Voters Across the Country Vote in Favor of Public Transit

Voters Across the Country Vote in Favor of Public Transit

On November 8, millions of American citizens headed to the polls to vote for their preferred presidential and congressional candidates. But political offices weren’t the only things at stake in this election. In many states, voters also voted on a wide variety of ballot measures that covered everything from marijuana legalization to minimum wage increases. There were also a record number of ballot proposals that allotted funds for infrastructure improvements to public transportation systems—48 ballot measure in total. Altogether, these public transit ballot proposals were worth about $200 billion.

When all the votes were counted, 33 of those 48 ballot measures were approved.

The American Public Transportation Association is healing these results as a big win in a country whose mass transit infrastructure has been in desperate need of improvement for decades. With billions of dollars now set aside for public transit expansions and improvements, American cities will finally be able to make long-overdue upgrades to their transit systems.

In Seattle, for example, the Sound Transit 3 proposition will spend roughly $54 billion over 25 years to expand the city’s bus and train routes. In Los Angeles, a similar ballot measure is expected to raise $120 billion for light rail extensions and bus service improvements over the next four decades. LA’s ballot measure will also set aside funds to make the city more accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians. In Atlanta, $2.5 billion will be set aside to improve the city’s light rail system. You can find the complete list of public transit ballot measures here.

It will be exciting to see how this huge influx of money will change America’s public transit systems in the coming years. At Northwest Bus sales, we’ll be here to provide municipal transit authorities and private companies with the vehicles they need to update and expand their fleets. Give us a call today to learn more.

Students Design Retrofit Seat Belt System for Motor Coaches

Students Design Retrofit Seat Belt System for Motor Coaches

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began encouraging states to adopt new legislation that would require school buses to be outfitted with seatbelts. Now, a group of students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Engineering have developed a device that could bring seat belts to motor coaches and municipal transit buses as well.
 
Starting this year, all new motor coaches are required to be manufactured with seat belts. Federal safety officials estimate that seat belts could reduce fatality rates in rollover accidents by as much as 77 percent. The only trouble is that there are already thousands of motor coaches already on the road that don’t have seat belts. With conventional upgrades, outfitting all of these buses with seat belts would be prohibitively expensive – about $40,000 to $50,000 per bus. With the Retrofit Seat Belt System, however, it would cost just $15,000 per bus.
 
“The design is affordable because it is the only known way to add seat belts to existing motor coaches without replacing all the seats,” said Sundar Krishnamurty, head of the research team at UMass that developed the retrofit system. “Furthermore, it will be minimally intrusive or noticeable to passengers. Thus, we can expect many bus owners to be interested in a more profitable means to improve the critical safety and comfort of their passengers.”
 
Krishnamurty and his team believe that as seatbelts in motor coaches become the norm, private transit companies will embrace the Retrofit Seat Belt System as a cost-effective alternative to traditional upgrade options. The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the team $50,000 dollars to help them bring their invention to market.
 
Currently the Retrofit Seat Belt System is only designed for use on motor coaches and transit buses, but Krishnamurty and his team are conducting further research that would allow them to adapt the system for use on school buses as well.