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Two Link Tuesday

July 29, 2014

“The denser the urban environment (particularly for rail), the more bike sharing provides new connections that substitute for existing ones. The less dense the environment, the more bike sharing establishes new connections to the existing public transit system.”

Several weeks ago, Raleigh completed a feasibility study that found the city able to support a bike share program. Why is this such exciting news? Another recent research study shows that bike sharing has started to serve as a growing mode of public transportation. Bike sharing can establish new connections to the existing public transit system or become users’ predominant means of transportation. In Washington, D.C., bike sharers reduced their car use and their use of the D.C. Metro, especially if they had shorter commutes near the city center. The result? Less crowded highways and less crowded rail cars. On the other hand, in bike share cities like Minneapolis where riders took longer light rail trips, rail use increased. Researchers found that in those cases, riders used bike sharing for the first and last portions of their trip – to and from the light rail. Whether it’s used in place of other forms of public transit or as a supplemental mode, it looks like bike sharing is here to stay.

“Trains in the outer suburbs are every 20 minutes or so at peak hours. If you’re just travelling along the central corridor (say from Hauptbahnhof to Marienplatz), there’s a train every 2 minutes. Two. Freaking. Minutes.”

Ever tried public transit abroad? Ridden the S-Bahn or the U-Bahn? How about the London Underground? Some cities caution you to stay behind the yellow line while others suggest you “mind the gap.” But how do these international transit systems compare to one another? In Frankfurt, you can pay for one ticket to your final destination and then take as long as you’d like getting there. Or maybe you’d prefer Seoul, where your transit card pays rail, bus and taxi fare, but also doubles as a debit card in local convenience stores. Purchasing those plane tickets yet? Click here to see the ten cities one author claims have the best public transit systems in the world. 

 

 

Transit Thursday: Welcome ODX!

July 24, 2014

photo

Over several months of local meetings, planner suggestions, and presentations  to the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees, Triangle Transit has carefully gathered your feedback on what they can do to improve transit in our area. The result: extended hours, 7-day service, and a brand new bus route! Yes sir, come August 18th, there will be no more “stranded Sundays” and no more fear of missing out. You’ll be able to take public transit to each corner of the Triangle and take it easy.

We’re particularly excited about the newest member of the Triangle Transit family: the Orange-Durham Express. The Orange-Durham Express (ODX) will connect Hillsborough and northern Orange County residents to downtown Durham. After traveling from the North Hillsborough Park-and-Ride to Durham Station, riders will then be able to make connections to Chapel Hill (Routes 400 and 405), as well as to Raleigh (DRX) and the Research Triangle Park (Route 700). Check out the ODX schedule below:

TTA_RouteODX-page-002

(Click here to expand)

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sending out more information about the ODX along with other route-specific service news through our MyRide listserv. Have you signed up? If you haven’t, just head over to the Triangle Transit website to receive alerts tailored to your bus stop. It takes less than one minute, and after you sign up, you’ll be the first to know about any delays, detours, or updates along your daily route.

So, what are you looking forward to most with new the service changes? We’re already feeling the excitement on Twitter. Let us know where you plan to go in August on the new ODX by tweeting @TriangleTransit.

Have a great Thursday!

- Grace

Two Link Tuesday

July 22, 2014

“Concepts like beauty and happiness are subjective indeed, but, in our crowdsourcing experiment, we found that if you ask a large enough number of people to pick between two pictures [and choose] which one is more beautiful or which one makes them happier, consensus usually emerges.”

In our world of instant updates, Twitter news feeds, and increasing workweeks, slowing down probably isn’t at the top of anyone’s list of priorities. It seems that almost every day a new app is launched to get you somewhere faster, whether it’s via public transportation, traffic notifications, or a quick text asking, “Have you left yet?” In today’s sprint from point A to point B, there’s little time to stop and smell the roses, right? Not exactly, says one group of researchers, because what if you didn’t have to stop? Researchers in Barcelona partnered with the University of Torino explore how new GPS mapping apps can incorporate both beauty and speed. Type in your end destination and the app will generate not only the fastest route, but the most scenic one as well? It’s enough to make one reconsider taking the path less traveled. Click here to read more about the future mapping progress. 

 

 “It’s a great feeling to just be able to offer people something so simple and yet so vital.”

When faced with the statistic that over 3,500 homeless people live in San Francisco and only 7 public shower locations are available, a local non-profit decided to take action. However, with a scattered population and rental costs in the Bay Area at an all-time high, the group knew one factor would be the key to their success: mobility. Thus, the Lava Mae mobile shower bus was born. Funded by private donations, the refurbished public transit bus now features two full private bathrooms, hot showers, clean toilets, shampoo, soap and towels all free of charge. The bus is parked in the Mission District throughout the week, but also travels to nearby homeless shelters to pass out toiletries. By 2015, Lava Mae hopes to have four more buses on the road providing 2,000+ showers / week. Visit their Tumblr to see inside the bus and read more about Lava Mae’s efforts.

Fortify Friday: Project Updates

July 18, 2014

Happy Friday, and a happy Fortify Friday it is indeed!

This morning, NC DOT announced a recent development in the Fortify Project: for the first time, drivers will be able to use the newly constructed lanes. 

440 Lane Shift - Dara 1_cropped

For months, the inside lanes on I-440 West between I-40 and the U.S. 64/264 Knightdale Bypass have been closed off to traffic with concrete barriers. With the next phase of Fortify construction beginning, these lanes will be reopened so that workers can shift their focus to the remaining outside lanes. The shift will officially take place Saturday, July 19th, at 11 p.m., weather permitting.

Since the lane re-openings and closures are switching sides, we’ll get to a sneak peek of what the completed Fortify Project will bring. According to NC DOT engineer Dennis Jernigan, at this point, the Fortify Project is “ahead of schedule” and phase two traffic patterns will begin soon. Drivers are also being cautioned to be more observant than ever, as the new traffic pattern will essentially eliminate the interstate shoulder. In phase two, concrete barriers will line both sides of I-440 West except by the Poole Road and U.S. 64/264 exits. For a better idea of what the new traffic pattern entails, check out the map below:

I-440_2LaneMerge_July2014_eej4

 

Currently, the same shift is expected to take place on the I-440 East side in August. If you’d like more information, the complete press release and map are also available on the NC DOT website.

So what do you think? Are you excited to try out the new roads this weekend? Let us know what you think of the Fortify Project progress by tweeting @GoTriangle or commenting on our Facebook page.

Have a great weekend,

Grace

Transit Thursday: Next stop… local veggies!

July 17, 2014

farmers market poster

 

Don’t you just love the Durham Farmers’ Market (DFM)? It’s got stellar Yelp reviews, inspired a Bon Appetit “postcard” write-up, and is probably the most happening spot downtown pre-10am on Saturdays. In fact, the only thing I don’t like about the market is that I have to get up early to score the best finds (consider yourself warned!).

The DFM is all about community and to help make sure that everyone could enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of our NC farmers, they began accepting EBT/SNAP (food stamps) this past spring. This Saturday they’re launching the Double Bucks Program, a new program that will match SNAP benefits up to $10 per person.

It just so happens that we’ll be launching a free shuttle to the Durham Farmers’ Market starting this Saturday, too! Look for the SPECIAL BCC at Durham Station to get a ride. Look for the signs and if you’re coming this Saturday, July 19, I’ll be there in the morning with our re-usable shopping bags, perfect for toting your market finds. If you miss me at the station, come look for me at the DFM’s info table.

Oh, one more thing. One of Charge Ahead Durham’s three weekly challenges is to ride the bull– no, not the one at Shooters, I’m talking about the Bull City Connector. If you’re going to go to the Durham Farmer’s Market, why not take the shuttle back and go ahead and get your charge done?

 

 

 

Two Link Tuesday

July 15, 2014

(image via CityLab)

“This could work, even though older people do not wish to give up their cars. Change comes gradually.”

Imagine stepping out your front door knowing that no matter where you live, your entire commute relies on public transportation. You don’t live too far from the bus stop or the bike trail to get to the office on time. You just tap your phone to open up the new transit app and suddenly, everything is connected. The app shows a bike share on your street that you can use to get to the train station, then suggests you catch a minibus instead because rain is in the forecast. Every mode of transportation around you is streamlined into this one app, running on one payment system. Sound too good to be true? It’s a lofty goal, but one that Helsinki, Finland, believes to be in grasp. Click here to read how this Nordic city plans to make car ownership pointless for every citizen in the next 10 years.

(image via CityLab)

“Walking, running, cycling, and motorized transportation data tell us different stories.”

How to people in your part of the world get from point A to point B? Do they jump in the car or jog down the street? How do mobility habits in Hong Kong compare to those in Houston? The creators of Human decided to find out. While this new app encourages daily exercise, it wouldn’t like being called a fitness tracker – it’s more of a movement mapper. In the last year, Human users traveled 7.5 million miles in total, revealing fascinating individual and city-wide mobility habits across the globe. The results were compiled into a leaderboard, with Amsterdam taking home the World Cup for most active city. However, don’t count the USA out yet: Washington, D.C. beat out Berlin and Tokyo for percentage of time spent walking. Click here to check out the full results and download the app yourself.

Transit Thursday: Bike Sharing

July 10, 2014

The results are in: yesterday, Midtown Raleigh News announced that a recent study found Raleigh can support a bike share program. This “feasibility” study factored in variables like tourist market, population density, resident polls, and city comparison. Ultimately, the Oak City stood up to the task and proved it could be the next hot spot for the cycling program.

resultsWhy are we so excited about this news? Well, not only is bike sharing good for the environment, it’s also good for cities and their residents.
In 2013, 43% of bike share participants in Denver reported that they use the program to replace car trips, while 31.5% of D.C. bike sharers reported reduced stress. In fact, cyclists  lose 13 pounds on average in their first year of cycling.

One study even found that only 39.8% of men who cycle to work are overweight compared to the 60.8% of men who drove to work. Another reported that women who walk or bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.

results2

By using a bike share program, you can tighten your waistline without tightening your wallet. Many cities have seen an uptick in business after implementing bike share programs. In Paris, local bike sales experienced a 35% increase with similar results across the US. CitiBike alone has created 200 new jobs.

One blogger explains that economic stimulus from bike sharing occurs in several ways: (1) by diverting customers to local businesses; (2) leaving potential customers with more cash in their pockets; and (3) by providing incentives for young, tech-savvy employees to relocate to areas. These all sound like excellent things both for Raleigh business and for residents.

So what do you think about a potential Raleigh bike share program? Have you tried bike sharing before in another city? Let us know by tweeting @GoTriangle or leaving a comment on our Facebook page.

Have a great Thursday,

Grace

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