on investment worth it or not, but more certainly, the lesson learnt of the experiment will improve the future bus design over the foreseeable years.
The Canadian Hydrogen bus fleet is only one application of a technology in which the federal government has invested $215 million since 2003 . The sole demonstration project will cost more than $110 million taxpayer money for 20 buses , and address only one issue (GHG), at the eventual expense of the others.
There is honestly more chance that the hydrogen bus share the fate of the Maglev train than the one of the TGV. In the meantime, incremental improvment in the bus technology allowed by project like Hynovis will allow sustainable (not only in term of CO2 emission, but also financially!) expansion of public transit, at the expense of less environmentally friendly transportation mode, and at the end of the day, the Hynovis concept will have probably a better impact on the environment that the Hydrogen bus .
What is the best approach?
A subsidiary question could be: Is it the role of a government to gamble with the tax payer money or to address the concern of its citizens?
 This as a part of the Climate Change Technology and Innovation (T&I) Program, for the development and demonstration of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies
 $45 million from the province and BC Transit, $45 million from the federal government, and $23 from the city of Whistler. Andrew Mitchell, B.C. Transit celebrates hydrogen fleet, fuelling station, Pique newsmagazine, Jan 27, 2010
 number from wikipedia in french
 the agency budget is in fact of 360 million, from which ~35% are allocated to the affordable and clean vehicle” program. (see predit publication (in French))
 and that is discounting the fact that the province consider the Hydrogen bus as part of its much touted “$14 billion Provincial” Transit plan
 Worth to mention that it seems also to be the position stated by Stephen Rees in some of its posts and others disgressions and obviously the viewpoint is not aimed at fuel cell, but at technology driven choices rather than economically grounded ones, and could apply to CNG buses as well
 Preferably where you think you can develop a competitive advantage.