The Flattening Internet Topology: Natural Evolution, Unsightly Barnacles or Contrived Collapse?

Bill St. Arnaud finds: The Flattening Internet Topology: Natural Evolution, Unsightly Barnacles or Contrived Collapse? by Phillipa Gill, Martin Arlitt, Zongpeng Li, and Anirban Mahanti. The full article can be found here (pdf).

In this paper we collect and analyze traceroute measure- ments1 to show that large content providers (e.g., Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!) are deploying their own wide-area networks, bringing their networks closer to users, and bypassing Tier-1 ISPs on many paths. This trend, should it continue and be adopted by more content providers, could flatten the Internet topology, and may result in numerous other consequences to users, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), content providers, and network researchers.

Can’t Cross A Virtual Wall by Hanyoung Lee » Yanko Design

Another hypothesis about a technology that might improve traffic safety (h/t Mike on Traffic) Can’t Cross A Virtual Wall A holographic projection of pedestrians in a crosswalk, so they are more obvious to drivers.

One can think of many issues, among them driver expectations being reset. I.e. if this is one place, fine, it may alert drivers, but if this is “almost” everywhere, it might create problems where it is not. And what if it fails where expected?

Despite lack of MnDOT funds, ‘burbs push projects

Another 8 seconds of fame. Apparently I was on the radio Tuesday, in an MPR story by Dan Olson. Either no one heard it or it is so routine no one mentioned it … Despite lack of MnDOT funds, ‘burbs push projects

David Levinson, a University of Minnesota transportation engineering professor, questions the wisdom of building new interchanges when we can’t take care of what we have.
“We clearly haven’t been spending enough to maintain our existing facilities,” he said. “That suggests we shouldn’t be spending very much on new infrastructure when we have a lot of infrastructure that will deteriorate and be very costly to replace when it fails.”

Wiki-Chair and beyond

From Null-Space The Parking Chair. I have not seen this in Minneapolis, but I have heard my east coast friends using this to defend hard-fought (er. difficulty shoveled) parking spaces.

A New Traffic Sign: “Take Turns”

From the Good Blog: A New Traffic Sign: “Take Turns”
We need a sign for zipper merges (pdf). (There is a bunch proposed here, but it does not seem so obvious)

Minneapolis limits street parking until April 1

From Strib: Minneapolis limits street parking until April 1

Minneapolis is banning parking on one side of most residential streets starting Thursday.
That day at 8 a.m., parking will be banned on the even-numbered side of non-snow emergency routes.
The ban will last until April 1, unless conditions allow it to be lifted earlier, the city said Tuesday.

This is an interesting experiment. (What data should be collected?) I think streets should be used for movement rather than storage of vehicles, though I recognize the traffic calming effects of parked cars.

One hour of driving could reduce life by 20 minutes [or 7.2 minutes]

From Canwest News Service One hour of driving could reduce life by 20 minutes: Study

TORONTO — Researchers at a Toronto hospital say that every hour spent driving could lead to a 20-minute loss in life expectancy.
Using complex computer models, a team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre determined that, much like how each cigarette smoked takes about five minutes off of a person’s life, the more time spent behind the wheel, the more likely a person is to die in a car crash.
“When drivers try to speed to get to their destination faster, they actually lose more time because the savings from faster travel are offset by the increased prospect of a crash,” said Dr. Donald Redelmeier, the study’s lead researcher.
But the study also found that slowing down the average speed of North American drivers by just three kilometres an hour “yielded 11,000 fewer crashes each day, saved about $10 million from property damage each day, and conserved about 199 cumulative life years” across the continent.
The research was published in the latest edition of the journal Medical Decision Making.

I couldn’t find the article, but I was curious, so I used a non-complex model …
Back of the envelope, people spend 365 hours in a car each year and live 80 years. So 365*80=29,200 hours. (About an hour a day, a rough average for a lifespan, too high for children, too low for active adults).
In the US there are about 40,000 car deaths per year, and assume average life expectancy is 80 years. In 80 years there will be 3.2 million car deaths. If US population is about 320 million (which it will be by 2020), there is about a 1% chance of dying in a car crash over a lifespan. Assume the death occurs at age 40, there will be 40 years of life lost (or 350,400 hours). A 1% chance of a 40 year loss gives an expected lost of 3504 hours.
If everything is linear (which it isn’t), for each hour driving you lose .12 hours (7.2 minutes), about 1/3 of the 20 minutes claimed in the article.

Bus ridership drops amid lost jobs, lower gas prices

From Strib: Bus ridership drops amid lost jobs, lower gas prices

After hitting nearly 95 million in 2008,
including a 27-year high for Metro Transit,
the region’s main bus system, ridership
throughout the various regional transit
systems is expected to sink below 90 million
when the final numbers are in, according to
figures released as part of Metropolitan
Council Chairman Peter Bell’s “State of the
Region” address last week.

President’s USDOT Budget Proposal

From the Washington Post: President’s USDOT Budget Proposal (pdf)