Linklist: November 18, 2011

GGW: Talk transportation and technology on January 21: “TransportationCamp, the free “unconference” on the intersection of urban transportation and technology, is coming to DC on January 21. Whether you like to build software around open transit data or are interested in how technology can help transit agencies and riders, we hope you will join us.”

Lisa Margonelli @ NY Times: Thinking Outside the Bus : “Legal issues aside, private vans provide services no public system could support, says David King, an assistant professor of urban planning at Columbia University. The concentration of vans along Flatbush means that sometimes there’s a van every minute, so riders don’t have to wait. Sometimes they’ll take a mother and child to daycare and then wait at the curb while the mother walks the child up to the door of the facility — something a city bus would never do. Always on the lookout for customers, the drivers make routes where customers don’t have other options. A van between Chinatowns in Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, for instance, can take as little as 20 minutes when the subway would take over an hour. King says that he sees potential to enhance transit options for everyone by incorporating dollar van type services.
For one thing, dollar vans quickly learn passengers’ desired routes, like traveling between Chinatowns. This sort of knowledge could help public transit planners design systems that keep up with riders’ real needs. Dollar vans’ ability to scale up dramatically intrigues King.  “According to our estimates, the dollar vans are carrying 120,000 riders a day in New York, which makes them the country’s 20th largest bus system.””

Network Reliability in Practice

Network Reliability in Practice
Network Reliability in Practice

Network Reliability in Practice
Book Description
ISBN-10: 1461409462 | ISBN-13: 978-1461409465 |
Publication Date: November 30, 2011 | Edition: 2012
This book contains selected peer-reviewed papers that were presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability (INSTR) Conference held at the University of Minnesota July 22-23, 2010. International scholars, from a variety of disciplines–engineering, economics, geography, planning and transportation—offer varying perspectives on modeling and analysis of the reliability of transportation networks in order to illustrate both vulnerability to day-to-day and unpredictability variability and risk in travel, and demonstrates strategies for addressing those issues. The scope of the chapters includes all aspects of analysis and design to improve network reliability, specifically user perception of unreliability of public transport, public policy and reliability of travel times, the valuation and economics of reliability, network reliability modeling and estimation, travel behavior and vehicle routing under uncertainty, and risk evaluation and management for transportation networks. The book combines new methodologies and state of the art practice to model and address questions of network unreliability, making it of interest to both academics in transportation and engineering as well as policy-makers and practitioners.

Dear Elsevier, Your RSS Feeds are Broken

Dear Elsevier,
Your RSS Feeds are Broken
I use Google Reader to read RSS feeds of journals in my field. Your RSS feeds have broken in recent months. At first I hoped it was a hiccup. It seems more substantial. The same RSS feed
gives me both Transport Policy (good) and Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (which is wonderful, but quite useless).
The same RSS feed
gives me Transport Research part A and The Lancet and Diamond and Related Materials.
The same RSS feed
gives me Chemical Engineering Research and Design and Regional Science and Urban Economics
etc., etc., etc.
Today The Journal of Transport Geography gives me Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry
This is an interesting problem since the feeds seem cleaned up when I go to them directly (e.g. in Safari). I suspect you clean out the wrong feeds after Google Reader archives it, though perhaps there is another explanation. Google Reader has this problem only with Elsevier feeds. None of my other feeds seem similarly corrupted.
I realize not too many people are using these RSS feeds, but I am one of them. It seems simple enough. Please fix.

Electric multicopter flies manned for the first time

KurzweilAI: Electric multicopter flies manned for the first time:

“The e-volo electric multicopter has been taken on its first manned test flight by inventors Thomas Senkel, Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The e-volo prototype measures approximately 5×5 meters and allows for a payload of about 80 kg. 16 propellers provide it with the necessary uplift, and it can be landed safely even with a malfunction of up to four eco-friendly electrical engines.
A position sensor ensures the correct position in space and permanently balances position changes with rotary speed adjustment, which allows the e-volo to stay still in the air. The electrical power is supplied by lithium batteries and enables a flight time of up to 20 minutes, depending on payload. They are controllable by an iPhone or other devices.”

How Google’s Self-Driving Car Works

IEEE Spectrum: How Google’s Self-Driving Car Works –

This is a nice article, read the whole thing and watch the videos (they are low quality, but the fast forwards and golf carts in motion are cool). The second video includes self-driving golf carts on the Google campus. Campus applications are a logical first step in deploying the technology.

Minnesota GO

Minnesota GO has Vision:

A Transportation Vision for Generations
Minnesota’s multimodal transportation system maximizes the health of people, the environment and our economy. The system:

Connects Minnesota’s primary assets—the people, natural resources and businesses within the state—to each other and to markets and resources outside the state and country
Provides safe, convenient, efficient and effective movement of people and goods
Is flexible and nimble enough to adapt to changes in society, technology, the environment and the economy

InDecision 2011: Washington State Transportation Initiatives

Seattle Times: No quick cascade of tolls from I-1125 defeat : “Voters have rejected a Tim Eyman initiative aimed at restricting the use of highway tolls and blocking light rail from the Interstate 90 bridge. The latest vote tally on Wednesday showed Initiative 1125 was falling too far behind to catch up with the remaining votes.”

Seattle Times: Officials not suggesting new try on car-tab fee : “Debate continued Wednesday about why Tuesday’s $60 car-tab measure for transportation projects failed, but no one at City Hall was promising to quickly rework the proposal and place it before voters again anytime soon.” See also Seattle Transit Blog for full coverage.

Seattle Times Voters put a stop sign on red-light camera use : “Nothing less than a statewide ban of red-light cameras will satisfy opponents of the devices, following victories in all three cities with advisory votes on the issue Tuesday.

Linklist: November 10, 2011

Pioneer Press: Smaller St. Croix bridge supports say new report supports cost figures :

“A group called the Sensible Stillwater Bridge Partnership said a new engineering report shows that their bridge would cost about $394 million. The St. Croix River Crossing proposed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and supported by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minn., is expected to cost $574 million to $690 million.”

Pioneer Press: U hopes tech will smarten traffic :

“SMART Signal Technologies Inc. signed an agreement last week to license the technology from the University of Minnesota, said John Merritt, a spokesman for the U, which announced the new company on Tuesday.
The company’s product takes data from existing traffic equipment and calculates optimal queue length at intersections controlled by traffic lights.
That information could allow municipalities to better mediate the flow of traffic at peak times, said Henry Liu, a co-inventor of the technology and a civil engineering professor at the U’s College of Science and Engineering.”

AP: Federal transportation network: An area ripe for Democratic and Republican political consensus :

“WASHINGTON — A Senate panel cleared legislation Wednesday overhauling federal highway programs, prompting lawmakers to talk of a looming bipartisan consensus that would end years of stalemate on repairing and expanding an aging transportation network.”

The Economist worries about too many Segways.

The Economist worries about too many Segways. Segway tours: Two wheels good, two legs bad : “The proliferation of Segways speeding around major tourist attractions is not without controversy. In June, Boston banned the vehicles from its pavements and parks, attracting the ire of burgeoning Segway tour companies. To prove his point, a city councillor got a Segway-mounted colleague to ram into him (“Let me tell you, it hurt”). The gizmos have long been prohibited in public places in New York City, Hong Kong and London. Wherever Segways are allowed, someone is probably making an effort to rein in their use on safety grounds”