International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability

International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability
Save the Date and Call for Papers
July 22-23, 2010 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The aim of the International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability (INSTR) is to bring together researchers and professionals interested in transportation network reliability to discuss both recent research and future directions in this increasingly important field of research. The scope of the symposium includes all aspects of analysis and design to improve network reliability, including:
• user perception of unreliability
• public policy and reliability of travel times
• the valuation of reliability
• the economics of reliability
• network reliability modelling and estimation
• transport network robustness
• reliability of public transportation
• travel behaviour under uncertainty
• vehicle routing and scheduling under uncertainty
• risk evaluation and management for transportation networks
• ITS to improve network reliability
Submission of Papers
Papers will be categorized and ranked by peer reviewers. Theoretical, empirical, case-study, and policy-oriented contributions are welcome. Papers must be submitted electronically at byDecember 23, 2009 for consideration.
Key Dates
• Papers Due: December 23, 2009
• Papers selected and submitted: January 2010
• Final Papers Due (subject to acceptance): February 2010
• Early Registration Deadline: June 1, 2010
• Conference: July 22-23, 2010
More Information
Visit the INSTR Web site at
David Levinson
RP Braun/CTS Chair in Transportation
University of Minnesota
Sara Van Essendelft
Conference Coordinator
University of Minnesota
The conference is hosted by the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Is High-Speed Rail a Good Public Investment?

In the Economix blog of the NY Times Edward Glaeser on High Speed Rail

Dude, where’s my mailbox?

I went to mail two letters, which I must do because of the arcane copyright regulations of a journal publisher and the lack of autobillpay for the City of Minneapolis regulatory services. My mailbox was gone.
It seems I am not alone … From the Twin Cities Daily PlanetThe case of the disappearing mailboxes
Chalk up USPS and first class mail to “dead media

Speedbumps and a city’s carbon footprint?

Dave Winer at Scripting News asks about: Speedbumps and a city’s carbon footprint? in particular Berkeley.
As far as I can tell, there are several offsetting factors:
(1) Speedbumps discourage travel by car (less carbon)
(2) Speedbumps encourage remaining travelers to reroute on longer routes (more carbon)
(3) Speedbumps increase fuel use for drivers who stay on the “calmed” route (accel/decel) (more carbon)
(4) Speedbumps lower speed for drivers on calmed route (less carbon)
How this nets out is empirical, depends on the configuration of the network and the extent of traffic calming.
Any studies on this? (Nothing obvious shows up with actual data in a quick scan of Google Scholar)

High-Speed Rail and CO2

Freakonomics Blog (NY Times) on High-Speed Rail and CO2
The Transportationist blog is referenced.

American drivers should learn to love the roundabout.

In Slate by Tom Vanderbilt American drivers should learn to love the roundabout.

“but a larger question here is whether people who cannot manage to merge at low speed into a counter-clockwise circle and, yes, perhaps even change lanes in that circle, before finding the correct exit should actually be holding licenses that enable them to operate heavy machinery in the first place.”

Driven to Distraction – In 2003, U.S. Withheld Data Showing Cellphone Driving Risks – Series –

NY Times: In 2003, U.S. Withheld Data Showing Cellphone Driving Risks

In 2003, researchers at a federal agency proposed a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cellphone use behind the wheel. They sought the study based on evidence that such multitasking was a serious and growing threat on America’s roadways.

This makes no sense, withholding data that supported an already well-known (and one might add, fairly obvious) finding. This is evidenced by the literature reviewed in the first few pages of the Official Documents

The former head of the highway safety agency said he was urged to withhold the research to avoid antagonizing members of Congress who had warned the agency to stick to its mission of gathering safety data but not to lobby states.

Urged by whom? Since when did publishing a report constitute lobbying?
All the more reason the Executive Branch should not conduct science, which should be left to independent organizations (like universities).

Great River Energy HQ LEED Platinum

Great River Energy an energy cooperative, touts its new headquarters building as LEED Platinum, a rating given by the US Green Buildings Council, and has obtained lots of publicity for this. This means the building is really energy efficient. Except it is built in the middle of a sea of parking in Maple Grove Minnesota, as can be seen in this figure:
greatriver_mn.jpg or this google map (showing the site)

According to Metro Transit’s transit planner it would take some 2 hours and 21 minutes to get there from my house (compared with 25 minutes by car)
Something is wrong about touting the energy efficiency of a building that requires a lot of energy to reach. There should be some sort of Green Locations rating that would at least remove hypocrisy from the system.
(I really don’t care where they locate, I just want them to pay the full costs they impose on society and not pretend to be green when they aren’t).


via FSJ Trapster, an iPhone application to build a and distribute a database of police speed traps. As Fake Steve Jobs says, “Fight the Power“.