From Urban Transportation Systems: Choices for Communities


The traditional rail mode is still the most efficient way to move large volumes of people over many miles at a reasonable speed. When these systems operate at the metropolitan scale, they take the form of commuter [1] or regional rail service. Indeed, the operations discussed in this chapter can only exist in large conurbations with distinct employment centers and population concentrations in corridors, since the stations have to be relatively far apart, and they must attract sufficient numbers of riders to warrant stopping a train. This is, after all, the mode with the heaviest rolling stock and the most extensive infrastructure. Commuter rail has been the principal means to allow metropolitan areas to happen historically and to hold the larger ones together even today. This mode works effectively where movement demands are on a massive scale, and it is certain to have a role in the very large metropolitan areas of the future.

Because rail lines and trains in America have a long history, and because significant evolutionary changes have taken place in the last half century, there is an inventory of common preconceptions and attitudes regarding this mode. One, for example, is that regional rail can provide cheap transportation. That is not really the case, even though existing rights-of-way may be used, because modern attractive service does require quality rolling stock, a reliable infrastructure, and responsive management. Passenger rail is seen as having less agile, slower, and lower-volume operations than heavy rail transit (metro). That is...

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Topics of Interest

Background If we can send a man to the moon, we should be able to solve traffic problems in our cities, was said quite frequently and with conviction in the late 1960s. [1] The implication was that...

This glossary does not include nonguideway, rubber tire modes (paratransit, buses, trolleybuses) or automated guideway transit and waterborne and special modes. The definitions are the author s own...

Today's rail industry is a growing, reliable and fuel-efficient form of ground freight and passenger transportation. The rail industry is one of our nation's critical infrastructures and is composed...

Background All the chapters of this book are devoted to single and separate urban transportation modes, describing their capabilities and defining their actual roles in different types of...

Overview Life in cities i.e., in organized human settlements, which are mostly referred to as communities in this book is possible only if people have mobility [1] on a daily basis the ability to...

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