in the pacific northwest, the romantic drama is on the bus …

This really is too much fun.  From a scholarly study of the Craiglist "Missed Connections" section, where people express a romantic interest in someone that they saw out in the world.  You know, ads like this:

We were both on the max [light rail]–me heading to the Blazer's game and you on your bike. You overheard part of my conversation with my friend and were quite amused. I wanted to talk to you but then got pushed back by other riders. Email me if you remember that conversation and would like to grab a drink sometime.

So here, by state, is the location most often cited in "Missed Connections" ads (click to sharpen):

In rail-rich older urban areas, it's rail transit, of course, the subway or train or metro.  But in relatively rail-poor parts of the country, only Oregon and Washington find so much wistful romantic drama on public transit!  This is one of those slightly twisted points of "Portlandia"-style pride that makes me proud to be an Oregonian transit planner.  

more disneyland transit …

8169000596_7d7753e73d_zWouldn't your life be better if you commuted every day by roller coaster?  From the technophile annals of New Scientist:

The Eco-Ride train feels like a ride on a roller coaster – and that's pretty much what it is. In a few years' time, this cheap and energy-efficient train could be ferrying passengers around areas of Japan devastated by last year's tsunami.

Developed at Tokyo University's Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), with the help of amusement ride firm Senyo Kogyo, Eco-Ride works in the exactly the same way as a theme park roller coaster. By turning potential energy into kinetic energy, it coasts along its tubular tracks without an engine. The train's speed is controlled by aerodynamics and by "vertical curves", sections of track that form the transition between two sloping segments. The Eco-Ride is set in motion and slowed at stations via rotating wheels between the rails that catch a fin underneath the train.

"Speed controlled by aerodynamics" … "vertical curves" … Sounds like the perfect commute experience after a long day's work when all you really want to do is see your partner/children/dog/bed/dinner.  And imagine all the work you'll get done on your laptop!  Will they serve coffee on-board?

And this:

The idea is that Eco-Ride will use its own inertia to get up most slopes but may on occasion need to be winched up steeper inclines.

Yes, after several paragraphs promising the ancient ideal of perpetual motion, we finally get an acknowledgment of friction.  Physics can be such a downer.

Like many technologies, this one may have some relevance, but the article is a technophile fantasy that seeks to excite us into to the point that we treat the technology's limitations as features.  Stops would be "just 100m apart" and the route is "ideally circular" — both indicators of a slow and indirect transit service that's likely to have usefulness problems.  

Obviously I'm having fun here, not so much with the technology as with the New Scientist article.   This is yet another great example of "amusement park technophilia."  If you haven't thought about whether amusement park rides are good sources for transit ideas, well, my grand debate with Darrin Nordahl on this topic started here … and went on here …


that danish bus commercial making the rounds

Buzzfeed calls it "the sexiest, coolest, most EPIC bus commercial ever," and adds: "If you don't like this, you don't like anything."  The commercial for Danish bus company Midttrafik brings all the cinematic cliches of our historical moment to bear on the problem of making the bus sexy.  If you're not fluent in Danish, hit the CC button at the bottom for English subtitles:

Over the top?  It may seem like a parody of a bus commercial, but it's at least as effective as a parody of contemporary cinematography.

where was this picture taken?

Once again, Andrew Sullivan's View from Your Window contest has a transit theme, but this one looks pretty difficult:


Are you an expert on tropical developing-world bus facilities?  If so, take your best guess here, right down to identifying the address of the photo source and the window it was taken from, if you can.  

ever wanted to be that sexy voice on the train?

I certainly did, maybe still do.  Last week, the Washington Post's "Dr Gridlock" asked readers to call in to record their rendering of the following sentence:

“Next station L’Enfant Plaza. Transfer to the Orange and Blue lines. Doors open on the right.”

An odd choice for an audition text, since it raises all these American anxieties about Frenchness, manifested in the endless question of how frenchly to pronounce French names …