By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Cities
Houston METRO has awarded Siemens with a light rail contract worth $83 million.
Specifically, Siemens will build and deliver nineteen S70 light rail vehicles, spare parts, training and manuals. It is Houston's second order from the company, which will build the vehicles at its plant in Sacramento, Calif.
The S70 maxes out at 66 miles per hour, and its low floor allows passengers to board the train at street level.
Siemens was the turnkey provider for METRO's 7.5-mile starter line, which opened in January 2004 -- in time to handle more than 64,000 attendees of Super Bowl XXXVIII. (Houston's normal daily ridership is about half that: 34,600.)
During that project, Siemens provided the rolling stock, rail automation, rail electrification and project management. METRO currently has 18 S70 light rail vehicles in operation in Houston -- part of the authority's greater goal to boost regional mobility, with financial assistance from the Obama administration.
"Light rail is a zero-emission transportation option, and it takes cars off the crowded roadways," Siemens Industry mobility president Oliver Hauck said in a statement.
The new rail cars will be delivered in October 2012.
Photo: Ed Schipul/Flickr
Apr 6, 2011
Especially on how non eco-friendly fv panels are. But has anyone in Houston looked at the actual reduction in the number of cars driven into the city since the trains started? There is no mention of that. and how does their collective carbon footprint compare to the trains? Even with the power generation efficiencies you discuss, do you save much on emissions if real traffic in the city only goes down 200 cars a day? Or is it 2,000 cars a day and an obvious win? All I want is an honest assessment of something before declaring it good for the environment. Considering the local smog problems in Houston, a 2,000 car a day decrease and moving the emissions to a distant power plant is an improvement for the local environment.
...in that it's much easier to control emissions at a few dozen fixed points like power plants as opposed to several million continually moving autos. This is probably the only true ecologically honest advantage to purely electric automobiles. But HI is correct when he he corrects PR hacks who say either ignorant or misleading things like "Light rail is a zero-emission transportation option, and it takes cars off the crowded roadways?. We are going to continue to demand transparency and honesty over hyperbole before shelling out for more corporate welfare.
Of course the question is always going to be, "Zero-emissions to what end?" From an efficiency standpoint, it's much better to move the powerplant off the vehicle in question. So that's a plus. Efficiencies can then be sought at the utility level, benefiting various energy-consuming uses. (Plus, even solar isn't "zero-emissions" in the strictest sense -- after all, it requires a lot of emissions to make those panels! But focusing on absolute efficiency versus relative won't help the immediate problem. Otherwise, we'd all ought to give up, power down, and farm for our own sustenance in small communities off the grid.)
I think the new lines will provide better service. The current lines simply criss-cross downtown, replacing buses and reducing traffic lanes, and rarely (if ever) reaching those potential 66 mph speeds, because they're in traffic. The new lines will get people to and from downtown and actually get people out of their cars.
How will these hold up to Houston's drivers? They've had a problem avoiding collisions with the 1st batch of trains. I think the pedal powered sky bike would be a better option.
?Light rail is a zero-emission transportation option,?? Texas has 437 electric generating plants: 49 percent of the state?s electricity comes from natural gas; 39 percent from coal; and 10 percent from nuclear energy. Another 16 coal plants are under construction or in the permitting process. Taking the sources of electricity into account, has anyone calculated the carbon footprint of this rail line? Unless the system is 100 percent solar powered it is not a zero-emissions option.