In March 2020, Los Angeles’ public-transit agency, Metro, stopped
collecting fares on its buses as a COVID-19 safety precaution. For the next
22 months, Metro waived fares for anyone who wanted to keep riding its
buses, anywhere they wanted to go (as long as they wore a mask, of course).
And people did keep riding. Outside of the initial stay-at-home order in
the spring of 2020, Metro’s ridership never dipped below 50 percent of
before-times ridership, with buses eventually recovering to within 10 to 15
percent of pre-pandemic numbers
<https://xtown.la/2021/12/01/free-transit-los-angeles/>. While the agency
doesn’t know exactly how many people were riding fare-free buses during
this time — because fare collection is one of the ways to track ridership —
a spokesperson says that from April 2020 to December 2021, it’s safe to say
Metro’s buses provided about 281 million fare-free boardings. This means
the agency has inadvertently been conducting what may be the biggest
free-transit experiment in U.S. history. Fare collection restarted last
week after two unprecedented years in which transit agencies learned a lot
about how people moved (or didn’t) around their cities, and now Metro is
using some of this information to game out improvements and pilot other
free- and reduced-fare programs.
...(According to that same data, New York’s MTA has yet to surpass 60
percent of its pre-pandemic ridership.) That at least suggests that free
fares were a factor. Bus ridership also recovered at a faster rate than
rail, where fares continued to be collected, says Oscar Zarate, assistant
director of organizing with Strategic Actions for a Just Economy: “I don’t
think that’s by coincidence. I think it’s because most of the people who
ride the bus depend on it because they’re workers and that’s their primary
transportation. And because they didn’t have to pay for it, it was really
easy to get on and benefit from our public transportation system.”
...L.A.’s Metro is unique among large U.S. transit agencies in that its
budget doesn’t rely heavily on the fare box, which made the decision to
temporarily waive fares a bit easier in the first place. A ride costs only
$1.75, and the total funds collected make up only 6 percent of total
revenue — about a third of which goes right back into fare enforcement
(although that doesn’t include contracts with law-enforcement agencies
<http://allianceforcommunitytransit.org/metro-as-a-sanctuary/>). Adding to
Metro’s relatively comfortable financial situation is a local sales tax,
Measure M, which was approved by voters in 2016 to generate $120 billion
for the system over 40 years. Aside from L.A.’s experiment, the largest
permanent free-transit program in the U.S. is run by Kansas City
which is providing free rides
30,000 to 40,000 passengers a day. Boston is trying it on some dedicated
But New York’s MTA has argued that fares, which bring in $6 billion during
a non-pandemic year, are too critical to waive, and is instead cracking
down harder on fare evasion, even on buses
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: ATF-FTA (INFC) <ATF-FTA(a)infc.gc.ca>
Date: Thu, Jan 27, 2022 at 2:26 PM
*(Le français suit.)*
*Applications now being accepted for the Active Transportation Fund! *
Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental
Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, opened the call for applications
for the Active Transportation Fund, as well as other new funding
opportunities in support of public transit systems.
We are pleased to announce that Infrastructure Canada will be accepting
applications for both the planning and capital funding streams of the
Active Transportation Fund between *January 27, 2022 and March 31, 2022, at
7:00 P.M. EST. *Applications from eligible Indigenous recipients will be
accepted on an ongoing basis.
The Active Transportation Fund’s goal is to generate economic,
environmental and social benefits for Canadians by increasing the amount,
quality and usage of active transportation infrastructure.
If you are an eligible recipient with a project that will support a modal
shift away from cars and towards active transportation, we invite you to
submit your application through the Applicant Portal
<https://infrastructure-applicant.canada.ca/en/>. To assist potential
applicants in determining eligibility and preparing an application,
guidance materials are available on Infrastructure Canada’s website
- General information
<https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/trans/info-infos-eng.html> on the
Active Transportation Fund, which includes applicant and project
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Instructions on how to apply
- The Applicant Guide
- The Step-by-Step Guides
submitting an application.
Infrastructure Canada will be hosting weekly Webinars for interested
potential applicants, beginning on February 2nd, 2022. At these webinar
sessions, attendees will be provided with details on applicant and project
eligibility, the application process, and the evaluation process. There
will also be an opportunity to ask questions. A list of available sessions
and links to register are available on the Webinars for Potential Applicants
The Active Transportation Fund team welcomes you to contact us in regard to
any questions you may have about the Active Transportation Fund or the
application process by sending an email to ATF-FTA(a)infc.gc.ca. Please be
advised that we will not be able to provide information on project
eligibility until an application is received in full through our project
We wish you a nice and active day,
*The Active Transportation Fund Team*
*If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please let us know
by responding to this email.*
*Les demandes sont maintenant acceptées pour le Fonds pour le transport
Aujourd'hui, l'honorable Dominic LeBlanc, ministre des Affaires
intergouvernementales, de l'Infrastructure et des Collectivités, a lancé
l'appel de demandes
pour le Fonds pour le transport actif, ainsi que d'autres nouvelles
possibilités de financement à l'appui des systèmes de transport en commun.
Nous avons le plaisir d'annoncer qu’Infrastructure Canada acceptera les
demandes pour les projets de planification et les projets d'immobilisations
du Fonds pour le transport actif entre *le 27 janvier 2022 et le 31 mars
2022 (19h00 HNE)*. Les demandes pour les projets de planification et
d'immobilisations des bénéficiaires autochtones admissibles seront
acceptées de manière continue.
Si vous êtes un bénéficiaire admissible avec un projet qui soutiendra un
transfert modal de la voiture vers le transport actif, nous vous invitons à
soumettre votre demande via le Portail des candidats
<https://infrastructure-applicant.canada.ca/fr/>. Pour aider les demandeurs
potentiels à déterminer leur admissibilité et à préparer une demande, des
documents d'orientation sont disponibles sur le site Web d'Infrastructure
Canada <https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/trans/index-fra.html>, notamment :
- des informations générales
<https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/trans/info-infos-fra.html> sur le
Fonds pour le transport actif, y compris les conditions d'admissibilité des
demandeurs et des projets;
- des réponses dans la section Foire aux questions
- des instructions sur la façon de déposer une demande
<https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/trans/application-eng.html>, incluant :
- Le Guide du demandeur
- Les Guides étape par étape
pour soumettre une demande.
Infrastructure Canada organisera des webinaires pour les demandeurs
potentiels intéressés, à partir du 2 février 2022. Au cours de ces
webinaires, les participants recevront des détails sur l'admissibilité des
demandeurs et des projets, le processus de demande et le processus
d'évaluation. Une période pour poser des questions sera également allouée.
Une liste des sessions disponibles et les liens pour s'inscrire sont
disponibles sur la page Web des webinaires pour les demandeurs potentiels
L'équipe du Fonds pour le transport actif vous invite à nous contacter pour
toute question concernant le Fonds pour le transport actif ou le processus
de demande en envoyant un courriel à ATF-FTA(a)infc.gc.ca. Veuillez noter que
nous ne sommes pas en mesure de fournir des informations sur l'éligibilité
d'un projet avant d'avoir reçu une demande complète dans le cadre de
l'admission des projets.
Nous vous souhaitons une belle journée active,
*L’équipe du Fonds pour le transport actif*
*Si vous souhaitez être retiré de notre liste de diffusion, veuillez nous
le faire savoir en répondant à ce courriel.*
Whether he’s playing a symphony or battling the elements on his bike, WSO’s
Daniel Perry goes the distance
DOUBLE BASS, SOLO RACE
ONE day in December, the sun had yet to rise, the temperature was -30 C and
Daniel Perry decided to go for a 250-kilometre bike ride down a snow-packed
trail in rural Wisconsin, with Ritz crackers and granola for sustenance,
wearing turkey-roasting bags on his feet.
Perry is perfectly sane: 30 years old, he is a section bassist with the
Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, an organization he joined at just 22, and he
speaks with clarity and patience.
He is mindful: most days, he spends some time sprawled out on his mat,
following videos of Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube. He is accustomed to
precision and he is not one to shy away from a challenge.
But most people who seek to challenge themselves take on tasks that are
more attainable as to-dos on a list: to eat more salad, to call their
mother, to do the dishes before they pile up to “let’s do a few now and a
few later” levels.
Most people do not drive eight hours southeast to the Tuscobia Trail in
Wisconsin in a rented Hyundai Santa Fe, only to emerge and pedal their
heart out of their chest for an entire day.
Daniel Perry knows how it sounds. Any extreme endurance athlete is often
confronted with two types of questions by non-extreme athletes, including
newspaper reporters who happen to fit that criterion: hows and whys.
How did you get started? Why do you enjoy it? How do you get ready? How do
you stay motivated? How does it feel to finish a race 99 per cent of the
population would not consider starting?
Let’s start with the first how: Perry was raised in Indianapolis, where his
father was the principal trumpet in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and
where his French-horn-playing mother, who comes from Norway, exposed her
kids to skiing and Nordic sports.
‘WINTER exists in Indianapolis, but it’s nowhere near a Manitoba winter,”
Perry said. So when he graduated from Indiana University and was accepted
into the WSO, he had a slightly different reaction than most Winnipeg
“It was fun to come to Manitoba, where it stayed below freezing and the
snow stayed on the ground.”
A few years after arriving, Perry, who already was an avid fair-weather
cyclist and a volunteer bike mechanic, decided to give the foulest weather
a try, signing up at a friend’s suggestion for Actif Epica, an icy annual
winter ultra race.
He rode from Emerson along the Trans-Canada Trail and ended up at The
Forks. “I was hooked.”
As much as he enjoyed riding in the summer or spring, Perry found winter
racing meditative, much like playing the double bass, an instrument he
initially chose to pursue as a child because it was too big to drag with
him on vacation.
He later came to appreciate the role it plays in the orchestra. “It’s a
collaborative instrument,” he says. “It plays a supportive role to a larger
While playing the bass, he must be attuned to every other instrument and to
his own. On the bike in the winter, racing for hundreds of kilometres, he
gets the rare opportunity to play a solo, and to push his physical and
mental capacity to meet the perfection a solo demands.
‘I’M very keen on completing my personal goals,” he says. “In some ways,
it’s almost therapeutic management to put myself in these situations. It’s
like a trauma response. There are a lot of things in our lives that are
very difficult and we don’t always have the choice to be in those
situations. These challenges are different: I think there’s something
liberating and therapeutic about being there by choice.”
And then choosing to get through it. The choice is one requiring
commitment: in September, in the lead-up to his race in Wisconsin, Perry
began working with cycling coach Nick Bergen, recognizing that, as in his
musical pursuits, he could not reach his goals alone.
Bergen plans workouts for Perry six days a week: low-endurance rides, core
work, reverse squats, upper-arm training, VO2 max (maximal oxygen
consumption) workouts, and more intense interval training designed to raise
the upper limits of his heart rate.
“A lot of people can’t finish those workouts,” Bergen says. “Daniel always
“His mental fortitude is bar none,” the coach adds. “He spent his whole
life playing music, so this ability to hit the right notes translated to
the bicycle. That virtue and devotion to perfection transferred to this
intense desire to execute.”
But not all orchestra members can do what Perry does. Just ask
Meredith Johnson, the WSO’s principal bassist, one of several colleagues —
two other bassists, both clarinetists, one of the trombonists — whom Perry,
an advocate for active transportation, inspired to commute by bike in
winter. (No, Johnson says, he doesn’t carry his bass when he rides; he has
one at work.)
‘NOBODY else does what Daniel does,” Johnson laughs when asked if others
race. “That is where Daniel is, at least thus far, a breed apart. I go out
and ride 40 or 50 kilometres in the winter, not during a race, mind you.
I’m not worried about my time. But when I come home, the first thing I
think about is how on Earth does he manage 250 kilometres in a competitive
Johnson points to Perry’s winning his job in the WSO at 22, the result of
rigorous work and a “fervor.” To audition “is almost like being an athlete.
I think Daniel has that singularity of purpose.”
The training aside, the dressing routine is in itself an ordeal. Perry
squeezes his five-foot-10, 185-pound frame into a pair of padded bike
shorts, followed by a merino-wool base layer of upper- and lower-body long
johns (he likes wool because of the sustainability of organic matter, but
also because it stays warm when wet and doesn’t smell as badly).
He then puts on a second pair of shorts as wind protection, followed by a
pair of ski pants. Onto his cheeks and nose, he applies kinesiology tape to
prevent windburn and frostbite.
On his feet, he dons turkey roasting bags between his skin and his socks as
a vapour layer; these keep the feet dry and are better than standard bags.
Then he puts on wool socks, with toe warmers, followed finally by his boots.
Up top, he wears a windproof black balaclava, a merino neck buff, a thin
merino cap, a neon soft-shell jacket, his helmet, light and tinted
On his hands, he wears latex gloves under soft-shell gloves, which he
shoves into his pogies — insulated handle-bar mitts. Inside the pogies, he
dumps Ritz crackers and Nature Valley granola bars, because they stay
edible past freezing.
In Wisconsin, he got dressed in the car, and at 6 a.m., he began the
longest winter race of his life on his fat-tired bike. The snow conditions
were not great: the powder was fresh and very sticky. “It was a practice in
pacing to not get too sweaty,” Perry said.
He tried to lower his tire pressure to give himself more traction, but the
rear wheel lost too much air. He had to stop to pump. Then, the
plastic bags on his feet didn’t properly hold moisture, so his socks got
wet. He was already worried about frostbite when the nozzle on his Camelbak
water mechanism froze.
“I was in a bit of a situation,” he says. Fortunately, he was along a
regularly traversed trail, serviced by gas stations along the way. About 50
kilometres in, the balaclava-clad Perry walked into a roadside shop,
wearing an N95 face mask, to drink, eat, change socks and buy new Ziploc
bags for his feet. “The cashier did not bat an eye.”
>From there, it was smoother sailing, aside from a missed checkpoint, which
caused Perry some mental and physical fatigue. But he kept riding,
averaging 16 km/hr according to his Garmin bike computer. Twenty-one hours
after he began, at 3:03 a.m., Perry finished the race, in third place
overall out of 167 entrants.
It felt similar to finishing an audition, Perry said. “There’s a big rush
of achieving, and the flood of positive feelings of finishing something
I’ve worked so hard toward, but at the same time, there’s a sadness to it.
To be done with it. Almost a bit of aimlessness, because so much of my
focus leading up is looking toward it and not about looking past it.
He went to a hotel nearby and slept in until the afternoon. He got back in
the car, drove back to Winnipeg, and arrived at 9 p.m. to his downtown
apartment, where he went to sleep again.
The Deadly Myth That Human Error Causes Most Car Crashes
Every year thousands of Americans die on the roads. Individuals take the
blame for systemic problems.
By David Zipper <https://www.theatlantic.com/author/david-zipper/>
More than 20,000 people died on American roadways
from January to June, the highest total for the first half of any year
U.S. road fatalities have risen by more than 10 percent
over the past decade, even as they have fallen across most of the
developed world. In the European Union
whose population is one-third larger than America’s, traffic deaths dropped
by 36 percent between 2010 and 2020, to 18,800
downward trend is no accident: European regulators have pushed
carmakers to build vehicles that are safer for pedestrians and cyclists,
and governments regularly adjust road designs
<http://www.welivevisionzero.com/vision-zero/> after a crash to reduce the
likelihood of recurrence.
But in the United States, the responsibility for road safety largely falls
on the individual sitting behind the wheel, or riding a bike, or crossing
the street. American transportation departments, law-enforcement agencies,
and news outlets frequently maintain that most crashes—indeed, 94 percent
of them, according to the most widely circulated statistic—are solely due
to human error. Blaming the bad decisions of road users implies that nobody
else could have prevented them. That enables car companies to deflect
attention from their decisions to add heft and height to the SUVs and
trucks that make up an ever-larger portion
vehicle sales, and it allows traffic engineers to escape scrutiny for
dangerous street designs.
The recently passed infrastructure bill will encourage some safety
improvements, including technology to prevent drunk people from operating a
and better crash tests to address risk to people outside a vehicle
Yet even as the federal government prepares to shovel out hundreds of
billions of dollars for roadwork, Americans’ fundamental misconception of
traffic deaths as merely a profusion of individual mistakes will go largely
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a branch of
the U.S. Department of Transportation, published a two-page memo
that “the critical reason, which is the last event in the crash causal
chain, was assigned to the driver in 94% of the crashes.” The memo, which
was based on the NHTSA’s own analysis of crashes, then offered a key
caveat: “Although the critical reason is an important part of the
description of events leading up to the crash, it is not intended to be
interpreted as the cause of the crash.”
To understand what the NHTSA was trying to say, imagine the following
scenario: It’s a foggy day, and the driver of an SUV is traveling along a
road at the posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour. The limit then drops
to 25 as the road approaches a town—but the road’s lanes do not narrow
(which would naturally compel a driver to apply the brakes), and the lone
sign announcing the lower speed limit is partially obstructed. Oblivious to
the change, the driver keeps traveling at 40. As he enters the town, a
pedestrian crosses the road at an intersection without a stoplight. The
driver strikes the pedestrian.
By the federal government’s definition, the “critical reason” for this
hypothetical crash—the last event in the causal chain—is the error made by
the driver who was speeding at the time of the collision. Almost certainly,
the police will hold him responsible. But that overlooks many other
factors: The foggy weather obscured the driver’s vision; flawed traffic
engineering failed to compel him to slow down as he approached the
intersection; the SUV’s weight made the force of the impact much greater
than a sedan’s would have been.
The authors of the 2015 NHTSA report were aware of such contributing
factors. But their disclaimer that the “critical reason” for a crash is not
the same as the “cause” has been largely ignored. Even a page on the
agency’s own website
the message down to “94% of serious crashes are due to human error.”
Seeking to find a single cause for a crash is a fundamentally flawed
approach to road safety, but it underpins much of American traffic
enforcement and crash prevention. After a collision, police file a report,
noting who violated traffic laws and generally ignoring factors like road
and vehicle design. Insurance companies, too, are structured to hold
someone accountable. Drivers aren’t the only ones who face such judgments.
Following a crash, a pedestrian might be blamed for crossing a street where
there is no crosswalk (even if the nearest one is a quarter mile away), and
a cyclist might be cited for not wearing a helmet (although a protected
bike lane would have prevented the crash entirely). News stories reinforce
these narratives, with stories limited to the driver who was speeding or
the pedestrian who crossed against the light.
Indeed, journalists have disseminated the misleading 94 percent line on
influential platforms including *The Wall Street Journal*
, *ABC News*
and *The Washington Post*
Research institutions such as the University of Michigan
the University of Idaho
done it too. Even former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has helped sow
as have transportation departments in states such as Illinois
<https://twitter.com/UtahDOT/status/1118995407407681536>, and Texas
“The 94 percent line is a repeated reference at almost every state
[department of transportation] conference I’ve ever attended,” Jennifer
Homendy, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, told me.
When the Michigan DOT spokesman Jeff Cranson speculated in a 2019 podcast
human error is actually responsible for more than 95 percent of crashes,
the Michigan State University engineering professor Timothy Gates
responded, “Yeah, I would agree with that, there’s very few crashes caused
by a vehicle defect or road defect, a lot of it really is human error.”
That’s a convenient perspective for engineers designing vehicles and roads.
And if the buck stops with the driver, automakers feel less pressure to
make lifesaving safety features standard across their models—which many of
them do not. Last year, *Consumer Reports* found
the average vehicle buyer would have to pay $2,500 for a
blind-spot-detection system. Pedestrian-detection technology was standard
on 13 of the 15 most popular vehicle models—but unavailable on one and part
of a $16,000 optional package on another.
With responsibility falling on those directly involved in a crash, it’s
unsurprising that so many highway-safety efforts revolve around education
campaigns, assuming that if people were just more careful, we’d all be
okay. Officials at the NHTSA and state DOTs pour millions of dollars into
these programs, but their benefits seem modest at best
<https://www.mdpi.com/2313-576X/7/4/66/htm>. Officials “see their role as
trying to cajole people on the roads to make smarter decisions,” Seth
LaJeunesse, a senior research associate at the University of North
Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center, told me. “Wear a seat belt,
don’t be drunk when driving, and signal appropriately. I think it’s
misguided. After all, who’s going to address structural problems, if it’s
just people being stupid out there on the road?”
For now, the idea that human error causes nearly all crashes is a useful
talking point for the makers of autonomous-vehicle technology, which
supposedly will prevent such mistakes. Companies including General Motors,
Google, and the start-up Aurora have touted the 94 percent statistic
materials <https://www.gm.com/stories/self-driving-cars>, press statements
and even SEC filings
But, as the Carnegie Mellon University engineering professor Phil Koopman
has pointed out
autonomous systems will make their own errors on the road. He does not
expect AVs to reduce crashes by more than 50 percent, even in a best-case
scenario. And an all-autonomous driving future is still at least decades
away, suggesting that AVs will not reverse the growing death toll on
American roads for many years to come—if they ever do.
With the infrastructure bill now signed into law, the federal government
has a chance to rethink its approach and messaging. Dumping the dangerous
94 percent myth would be a good start; deemphasizing pointless
traffic-safety PR campaigns would help too. Encouraging state and local
transportation agencies—not just law enforcement—to investigate crashes,
which New York City
now doing, would be even better. What we need most is a reexamination of
how carmakers, traffic engineers, and community members—as well as the
traveling public—together bear responsibility for saving some of the
thousands of lives lost annually on American roadways. Blaming human error
alone is convenient, but it places all Americans in greater danger.
David Zipper <https://www.theatlantic.com/author/david-zipper/> is a
Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Taubman Center for State
and Local Government. He writes frequently about the future of urban
mobility and technology.
Path cleared for extension of Pioneers Greenway
The East Kildonan-Transcona community committee held its first regular
meeting of 2022 on Jan. 4.
An application that would change the alignment of the entrance to the
Pioneers Greenway, and open and close some portions of Gateway Road and
Elmwood Road, was also discussed during a public hearing. The changes would
allow the path to continue south of Nairn Avenue.
The proposal, the public service noted, would allow for increased active
transportation rates and reduce traffic congestion in the area while being
in line with Our Winnipeg and the city’s climate action plan.
Coun. Jason Schreyer (Elmwood-East Kildonan), while supportive of the
project, noted he did not believe it would in any substantive way affect
the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
"I just have to say it," Schreyer said. "I’m doing this for the sake of the
active transportation plan."
"Promoting active transportation is in line with our climate goals, is it
not?" Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) added. "If someone leaves their
car in their garage and takes their bike, that won’t reduce our carbon
"Each small step adds up," Catherine Gagnon, author of the report, told the
committee. "This gives the residents of Winnipeg an opportunities to reduce
their carbon impact by choosing put their cars away and use these paths as
a different, alternate means."