• Secret Service gets two hi-tech buses

    For President Obama’s latest three-day tour of the Midwest, the Secret Service will be using two new armored buses to provide better security; in the past, the Secret Service would lease buses when they needed them and then customize them with security and communications equipment, but officials say these measures were often inadequate

  • Anonymous retaliates against BART

    The hacking collective Anonymous released personal data on Sunday belonging to more than 2,000 public transport customers in the San Francisco area in retaliation for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system’s shutdown of mobile phone service on Thursday night

  • San Francisco to install real-time surveillance on buses

    Thanks to a $6 million DHS grant San Francisco’s MUNI buses will soon be equipped with a network of sophisticated high-tech video cameras that will allow the transit agency to view footage in real-time

  • Report warns Amtrak vulnerable

    A new report by the DHS Inspector General warns that Amtrak is vulnerable to terrorist attacks, despite the $1 billion that has already been spent to bolster security; the inspector general found that DHS officials did not ensure that the money was being spent efficiently securing Amtrak’s most vulnerable stations resulting in security gaps

  • Mica cuts 40 percent from House transportation spending

    Last Thursday, Representative John Mica (R-Florida) unveiled the House Transportation Reauthorization bill which would allocate $230 billion to infrastructure projects over the next six years; the bill has generated fierce criticism as it would cut transportation spending for America’s roadways by nearly 40 percent

  • RAILENIUM awarded 550 million Euro boost from French government

    RAILENIUM, the European Institute for Technological Research in Rail Infrastructure, has been selected by the French government as a leading investment project and has been awarded 550 million Euros in funding; the equipment and research platforms that RAILENIUM will provide will be unique in Europe; this will include a 5 km rail test loop, a tramway test track, a fatigue-simulation track, running trial facilities, and service structures

  • New commuting method: Personal Aerial Vehicles

    Researchers in Germany have an idea for solving the growing congestions in urban centers: a Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) for traveling between homes and working places; the PAVs will fly at low altitude in urban environments, thus making it unnecessary to change current air-traffic control regulations

  • New Jersey lawmakers protest transit security cuts

    On Tuesday Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) and Representative Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) urged lawmakers to restore funding for security measures to the nation’s railways; the House budget would cut funding for nine homeland security programs by 55 percent next fiscal year; in particular, funding to secure intercity passenger rail lines, freight trains, and mass transit systems would fall to $113 million down from $250 million, a 45 percent cut

  • Railroad protests $400 million in fines for smuggling drugs

    Railroad companies are protesting nearly $400 million in fines for illegal drugs smuggled aboard its trains; under U.S. law, all shipping companies are subject to fines of $500 per ounce of marijuana and $1,000 per ounce of heroin or cocaine if U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents find drugs hidden in their cargo; Union Pacific argues that they are being punished for the actions of drug smugglers which they cannot control

  • New Jersey Transit unveils new terror text hotline

    NJ Transit recently unveiled its new “Text Against Terror” initiative and is encouraging public transportation riders to report any suspicious items they see via text; the New Jersey transit system is the third largest in the nation with an estimated one million riders per day; New Jersey Transit officials are hoping to enlist the aid of its passengers in the fight against terror.

  • China reduces top speed on high-speed rail

    On Monday Chinese officials lowered the top operating speed for its flagship bullet train citing safety concerns; China’s Railway Ministry will now run trains at 155 to 186 miles per hour on the Beijing to Shanghai line instead of 236 miles per hour as was originally planned; the recent announcement comes as part of broader set of changes to the Railway Ministry after Liu Zhijun, the previous minister, was fired for corruption and mismanagement in February

  • Making high-speed rail tracks safer

    High-speed rail requires prestressed concrete railroad ties, as wooden cross ties are too flexible; for these ties to be effective, prestressing forces must be applied at a considerable distance before the rail load is applied; this is called the transfer length; to resist the heavy impacts the concrete ties utilize about twenty steel wires, each stressed to around 7,000 pounds; if the prestressed force is not properly transferred, failures can occur in the track

  • 47,000 pedestrians killed in last decade

    A recent study shows that walking in the United States has become increasingly dangerous; in the last ten years, nearly 50,000 pedestrians were killed and 688,000 injured in accidents; the study, conducted by Transportation For America (TFA), a coalition of transportation, environmental, and business groups, found that four of the top five most dangerous areas for pedestrians were located in Florida; 67 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on federal-aid roads, which are eligible for federal funding and have federal guidelines and oversight for their design

  • Senators outline long-term transportation spending plan

    On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators announced that they had come to an agreement on a long-term transportation spending bill; since 2008, highway and transit construction programs have had an uncertain fate, but the proposed bill would allocate roughly $56 billion a year to highway and transit construction; it is unclear what the final bill will look like as the Senate, House, and executive branch each have diverging views on highway funding; funding the transportation bill will be no small feat; a two year Senate bill would require $12 billion in additional fuel tax revenues and a six year bill would require an addition $70 billion

  • Boston tries to bar hazmat trucks from downtown -- again

    On average, 317 big trucks and tankers carrying hazardous materials travel through downtown Boston every day; in 2006 Boston had barred hazmat trucks from entering downtown, but federal officials voided the restrictions last year, saying Boston did not show sufficient cause to justify the restrictions; the city commissioned a study on the issue, which recommended diverting hazmat traffic from downtown to a route which will see the truck take the already-congested Route 128, which cuts through Boston’s western suburbs; businesses and cities along the proposed rout object