Linklist: September 18, 2012

Wired: Sept. 18, 1830: Horse Beats Iron Horse, for the Time Being

Green Car Congress: Volvo Car Corporation intends to lead in field of autonomous driving technology; targeting the next-generation of consumers

Spinlister | Find a bike to rent [I read this as Splinster, which is a cooler name. At any rate, seriously, this gets VC funding? I am in the wrong business. [The problem is the transaction costs for something like this are too high for the value. Bikesharing is more viable, or hotels or AirBnB with a bike rental option, but not strangers for a few hour bike ride. Otherwise this is just a yellow pages for commercial bike rental, which is nice, but hardly earthshaking]]

Linklist: September 4, 2012


The Minnesota Daily: Campus buses implement GPS tracking system [The University adopts NextBus, really cool bus stop signs, again leads MetroTransit]

KurzweilAI: California passes driverless car bill :

“Catching up with Nevada, it will be legal for autonomous cars to drive in California, probably within the next five years, if Gov. Brown signs SB 1298, just passed by the California Senate, the San Jose Mercury reports.”


KurzweilAI: Self-driving cars in 2019, report says:

“Autonomous cars will be in showrooms as early as 2019, or maybe even sooner, according to a report released by KPMG and the Center for Automotive Research.”

[I am still very skeptical of connected vehicles. We need autonomy first.]

The Hill’s Transportation Report: Stalled labor talks threaten to paralyze US ports – :

“Ports in the United States could be unable to import and export goods if a labor fight is not resolved by October”

SafetyUnderground China Bridge Collapse Raises Infrastructure Concerns:

“HONG KONG — One of the longest bridges in northern China collapsed on Friday, just nine months after it opened, setting off a storm of criticism from Chinese Internet users and underscoring questions about the quality of construction in the country’s rapid expansion of its infrastructure.”

NYTimes: Why Waiting in Line Is Torture : ”

SOME years ago, executives at a Houston airport faced a troubling customer-relations issue. Passengers were lodging an inordinate number of complaints about the long waits at baggage claim. In response, the executives increased the number of baggage handlers working that shift. The plan worked: the average wait fell to eight minutes, well within industry benchmarks. But the complaints persisted.
Puzzled, the airport executives undertook a more careful, on-site analysis. They found that it took passengers a minute to walk from their arrival gates to baggage claim and seven more minutes to get their bags. Roughly 88 percent of their time, in other words, was spent standing around waiting for their bags.
So the airport decided on a new approach: instead of reducing wait times, it moved the arrival gates away from the main terminal and routed bags to the outermost carousel. Passengers now had to walk six times longer to get their bags. Complaints dropped to near zero.”



You’ve Heard of Skyscrapers. But What About a ‘Depthscraper’? – Design – The Atlantic Cities [I work in one, lots of water-related issues]

Systemic Failure: The Problem of Under-Insured Drivers :

“In June 2010, Kaitlynn Fisher was killed in a car crash when the other driver, Ronald K. Hope, ran a red light. There was no doubt as to culpability: a jury and even Hope’s insurer (Nationwide) agreed that Hope was at fault.
The story gets interesting because Fisher’s insurer, Progressive, did not want to pay out a claim. You see, Fisher carried coverage for under-insured drivers. Hope had maxed out his $25,000 in coverage, and Fisher’s policy provided up to $100,000 coverage for accidents involving uninsured and under-insured drivers. Obviously hoping to avoid paying out a $75,000 claim, Progressive interjected itself into the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Hope.”

Human Transit: Grids on the brain

Seat2B The airline industry has “permanently shriveled”:

“Scheduled flights within North America this month are at their lowest levels in a decade, according to OAG, the global guardian of flight statistics. OAG estimates there will be around 21,400 fewer flights this month than last August and nearly a million fewer seats available to book. And this comes against a background of an airline system that has been shrinking relentlessly since the economic upheavals of 2008.”

Digital Trends: ‘Double’ transforms your iPad into a $1999 telepresence robot:

“Imagine you’re at your company, seated at your desk, when this iPad perched on a kind of pared-down Segway rolls up beside you. On the screen is the face of one of your co-workers located in another country who today is poking about your office, getting to know the layout, meeting some new people, asking a few questions. After a brief chat, it rolls off to the other side of the office. You look up five minutes later and do a double-take as you notice two of these devices having a conversation with each other by the water cooler.
Thanks to Double Robotics’ iPad-on-wheels – otherwise known as ‘Double’ – such a scenario could one day become a reality.”

The Hill’s E2-Wire: Report: Carbon emissions hit lowest levels in 20 years:

“Carbon emissions have fallen to their lowest levels in 20 years, primarily due to market forces, The Associated Press reports.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said Thursday that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have fallen close to 1992 levels.
Though the agency credited a large number of factors for the reduction, it said that the primary reason for the drop has been cheap and abundant natural gas.”

Linklist: August 9, 2012

  • Wired: Road-Paver Concept Lays Asphalt Underneath Traffic
  • Sybil Derrible: PLoS ONE: Network Centrality of Metro Systems
  • Jarrett Walker: San Francisco: all-door boarding on buses!
  • Nokohaha: Nicollet Avenue Night and Day
  • Reihan Salam: Stephen Smith on the Missing Driverless Trains
  • Lisa Schweitzer: David King on not getting to stoked about the back-to-the-city numbers
  • Lewis Lehe: Unite y’all
  • Wired: How Your Smartphone Could Stop a Car From Running You Over
  • Linklist: July 24, 2012 (One of these futures is not like the others, one of these futures does not belong)

    Autoblog Green: Better Place Israel lowers rates, gives plug-in drivers ‘a simpler and better deal’:

    “Better Place’s first customer deliveries happened in January after years of testing and delays, which Better Place blamed mostly on trouble with building permits. BP’s marketing and strategy manager, Ori Lahav, told the Jerusalem Post, that ‘Israeli bureaucracy really slowed us down.’ Currently, there are 250 cars and 10 battery stations in operation in Israel, and many more should be online soon. We have an in-depth look at Better Place’s plans here.”

    Autoblog Green: With WattStation Connect, GE using PayPal for electric vehicle fill-ups:

    “It’s not too difficult to make the case that PayPal has already played a large role in the modern resurgence of electric vehicles. After all, Elon Musk – now the CEO of Tesla Motors – made a nice chunk of coin selling the online payment service to eBay before coming to the EV company. Turns out, the circle is coming ’round again with General Electric’s announcement that its EV chargers will soon accept PayPal.”

    KurzweilAI: Elon Musk bets half of all cars built in 2032 will be electric | KurzweilAI:

    “Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk recently predicted that in 20 years, half of all new cars sold would be plug-in electric cars, says Green Car Reports.”

    Atlantic Cities: San Francisco to L.A. in 30 Minutes? Sure, on the Hyperloop:

    “Elon Musk, he of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX fame, thinks he has that way. And it is a notional vehicle that can carry people between Los Angeles and San Francisco … in 30 minutes flat.
    He calls it ‘the Hyperloop.’
    ‘We have planes, trains, automobiles and boats,’ Musk told Sarah Lacey at a PandoDaily event in Los Angeles. So: ‘What if there was a fifth mode?'”

    Techcrunch” Eric Schmidt: Google Self-Driving Cars Should Become The Predominant Mode Of Transport In Our Lifetime:

    “‘It’s a terrible tragedy,’ Schmidt said, ‘The sooner we can get cars to drive for us the more lives we can save … self-driving cars should become the predominant mode of transportation in our lifetime.’”

    Linklist: July 23, 2012 goes meta: Streets.MN, by the numbers :

    “Our most popular day is Monday. We get approximately 700 unique visitors on your average Monday. Wednesday appears to be our next most popular day. Streets.MN sees about 2,300 visitors per week and upwards of 9,100 visits per month. “

    (Via Tyler Cowan) CNNGo: Gallery: Spectacular, rarely seen images of China’s railways

    Business Insider: Six Percent Of People Swerve to Run Over Animals:

    “[Rober] found that about 6 percent of drivers (60 out of his sample of 1,000 cars — mostly those in SUVs and trucks) would swerve out of their lane to hit a spider, turtle or snake on the side of the road. On the flip side of the animal empathy coin, almost 6 percent also pulled over to try to help the rubber animals (specifically the snake and turtle).”

    Cool Hunting: Hövding Invisible Bicycle Helmet:

    “a fabric collar containing a built-in airbag designed to inflate around a cyclist’s head on impact. “

    Linklist: July 10, 2012

    Green Car Congress: Volvo Car Corporation developing new safety systems with autonomous driving support [JW writes “It seems everyone is working on the path to autonomous cars. The animal avoidance is especially useful for Minnesotans.”

    KurzweilAI: Smart headlight system sees through rain and snow:

    “A new ‘smart headlight‘ system invented by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute can improve visibility when driving at night in a rainstorm or snowstorm.
    By constantly redirecting light to shine between particles of precipitation, the system prevents the distracting and sometimes dangerous glare that occurs when headlight beams are reflected by precipitation back toward the driver.”

    Pedestrian Observations: Northeast Corridor HSR, 90% Cheaper:

    “Amtrak’s latest Next-Generation High-Speed Rail plan is now up to $151 billion, from a prior cost of $117 billion. This is partially a small cost escalation, but mostly including Master Plan upgrades to the legacy line. Per kilometer of route length, this means the project has now crossed the $200 million/km mark, a higher cost than 60%-underground Chuo Shinkansen maglev. The primary cause of the high cost of Amtrak’s project is the heavy amount of deep-cavern urban tunneling: nearly a tenth of the cost is the Gateway Tunnel, a rebranded bundling of ARC into the project, and a similar amount is a similar project in Philadelphia. At least this time they’re serving Rhode Island with a stop in or near Providence rather than Woonsocket.
    In contrast with this extravaganza, it is possible to achieve comparable travel times for about one tenth the cost. The important thing is to build the projects with the most benefit measured in travel time reduced or reliability gained per unit of cost, and also share tracks heavily with commuter rail, using timed overtakes to reduce the required amount of multi-tracking.”

    UMNews on Cultivating Change in the Academy: 50 Stories from the Digital Frontlines at the University of Minnesota in 2012,: The medium is the message:

    “Six-hundred pages in just 10 weeks. Peer-reviewed—no kidding.”

    [True, that.]

    Linklist: July 4, 2012

    David King: Credible Commitment and Congestion Pricing

    Sommer Mathis @ Atlantic Cities: Repetitive Debate of the Day: Why Hasn’t Washington, D.C. Buried its Power Lines? [See also Transportationist on Underground Utilities]

    Brendon Slotterback: A challenge to the market-oriented urbanists . Josh Barro presponds: Homeowners: The Cartel Next Door . [The Transportationist on Zoning and Externalities]

    Transit Maps on Squaring Manhattan The Shape of Manhattan in Transit Maps

    Horace Dediu @ asymco Building and dismantling the Windows advantage