Siemens will also be introducing America to its passenger-oriented diesel-electric locomotive offerings, now partnering with Cummins. This partnership will marry the best of today’s modern diesel engines with state-of-the-art locomotive technology, resulting in one of the lightest, fastest and most efficient diesel-electric locomotive offerings available for passenger rail.
We’re equally excited about some of our new streetcar offerings as well — a few of which will begin their duty in Atlanta. We’re seeing more cities interested in the flexibility of a unit having the ability to perform either as a streetcar or a light rail vehicle.
America is primed for a lot of exciting momentum in mass transportation over the next year. Cities are realizing the economic benefits of modernizing existing transportation. More than ever we’re seeing cities focus efforts on revving up their city cores — and modern, efficient transportation options are a key player in the plan to help pull people back into the downtown area.
Building new infrastructure is a real, tangible sign of confidence and commitment to a city’s people. Ridership is getting younger and more aware of the social and economic benefits of public transportation. As a business constantly changing to meet America’s growing and varying transportation needs, Siemens is feeling more confident than ever in the potential of the U.S. transportation infrastructure; convinced that it’s now primed to get to that next level of modernization that we hope will soon also include high-speed rail.
General manager, Metro Transit
We at Metro Transit have a lot to look forward to in 2014 as we grow our system to serve Twin Cities residents and visitors like never before.
Next year, light-rail trains will begin carrying customers between Minneapolis and St. Paul for the first time on the new Metro Green Line. The mid-year opening of the region’s second light-rail line will be a historic event not just for our Twin Cities, but the entire state.
The new 11-mile light rail line will connect the two downtowns and destinations like the state capitol area, the University of Minnesota and Target Field - where the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played on July 15. The green line will also connect with the Metro Blue Line – which we’ll celebrate for a decade of service since opening on June 24, 2004.
The green line is a signature component of our plan to develop a world-class transit system for the next generation – a system that better knits communities together, improves quality of life and strengthens our local economy. Already, it is enhancing the energy and activity in the unique and vibrant neighborhoods situated along the corridor. Even before a single customer has boarded, the green line has spurred $1.7 billion in private investment. Many of these new businesses and housing developments under construction will open next year. Through 2014 and beyond, Metro Transit will also be playing a more active role with development along transitways like the green line as we expand our newly-launched transit-oriented development office.
We project that more than a third of green line customers will transfer from local and express bus service. Dramatically restructured bus service will accompany the opening of the rail line. After more than a year of outreach to the various communities in the service area, this plan includes new routings, stops and schedules to best serve all of our customer markets and provide timed transfers to the green line.
In Minneapolis, a new multi-modal transportation hub adjacent to the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field will open in the spring. Target Field Station is a unique facility incorporating new community gathering spaces, a commercial activity center and a major transit hub. It will serve as a nexus for green and blue line trains, the Northstar Commuter Rail Line and dozens of nearby Metro bus routes.
We will also be busy planning and engineering the 15-mile green line extension which will run southwest from Minneapolis to suburban communities and job centers and a network of bus rapid transit lines. Next year, final design and construction is due to begin on a 10-mile BRT line running on major arterial streets in St. Paul and Minneapolis and connecting stations on the Metro Blue and Green Lines.