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Transportation : In The News

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Toronto, meet your new ride

The TTC has unveiled renderings of Toronto's much-anticipated new light rail vehicles (LRVs). Designed by Bombardier Inc. the latest LRV design—refined after public and expert consultation—will include, among other features, wider doorways, an accessibility ramp and a designated space for bikes. The new LRVs are scheduled to begin replacing the existing streetcar fleet by 2013
 
Check out the announcement and renderings of the new vehicles on the TTC's dedicated LRV site.

"This light rail vehicle is part of our new transit legacy. We are committed to working with Torontonians and our current and future customers to make solid design decisions."
 
"In 2007, over 10,000 of you told us what you wanted to see in a new streetcar. We heard."
 
"In June 2009, the path was chosen for one of Toronto's newest transit rides. The TTC entered into a contract with Bombardier to design and build 204 new low floor, light rail vehicles (LRVs) to replace the existing fleet of streetcars."
 
"In 2010, this website was launched. We've had over 30,000 visitors. Some have submitted their own ideas and designs. If you are anxious to see how those ideas have been reflected, take a look at where we are now."
 
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original source TTC

Bike buff testimonials: Why we bought into Bixi

This week Toronto officially launches Bixi, the city-wide bike-sharing program. The Toronto Star profiles four "Bixi believers", the Torontonians  who will be the first to take advantage of the more than 1,000 bikes at 80 locations now available to cyclists across the city.

"They are the believers -- the bicyclists that believe a bike-sharing program will work in Toronto, in spite of the city's lack of physically separated bike lanes and a relatively small launch area. The program has worked in other cities, after all."

"Protti, 29, and Watts, 28, like to keep things portable -- no mortgage, no car, no bikes to squeeze into their rented apartment. She's Italian, he's from Australia. By the time they arrived here two years ago, the couple had already lived in Vancouver and Montreal. They have tried Bixi in Melbourne and Montreal and signed up here as soon as the snow melted.Both expect to use Bixi every day, even though they will have to walk or take transit to the nearest bike station from their home near Bloor and Christie."

"In Montreal, where there is a network of physically separated bike lanes, Bixi works like a dream, said Protti."

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original source Toronto Star

Toronto flies on top air safety record

CNN features Nav Canada, the Pearson Airport-based air traffic control provider. Nav Canada is known internationally for its commitment to safety and professionalism and was awarded last year's IATA Eagle Award for being the world's best Air Navigation Service Provider.

"Nav Canada controllers are meticulously trained, they never work alone, they work no more than about 17 days in every 28 and they must have at least 10 hours off between shifts."

"For more than a decade Nav Canada has researched and implemented strategies to mitigate the effects of fatigue and that includes sanctioning a nap if needed."

"We actually have a lounge where Nav Canada provides us with reclining chairs so we'll use them for naps and if you go over there in the morning you'll often see a controller who's had a long commute and they'll slide away on their breaks and take a 10 or 15 minute nap to re-energize," explains Arnold."

"But napping is not the only thing that sets Nav Canada apart."

"Canadian controllers are trained and managed by one of the most successful and safe air traffic control systems in the world. Last year they won the IATA Eagle Award winner means they were judged the world's best Air Navigation Service Provider."

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original source CNN

Toronto among the Economist's top 5 most livable cities

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released it's annual rankings of world's most livable cities and, as in past years, Canada dominates the list. Three Canadian cities--Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary--placed in the top ten. While Toronto still has some catching up to do with Vancouver (who got the number one spot for the second year in a row) it nonetheless scored favourably, coming 4th out of 140 cities worldwide.

"The ranking scores 140 cities from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure. The top ten cities occupy the same positions as last year, with the exception of Melbourne and Vienna, which have swapped places."

"The report, which some companies use to determine hardship allowances for relocated employees, explains what makes a high-ranked city:
Cities that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This often fosters a broad range of recreational availability without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Seven of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, where population densities of 2.88 and 3.40 people per sq km respectively compare with a global (land) average of 45.65 and a US average of 32."

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original source The Economist

Toronto company unveils world's first wireless electric bike

Daymak Inc. -- a Toronto-based company that designs, develops and manufacturers e-bikes--has launched the world's first "wireless power-assisted electric bicycle". As reported by Gizmag, the bike, dubbed the "Shadow EBike" does away with the cumbersome cords and wires of traditional e-bikes by relying exclusively on wireless technology.

"Got a problem with the various gear and brake cables winding their way around your bike frame? If you're riding a standard pedal-powered bike, the answer is probably 'no.' But if you're one of the increasing numbers of people getting around town on an electric bike than your answer may be different, with faulty wiring one of the most common sources of failures found in such vehicles. While some hide their electrical wiring away inside the frame, many e-bikes have wires running down the outside. Like so many of today's electrical devices, the new Shadow Ebike does away with this unsightly mess and potential point of weakness using wireless technology."

"Through the integration of ISM 2.4 GHz wireless using frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to prevent interference, the Shadow has no brake or gear cables, and no visible electric wires running from the motor to the batteries, the controller or throttle. Turning the electric motor on or off, the magnetic regenerative brakes, the throttle and the pedal assist are all controlled wirelessly via the Daymak Drive controller."

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original source Gizmag

Porter gets customer service right

The Globe & Mail has singled-out Toronto's Porter Airline's as an exemplar of great customer service. The successful airline is lauded for its "refined" look, comfortable lounges and friendly staff.

"The company to watch for new thinking about customer experience, Porter Airlines just four years out of the gate is all about service and style. As Canada's third-largest scheduled carrier, maintaining its "refined" look and feel and providing a special level of service and experience to passengers have been key to its success."

"People now expect this," says Brad Cicero, the manager of communications and public affairs for Porter. "It's about delivering a consistent experience."

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original source Globe & Mail

Toronto bike share gets green light

As reported by the CBC Toronto's bike-sharing program, known as Bixi, has officially signed up its 1,000th member. The City of Toronto had earlier pledged to support the program if Bixi could collect 1,000 membership pledges before this November. Now that the membership goal has been met the City will commit a $4.8-million startup loan for the bike-share program.

"When the program launches in May 2011, bikes will be available from 80 locations south of Bloor Street between Spadina Avenue and Jarvis Street. A resident or visitor will be able to use one of the bikes for a fee of $78 a year, $28 per month or $5 per day."

"Toronto will guarantee a $4.8-million startup loan for Bixi and has to dig up $600,000 in sponsorship deals. But the city is not directly funding the program. But the city is not directly funding the program. Public Bike System Company runs a similar Bixi program in Montreal, which has about 5,000 bikes parked at about 400 stations across the city."

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original source CBC

TTC is now on Google Maps

Route planning on Goolge Maps has recently become easier (and more fun) for Torontonians who navigate the city by transit. As reported by Torontoist a TTC function has finally been added to the popular internet trip planner.

"The addition of TTC to Google Maps fills in a substantial void in transit directions, as the service is already provided for GO Transit, York Region Transit, and the Hamilton Street Railway. Also, it joins the TTC's list of notable achievements in customer information in the past year, including a new mobile site, text-based next streetcar arrivals, and more next vehicle displays at subway stations."

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original source Torontoist

Bike boxes arrive in Toronto

As reported by Blog TO, St. George and Harbord has recently become the first Toronto intersection to host bike boxes. Bike boxes--lines painted on the road marking a spot for cyclists to pull out in front of stopped traffic--were added to the City of Toronto Bike Plan in order to make turning on bike safer and easier.

"For those unfamiliar with bike boxes, they basically enable cyclists to pull out in front of stopped traffic so as to make turns more safely. They're particularly effective when turning left, but by giving cyclists a head start (intersections with bike boxes also feature no-right-on-red signs), they also help to diminish the chance of a cyclist being swiped when turning right. Cyclists might be a bit nervous the first time they try out a left hand turn in traffic, but by getting oneself visible, the endeavour is far safer. Just make sure to avoid oncoming traffic. Obviously!"

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original source Blog TO

TTC increases service on busiest routes

As reported by the National Post the TTC has recently increased service on over 30 individual bus, streetcar and subway routes. The service increases affects some of the city's busiest routes and will make traveling through the Toronto quicker and more reliable.

"The Commission says the service expansions were made to "reduce crowding and enhance reliability."

"The changes, made just in time for the school year, will affect some of the TTC's busiest routes, including the 509 Harbourfront streetcar line, and the Bloor-Danforth subway line, which will see more trains running during weekday morning and afternoon peak periods."

"As ridership growth continues, the TTC will add service to meet demand consistent with the 2003 Ridership Growth Strategy. For example, in 2008, service was added ensuring every bus and streetcar route's hours of service matched subway hours of service, with maximum 30 minute wait times," says a release issued by the Commission."

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original source National Post

How a Toronto firm drives subway trains abroad

A computerized subway-control system developed by Toronto's Thales Rail Signalling Solutions Inc. could revolutionize the way subways operate around the world. Thales Rail, the Toronto division of France's aerospace-and-defence "giant" Thales Group, is currently perfecting a subway-control system that allows computers to automatically drive subway trains and co-ordinate train scheduling.

"The systems, pioneered in Toronto, use radio-transmission technology in subway trains to control their speed and track how far apart the trains are. This allows them to safely run much more closely together as frequently as 90 seconds apart than those that use human drivers. Thales says its automated technology can stop a subway train within 10 centimetres of its target."

"The virtual versions in Toronto allow Thales to test new features and work out kinks for its clients, transit agencies from Asia to America. With the press of a button, engineers can simulate a delay caused by a jammed subway door in rush hour. The computer quickly takes over, automatically rescheduling trains to run closer together to clear the growing crowds of waiting passengers."

"We can do all sorts of scenarios here," says Walter Kinio, the firm's director of research and development. "If something breaks on the train, if there's a physical problem with the train, the system has to react to that. We can do all of those tests here."

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original source CTV News



New York Times raves about Porter Airlines

The New York Times Travel Section has given Toronto's Porter Airlines a rave review. The article commends the boutique airline for its comfortable seats, good service, proximity to downtown and flexible booking structure.

"Typically, short-haul commercial flights are something to be endured, not enjoyed. In the case of Porter Airlines, however, getting there is half the fun. The Toronto-based boutique fleet's comfy leather seats and seamless service come at the cost of coach but feel like flying private."

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original source New York Times

City hands car parking spots over to bikes

As reported by the Toronto Star a bike parking lot has replaced 2 on-street car spaces along Spandia Avenue. A space that formally served 2 vehicles now serves 16. The new racks, located directly out-front of the Centre for Social Innovation have been well-used by tenants and others since their installation early last week.

"As part of a city pilot project, two on-street car parking spots along Spadina have been converted into a small bike parking lot with two racks, each with eight spaces."

"It's exciting. It looks great. The racks were filled right away," said Tonya Surman, executive director of the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), one of the tenants inside the building where the racks were installed Tuesday."

"You would get to the front of the building and try to park your bike before work, but couldn't find any spots at all. Every indoor rack was full. About 75 to 80 per cent of the tenants bike in the summer. So we requested more racks from the city."

"The CSI and a couple other organizations sent a letter to local city Councillor Adam Vaughan a year and a half ago, suggesting the conversion. The racks, Surman says, will be removed before winter, when demand decreases."

"It's a real look into the future, not just the cycling revolution in this city, but around the world," Surman said. "I drive my car in the winter. This is about people realizing how space and infrastructure need to be used in the new urban future."

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original source Toronto Star

Vitess offers luxury bikes at a price

The Toronto Star features Vitess bicycles, a Toronto company founded by 32-year-old entrepreneur Julien Papon, that manufactures custom-built luxury bikes. The company has quickly earned the respect of the city's cycling aficionados; Vitness employees spend hours with each customer helping them to design their perfect bike. Vitness models are not sold in stores or online, but exclusively by appointment at company's Lakeshore Blvd. showroom.

"At the showroom, a pristine space where demo bikes are neatly displayed, a professional bike fitter will spend nearly three hours with you, measuring your body, testing your flexibility and examining your cycling habits. That information is then used to select the appropriate bike frame, handlebar and many other components that will be used to build the bike that fits your body exactly."

"We work one-on-one to understand the needs of each particular rider before we build the bike," Papon says."

"Like a bespoke suit, these high-end bikes are designed for clients who appreciate luxury. The custom-made bikes aren't cheap. They start at $4,000 and climb to $14,000, depending on the components. Since opening the showroom in November, Vitess has sold about 25 bikes. Most cost between $6,500 and $11,000."

"Papon, who holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg-Schulich program, knows he could sell more bikes if he sold them through stores or offered some models at lower prices. But the avid cyclist says his goal is not to sell the most bikes possible. It's to focus on the higher end of the market."

"Do we have a product that is capable of winning the Tour de France? We do. Is it our branding aspiration? No. If you have competition in one end and prestige/exclusivity on the other end . . . we're much more in the exclusivity/prestige field," Papon says. "

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original source Toronto Star

Bike share plan gets a green light

Cycling in Toronto will soon become a more convenient option as the city prepares to launch a Toronto-wide bike sharing program. As reported by the Toronto Star, the first phase of the program, which would include 1,000 bicycles and 80 docking stations, is expected to be operational by May 1st 2011.

"In a 33-8 vote, city council authorized staff to sign a deal with a Montreal company that will initially supply 1,000 bicycles to be parked at 80 docking stations spaced 300 metres apart."

"Membership fees haven't been finalized but are expected to be $78 a year, $28 a month, or $5 a day, allowing members to take a bike out whenever they want, up to 30 minutes at a time, for no extra charge."

"The program, called Bixi (bicycle-taxi), was popular when it rolled out in Montreal last year with 3,000 bikes and 300 stations. It's expected to be a hit here as well. The Canadian-made bikes are described as rugged and lightweight, with a rack that can handle a briefcase or a case of beer."

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original source the Toronto Star
30 Transportation Articles | Page: | Show All
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