Transport Reviews 30th Anniversary

The journal Transport Reviews has just turned 30. I am happy to say I have an article “Equity Effects of Road Pricing: A Review” in this anniversary issue. David Bannister writes:

Routledge, our publisher, has made 30 articles free to view to celebrate the journal’s 30th anniversary. I hope that you enjoy reading them!
Issue 1 is a special issue to mark the anniversary. You can view the table of contents for the issue and read the editorial for free here.
Routledge are also giving away 30 days free access to the entire back file in July! To receive a special code that will give you this free access please email Alexandra at Routledge: Alexandra.Dann (AT)
Please forward this email to your colleagues so that they can take advantage of these special offers too.
Thank you for your support of Transport Reviews.
Kind regards,
David Banister
Editor of Transport Reviews

First slugs, now oil

From DK:

For your blog since you’ve been keeping up with the slugs predicting roadways, here is a story of a drop of oil that solves a maze. I’m not sure what happens if the slugs get their hands on the oil, but there seems to be some spurious lesson about intelligence from these stories.
What a maze-solving oil drop tells us of intelligence (New Scientist)

Observations: Slime mold validates efficiency of Tokyo rail network

Following up a recent post, more on the slime mold as network architect … from Scientific American:
Slime mold validates efficiency of Tokyo rail network
It is not clear to me who has precedence, UK or Japan based slime mold researchers, but interesting nonetheless.

Designing highways the slime mould way

From New Scientist: Designing highways the slime mould way

Jeff Jones and Andrew Adamatzky, specialists in unconventional computing at the University of the West of England in Bristol, wondered if biology could provide an alternative to conventional road planning methods. To find out, they created templates of the UK using a sheet of agar on which they marked out the nine most populous cities, excluding London, with oat flakes. Then, in the place of London, the pair introduced a colony of P. polycephalum, which feeds by spawning tendrils to reach nutrients, and recorded the colony’s feeding activity (see picture).
Most of the resulting “maps” mimicked the real inter-city road network, but some offered new routes. For instance, the motorway between Manchester and Glasgow passes along the west coast of the UK, but the slime mould preferred to travel east to Newcastle and then north to Glasgow ( / ). “This shows how a single-celled creature without any nervous system – and thus intelligence in the classical sense – can provide an efficient solution to a routing problem,” says Jones.

Hong Kongers protest $7.1B high-speed rail link to China, question legislature’s democracy |

From the AP (via Strib) Hong Kongers protest $7.1B high-speed rail link to China, question legislature’s democracy

[A] $55 billion Hong Kong dollar ($7.1 billion) project to link Hong Kong to a national [Chinese] high-speed rail network has run into a growing protest movement analysts say stems from the lack of democracy in this wealthy former British colony of 7 million people.
Hundreds protested in a public square next to Hong Kong’s legislature last week as lawmakers debated the proposed rail link to the southern Chinese city Guangzhou. Several hundred camped out in the square again on Friday.
Demonstrators object to the project because it would force many residents to relocate and could cause major traffic congestion and other environmental problems. They also question the economic benefits touted by the government and say the approval process has been clouded by conflicts of interest of some lawmakers linked to industries and companies that could profit from the project.

The next big things

I was interviewed by the Jim Foti of the Strib last month for their beginning of the decade article The next big things
My bit below:

New light-rail lines, many more MnPass lanes and cars that make driving decisions for you are in the commuting forecast for the next decade, says David Levinson, a civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota.
Congestion levels won’t change much, he said. The Twin Cities area will have more residents, but the aging population will be working less, and increased telecommuting will mean that people won’t go into work as often.
The Southwest and Central Corridor rail lines are scheduled to start mid-decade, and one or two Minneapolis streetcar lines could be in the mix. Levinson expects highway expansion to mainly take the form of new MnPass lanes, which are for carpools, buses, motorcycles and toll-paying solo drivers.
He sees plug-in hybrids as the dominant car, meaning drivers will be buying less gas, so a per-mile fee will be implemented to replace lost tax revenue. Cars will keep getting safer, he said, with features such as automatic emergency braking and cruise control that adapts to the speed of surrounding traffic.

Sustainable Immobility

Link from Bruce Sterling: ElectroSmog:
International Festival for Sustainable Immobility

From the site:

“ElectroSmog is a new festival that explores the concept ‘Sustainable Immobility’ in theory and practice. Sustainable Immobility is first of all a critique of the growing global crisis of mobility. Current forms of hyper-mobility of people and products in travel and transport are ecologically increasingly unsustainable. The will to slow down, however, seems thoroughly absent. The economic crisis may have temporarily slowed matters down, long term projections still point towards exponential growth of worldwide mobility and exploding energy needs. Alternatives for the current state of hyper-mobility need to be designed urgently.”

This group dislikes hyper-mobility, arguing it is unsustainable. Yet, isn’t life unsustainable? Doesn’t astro-physics tell us the sun will immolate the earth?
If this group’s radicalism is really to take root, at the extreme, we should all be trees – giving us sustainable (for everyone else) hyper-immobility.
Anyway, I look forward to local food every winter in Minnesota. Some bark or snow anyone?

The Shrinking American Car Fleet

From – Green Inc. Blog – NYTimes The Shrinking American Car Fleet

“The auto fleet in the United States shrank by an estimated 2 percent in 2009, as 14 million cars were scrapped and only 10 million new cars were sold, according to a new report by the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental research organization in Washington.”

More evidence that the market is now saturated, the sector is mature, and even in decline. The key indicator will be when we see a year with more roads removed (or gravelized) than built or paved.