MNTRC Newsletter Vol 20, Issue 1: Spring 2013

San Jose State University News

MTI Researchers Publish Two New Reports

Karen Philbrick, PhD, Director of Research
High-speed rail crash site, Eschede, Germany, 1998

Rear passenger cars in the 1998 Eschede, Germany high-speed rail crash, caused by a fatigue crack in a wheel.

As part of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s (MTI) continuing research on high-speed rail (HSR) security and safety, the Institute has just published Formulating a Strategy for Security High-Speed Rail in the United States, which can be downloaded at no cost. The report analyzes information relating to attacks, attempted attacks, and plots against HSR systems.

While terrorist attacks aimed at trains and buses have increased over the past several decades, very few attacks have targeted HSR. To gain possible insights into the consequences of successful terrorist attacks against this mode, the inquiry includes accidents and other HSR incidents that have resulted in injuries, fatalities, or extensive asset damage.

The authors also reviewed security at selected HSR systems in Europe and Japan to identify measures that could be applied to HSR systems currently under development in the United States. These three lines of inquiry are used in this report to develop an overall strategy for HSR security.

Census is taken of California water transit services

California DOT (Caltrans) requested that MTI study the availability of water transit services in the state. The research team compiled a spreadsheet and accompanying maps that include ferry boats, routes, and operators. The report also includes a number of related characteristics, including ownership (public or private), daily trip counts, regulation of fares, terminal locations (street address and coordinates), boarding statistics, and route segment lengths.

The spreadsheet contains fields that will allow it to be linked in a Geographic Information System to Caltrans Earth software for further analysis. This database was created during completion of the research project, 2012 Census of California Water Transit Services, which can be downloaded at no cost.

Strong presence at academic conferences

The MNTRC travel grant program enables many researchers to present work at professional conferences. Although most of the currently funded research is still in progress, many project teams have preliminary results that have reached larger audiences. For example, in the past six months, 25 conferences have featured MNTRC research, including the American Society for Public Administration; the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board; the Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning; and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.


MSTM alumni, faculty see career success

Peter Haas, PhD, Director, MTI Education Programs

Alva Carrasco (MSTM ‘08) has been promoted to Vice President of Transportation at VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio TX. MSTM student Martin Barna accepted the position of Transit Service Development Specialist for the Valley Transportation Authority's (VTA) Service and Operations Planning Department. In January, he was named MTI’s CUTC/US DOT Student of the Year in Washington DC.  Robin O’Hara (MSTM ‘12) was promoted to Director of Transit Access Pass (TAP) Technologies in the TAP Operations division at LA Metro.

O’Hara expressed her appreciation for the MSTM program, stating, “The Mineta Master's program in transportation management has really paid off! Just five months after graduating, I was just promoted to Director of TAP Technologies in the TAP Operations division at (LA) Metro. The MS degree was more than worth the cost of tuition and has prepared me well for my new role.”

MSTM faculty members Frances Edwards, PhD, and Dan Goodrich published a textbook on transportation security.  Introduction to Transportation Security (CRC Press) is a groundbreaking compendium and analysis of multimodal surface transportation security threats and strategies. MTI founder and namesake Norm Mineta provides a compelling preface to the volume.


Information & Technology Transfer
LaHood featured at high-speed rail workshop

Donna Maurillo, MSTM, Director, Communications & Technology Transfer
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood delivers keynote.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addresses the high-speed rail workshop.

US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood delivered the keynote address at a day-long high-speed rail (HSR) workshop in Washington DC in January. The Transportation Research Board invited MNTRC and MTI to present “Economic and Social Impacts of High-Speed Rail Systems” at its annual meeting, which attracts thousands of attendees. Other speakers included FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo, Deputy FRA Administrator Karen Hedlund, former Deputy Secretary of Transportation Mort Downey, and many other national and international transportation leaders, who participated in six expert panels.

Workshop videos viewable online

Discussion topics included several facets of high-speed rail, including the current status, financing options, unique front-end challenges, design and operational integration, the benefits, and the status of international high-speed rail. Seven videos, including the keynote and all six panels, can be viewed on the MTI and MNTRC Web sites.

HSR workshop attendees.

Attendees included (front row, L-R) Former Dep. Secretary of Transportation Mort Downey, Under Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg, and Intl. Union of Railways Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux.

LaHood, Szabo praise progress

Before he introduced Secretary LaHood at the opening session, Administrator Szabo said, “The need to continue investing [in HSR] is clear. By 2050, America’s transportation network will need to move more than 100 million additional people and more than 4 billion additional tons of freight.” He also noted that congestion has risen by 500 percent in 30 years, now costing our economy nearly $130 billion annually.

Secretary LaHood praised the forward-thinking California Governor Jerry Brown for his dedication to HSR in his state. He also noted the progress in New York, Connecticut, the Northeast Corridor, and in the Midwest. “In only four years, $12 billion have been invested in 152 places in the United States,” he said.

The Secretary said that he has encouraged foreign investment in HSR for America. The only stipulation, he said, was they had to hire American workers and build the equipment here – because the program isn’t just about mobility; it’s about jobs. He predicted that thousands of jobs would be created in every region of the country.

National and international experts featured

Other speakers and moderators included TRB Intercity Passenger Rail Committee Chair David Simpson; APTA CEO Michael Melaniphy; MTI Executive Director Rod Diridon, Sr.; California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Chair Dan Richard and its CEO Jeff Morales; Capitol Corridor JPA Managing Director David Kutrosky; UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux; Midwest HSR Association Chair Rick Harnish; Brazilian Enterprise for Planning and Logistics Director Hélio Mauro França; Simon Fraser University’s Urban Studies Program Director Anthony Perl; Spain’s Fundación Caminos de Hierro Board Chair Eduardo Romo; University of Nevada Las Vegas Professor Dr. Harry Teng.

Also, former Council of Minority Transportation Officials Chair Paul Toliver; Mineta National Transportation Security Center Director Brian Michael Jenkins; Texas Central Railway Company President Robert Eckels; MTI Education Director Peter Haas, PhD; AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Ed Wytkind; Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Investment Development VP Stephen Gardner; the Skancke Company’s President and CEO Tom Skancke; Gilbert-Tweed Associates President Stephanie Pinson; Siemens High-Speed Rail Development Director Armin Kick; RATP America Senior Business Development Advisor Stan Feinsod; Amtrak NEC Infrastructure and Investment Development Vice-President Drew Galloway; Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn; American Railcar Company President Jolene Molitoris; and Charles Quandel Associates President Charlie Quandel.