Archive for the ‘public transit’ Category

Bike Sharing

April 26, 2009

“The fact is, we already have a zero-emission, efficient, great way to get around and it’s called the bicycle and we just need to start providing for it,”
-Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives

You’ve heard of car sharing but have you heard of bike sharing? There are already successful bike sharing programs in Paris, Barcelona, London, Stockholm, Milan, Berlin, Munich, Vienna & Copenhagen- to name just a few. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before bike sharing starts spreading throughout the U.S. as well!

Below you can listen to a very interesting interview on last Friday’s Brian Lehrer Show. Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, discusses the possibility of introducing a bike sharing program in New York City.

Would you utilize a bike sharing service in Chicago? If not, why not? What would need to change in order to get you biking?

The public likes public transportation!

March 9, 2009


Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008! This is a 4% increase over 2007 levels and also marks the highest level of ridership in 52 years, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Ridership on all modes of public transportation increased in every quarter for the second year in a row. Light rail had the highest increase in annual ridership, growing by 8.3% in 2008, followed by commuter rail (4.7%), bus service (3.9%) and heavy rail (3.5%). Streetcars and trolleys are considered ‘light rail’, while subways are categorized as ‘heavily rail’.

Not only are more people taking public transportation, they are also driving less: Total vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. declined by 3.6% from 2007 levels. According to the APTA report, “This ridership record continues a long-term trend of ridership growth. Public transportation use is up 38% since 1995, a figure that is almost triple the growth rate of the population”. Not too shabby, huh?

CTA & I-GO make good train-ing partners

February 9, 2009


Anyone else notice this graphic lately? It’s featured prominently in a ton of print ads that have been on CTA trains and buses since early January. The tagline that accompanies it: “One card, three ways to go.” And here’s the copy: “A seamless way to travel through the city using just one card. Bus, train, and now 200 I-GO cars.”

I’ve been on the lookout for the ads, and I-GO also has its own smaller ad on the CTA. Judging from our web traffic stats, looks like folks are seeing the ads and checking us out.

So what is it exactly? It’s the brand-new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO joint smart card. A card with two micro chips that gives you access to all CTA trains and buses, Pace buses, and I-GO’s citywide fleet of car-sharing vehicles. The idea: to promote a more unified, expansive and sustainable public transportation network.

Throw your bike into the equation (many of I-GO’s cars have racks or are parked near racks, and we’d like to make that more pervasive – check out our Cars & Locations page), and, hell, you may never need to own a car. Now if we could just continue this current warming trend…

Tracking the CTA

February 4, 2009

The sweeping changes underway at the CTA are fueling water-cooler conversation for working stiffs and sustainable-transportation experts alike.

The latter category includes Maria Choca Urban, one of our colleagues at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (I-GO‘s parent org, an urban-sustainability-focused “think and do tank”), who, on Monday’s Eight Forty-Eight program on Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ), gave an insightful assessment of the CTA that comes from firsthand experience. Maria was formerly General Manager for Policy and Strategic Solutions at CTA, and now serves as Program Manager for Transportation and Community Development at CNT.

Listen to the streaming audio file here.

RedEye‘s “Going Public” columnist Kyra Kyles was the other guest commentator on the show, and both women offered a balanced, informed POV on the the agency many Chicagoans have had a love-hate relationship with for decades.

Of course, Daley’s favorite young-gun troubleshooter—ascendent, studly Everyman Ron Huberman, who’s apparently on track to head every major city agency before declaring himself a senatorial or gubernatorial candidate (not too far-fetched, right?)—was the main topic. Maria offered praise for Huberman’s efforts in his too-brief stint at CTA, including better accountability standards in the massive bureaucracy (did you know CTA has 11,000 employees?! and that’s after a recent layoff), making better use of collected data, and the CTA’s oft-beleaguered customer relations.

But she and Kyles both agreed that the new Chicago Public Schools chief (hey, he’s an ex-cop and transit guy—maybe he can get the kids to class on time and bust more troublemakers) wasn’t in charge long enough to see his initiatives truly evolve and pay off.

When a listener called in to ask why Chicago can’t have city agency bosses with experience specific to the orgs they head, Maria said that she and her fellow transit-minded think-tankers at CNT would definitely like to see a experienced transportation professional take the reins at CTA.

Is Dorval Carter, the interim prez, the right dude for the gig?

Carter’s a lawyer who moved up from Executive Vice President for Operations Support, and he’s been responsible for directing the planning and operations functions for multiple departments including Human Resources, Purchasing, Public Affairs, Government and Community Relations and Finance. Prior to joining the CTA in 2000, Carter spent 10 years at the Federal Transit Administration where he was Assistant Chief Counsel for Legislation and Regulation and managed the office responsible for preparing and directing the federal legislative and regulatory agenda for the FTA.

I just ripped that info straight from the CTA press release.

Trying to remain objective here. Because we here at I-GO have high hopes for the CTA’s ongoing transformation. We just partnered with CTA to create a brand-new joint smart card—the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card—that gives you access to trains, buses and I-GO’s citywide fleet of car-sharing vehicles. The idea is to make public transit more expansive and green. We’re fans of any form of sustainable transit that decreases congestion on the roads and CO2 in our skies.

Any opinions out there on how the CTA and I-GO might further perpetuate this agenda? We’d love to hear from you. Just click on the Comments link below and give us your two cents.