Harvard Explained

What’s the deal with the “Silver Line” that’s mentioned in all those ads in the T?

With the Silver Line, the country’s oldest subway system is going high-tech. Now under construction, it is the product of the most advanced Bust Rapid Transit technology in the world. The project will be completed in three stages. This spring the Silver Line service will begin operation between Dudley Square and Downtown. At the end of 2003, a route between South Station and Logan Airport via the South Boston Waterfront will open. When finally completed in 2010, the Silver Line will not only offer a one-seat ride from Dudley Square to Logan for over 60,000 riders a day, but it will also provide easy transfers to the Orange, Green and Red lines and connections to commuter rail and Amtrak at South Station. The Silver Line, which will operate up to 30 trips per hour, will feature state-of-the-art technology such as the Intelligent Transportation System which will receive satellite-transmitted, Global Positioning System data to track vehicles along the route, and smart kiosks that provide you with up-to-the-minute schedule information, digital message boards, intercom assistance, and automatic public address systems. The Silver Line is also environment-friendly—above ground, it will burn low-emission fuel, and underground, it will use electricity, a zero-emission energy source.

Why aren’t Harvard libraries open 24 hours?

Never mind the rumor that the administration’s fear of Harvard students working themselves to sleep-deprived deaths if the libraries stay open ‘round the clock is behind the limited hours. The primary reason why the libraries shut their doors at 1 a.m. is the financial burden associated with staffing a library system that is open 24 hours a day. There is also the issue of setting aside time for the maintenance of facilities and buildings in order to create a proper environment for studying. Starting a couple of years ago, however, in an effort to experiment with such an idea, Cabot library was chosen to operate on a 24-hour schedule for the last few weeks of reading period. This has been successful, but studies indicate that without the pressures of final exams there would be a fair number of library-goers around 1 to 2 a.m., but the rush tapers off dramatically by 4 or 5 a.m. This indicates that there is no need for 24-hour libraries.

Harvard Explained thanks Jeffrey Horrell, Associate Librarian of Harvard College for Collections. Something about Harvard that you want explained? Email fm@thecrimson.com.

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