Plug-in Hybrid Conversions

Plug-in Hybrid Conversion
Plug-in Hybrid Conversion

A niche market in the EV world is Electric Plug-In Conversions, converting a run-of-the-mill hybrid (e.g. a used Prius) to a plug-in hybrid.

Minnesota’s local converter ReGo Electric Conversions is holding an open house bright and early August 9, 2011 from 7:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. at 5925 Nicollet Ave South.
They tell me a conversion is $4995. This is a factor of 10 cheaper than a Chevy Volt. Still, at what price of gas ($/gal) is this economical?

TRIP Bonds

Trip Bond: How Trips Work
TRIP Bond: How TRIPs Work

Senator Ron Wyden et al. are proposing TRIP Bonds
These are basically an allocation of Customs Revenues (making imports more expensive) to the states. Each state gets $1 BILLION dollars (this is a grant program, not loans, the proposal proclaims “the states and localities receive the proceeds as grants.”). California just as much as Wyoming (does this sound like a Senate Bill? Not surprisingly co-sponsors are from North Dakota and Alaska (John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska))).
This of course means the Treasury won’t get those Customs Revenues, which means the deficit in Treasury revenue needs to be made up somehow. This is not explained. Further the Treasury loses money on tax credits to Bond purchasers. It looks an elaborate shell game to me.
All this to avoid a Federal Highway Bank where projects actually have to earn their keep and repay the loan, or direct user fees.


OK, new format. Every so often I will just put a set of links to interesting articles without commenting:

Strib: 59 bridges fixed, 75 to goIn the four years since the collapse of the I-35W bridge, the state has repaired or replaced 59 deficient bridges. Another 75 bridges remain scheduled for work through 2018.

Strib: That truck driver you flipped off? Let me tell you his story.Some food for thought for impatient drivers everywhere.

Strib: Shutdown hit road builders
Construction projects were delayed, employees lost weeks of pay or worse, and financial problems may linger for years.

To game or not to game: teaching transportation planning with board games

Evaluation of Transportation Board Games from To Game or Not To Game by Huang and Levinson
Evaluation of Transportation Board Games from To Game or Not To Game by Huang and Levinson

Recent working paper:

  • Huang, Arthur and Levinson, David (2011) To game or not to game: teaching transportation planning with board games. (working paper)

Traditional “chalk and talk” teaching in civil engineering has gradually been replaced with the idea of active learning focusing on encouraging students’ knowledge discovery with innovative pedagogical methods and tools. One interesting tool is the board game. This research examines the efficacy of adopting transportation board games as a tool in graduate-level transportation planning and transportation economics classes at the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Minnesota from 2008 to 2010. In these classes, a weekday night was scheduled for playing transportation board games. Students were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the games on their learning and to
write a self-reflective paper about their findings. The majority of the students reveal that their understanding of the planning process, network deployment, and practical issues, and and their ability to form opinion about transportation planning has been improved. Their summaries on the game economy and its implications on planning validate that their understanding obtained from this game process has met the pedagogical goals. Our analysis further shows that students who are moderately/highly visual, sensing, active, or sequential, all else equal, tend to learn more effectively through this approach than those who are not. Overall, this research suggests that properly incorporating board games into the curriculum can enhance students’ learning process in transportation planning.