Saturday, November 22, 2008

What does "Transportation Alliance" mean?

The term "Transportation Alliance" shows up quite a bit in organization names. Google has 78,100 hits. But these groups don't seem to be unified in any way other than the use of these two buzzwords next to each other.

Let's look at the top page of Google search results

The Minnesota Transportation Alliance mostly looks like people who favor more highway spending.

The Transportation Alliance Bank is part of Flying J (the truck stop people)

There's a Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Oregon -- looks like an alliance of bicycling groups.

"The Pennsylvania Transportation Alliance (PTA) was formed to bring together all people with disabilities and their allies in a unified, statewide organized effort to ensure that "accessible, affordable transportation is available to all PA citizens with disabilities."

The Central Maryland Transportation Alliance is all about transit -- regional rail.

The New North Transportation Alliance (Tampa) is also about transit, transit, transit, although they do offer a free bike rack program for businesses.
There's also some superficial bicycling information -- e.g. "you might think about biking to work". The maps page (which is a good indicator) has a map of bike racks on the USF campus, but otherwise is all transit.
The advisory board doesn't list any organizations I recognize, upon quick glance, as cycling organizations.

The Regional Transportation Alliance (Raleigh)
is "The regional business leadership group that focuses on relieving traffic congestion and enhancing mobility." That says "build roads" to me. The project page lists road projects and the construction of a regional rail system. Well down the list (11th, 2nd from last) is "Completion of American Tobacco Trail and improved pedestrian-bicycle access to transit." [Biking on the American Tobacco Trail??] But it does have a pedestrian and bike page and links to bike maps on the NC DOT web site.

The Westside Transportation Alliance [Washington County, Oregon]
OK, now we hit pay dirt. The executive directors are wearing bicycle helmets. They are big supporters of the new commuter rail line that opens next year.

Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance
The third paragraph of their mission statement says it all: "The debate is not roads and bridges versus buses and trains, but which strategies move the most people most effectively in most corridors." Then there's the last two paragraphs: "More than half of all transportation resources available over the next 25 years are assigned to public transit to move less than 10% of daily trips.
Road projects that will carry 90% of future vehicular – auto, truck and bus -- trips remain un-prioritized and un-funded." Doing a search on "bicycle" turns up one table showing bicycles are used on only 1-2% of daily trips, nothing else.

I don't see much of a thread here other than a general advocacy for some form of transportation (hence the word "transportation" in the name. Only the Westside group seems, at first glance, to be the type of organization ATA (formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) would want to turn into, although on a bigger scale.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Logo comparison

Here's the old CBF logo and the new ATA logo.

1. The CBF logo is no thing of beauty.
2. The CBF logo is pretty Chicago centric and bicycle centric.
So, it's a fair statement that if CBF was going to expand their mission, the logo needed to go.

3. The new logo is pretty much as generic as you can get. There are buildings, not not recognizable ones. There's a slash -- is that supposed to be a sidewalk, separating buildings from parkway? There's an unfortunate shade of green in the lower right.
4. The logo shows the determination of ATA to get as far away from its CBF roots as possible. This could be the logo for anything that might occur in or near a gray building, which is most things.
I was taken to task on the earlier posting by someone who noted:

The name is Active Transportation Alliance, not ATA. I have not seen ATA on any communication from the organization. The abbreviation used in the website name is "Active Trans".

Right, and the name is Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, not CBF.

What's your point? ATA is particularly the moniker that will stick because "Active Transportation Allliance" is just 3 generic buzzwords thrown together and "ActiveTrans" sounds like a laxative.

But my whole point has nothing to do with either ATA, ActiveTrans, or Active Transportation Alliance. My point -- which you completely ignored, thank you very much -- is that CBF threw away all the equity in their existing name. They took a name that meant something, and substituted buzzword gibberish.

It's not the specific buzzwords chosen -- although I think these are poor ones -- it's the fact that they are turning their back on their equity. It's like when Philip Morris renamed itself "Altria". At least Philip Morris had the excuse that they were trying to hide the fact that they made cigarettes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CBF throws away its name equity.

The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation -- CBF for short -- wants to expand its mission.

While I support the expanded mission, it was STUPID to throw away all the equity in the CBF name. It's now called the Active Transportation Alliance, or ATA.

Are we ashamed of being Chicagoans?

Are we ashamed of being bicyclists?

Does ATA mean anything except a failed airline?

Could you not find some name that hearkened back to the CBF equity, rather than turn your back on it so completely and ashamedly?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Folding wheels

They look interesting, but due to the added weight are only practical in carbon fiber, hence they would be expensive.

In addition, folding bikes would need to be redesigned to take advantage of this technology.

So, they won't be at your bike shop soon -- it's a great idea if it works, though.