Baltimore’s Charm City Circulator with its large, hybrid $600,000 Design Line bus has been getting rave reviews and is reaching out to a new clientele. The Circulator is hoping to attract people back to the bus. The bus is clean, green, and quiet. Drivers are courtesy-trained and friendly.
The Charm City Circulator is operated, managed, and marketed by Veolia Transportation, the largest private operator of public transport in the country, in partnership with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation.
If that works, it could spark a change in the way Baltimore views public transit. “The Circulator does something that the MTA doesn’t do,” says Richard Layman, a blogger (urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com) who has worked as an urban planning contractor for Baltimore County. “It’s helping to reframe how people think of transit. The prevalent belief is that only poor people ride trains. This is beginning to reposition transit.”
The web site (charmcitycirculator.com) promises that “the lower fuel and lower maintenance cost has proven the technology to be a sustainable energy efficient form of transportation.” The Circulator doesn’t solve all of Baltimore’s downtown transportation issues — but it’s a start.
According to Mark L. Joseph, the CEO of Veolia Transportatio, Veolia’s Circulator plan is part of a vision to redefine urban sustainability. “We’re making cities more livable,” he says.
Parent company Veolia Environnement is using Baltimore as a launching pad for a larger corporate strategy: to fill in the gaps of America’s transportation infrastructure in preparation for a world where, within a few decades, the car (and the suburban commute) will no longer be sustainable.
While new and better public transportation options will reduce urban traffic, it won’t eliminate the use of cars in our cities nor the need for parking spaces for those cars. However, urban areas can reduce the total amount of space required for parking by using automated parking systems such as Robotic Parking Systems. These types of systems offer numerous benefits over conventional garages including the reduction of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.