Monday, February 28, 2011

Consultation on high speed rail link is opened

TRANSPORT secretary Philip Hammond will today launch a five month consultation on the HS2 high speed rail project that could link London and Birmingham.
Ministers say the 250mph link, which will cost around £2bn a year for at least the next decade, will generate £2 for every £1 invested.
It is hoped the link can provide benefits for Birmingham similar to those seen in Lyon and Lille, which were both boosted in the wake of high speed rail projects.
Business leaders including CBI director-general John Cridland and Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways owner IAG, have backed the scheme.
Hammond is facing opposition from MPs within his own party, along with 13 local councils and residents.
Opponents have timed a protest to coincide with Hammond’s defence of the project, in which they will light a chain of beacons along the proposed route of the link, highlighting beauty spots they say will be damaged.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Calls to protect Birmingham rail network in high speed spending plans

BIRMINGHAM’S rail network must not be neglected to fund the country’s high speed rail
plans, a transport campaign group has warned.
The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) fears that existing lines could suffer while the Government pours cash into the 250mph link between the city and the capital.
The comments came as Transport minister Phillip Hammond visited the city yesterday ahead of the launch of the Government’s high speed rail (HSR) consultation on Monday.
CBT director Richard Hebditch said he backed the project, which could cost as much as £33 billion, but not if it meant steeper fare rises or the decline of local services

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

School Transportation Safety Data

The following information from the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the school transportation industry reflect and represent safety data at a glance regarding yellow school buses and school transportation programs within the United States.
• An estimated 440,000 to 480,000 yellow school buses provide transportation service daily nationwide.
• Approximately 26 million elementary and secondary school children ride school buses daily throughout the United States, twice a day.
• That's more than 55 million student trips daily -- before adding an estimated 5 million for daily extracurricular activity round trips
• This equals approximately 10 billion individual student rides, or 20 billion boardings and de-boardings, annually, when you include the national estimate for activity trips, Head Start transportation, summer school and child care transportation.
• School buses travel approximately 4.4 billion miles each school year across the United States. To put this in perspective, the U.S. Department of Transportation publishes figures that show Americans drive nearly 3 trillion miles on U.S. highways each year. The average school bus operates about 9,000 route miles each year.
• Approximately 53 percent of all K-12 students in the country ride yellow school buses.
• The average school bus transports 54 student passengers. An average of 1.5 students are transported per car if a school bus is not available. The number of cars needed to transport students currently riding on one school bus is 36. (Source: American School Bus Council.)
• According to the National Safety Council, the national school bus accident rate is 0.01 per 100 million miles traveled, compared to 0.04 for trains, 0.06 for commercial aviation and 0.96 for other passenger vehicles.
• Therefore, the federal government considers school buses to be about nine times safer that other passenger vehicles during the normal school commute.
• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 96 percent of the estimated 8,500 to 12,000 children injured in school bus accidents annually are considered minor (scrapes, bumps, bruises, etc.).
• NHTSA calculated that 4 percent of the school bus-related injuries to children -- about 350 to 475 annually -- are serious (i.e. broken bones or worse) based on the medical community's widely accepted AIS or Abbreviated Injury Scale.
• An average of six children are fatally injured inside school buses annually.
• About 16 children are fatally injured as pedestrians in the loading & unloading zone around school buses annually. That's better than 200 percent improvement from 75 school bus fatalities in 1975; it is still not good enough.
• During the seven years between 1989 and 1996, 9,500 school-age children were killed during school hours while riding in all kinds of motor vehicles.
• The federal government considers school buses to be about nine times safer that other passenger vehicles during the normal school commute.
• According to data gathered for NHTSA's Fatal Analysis Reporting System, about 600 school age children are killed annually riding to and from school in motor vehicles other than school buses. These fatalities occur during school transport hours (7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.), on school days (Monday through Friday) only, and during the typical 180 day school year, to children riding to and from school, mostly in automobiles.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Magellan to recommence lead transport

Magellan Metals is expected to resume operations at its Wiluna mine site and transport lead through the port of Fremantle within weeks after the West Australian government lifted its ban.
Magellan was forced to cease transporting the material on December 31, 2010, while an investigation was held to determine if the company had exceeded lead limits imposed on it.
But an independent review of Magellan's air quality monitoring in shipping containers has found lead levels do not exceed the limits set as part of approval conditions, says Environment Minister Bill Marmion.
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He said the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority (OEPA) was satisfied the levels were within allowed limits and posed no risk to human health or the environment.
The review of 28 air quality results from the shipping containers was conducted by a Sydney-based National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited assessor and former CSIRO scientist.
The findings are consistent with the results of independent sampling by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
However, Mr Marmion said, that due to public concern about Magellan's compliance with its monitoring and reporting requirements, he had ordered an OEPA review of the conditions.
"Part of that investigation will look at the possibility of shipping lead carbonate in ingot form," he said.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No full transport plan for Gauteng

Build a fully integrated public transport system that serves the whole city will take time.

The tolls which are about to be imposed are to meet the costs of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement System, not merely that of Joburg. It is a bit disappointing to see Business Day taking such a parochial view.

And the extraordinary fact is that there is no comprehensive public transport plan for Gauteng. Each metro has its own plan as required by legislation. Gautrain was devised as a standalone rail system with its own dedicated bus feeders. As former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa used to remind us, Gauteng is a city region. The lack of a genuine co- ordinated plan for the province is quite extraordinary.

In 2007 a Gauteng Transport Management Authority was formed. It disbanded after some 18 months having achieved nothing, and having spent quite of lot of money doing so.

The second challenge to the statement in your editorial is the suggestion that to develop a fully integrated public transport system will take time. Certainly it cannot be completed tomorrow — but it can be started tomorrow simply by co-ordinating, improving and expanding what we now have. Planners and politicians alike love to look for hi -tech answers — Gautrain, Bus Rapid Transit, taxi recapitalisation; anything other than bringing together what is now operating and ensuring that the individual modes are gradually improved.

In the early stages it would not be a fully integrated system. It might merely fit where it touches. But a network would be in place which could gradually be enhanced. There would be few photo opportunities — no mass scrapping of taxis, no triumphal Gautrain test runs accompanied by high-sounding speeches.

But we might just get the first vestiges of an integrated public transport system, which would begin to offer an alternative to the toll roads.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Australian Town Changes Name from Speed To SpeedKills

The tiny town of Speed, Australia, home to just 45 people, is revving up a high profile campaign to change its name to SpeedKills for the month of March. After a Facebook campaign that gained more than 30,000 supporters, the town's residents are swapping their highway sign to promote safe driving.

But this is no small-town shenanigan. The state Transport Accident Commission noticed a 25 percent increase in deaths on rural roads in 2010. The organization took their pitch to the town now formerly known as Speed, located 400 km (250 miles) northwest of Melbourne in Victoria. If the Facebook campaign garnered more than 10,000 likes, the town would rename themselves to SpeedKills for the month, in exchange for a charitable donation from the commission.

A SpeedKills resident is also thrusting himself into the fray. Local farmer Phil Down is becoming Phil SlowDown for the month of March. While the town in the Australian Outback doesn't see many visitors, they're hoping their name change will put them on the map. "It's virtually on the road to somewhere else, so we've taken our quirky name and run with it … to get people to slow down on country roads and especially through small towns," Down told Australia's ABC News.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Greece Passes Athens Transport-Sector Reform Amid Protracted Strikes

ATHENS (Dow Jones)--Greece's socialist government was able to pass its sweeping Attica public transportation reform legislation in a final vote two hours past midnight on Wednesday, despite protracted strikes since December.
The reform of the heavily indebted and loss-making state-owned transport enterprise of the greater Athens region is one of the demands made by the International Monetary Fund and European Union in exchange for Greece's drawing on the EUR110 billion bailout in order to avoid sovereign debt default.
"The law will create a metropolitan authority to oversee the Athens public transport system, and we will consolidate five entities into two to reap economies of scale. We are also imposing requirements for a business plan and regular audits to prevent deficits accumulating which are then picked up by the Greek taxpayer," Transport Minister Dimities Reppas said.
The ruling Pasok party used its 156-member majority, out of a total of 300 seats in parliament, to pass the controversial law.
The minister said the Attica public transport enterprises have combined total debts of EUR3.8 billion, and the government subsidizes up to 70% of operating costs. He added that wage costs have jumped 43% between 2004 to the end of 2009.
Earlier Tuesday, thousands of public transport workers walked off the job in a 24-hour strike that suspended bus, trolley, urban rail and subway services. The walkout again disrupted commutes and snarled traffic, particularly during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
Since early December, commuters in the Greek capital have struggled with almost daily walkouts by transit workers, including five 24-hour strikes.
According to the government, Athens' urban transit companies reported combined losses of EUR472 million in 2009, which narrowed to EUR390 million last year due to steep cuts in wages and bonus payments.
Under its reform plan, the government hopes to narrow that deficit to about EUR150 million next year through further cuts in worker bonuses, streamlining administration, and transferring some 1,500 employees out of 11,850 currently to other jobs in the public sector.
The legislation also imposes a 30% hike in ticket prices and a renegotiation of the collective-wage agreements for transit workers.
Over the last few months, in a response to a raft of austerity measures imposed by Greece's international lenders, some commuters have launched a protest movement by refusing to pay for the use public transportation.
The Transport Ministry said that stiffer penalties and fines will be introduced for fare beaters because one portion of the population cannot shirk responsibility and shift the burden of lost revenue onto paying commuters.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Russian Transport Ministry names responsible for December air traffic chaos

The Russian Transport Ministry's final report has blamed the pre-New Year traffic chaos at Russian airports on the heads of Russia's largest airline Aeroflot, airports' management, Federal Air Transport Agency officials, and flawed laws, Russian daily Kommersant said on Friday.

A total of 801 flights were delayed, 408 cancelled and 20,000 people were stranded at airports as a result of transport officials and airport employees' uncoordinated work following an ice storm that hit the entire territory of Central Russia in late December, the paper said.

Quoting a report by a special commission created to study the aviation officials' response the ice storm, Kommersant said the Domodedovo staff had failed to repair electricity lines broken by falling trees during three days since the storm broke over Moscow.

"In foreign countries, electricity lines at such facilities are laid underground, which helps avoid such failures," Transport Minister Igor Levitin was quoted as saying.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Transport network to improve

Shanghai residents can expect to spend less than 45 minutes traveling between any two downtown destinations as more subways, highways and railways will be built in the next five years, the city's construction and transport commission said yesterday.
The transport network will also enable them to reach most cities in the Yangtze River Delta region within 90 minutes, the Shanghai Urban and Rural Construction and Transport Commission said.
By the end of 2015, the city's Metro network and improved road access will ensure a commute inside downtown areas will take 45 minutes or less.
Traveling from the suburbs to downtown Shanghai will take no more than 60 minutes, officials said.
By then, more provincial highways and railways will mean most cities in the Yangtze River Delta will be accessible within 90 minutes.
Another 200 kilometers of highways along with 200 kilometers of Metros and suburban railway lines will be built in the period, officials said.
This year, 84 major infrastructure projects costing 100 billion yuan (US$15.2 billion) will start construction. Part of the money will be spent on some urban face-lift programs such as support facilities for the Hongqiao development zone.
Construction of Metro Line 12, Line 13 and the northern extension of Line 11 will accelerate this year.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Railway transport is crucial to EA integration

RAILWAY transport is of strategic importance to Uganda and the region’s economic growth. The Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) was formed after the break-up of the East African Railways Corporation (EARC) in 1977 when it took over the Ugandan part of the East African railways.

Out of the total Uganda rail network of 1,266 km, only 330km is operational, such as the main line from Malaba to Kampala (250km), Tororo-Mbale (55km), Kampala-Port Bell (9km), Kampala-Nalukolongo (6km) and Jinja-Kakira (12km).

Other lines were closed either due to their technical deficiencies or due to inadequate traffic volumes. From the mid-1970s, traffic declined, finances came under stress and the condition of railway infrastructure deteriorated.

The East African railways masterplan was a directive of the East African Community (EAC) April 2004 heads of state summit to link the region and neighbouring countries for efficient trade.

Only the current Kenya-Uganda railway line was laid by the colonial governments decades ago and it no longer serves the purpose.

We need to note that a lot of cargo exchange takes place between the five EA countries, that is Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and by this, a cheaper and efficient means of transport should be put in place. The high cost of maintaining the highways carrying heavy truck and bus traffic is leading the Government to invest a lot in the operation and maintenance of roads, hence the need for railway investment.

Transporters also spend a fortune to repair trucks, which often breakdown because of bad roads. As we plan to expand and increase on the usage of our hydropower in the country, one of the good uses would be to invest in good high-speed electric trains. These can reduce an eight-hour journey by half the time. Steam and fuel trains are no longer in vogue. We can only acquire a modern railway system if we utilise our newly discovered oil well.

Our economy will boom if the railway network is improved because it is largely viewed as the cheapest means of transport for business.

Changes in trade regulation are also resulting in new domestic and global markets and supply chains. These demands will place additional burdens on the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

NTPC eyes coal transport via waterways

The country’s largest power company, NTPC has decided to transport at least 3 million tonne of imported coal to its Farakka and Kahalgaon power stations through the National Waterway-I, reports Hindu Business Line. Coal as a commodity is the single largest user of the railways, comprising about 40% of the total cargo transported by rail.According to sources, depending on feasibility, NTPC may transport up to 8 million tonne of coal through the inland waterway.
The proposed project may be operational by July 1, 2012 at an estimated investment of Rs 200 crore towards creating floating trans-shipment facilities to unload coal from bulk Panamax carriers and transporting it up the river to Farakka.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Nuclear regulator says Bruce Power can transport reactors across Great Lakes

Canada's nuclear regulator approved a controversial plan Friday for 16 decommissioned nuclear reactors to be shipped across the Great Lakes for recycling.
The long-awaited decision by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission was given the OK despite building international protest about the shipment, which essentially will see 1,600 tonnes of radioactive waste be transported across the lakes for the first time.
In a statement, the commission said it was satisfied that Bruce Power, the country's only private nuclear operator, will meet national and international safety standards for transporting nuclear substances.
"The Commission is satisfied that Bruce Power is qualified to carry out the activities to be permitted under the licence and certificate, and that Bruce Power will make adequate provisions to protect the environment, the health and safety of persons, and to maintain national security and measures required to implement Canada's international obligations," it said.
A transport license will expire on Feb. 12, 2012. Bruce Power had said it does not plan to ship the reactors until the spring due to wintry weather conditions.
Earlier this year, the commission held public hearings into the proposed plans and heard from approximately 80 groups opposed to the transport. The groups ranged from representatives of cities through which the reactors will travel by land and air, to aboriginal associations and environmental groups. Some of those opposed were from as far away as Sweden, where the reactors eventually will be delivered.
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Friday, February 04, 2011

Giffords' office secures transport for constituent in Egypt

Congresswoman Giffords may be recovering in Houston, but her office is still busy making sure the needs of her constituents continue to be met in Tucson.
Andrea Richardson, 24, is safe in Istanbul tonight.
This after the Giffords office helped secure her safe transport out of Egypt, as chaos rocks the country.
Her parents, Alice and John Richardson, contacted the Giffords office on Swan Road last Monday.
The Giffords team took immediate action, and reached out to the state department to make arrangements.
By Tuesday, she had boarded a chartered flight to Turkey. Her parents say they couldn't have asked for better treatment.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bus service axe 'will hit most needy'

Many parts of the country could be left without public transport as councils reduce funding for bus services in response to government spending cuts, it was claimed today.
Some 70% of councils in England were planning major cuts to their bus budgets, the Campaign for Better Transport said, as it launched a Save Our Buses campaign.
Campaigners said council-funded routes, which include many rural, hospital, evening and weekend services, were under threat and people on low incomes, the young and the elderly would be worst affected.
The group has collected data from every local authority in England to produce an interactive map showing bus cuts across the county.
It said local authority bus cuts amounted to a running tally of at least £34 million, with some councils planning to cut all their supported services and 14 councils cutting support by more than £1 million each.
Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport's chief executive, said: "The Government said that spending cuts would be socially fair, but cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.
"We believe any short term savings will be outweighed by the long term cost of a vastly depleted bus network.
"These unprecedented cuts will be especially disastrous for people on low incomes and could effectively mean the death of rural bus services.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

U.S. renews travel alert for United Kingdom

An updated State Department travel alert for the United Kingdom, issued Monday, cites "the continuing high level of terrorist threat, including the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems, aviation and other travel infrastructure."
Unlike a travel warning, which recommends against all nonessential travel (such as the travel warning for Egypt), a State Department alert urges travelers to be vigilant and increase their security awareness.
The renewed alert for England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland - effective through April 30 - coincides with expiration of a Europe-wide alert issued last October.
"In the past several years, extremists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as the aviation sector in cities such as London, Madrid, Glasgow, and most recently, Moscow, demonstrating that terrorists continue to take an active interest in targeting these transport sectors across a variety of European cities," the State Department notes, adding that "as has been widely reported in the press, UK law enforcement authorities have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack, underscoring in their public statements that the police are using a range of tactics to mitigate the threat."