Brief Personal Update

I no longer live in Vancouver. I am leaving the city tonight, heading to New York and New Haven until July 8th (email me if you want to meet). I will then travel to Europe: I got a two-year position at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). As Stockholm has tight rent control, expect a post on that subject once I’m settled in there and have gotten the chance to talk to people.

Stockholm also has a subway system that’s the opposite of the paradigm used in Vancouver or Copenhagen: it runs full-length trains, and branches heavily, with low frequencies on the branches. KTH is unfortunately on a branch, served every 10 minutes off-peak. (However, unlike in New York, in Stockholm branches are consistent, in that two branches of separate trunk lines do not combine to form another trunk line farther out the way the E and F branches combine to form the Queens Boulevard Line.)

21 comments

  1. Ripley

    As a resident of Vancouver, I’m sorry to hear that. Your perspective on Vancouver’s transit has been enlightening to say the least. Our loss is Stockholm’s gain!

  2. Linus Yng

    As a reader of your blog living in Stockholm I look forward to reading about your thoughts and experiences in Stockholm, I am sure they will be both positive and negative.

    KTH, at the Tekniska Högskolan station, has five minute service during daytime, serving the part of the red line between Liljeholmen and Mörby Centrum.

    Welcome to Stockholm!

      • Linus Yng

        I am was partly wrong, during summer it is 10-min off-peak during daytime. Stockholm as a city pretty much shuts down normal functions during summer.
        During normal mode it is every 5 minutes during daytime (and peak)

        The summer timetable for the subway shows frequency and travel distance, small but very informative.
        http://sl.se/ficktid/sommar/stbana.pdf

        The regional RER or S-Bahn like service called Pendeltågen
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_commuter_rail

        • Alon Levy

          Why does Stockholm shut down in the summer? I don’t get it. I’d much rather spend a summer in Stockholm and a winter in the French Riviera than the reverse. Do Swedes prefer to go on vacation in July the way the French do?

          • oab

            The median Swede takes four weeks of vacation during a period starting about now and ending in mid-august. Together with closed schools and universities, this means that demand, particularly peak demand, is considerably reduced. Also the public transport workers also want their three or four weeks of vacation during summer, so accommodating that would – I think – be difficult without reducing service. So I think it is a combination of reduced demand and constrained supply that makes public transport reduce service. Most shops, cafes, etc that you would visit are open as normal.

          • Adirondacker12800

            I’ve wondered how everyone can take August off. Aren’t the people staffing the resorts they go to “everyone” too? And the people staffing the trains, buses, planes ferrying them to the resorts? And the people collecting the garbage and monitoring the electric grid and the water treatment plant and the sewerage plant? Or the people delivering the food to the restaurants they eat in? If everyone goes on vacation in August the only place you can go in August is out the garage where you stockepiled a month of food and water. But then if “everyone” is upper middle class white collar workers who aren’t missed if they go AWOL for a month it might work out.

  3. Patrice

    Welcome to Sweden. As an American expat living/working in Gothenburg, I’m looking forward to hearing your reports on the Swedish system. There are some problem-plagued tunneling projects nearing completion, some bottlenecks & single track sections, and hesitancy about committing to full HSR. Nothing is perfect, but overall the infrastructure is well maintained, enjoys wide political support, and there’s a long term commitment to funding & expansion.

  4. Michael

    Wait, you mean ON peak, right? Because no place could possibly get 10 minutes OFF peak. Indeed, I can’t really imagine every 10 minutes on peak, that’s wildly frequent service. But, then, maybe it’s different in Stockholm than here in the not-New-York-USA

  5. Peter Brassard

    body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}Best of luck!

  6. Adirondacker12800

    the E and F split again at the far reaches, The A and D, the B and C. Like the IRT does. 4 times as many people it can be 4 times as complex. Everybody in Norway, Sweden and Finland decides to emigrate to the US you need metro New York to house them. Throw in Denmark and it’s metro New York and metro Philadelphia.

    • Alon Levy

      With a metro area the size of Indianapolis, Stockholm has nearly 50% more subway ridership than Washington. Cities in Europe maintain larger subway networks than their US counterparts, with more ridership – the Stockholm subway has around 150 annual riders per metro area resident, vs. about 90 for the entire New York area rail system.

      My point re complexity is that in Stockholm, the branches don’t remerge. New York is one example of a city with merging branches, but Washington has the same: the Blue and Yellow Lines merge in Alexandria (and then resplit) even though they run on different trunks in the District.

      • Adirondacker12800

        The RER merges and resplits. Indianapolis is in the middle of a wide flat place not archipelago. It’s on a Cartesian grid, a mass transit system, if they had one, would look different.
        Mass transit use in Indianapolis would be a bit different if gas was $8.50 a gallon. It would have developed a bit differently if gas had been, adjusted for inflation. had been $8.50 a gallon after World War II through now.

        639 cars in 1930!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo

        Might have a bit to do with it too.

        or this

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_Automobile

        The Saab 92 went into production in December 1949, selling 20,000 cars through the mid-1950s.

        They weren’t building Levitown in 1951. They were building

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackeberg

        which has something to do with it too.

        • Alon Levy

          The Stockholm Metro is a separate subway; there’s also a regional rail network, whose ridership and quality I do not know.

          • Richard Mlynarik

            there’s also a regional rail network, whose ridership and quality I do not know

            http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholms_pendelt%C3%A5g#Resande
            211km S-Bahn network that each split into two lengthy branches north and south of the choke point through the city. A new cross-city tunnel is under construction to relieve that. (That project was delayed and almost cancelled by a change of government a few years back.)
            Ridership is about 269000 boardings/day.
            The infrastructure and stations are (of course!) shared with inter-city rail. (The concessioned airport line less so.)

            As for the quality, it seems fine to a tourist (I’ve never lived anywhere in Scandinavia) but perhaps less so to one from Japan or Switzerland.

            It’s not all roses: SL has been party to the same “Smart Card” catastrophes that all contractor-first public agencies around the world have abetted, and system operate/maintain conceessioning/carve-up and vehicle procurement contracts have been very very very far from transparent.

            My far-outsider observation of Swedish and Stockholm-area planning is that we, the planet, are completely fucked, because even in there (socialist environmentalist paradise … not!) the right wing sociopaths can and do sabotage everything.

            The metro stations of Stockholm are a real treat.
            Of rail enthusiast note, Roslagsbanan is an interesting operation, a relic of an extensive historical narrow gauge network now seeing heavy commuter use; and
            Saltsjöbanan is a bit of a novelty also, operating older metro cars to the seaside.

            Any chance you can declare a moratorium on irrelevant word salad involving locations in New York state?

          • Adirondacker12800

            Indianapolis, Paris and Stockholm, last time I checked, aren’t in New York State.

  7. Steve S.

    I’ll be very interested in hearing your perspective on SJ. Sweden (Scandinavia in general) has, after Australia, the most US+Canada-like conditions of any place in the world for transportation planning and engineering.

  8. Seth Haberman G

    Alon,

    If you are in New York I’m happy to host you for a breakfast or lunch. My office has a terrific view of the Jersey Transit rail yards now called Hudson Yards, the 7 station terminus and the tunnel they are digging under Hudson Yards if on chance the Federal Government offers the MTA Billion dollars again and the people of NJ decide to elect a Governor who might take some of it.

    Office is at 34th and 10th.

    Seth

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