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METRO Next - 2040 Vision


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On 3/3/2020 at 12:45 PM, samagon said:

 

let the richie riches in River Oaks feel some of the through traffic love for once.

 

 

 

I cut through there coming back from work sometimes, and as much as I would love this, I think they contract with the sheriff or constable offices because they have these officers just sitting at the most inopportune (for people like myself) places just watching traffic for speed and other violations. *Shakes fist at sky*

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Boostin’ up the 56— NB at Euclid/E. 8th NB at Euclid/E. 8th looking south NB at Merrill/E. 10th

I've thought about gentrification in that area, but I also want to keep this short, so DM if you wanna talk about the area. The spirit of the people who live there should be celebrated: you got newly

Here is the rendering. Looks great!   An actual timeline of the Inner Katy BRT, too. 

Posted Images

Looks like the Metro Next rollout will have to wait a month

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Eyeing-COVID-fallout-Metro-moves-slowly-on-next-15154639.php?utm_campaign=CMS Sharing Tools (Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral

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Houston-area transit officials will wait out a little more of the coronavirus crisis before soliciting bids on five of the first projects in their $7 billion construction bonanza for bus and rail upgrades.

“Moving this by a month does not hurt anything at all,” said Sanjay Ramabhadran, a Metropolitan Transit Authority board member.

Board members on Tuesday delayed approval of the procedure for selecting engineering, architecture and design firms for what could be more than $1 billion in bus and rail projects along key routes.

 

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Apparently in China they have created battery powered buses which have the same form as trams. To charge themselves they have pantographs and there are small sections of overhead power conduit along the route or at stations, but for the most part all they need is a conventional street to drive one.They use markings on the pavement to drive themselves.

 

Wouldn't this be cool as hell to upgrade our BRT corridors with? Not really much of a difference between light rail and bus. However with fixed service I think steel rail may offer superior ride quality and not wear out as quick as pavement and tires, especially if these vehicles still operate along the same route in the same position on the street.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_Rail_Rapid_Transit

 

Photo Credit: N509FZ. wikimedia photo page.

CRRC_Autonomous-rail_Rapid_Transit_train

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRobrIlwrr0

^ For those who want to see it in action, here's 40 minutes of it. I keep thinking of it as a train that's how good it looks on the outside and inside. Our BRT still just looks like a bus unfortunately.

 

EDIT: BTW, they even call it rail over there. The translation is Smart Rail.

Edited by paul2834
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15 hours ago, zaphod said:

Apparently in China they have created battery powered buses which have the same form as trams. To charge themselves they have pantographs and there are small sections of overhead power conduit along the route or at stations, but for the most part all they need is a conventional street to drive one.They use markings on the pavement to drive themselves.

 

Wouldn't this be cool as hell to upgrade our BRT corridors with? Not really much of a difference between light rail and bus. However with fixed service I think steel rail may offer superior ride quality and not wear out as quick as pavement and tires, especially if these vehicles still operate along the same route in the same position on the street.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_Rail_Rapid_Transit

 

Photo Credit: N509FZ. wikimedia photo page.

CRRC_Autonomous-rail_Rapid_Transit_train

 

It's BRT with electric vehicles, but apparently without even having level boarding.  IMO, the quick-charge battery powering is the coolest part about it. 

While it is theoretically "autonomous" (self-driving).  It appears they do not operate them without drivers.

Edited by Houston19514
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17 hours ago, samagon said:

pretty sure the level boarding is a simple fix with higher platforms.

 

It appears they built the thing with platforms that do not provide level boarding.  Once built, building higher platforms is hardly a "simple fix".

Edited by Houston19514
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From the linked wikipedia page:

Quote

The entire train has a low-floor design[8] from a space frame with bolted-on panels to support the weight of passengers.

 

Following one of the source links, they have some pictures

https://www.engineersgarage.com/egblog/china-unwraps-worlds-first-driverless-rail-transit-system-with-autonomous-technology/

China_Driverless_Rail_Transit_Interior.jCRRC_Rail-Rapid-Transit-testing.jpg

 

Also this explains why there's room for a driver - it's semi-autonmous, more like a Tesla than the little autonomous bus Metro is running around TSU

Quote

Just like any other autonomous vehicle, this transit features advanced functionality which, in turn, reduces manual efforts on the part of the driver.

 

The doors look about the same height as your typical light rail, and the "tracks" should allow it to align close enough to a platform to allow for level boarding

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3 hours ago, Texasota said:

What are you basing that on? There appears to be a single, consistent floor level inside the bus and the doors are about as low as they could be - they look like a reasonable boarding platform height. 

 

3 hours ago, cspwal said:

From the linked wikipedia page:

 

Following one of the source links, they have some pictures

https://www.engineersgarage.com/egblog/china-unwraps-worlds-first-driverless-rail-transit-system-with-autonomous-technology/

China_Driverless_Rail_Transit_Interior.jCRRC_Rail-Rapid-Transit-testing.jpg

 

Also this explains why there's room for a driver - it's semi-autonmous, more like a Tesla than the little autonomous bus Metro is running around TSU

 

The doors look about the same height as your typical light rail, and the "tracks" should allow it to align close enough to a platform to allow for level boarding

 

I'm basing it on what I see in the video.  Carefully watch the portions of the video where they show passengers boarding.  The floor level of the vehicle is higher than the level of the station platform.   That wouldn't be ADA compliant and is not what would we call level boarding. Pretty difficult to board in a wheel chair.

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Sure, but that's not a technical limitation. It's just a failure of implementation. Metro could use these exact buses and fix that with platforms a few inches higher. It doesn't even look like the platforms would need to be much if any higher than those built for the LRT or uptown lines.

Edited by Texasota
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21 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

 

It appears they built the thing with platforms that do not provide level boarding.  Once built, building higher platforms is hardly a "simple fix".

 

sorry, I wasn't talking about the current China solution, frankly, I don't care how they implemented it there, or whether they could fix it easily.

 

if it were implemented here, it would be a 'simple fix' to build the platform 3" higher to accommodate the height of the floor in the ride vehicle.

 

hell, a kneeling ride vehicle could fix it too. ultimately, it doesn't matter. in a new build, designing the platform height to be the same as the floor of the ride vehicle is not that hard.

 

I agree that going in after everything is built and adding 3" of height to the platform so it is level with the ride vehicle isn't easy, but as it relates to Houston, how could this matter?

Edited by samagon
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I don't think METRO would even consider buying that exact vehicle. I'm just saying, maybe someone else could make a similar design for the US market. It's the idea that's neat, IMO, take what is good about trams and apply them to electrically powered buses. With self driving technology you could have a long articulated vehicle intelligently steer around corners and have cameras to show an operator what would be in their blind spots. It could be double ended so it wouldn't have to turn around, and could instead reverse like tram.

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Metro hints at a future light rail extension along 90a, but the only substantive thing I can find on the MetroNext plan is two way HOV. Missouri City is part of Metro’s service area and voted in the bond referendum, but light rail is unlikely unless Sugarland and other Fort Bend towns are willing to chip in. This feels like a big miss to me, but I’m not sure what the projected ridership for such a line would be even with full participation from Fort Bend county.

 

I’m also curious If Metro could purchase their own ROW inside the existing Union Pacific ROW when the time came. 

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article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/metro-bus-red-light-upgrade-BOOST-houston-15093723.php#photo-19105394

 

The digital signs are going to be pretty cool, and the other improvements add so much to the service.

Quote

The 54 Scott and the 56 Montrose/Airline routes will be the first put to the test of as part of Metro’s “Bus Operations Optimized System Treatments” — aka BOOST. The corridors will be decked out with spruced-up bus stops and shelters, bike racks and better sidewalk and trail access where practical. Digital signs at bus stops will give real-time information about when the next bus is coming.

Image of some of the improvements provided:

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640x0.jpg.6d2ebc74fc18349cee872a29365cf75d.jpg

 

About the new change lights ability:

Quote

Some of the most striking improvements, however, will be less about what riders can see and more about the technology that will provide buses an advantage by communicating with traffic signals. That could in some locations give the bus extra time to make a changing green light, or hurry through the red-light cycle to decrease the time the bus spends at an intersection...
 

Metro hopes to make trips faster by putting GPS devices or beacons on buses that communicate directly with traffic lights along the route.

 

“It allows us to take full advantage of what we can do,” said Andrew Skabowski, Metro’s chief operations officer. “It gives you a lot more freedom and a lot more ability.”

 

The beacons, also used by fire trucks and ambulances, alert so-called smart traffic signals as they approach. The traffic signal recognizes the beacon on the bus and knows which direction it is traveling and how far away it is.

 

If the light is green and the bus is on pace to arrive, the signal could keep the green active a few seconds longer to allow the bus to pass through.

 

In the event a bus arrives at a red light, the signal could quicken the cycle so the bus gets a green light a little sooner.

 

“Both ways, it gets you a little extra green,” Skabowski said.

 

 

Edited by TheSirDingle
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https://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/METRO-BOOST-Network.aspx

 

These improvements will be stunning--as long as the infrastructure is kept up.

 

Looks like the first test is Studewood between White Oak and Cavalcade...I like that they are moving and REMOVING stops. Between major roads, stops are often too frequent and way too close to stop lights. 

Edited by skooljunkie
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9 hours ago, TheSirDingle said:

article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/metro-bus-red-light-upgrade-BOOST-houston-15093723.php#photo-19105394

 

The digital signs is going to be pretty cool, and the other improvements add so much to the service.

Image of some of the improvements provided:

 

About the new change lights ability:

 

I noticed a digital sign at West Cavalcade and N Main. They’re solar powered and placed high. Not huge screens but large enough to see basic info.

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2 hours ago, Texasota said:

If anything I think there are still a few too many stops at the southern end of the stretch, but this is still all really good stuff.

 

Where are you seeing the stops?  I can't find that detail in the linked Chron article.  (EDIT:  Never mind.  I found it in the Metro link.)  FWIW, that section currently has 11 stops.  They are dropping it to 7 stops.  It looks like they are aiming to have a stop approximately every 1/4 miles. 

 

Speaking of the linked article, gotta love the Chron.  The graphics show a map of the two test routes next to renderings of a BOOST bus stop and a Metro bus.  All good. The caption for the graphic, however, is:  "The Texas Department of Transportation is making plans for a $500 million road project in Beaumont. The project would include widening parts of the roadway and constructing two-lane elevated flyover ramps where Interstate 10 and U.S. 69 converge. The agency is looking for residents’ help to determine what aspects of the project would best reduce congestion and improve mobility."   SMH

Edited by Houston19514
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My hope is they put a lot of thought into the bus-train connection between the 54 and the purple line at UH Stadium - mainly because I use it all the time and it sucks, esp. for the southbound 54

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23 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Yeah, the fact that there is no marked pedestrian crossing between Holman and Cleburne is a problem. 

I also wonder if they could actually just run the 54 in the LRT lanes for whatever distance they share alignment.

 

The train and bus often are there simultaneously, so that's probably a no go.  A pedestrian controlled signal at the north end of the platform would be great, since that's where everyone crosses anyway

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I think high quality bus stops on scott, with pedestrian oriented signals at both ends of the station, would be much better.  Every deviation from a straight path is frustrating when you're riding on the bus

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I completely agree with that - I only mentioned it for this stretch because it might be possible to consolidate without rerouting the bus. The big questions would be how you transition the bus back onto Scott at Wheeler and how you handle the different station heights.

 

In reality I think you're right - it would be much simpler, cheaper, and faster to keep the bus in the street and add additional pedestrian crossings. I like the idea of using dedicated transit lanes anywhere it's possible though - but traffic is never that bad on Scott anyway at least. 

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On 6/10/2020 at 4:44 PM, TheSirDingle said:

article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/metro-bus-red-light-upgrade-BOOST-houston-15093723.php#photo-19105394

 

The digital signs are going to be pretty cool, and the other improvements add so much to the service.

Image of some of the improvements provided:

 

About the new change lights ability:

 

 

Basically this will bring METRO up to 21st Century standards as far as busing goes in major cities, which hey, better late than never. From the graphics shown on METROnext and the Chron article, this puts them in line with Busing that I saw in many European cities, particularly with my experience in German cities. Very happy about the colored warning strip platform edge. Electric signage for bus times, excellent. Better signage overall, thank you. This will definitely make it more noticeable that a bus network actually exists, and it goes to this location. For a long time the bus network was always so incognito. Now it seems METRO is actually proud of their bus network, and wants to make it more visible. More visibility, means more ridership. Who would have thought that if you actually put time and effort into the bus system it will actually do better. Shocker.

 

Again been really impressed lately with METRO. They are far from perfect, and they still have plenty of issues regarding other forms of transit, but they definitely have figured out what they need to be doing with Buses, and how it should operate to be a success.

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I would also like to see renderings...

 

It really shouldn't take any property - there's just so much space there. Ideally they'd basically cap the freeway between Shepherd and Durham, but I have no idea what the most cost effective option would be. 

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31 minutes ago, Texasota said:

Wasn't it getting regional funding from/through HGAC though? They probably don't have final designs, but I would think they would at least need a solid set of alternatives by now.

 

Good thinking!! 

 

http://www.h-gac.com/2018-call-for-projects/submitted-application.aspx?id=340

 

http://www.h-gac.com/transportation-improvement-program/call-for-projects-uploads/1030201845847PM.pdf

 

 

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On 7/1/2020 at 1:02 PM, Houston19514 said:

Great find! Thanks.

 

Hopefully the Raising Cane's stays.

 

Edit: Oh nevermind, that appears to be on the southside oh I-10.

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  • Highrise Tower changed the title to METRO Next - 2040 Vision
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anyone else frustrated that they haven't used the pandemic to start building out/figuring out the courthouse lightrail stop?  it seems the most straight forward of the metro next buildouts/approved projects.  

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On 2/3/2021 at 1:40 PM, crock said:

anyone else frustrated that they haven't used the pandemic to start building out/figuring out the courthouse lightrail stop?  it seems the most straight forward of the metro next buildouts/approved projects.  

That was the plan but the budget this year has it postponed for a while due to Covid. Prob another year or two. Focus is on the Inner Katy BRT.

Edited by j_cuevas713
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Super selfish post but here goes

When are the COVID schedules going to end for METRO?  I just started a job a block away from a park and ride, and the reverse commute bus used to go in front of our house but now only picks up downtown.  Does anyone have any info on when the park & rides and the network in general will go back to normal?

 

As a additional question, when do you think the express bus network will be implemented? Next few years, or closer to 2040?

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2 hours ago, cspwal said:

As a additional question, when do you think the express bus network will be implemented? Next few years, or closer to 2040?

That's a million dollar question. Wasn't part of the bond vote, but I bet TXDOT will fund most of it. Crucial part is that the inner loop needs 2 way HOV lanes for it to work, and as far as I know only I-10 has 2 way HOB lanes.

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13 hours ago, HouTXRanger said:

That's a million dollar question. Wasn't part of the bond vote, but I bet TXDOT will fund most of it. Crucial part is that the inner loop needs 2 way HOV lanes for it to work, and as far as I know only I-10 has 2 way HOB lanes.

290 has a new contraflow HOV lane, and that's something they might be able to implement on other freeways on the cheap

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On 5/8/2021 at 1:07 AM, HouTXRanger said:

That's a million dollar question. Wasn't part of the bond vote, but I bet TXDOT will fund most of it. Crucial part is that the inner loop needs 2 way HOV lanes for it to work, and as far as I know only I-10 has 2 way HOB lanes.

The express bus network was indeed part of the bond vote.

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1 hour ago, Houston19514 said:

The express bus network was indeed part of the bond vote.

Looks like you are correct! The 2 way express lanes in and out of Houston to the P&Rs was indeed part of the vote.
image.thumb.png.3b99886e7d81b8c8d35e07b2511747ab.png
I was thinking of plans to connect these with 2 way lanes over 610 to allow region-to-region express busses, instead of just region-to-center express busses as the plan is now. My mistake.

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Dug published an update to the University Line BRT.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Hoping-for-federal-funds-Metro-trying-to-move-16200166.php

 

TLDR: Going to be "fast-tracking" the segments between Westpark/Lower Uptown TC to Wheeler and from Wheeler to Eastwood TC. Aiming for federal approval in Sept 23 and hoping for federal funds then and construction afterwards. 

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57 minutes ago, wilcal said:

Dug published an update to the University Line BRT.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Hoping-for-federal-funds-Metro-trying-to-move-16200166.php

 

TLDR: Going to be "fast-tracking" the segments between Westpark/Lower Uptown TC to Wheeler and from Wheeler to Eastwood TC. Aiming for federal approval in Sept 23 and hoping for federal funds then and construction afterwards. 

It makes sense, and I wouldn't be surprised if its because of pressure from entities within Uptown wanting to maximize the return on the Uptown BRT system. Its stupidly nice and while people are still slowing going back to normal why not begin the project. I've taken the BRT a handful of times, mostly for novelty and I'm near a stop, and I still don't know what I'm supposed to do with it unless I'm parking at my work and wanting to enjoy the galleria area.

Connect it to Wheeler though, and ooooo boy. You know how many people could go carless to work? Or go carless to the galleria on the weekend and enjoy themselves? I would bet a lot, a looot of money that businesses would see a crazy boon. Edit: also, housing in the area isn't gonna get any cheaper and this allows the peons like me to live elsewhere and maybe minimize car costs and still work in the galleria area.

Edited by X.R.
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