General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

Charlie_mta

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Well we have nothing now. It's better than nothing and will ensure that the ROW stays available.

Also . . . watch it, my wife's from Lynn :)
The problem with building an interim BRT line to Lynn (or anywhere) is that it would tend to remain permanent. Once all the investment is made for a new BRT corridor, it's harder to justify tearing that up for an HRT or LRV line, when there's other funding needs elsewhere on the transit network. The old "sunk cost" argument comes in.
 

Riverside

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^ In general, I agree, and I certainly don't think that BRT along either the old BRB&L RoW or the current commuter rail RoW is a good idea.

However, in this case, I imagine that "BRT" would consist mainly of bus lanes on Route 107, Route 1A (North Shore Rd), North/South Common Street, and Market St (some of which is already being built), plus potentially some other "on-the-road" improvements like level boarding or pre-payment. Being an order of magnitude or two cheaper to build than HRT, I think this would be less likely to fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy.
 

OldColony

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The problem with building an interim BRT line to Lynn (or anywhere) is that it would tend to remain permanent. Once all the investment is made for a new BRT corridor, it's harder to justify tearing that up for an HRT or LRV line, when there's other funding needs elsewhere on the transit network. The old "sunk cost" argument comes in.
Spot on observation. We're seeing the same happen for commuter rail with South Coast Rail phase 1. Who seriously believes phase 2 will be funded?
 

Brattle Loop

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^ In general, I agree, and I certainly don't think that BRT along either the old BRB&L RoW or the current commuter rail RoW is a good idea.

However, in this case, I imagine that "BRT" would consist mainly of bus lanes on Route 107, Route 1A (North Shore Rd), North/South Common Street, and Market St (some of which is already being built), plus potentially some other "on-the-road" improvements like level boarding or pre-payment. Being an order of magnitude or two cheaper to build than HRT, I think this would be less likely to fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy.
It would probably be less susceptible to the usual sunk cost fallacy when it comes to the infrastructure (given it wouldn't be duplicative), but there's still the risk, which I think could even be greater, that once this problem is "solved" (and if they BRT this and put it on the map, they'd call it solved) there'd be a big disincentive to go back to build the thing they should have built in the first place. By all means, improve the buses as an interim, but do it in a way that doesn't provide an illusion that there's anything even approaching RT service.
 

Riverside

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By all means, improve the buses as an interim, but do it in a way that doesn't provide an illusion that there's anything even approaching RT service.
Yeah, that's fair. For BLX specifically, I feel that the much greater threat from this perspective comes from Regional Rail service. I mean, even among transit advocates, there already is dissent among the ranks as to whether RR can be an alternative to BLX. I think it's very likely that we'll see enhanced Regional Rail service trotted out in the next 10 years with branding to imply that a BLX is no longer necessary.

(Which, I hope it goes without saying, I think would ultimately be a bad idea. Frequent Regional Rail to Lynn is very important and very much needed and also serves a different need than BLX. It's not an "either-or" situation, it's a "both-and.")
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Yeah, that's fair. For BLX specifically, I feel that the much greater threat from this perspective comes from Regional Rail service. I mean, even among transit advocates, there already is dissent among the ranks as to whether RR can be an alternative to BLX. I think it's very likely that we'll see enhanced Regional Rail service trotted out in the next 10 years with branding to imply that a BLX is no longer necessary.

(Which, I hope it goes without saying, I think would ultimately be a bad idea. Frequent Regional Rail to Lynn is very important and very much needed and also serves a different need than BLX. It's not an "either-or" situation, it's a "both-and.")
North Shorers are not at risk of falling victim to the Regional Rail "equivilancy" myth. They know that the bus frequencies are going to forever suck if they don't fix Lynn Terminal with BLX to fix the bus equipment cycling anema. And that their mobility doesn't dramatically improve without better buses, because the park-and-ride access and capacity doesn't scale great on Rockburyport vs. most other corridors for the higher proposed service levels. Purple Line growth is limited to too low a transit shares increase for its buff raw numbers without a BLX-led fix for the bus anemia. They know this, their pols know this. Who but North Shorers scream the hardest when somebody tries to pass off the "equivilancy" myth anew?

It's usually not advocates who are passing off the myth. It's other pols plying divide-and-conquer fallacies with other Metro Boston regions. And there isn't a 'schism' amongst advocates. It's pretty much only Ari O., who for all his strengths has a few absolutely off-the-hook naff hottakes on rapid transit ops shared by hardly anyone else. He's not a walking consensus on that particular one; he's very very far out on his own island.
 

Stlin

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Some highlights:

  • Conceptual design is underway for most of the remaining B and C stops to be made accessible, with construction estimated in 2023-2024. Apparently, removal and replacement of platform edges during the 2018-2019 track upgrades triggered the requirement to make them accessible.
  • South Attleboro station will remain closed until the full reconstruction is complete.
  • Mini-high platform at North Wilmington is expected to be open by the end of the year.
  • A pilot program for a new mechanism to secure wheelchairs on buses - which means that wheelchair users can secure themselves without assistance from the operator - is underway on the 111
I think you may have missed one of the best tidbits from that document:
  • A prototype of a urine detection device has been developed and is ready for a pilot. The testing will take place in an MBTA elevator with the goal of successfully detecting the presence of urine and alerting the Maintenance Control Center of the need to deploy a cleaner.

Now if that also includes an aural alert for realtime public shaming, I think we might have hit on an excellent way to keep them clean. That said... How do you keep this from false positiving on rainy days / tracked in melting snow, or even spilled drinks?
 

Arlington

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I think a urine detector would focus on the chemistry of urea and ammonia (both Nitrogen compounds like the swab tests at TSA look for)...maybe combined with a blot of 98.6F on an infrared image.

I don’t see rain or tracked-in wetness triggering either
 

W-4

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...maybe combined with a blot of 98.6F on an infrared image.

I don’t see rain or tracked-in wetness triggering either
I wouldn't count on a high temperature by the time that the fluid makes its way over to any of the detectors, which I assume would be distributed along the edges of the cars.

...I am a bit sad to be putting this much thought into public urination.
 

Arlington

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I wouldn't count on a high temperature by the time that the fluid makes its way over to any of the detectors, which I assume would be distributed along the edges of the cars.
I am assuming the sensors are:

1) an air sniffer looking for evaporated compounds, (definitely not picturing a “liquid contact” sensor). Today sensors exist to detect a whole range of threats and nuisances based on trace smells detectable by durable, one-per-room sensors

A big part of your cars emission system is sniffing for gaseous nitrogen compounds (NOx), and the occasional Airport “laptop bag swab and sniff” was also based on sniffing for nitrogen.

in this case the “room” being sniffed could be an elevator or half to a quarter rail car

2) an infrared camera, perhaps co-mounted with existing security cameras, that could identify a hot puddle, stream, or seat.

If you have ever experienced the infrared cameras at the Museum of Science You know that it is normal for only the facial area to get anywhere near body temperature and that where we are clothed we appear ordinarily considerably cooler

An infrared source near-as-hot as a face but at groin level or lower could be detected by a neural net (Such as read mammograms today)

I doubt this is what the T is working on, but it can’t be far off as a way of detecting “Homeless people who are peeing themselves”
 
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JeffDowntown

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I think a urine detector would focus on the chemistry of urea and ammonia (both Nitrogen compounds like the swab tests at TSA look for)...maybe combined with a blot of 98.6F on an infrared image.

I don’t see rain or tracked-in wetness triggering either
Almost certainly urea/ammonia (volatile nitrogen compound) detection. Robust and pretty fool proof as a urine detector in the elevator environment.
 

ra84970

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Looking for ways to avoid anyone crawling on their knees to strap in helps all involved.
It's a bit /more/ than terminology. The whole attitude that is being displayed here seems to be based on the idea that able people should minimize all effort to assist those with disabilities. In particular, you're talking about the MBTA's efforts to assist people with dignity when people with disabilities who have to constantly argue to be treated fairly, equally, and with dignity in so many other spheres of their lives.

What's even more wild, is that this is being discussed with this frame of minimizing how much effort able people expend to people with disabilities while pulling from the MBTA's documentation of how they are trying to best serve and respect the dignity of people with disabilities.

To put it plainly, the problem is not that someone has to get down on their knees to assist a person in a mobility device to feel secure (and thus the problem only exists because of the existence of a person with a disability); the problem is and always has been that the MBTA (among many other institutions, organizations, and people) has failed to provide a way for a person with a disability to feel secure while travelling without relying on someone's assistance.
 

Stlin

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To put it plainly, the problem is not that someone has to get down on their knees to assist a person in a mobility device to feel secure (and thus the problem only exists because of the existence of a person with a disability); the problem is and always has been that the MBTA (among many other institutions, organizations, and people) has failed to provide a way for a person with a disability to feel secure while travelling without relying on someone's assistance.
Isn't that exactly what they're piloting though? A new system that's wholly automated and doesn't require someone's assistance, giving the wheelchair user that degree of independence? Based on the video on the MBTA accessibility page, and the manufacturers website, all the wheelchair user needs to do position their chair and push a button.

Yes, the operations get streamlined too, and the sales pitch is definitely couched in terms of time savings, efficiencies and such, but surely that's a net win-win if this is equally secure.

 

ra84970

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Isn't that exactly what they're piloting though? A new system that's wholly automated and doesn't require someone's assistance, giving the wheelchair user that degree of independence? Based on the video on the MBTA accessibility page, and the manufacturers website, all the wheelchair user needs to do position their chair and push a button.

Yes, the operations get streamlined too, and the sales pitch is definitely couched in terms of time savings, efficiencies and such, but surely that's a net win-win if this is equally secure.

The sales pitch is kinda horrible and couched in a lot of ableist ideas. The MBTA's website, however, does seem to try to convey the idea that people with disabilities should be able to independently board without assistance while not engaging in a complaint of providing assistance which is good.

But, the problem here is not about the T's language or the technology itself. The problem is that the general thinking of this group (by the few people who have actually commented on this technology) appears to be that people with disabilities are a problem to be solved. Further, that many cannot see the problem with this kind of idea or thinking is very worrisome.
 

bigeman312

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The problem mentioned is the delays that ensue from the old system of accommodation. If a change to the system allows for both increased independence and time-savings, it is solving two problems.

You seem emotionally invested, so I'll use a parallel. It is similar to someone paying on a bus with change. The problem isn't the person (and nobody here said that any person was a problem), but the problem is the added travel time that ensues from the system. Any change to the system that speeds up travel time, without leaving anybody behind or taking away their dignity, autonomy, or safety, is a good thing.
 

stefal

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The MBTA is hiring 914 total hires for FY22. In case anyone here has wondered if they could single-handedly solve all of the T's problems simply by working there, this year's probably your best bet on getting in. 474 positions are backfills for attrition, 440 are new hires, and of the new hires, 36 are for operations planning, training, and engineering; 169 positions are for system maintenance & security; and 34 for service delivery across all other departments - the remaining are for service and transportation (GLX, bus, and others).

Edit: Including 'transformational positions' including: 2 positions for new Regional Rail Transformation Office, 3 positions with a new Bus Transformation Office, 4 data analytics positions, and 4 positions for the Bus Network Redesign/fleet and facilities
 
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Wash

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Good news: a pair (edit: Transitmatters' New Train Tracker says two pairs!) of type 9's were running today. Whatever issue was present that kept them from running in two-car trains seems to have been resolved.
 
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