Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Digest: August 10, 2012

The University of Nevada has announced its goal to establish a research center for high speed rail. The XpressWest project is currently underway, which would make Nevada the first state in the country to have high speed rail, but the proposed International High Speed Rail Institute would create new opportunities for high speed rail throughout the country. Researchers would look at the different weather extremes, for example, including how the desert and dust environment could affect the high speed rail, or in other parts of the country, how snow and blizzards would affect it. Tom Skancke, one of the backers of this university program, believes that the U.S has more challenges than Europe and Asia because of these weather conditions. These challenges, he believes, make it necessary to set up an institute and explore how to overcome these obstacles. Learn more at Vegas Inc.

Cedar Park, Texas, which previously opted out of Austin’s Capital Metro’s service area, has come up with a new transportation solution. A new ride-sharing social media initiative is in the works, where users would login to a website and post timeframes when they’d be available to give rides or dates when they needed rides. This community transportation network has raised some concern with residents about posting information about when they will be out of their house, as well as the fact that many residents do not have internet access. In 2010 Cedar Park voted against a pilot program in which Capital Metro would bring two stops to the city. In light of this, city council wanted the new transit proposal to put public transportation in the hands of the residents and aims to create a self-reliant transit network. Read more at

TriMet has launched their new multimodal trip planner, which incorporates information for transit, biking and walking all in one itinerary, offering users a variety of options and encouraging all forms of transportation. There is also a street map that is continually updated with the latest bike and walking paths, as well as car-share locations to incorporate Zipcars and other car-share providers. Last year a pilot version was tested, and with feedback from riders TriMet has launched a live version for the public. This is the first agency-produced trip planner in the U.S that uses multiple methods of transportation. Read more at Metro Magazine.