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The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

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Anecdotal question here: Those of you who do not currently use the transit system: Which specific elements of the plan would most likely convert you to a transit system user or increase your use of the existing system? See the proposed route plan below.  

 

021418_CURRENT_Map_with_Expansion-02.png

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31 minutes ago, Pdt2f said:

1. Ease of payment. IE taking credit/debit 

I'll second that one, I am never sure how to pay, which just turns me off to the whole system. 

https://m.nashvillemta.org/Nashville-MTA-Mobile-Maps-Schedules.asp

This is also confusing as hell. I had to go to the big map, find my area, then go back to this to find the area map. I imagine it would get easier the more you use it but the barrier to entry seems pretty high. If MDHA starts cutting parking, there would definitely be more of a desire to learn this or as others have said take Lyfts.

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1 hour ago, nashville_bound said:

We definitely should bring the conversation back to transit.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/12/17109708/via-arlington-texas-rideshare-app-replaces-bus

 

 

and a short response.....

To make such an all-encompassing, hypothetical statement without any specifics is useless. I mean are you asking me - if I would willingly sacrifice myself if my death today would save the world tomorrow (think the movie Armageddon or Jesus Christ).... ? ...  or are you asking me - if I will vote higher taxes on myself so monies, which could be more efficiently spent by me, could be given to a bloated,inefficient government entity for a vanity project? As you would expect I would have different responses to those questions.

now on to the miracle of our time - transit!

 

 

So you are unhappy subsidizing mass transit but are happy to subsidize money losing companies such as Uber?  Because that's exactly what the cities in this article are doing.  Arlington is using both local and federal money for their program.  I thought you were against those things? Or was I mistaken? 

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57 minutes ago, Pdt2f said:

1. Ease of payment. IE taking credit/debit 

2. Easy and free transfers. 

3. More frequent service with stops closer to where I live (Selfish, I know, but a 15 minute walk and a 20 minute wait in Tennessee July is worth the inconvenience of driving to me). 

4. Real time updates about where buses are and how long they’ll take to arrive at the stop. 

5. Longer weekend hours, maybe even 24 hour service. I’d just as soon pay $3 or so for the wife and I to ride the bus home, rather than Uber, but the busses stop running at like 11. 

If I think of any more I’ll add them too. 

All of these are huge, but I think the most important thing to me is having a predictable way to get around that won't get caught in a traffic jam. Buses or trains having dedicated right-of-way is the killer app.

And from a bigger picture perspective I think the feature that is the most important for Nashville's future has more to do with the next million people than those of us that happen to live here at the start of this thing. As they come, where are they going to live, work, and play? Putting in a transit system (which is somewhat oversized for our current population density) will allow developers to provide for the future waves of population growth along densely built corridors. All of us, including people who dearly love their interstate car commute, will benefit from this.

Edited by AronG
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This article and several others I have posted within this thread, such as the coming autonomous vehicle revolution and the one detailing Metro's plans with Uber and Lyft for the last 'mile', demonstrate the disruptive nature emerging technology is destined to have on a 3-dedcade, $9B, transit build-out.  You do a disservice by conflating information with endorsement and then trying to play 'gotcha' with the manufactured results as the choices are not binary.

To wit,  to the extent that a municipality chooses to utilize  Uber, Lyft, or future AV technology in an effort to reduce existing gov't subsidies (as the article mentions) I am in support. I further support minimizing the public subsidization of transit (roads, trains, busses, light-rail, uber, lyft, etc...) and support user fees to the extent technologically and politically feasible. 
 

58 minutes ago, samsonh said:

So you are unhappy subsidizing mass transit but are happy to subsidize money losing companies such as Uber?  Because that's exactly what the cities in this article are doing.  Arlington is using both local and federal money for their program.  I thought you were against those things? Or was I mistaken? 

For instance I neither endorse nor oppose the information in this article, but its potential to disrupt transit is enormous.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/kitty-hawk-cora-larry-page-backed-firm-unveils-autonomous-flying-taxi.html

"Kitty Hawk is not the only company developing flying taxis however. Chinese firm EHang is developing an all-electric passenger drone, Airbus launched its first successful flight of its self-piloted flying car in February, and Uber is working withNASA to make its flying vehicle project a reality."

Edited by nashville_bound

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7 minutes ago, nashville_bound said:

This article and several others I have posted within this thread, such as the coming autonomous vehicle revolution and the one detailing Metro's plans with Uber and Lyft for the last 'mile', demonstrate the disruptive nature emerging technology is destined to have on a 3-dedcade, $9B, transit build-out.  You do a disservice by conflating information with endorsement and then trying to play 'gotcha' with the manufactured results as the choices are not binary.

To wit,  to the extent that a municipality chooses to utilize  Uber, Lyft, or future AV technology in an effort to reduce existing gov't subsidies (as the article mentions) I am in support. I further support minimizing the public subsidization of transit (roads, trains, busses, light-rail, uber, lyft, etc...) and support user fees to the extent technologically and politically feasible. 
 

For instance I neither endorse nor oppose the information in this article, but its potential to disrupt transit is enormous.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/kitty-hawk-cora-larry-page-backed-firm-unveils-autonomous-flying-taxi.html

"Kitty Hawk is not the only company developing flying taxis however. Chinese firm EHang is developing an all-electric passenger drone, Airbus launched its first successful flight of its self-piloted flying car in February, and Uber is working withNASA to make its flying vehicle project a reality."

I agree that new terchnology will disrupt transit in some forms. We have no idea what those forms will take. And in my opinion and most experts I read that disruption is really decades away from making an impact. I don't think any of the pro transit group on this forum denies that new technologies have potential, but should we really wait 20-30 years for them? I also have my doubts about Uber or Lyft as viable companies, and there are many articles detailing their financial woes.  These municipalities are subsidizing Uber, did you read this section:

"The city says it will contribute “approximately one third of the project cost, in the amount of $322,500, with the remainder coming from the Federal Transit Administration.” The contract period is for one year, with four one-year renewal options. Via agrees to supply the city with data collected through the ride-share service to “shape future transportation planning decisions."

  For someone who has yet to make their mind up you are finding really any reason to be against planning for growth and traffic in this city.  Obviously any large project is planning decades ahead and we do not know what technology holds for us, but I doubt it will be flying taxis that solve the traffic woes we currently face. 

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By your own admission , " And in my opinion and most experts I read that disruption is really decades away from making an impact.", you agree that a disruption will occur shorty after the $9B transit plan comes online (assuming no delays). I am surprised you are so cavalier about committing Metro's citizens to $9B (probably much more) with such a great disparity between the known and unknown. 

I do not post any articles unread.  Did you read the article?

"Asked by CBS if he sees buses and light rail as “passé,” Arlington mayor Jeff Williams said, “Absolutely. I think with the new technology that’s coming on you’re going to see very little light rail built because this is so much cheaper.”

It is unclear if the mayor says the new solution is "so much cheaper" because the feds are picking up 2/3 or if the solution is cheaper over all. I tend to think the latter since he is so enthusiastic about a long-term solution. Either way it is a better solution that the replaced charter busses because it provides a point-to-point solution.

 

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Have you ever been to Arlington, TX? It is just a giant suburb of Dallas. Suburban sprawl as far as the eye can see. There is no transportation solution in existence that can fix poor city planning.

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3 hours ago, Pdt2f said:

1. Ease of payment. IE taking credit/debit 

Also, people should be able to buy tickets at places like convenience stores.  It's a win-win-win b/c the stores get additional foot traffic and potential customers, there's less cost to the MTA, and people have a bigger and more convenient network to get tickets/passes.

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What in the world is the difference between the MTA and the RTA, I can't find anything on it that really lays it out to me.

Like who has final say, etc? Why are there two authorities?

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16 minutes ago, PaulChinetti said:

What in the world is the difference between the MTA and the RTA, I can't find anything on it that really lays it out to me.

Like who has final say, etc? Why are there two authorities?

http://www.rtarelaxandride.com/Middle-TN-RTA-about-us.asp

http://www.nashvillemta.org/PDF/PowerPointForWeb4.pdf

The RTA and MTA are separate authorities. MTA is "owned" by Metro, whereas RTA is "owned" by several counties and municipalities in Middle Tennessee. RTA contracts with MTA to run their services. So functionally MTA is covering everything from a transit service perspective but that is simply due to the agreement for them to do so, the long-range commuter routes as well as the Star are still part of the RTA and would be managed by RTA were it not for the agreement.

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46 minutes ago, PaulChinetti said:

Has there ever been talk of consolidation? Or are the two just too disparate to combine?

It would be difficult to combine them.

The key point is that Nashville MTA is under the purview of Metro (that is, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County). By contrast, Middle Tennessee RTA is run by multiple city and county governments, of which Metro is only one of several.

It makes sense from a functional standpoint to have one agency operating all routes (hence the MTA/RTA agreement), but from an administrative standpoint, the combined agency would have a much harder time concentrating routes in Nashville (or any one area/jurisdiction).

This is similar to the political hurdles faced by the Nashville Area MPO, and (although a different mechanism) TDOT via the General Assembly. It's hard to focus on transportation needs (i.e., $$$) for a given location when everyone at the table wants a piece of the pie.

This is why, as I've noted before and @nashville_bound alluded to in previous posts, these types of systems are much more viable when their funding is driven by demand (i.e., fares or user fees) rather than political considerations (i.e., taxes or grants).

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I enjoy Arlington and the Texans on occasion, so I am familiar with the layout. 

Question? If you are of the opinion Arlington is such bad urban planning and city sprawl that "no transportation solution is existence can fix poor city planning".  Does this statement apply to Nashville? I mean Arlington has 3x the population density of Nashville ( Arlington Density 3,810/sq. mi vs. Nashville 1,300/sq. mi). 

2 hours ago, SoundScan said:

Have you ever been to Arlington, TX? It is just a giant suburb of Dallas. Suburban sprawl as far as the eye can see. There is no transportation solution in existence that can fix poor city planning.

 

Edited by nashville_bound

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After further looking into Arlington’s VIA project it seems like it is absolutely tiny.  I have to imagine scaling it up in any meaningful way would be tremendously expensive.

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I mean Nashville is also 5 times the size of Arlington in land area. Doesn’t seem like a good comparison, just me though. 

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Something to consider: did you know that many of the factors some of us identified as barriers to using the transit system are already being fixed this year, regardless of the outcome of the referendum vote? Specifically:

  • New smart payment system
  • Real time bus info signs and apps (you can actually already get this in the Google Maps app when you search for Directions via transit)
  • Wifi at certain stations
  • Free transfers
  • Increased frequency and longer operating times on certain routes

See: http://www.nashvillemta.org/pdf/MoveSmarterWebsite.pdf

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/09/26/nashville-mta-announces-several-changes-city-bus-routes/704883001/

I submit that this is good evidence that we can make meaningful improvements to our existing transit system without the plan that's on the table. We need dedicated bus right-of-way for sure, among other improvements, but we don't need this plan to do that. Just consider the idea that a No vote is not a No to transit or even light rail in Nashville for all eternity, forever and ever amen. It's just a "No thanks, this is impressive in certain ways, but not really what we need" to this specific plan. The administration can come back to the public with a new plan on a future referendum. 

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10 hours ago, LA_TN said:

I don't if this has been posted, or not ...

http://nashvilleplanb.com

Is that website over the counter or do I have to go see a doctor?  I had a few too many at Three Crow last night and I don't remember if I went home with Charlotte or Huntsville.

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2 minutes ago, Will said:

I submit that this is good evidence that we can make meaningful improvements to our existing transit system without the plan that's on the table. We need dedicated bus right-of-way for sure, among other improvements, but we don't need this plan to do that. Just consider the idea that a No vote is not a No to transit or even light rail in Nashville for all eternity, forever and ever amen. It's just a "No thanks, this is impressive in certain ways, but not really what we need" to this specific plan. The administration can come back to the public with a new plan on a future referendum. 

I think this transit system plan is for the next 5, 10, 15 years. Sure what we have now might be adequate with a few upgrades but it's not going to take Nashville to the next level of mobility and density. 

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