Intercity

MTA Transit Tech Lab Seeks Submissions

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Partnership for New York City announced the second round of the Transit Tech Lab, described as “an accelerator program that allows the MTA and other public transportation agencies to explore innovative, private sector solutions to problems they face in operating the region’s subway, bus and commuter rail services.”

FRA: “A Shared Interest in Saving Lives”

Despite significant improvements over several decades, deaths resulting from highway-rail grade crossing incidents and illegal trespassing continue to account for about 95% of all rail-related fatalities in the U.S. annually. The number of fatalities has plateaued over the last ten years with a combined average of 750 per year excluding suicides. For the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), identifying effective and innovative ways to prevent these fatalities is a top priority, and the agency is seeking to expand and strengthen longstanding partnerships with railroads, states, communities, law enforcement and others to adopt solutions more quickly.

Rails vs. Trails: The Battle Continues

Occasionally, rail advocates and bicycle advocates agree on an issue, such as placing bike racks on trains, if there is enough room for them. Often, though, relations between the two constituencies are stormy. In fact, they can be downright adversarial, especially if the right-of-way over which they stake their competing claims is not wide enough to accommodate both a rail line and a bicycle trail. The two sides have been engaged in battles around the country for years.

A “Two Amtrak” Concept

The dilemma: It’s now clear that Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and its new management under former Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson and Executive Vice President Stephen Gardner, regards its principal responsibility as making the Northeast Corridor America’s first true high-speed rail route. That’s a worthy goal and no easy task. Running from Boston south through seven states and the District of Columbia, the Northeast Corridor is the central transportation axis for southern New England and the Middle Atlantic states. The dilemma is that Amtrak’s mandate is not limited to the Northeastern states.

Amtrak’s Interregional Growth Opportunities

Years ago, the Minnesota Association of Railroad Passengers ran an experiment. It published a quarter-page print ad in a weekly “shopper” newspaper in a small town in North Dakota served by the Empire Builder. The paper laid out the ad for free. It had no glitz, no slogans, just hard information: when and where the train went, where it connected to others, sample fares, onboard amenities, and the local station address and telephone. No “800” number, no web address, no ad agency fees. The ad ran four weeks in mid-Fall, when coach seats are abundantly available.

NJ Transit Sets DBE Goal of 21.87%

NJ Transit set its Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) goal for Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2020-2022 at 21.87%. This goal is on the total federal financial assistance that NJ Transit will expend on Federal Transit Administration (FTA)-funded contracts over the next three years. NJ Transit has $2.7 billion projected FTA-assisted contracting projects for FFY 2020-2022.