[Photo: Dave Dobbs]
Light Rail Now! can be contacted at:
Light Rail Now!
Your Contribution Can Help Our Efforts in 2007...
Do you want to see more and better rail transit and rail public transport in today's world? Would you like to further rail transit in your own community?
If you answered affirmatively ... well, now's the time to energize those dreams with dollars! ... With a tax-deductible contribution to the Light Rail Now Project!
In the USA, the Light Rail Now Project is the only organized effort (that we're aware of) dedicated to promoting light rail transit (LRT) including streetcars as well as "heavier" interurban or semi-metro-style LRT – as well as other modes of modern, advanced, standard-rail transit technology, on a worldwide basis. In this, we work cooperatively with other organizations promoting progressive, multi-modal public transport issues, such as the American Public Transportation Association, the Center for Transportation Excellence, the Surface Transportation Policy Project, the National Association of Railroad Passengers, the Rail Users Network, and the Light Rail Transit Association.
The Light Rail Now Project also is the only American organization (as far as we know) specializing in providing both civic transit advocates and transit industry professionals with key information to enable adequately informed responses to rail transit critics and adequately informed decisions in alternative analyses and other aspects of transit project planning.
One thing we've learned by long, hard experience – corroborated most recently by the successes for rail transit in the USA's November elections: Rail transit projects don't just sprout into being from magic ... making them happen takes work – lots of work.
Our role is to provide useful information and analysis to the visionary local community leaders, activists, public transit planners, and transit agency professionals and decisionmakers who nurture these projects and seek public support. Not only is there resistance to change among a motor vehicle-dependent voting public, but popular misconceptions about rail transit are widespread. And then there's the brigade of anti-rail, anti-transit "professional critics" – well-financed by elements profiting from highway construction and urban sprawl – who maintain a relentless barrage of attacks, peppered with Urban Legends and "Numbers Voodoo" (deceptive manipulation of statistical information), all aimed at convincing us that, despite all appearances, rail systems (and mass transit generally) are supposedly a collosal "failure".
The struggle against public inertia, popular misconceptions, and the chicanery and dysinformation campaign of professional opponents with vastly greater resources often seems very daunting indeed. But fortunately, even though it's an uphill struggle, the Light Rail Now Project has been making progress – such as the accomplishments described in our article Reflecting Surge in Worldwide interest in Rail Transit, Light Rail Now Website Activity Soars.
2006 has been a very busy year for the Light Rail Now Project – with a number of additional accomplishments, and a nationwide score of huge steps toward rail transit improvement and expansion (especially in rail transit ballot initiatives). For example...
Help for rail transit initiatives and decisions
Over the past year, the Light Rail Now Project has continued to be a major force in educating the public on rail transit, providing support for rail transit electoral initiative campaigns, and providing key information and analysis which have helped influence planning decisions.
In its September meeting, Charlotte's Metropolitan Transit Commission voted to put the "BRT" plan on hold for five years while officials and planners there try to find a way to justify LRT instead. Charlotte's Citizens for Efficient Mass Transit (CEMT), in its Summer 2006 newsletter, reports being "encouraged" by the decision, and notes that
Light Rail Now website breakthroughs
As usual, the Light Rail Now (LRN) website (LightRailNow.org) has provided a forum for a number of groundbreaking articles of substantial value to rail transit planning and advocacy.
These include the first several articles in our Electrification 101 series – which has not only broken new ground (in documenting the basic case for electrified public transport) but is unique as a resource on the internet:
We also began our Busting "BRT" Mythology series, including the following articles:
Other leading-edge articles of salient value to the transit planning and rail advocacy community published within the past year include:
Supporting contributions to professional literature
Certainly, some of our foremost accomplishments have been to facilitate a number of important contributions to the professional rail transit literature - literary material which helps bolster the base of technical knowledge and arguments for rail transit.
The following research studies, presented in April 2006 at the Joint international Light Rail Conference in St. Louis – co-sponsored by the US Transportation Research Board (TRB), the international Association of Public Transport (UITP), and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) – included support from the Texas Association for Public Transportation, sponsor of the Light Rail Now Project:
A slightly expanded version of this study, including additional information and analysis by Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy institute, and co- authored by both Litman and Henry, is available as follows:
Presentation of the following research study at APTA's 2006 Rail Transit Conference in New York City in June 2006 also included support from the Texas Association for Public Transportation and the Light Rail Now Project:
Portland's MAX LRT system is a superb example of what LRT can accomplish in an American city.
Light Rail Now has covered Portland public transport issues in nearly two dozen articles.
In November 2003, LRN helped support professional papers presented at the National Light Rail Conference in Portland.
Railway and transit photography freedom
The Light Rail Now Project has continued to play a leading role in opposing assaults on the critically important practice of public photographic documentation of transit operations and features. This includes criticizing actions by various authorities within and outside the public transport industry to target and harass railway and transit photographers. This harassment may be leading to the outright criminalization of rail and transit photography on a broad scale – which we perceive as a major blow to the public transport industry as well as ordinary public freedom.
LRN's efforts have garnered increasing public attention. One of the most important has been recognition and citation of the website's articles by Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher in his "Raw Fisher" column in the Washington Post of 3 March 2006 ("Department of Photo Security – Redux"). Fisher cited Light Rail Now in the context of a series of articles prompted by the police harassment of a young female photography student at a Washington-area regional rail station last spring.
Light Rail Now – a worthy investment
If you still are seeking a reason to underwrite the Light Rail Now Project, here's a wrap-up of our record to consider:
In summary, we believe that the Light Rail Now Project has amply demonstrated a track record of astounding success – especially given our relatively minuscule resources – and the project's status as a very worthy charitable investment for those with an interest in improving the quality of life of urban areas and furthering public transport and rail travel opportunities. Underwriting can be deductible as charitable contributions or business expenses. if you believe in these goals – now's the time to invest in our project.
As we noted in our article
Reflecting Surge in Worldwide interest in Rail Transit, Light Rail Now Website Activity Soars,
It's important to keep in mind that
underwriting for the Light Rail Now Project supports
both the Light Rail Now website and ancillary
resources, including outreach activities aimed at assisting leaders and activists in
communities planning or involved with LRT to bolster public transport, and in
particular, to help support LRT and other rail transit projects and campaigns,
nationally and internationally.
This resource will grow in importance as increasing numbers of cities mount
initiatives for various types of rail transit.
Judging from the recent trend, more and more rail initiatives can be expected to
be on state and local ballots across the USA in coming years.
if you want to make a difference in the ongoing effort to develop and expand rail transit, materially assisting our efforts can go a long way.
Underwriting is affordable and easy.
Here are several ways to contact us about underwriting: · Email us at:
It's important to keep in mind that underwriting for the Light Rail Now Project supports both the Light Rail Now website and ancillary resources, including outreach activities aimed at assisting leaders and activists in communities planning or involved with LRT to bolster public transport, and in particular, to help support LRT and other rail transit projects and campaigns, nationally and internationally. This resource will grow in importance as increasing numbers of cities mount initiatives for various types of rail transit. Judging from the recent trend, more and more rail initiatives can be expected to be on state and local ballots across the USA in coming years.
if you want to make a difference in the ongoing effort to develop and expand rail transit, materially assisting our efforts can go a long way. Underwriting is affordable and easy. Here are several ways to contact us about underwriting:
· Email us at:
· Mail us at:
Light Rail Now Project
· Phone us at:
Light Rail Now! website