Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for August 26th, 2007

Canada Line construction photos

with 7 comments

New Canada Line Fraser Bridge under construction 2007_0825

Construction on the new Fraser River crossing August 25, 2007

Stephen Rees Photo

As you know I have been trying to document the construction process here and on flickr. But I am not alone, and I have seen many phtographers doing the same thing – and all of us are frustrated by the lack of access, and ubiquitous fencing with blue fabric used to limit dust, which also limits visibility.

However, one guy seems to have got around all that. Like many of the rest of us he is not a professional – he is not even very experienced in digital photography since he credits someone else with basic image manipulation. What he does have is a helmet, hi-vis vest and big boots and somehow permission to go where none of the rest of us have been allowed a peek.

So for the pictures I was not allowed to take go to the official Canada Line site

Written by Stephen Rees

August 26, 2007 at 10:37 am

Posted in photography, transit

The triumph of style over substance

with 4 comments


Photo by Carl Spencer


This photo is of a regular transit bus operating in York, England. I do not know why it was painted like this but I am prepared to speculate. It was someone in the marketing department who thought that this bus (which is designed to look as much as possible like the latest generation of rapid transit rail vehicles) needed to be made even more “cool” to appeal to the target ‘yoof’ demographic. The sort of people who like graffiti, who think that “the bus sucks”. I can hear now the presentation made by the designer to the marketing committee, banging on about how this will increase ridership by upgrading the image of the service.

Note that the bus is running in mixed traffic. What transit needs is more transit priority. The best image improvement I can think of is that the drivers stuck in the traffic jam see the fast frequent bus service swishing by them, as they drum their fingers on the steering wheel in frustration.

If there is money to be spent on tarting up buses, don’t waste it painting the outside in fancy schemes. Make the inside better. Cleaner, more comfortable. More and better seats, that have no rips or tears – and definitely no duct tape (which seems to be all that holds the CMBC bus seats together). Safe stowage for impedimenta of all kinds. Lights that come on when it gets dark outside. Windows that are so clean you can actually see where you are at all times. Air Conditioning so the windows do not steam up when it rains. That kind of basic amenity.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 26, 2007 at 9:53 am

Posted in transit, Transportation

The end of traffic jams?

with one comment

Innovative study suggests scientific solutions to global transport problems within the next 50 years

Juliette Jowit, transport editor
The Observer
Sunday August 26 2007

Two New Zealand professors trot out all the usual guff about how technology is going to solve all our current problems.

Actually I think that fifty years will see only some of these technologies emerging, and then being far from all pervasive.

What is missing from the article is how technology could be used to make transit better. My specification for future transit is something better than a bus but cheaper than a taxi. It needs to have no driver, but must be utterly safe. It should be usable as a private mode or shared mode at the choice of the user. Not exactly door to door but at least curb to curb. Zero emission of course. Capable of conveying wheelchairs, buggies, shopping trolleys or rolling suitcases. It won’t need to carry bicycles because of the flourishing of power assisted recumbent bikes with optional weather protection. It will link itself up to other like vehicles on arterial routes, where it will have priority when in shared mode over other modes. Freight versions will take care of distribution from railway and waterway depots.

It will operate the way that taxis work in the movies – it will appear exactly when you want it and vanish when you have finished with it. It will offer privacy (at an extra cost) or sociability with small groups of users. It will always be able to pull up right outside where you want to be, as there will be no more need for on street parking of anything. Or very much off street parking either. This will free up vast amounts of space for better uses. It will also offer communications technology so that people will no longer want to drive much of the time as they would rather be internet surfing, emailing or watching tv or movies on demand, or even interacting socially. Now there’s a thought!

For longer distance transport there will be high speed trains de luxe (with real dining and sleeping cars) airships and cruise liners – sail assisted of course. There will still be cars, but they will not be allowed to dominate cities. City centres will be pedestrian zones and cars will have to drive around them – never through them. The privilege of driving will only be granted to the socially responsible: the price will be far greater supervision, and much less freedom to drive wherever and however you want. Transit will be so good that the notion of “owning” a car will seem quaint , and will be largely confined to the older generation.

As for “flying clothes” – I don’t think so, Tim.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 26, 2007 at 9:17 am