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How Cities Should Be Preparing for the Onset of Autonomous Vehicles
GovTech, April 19, 2017 - Last year, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its autonomous vehicle guidelines, the document helped lay out a strategy for how the government will adopt self-driving vehicles. NHTSA suggested that the vehicle itself should be certified safe as a part of its federal motor vehicle safety standards and that states should remain responsible for the licensing and registration of the vehicle
Cities Seek Deliverance From the E-Commerce Boom
CityLab, April 2, 2017 -Just before 3 in the afternoon on a rainy spring day, Keith Greenleaf busts out his “bricklaying” skills. That’s delivery-driver parlance for balancing an inordinate amount of cardboard boxes on a metal handcart. As high as his collarbone he stacks them, packages labeled HP, J. Crew, Amazon Prime. “This is probably one of the first days I don’t have Pampers or dog food,” he says.
Who Will Buy Baby Boomers' Homes?
CityLab, April 14, 2017 - A recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies forecasts that the remodeling industry will remain robust over the next ten years. The growth will be driven, as ever, by the Baby Boomer generation, 80 percent of whom own homes, and two-thirds of whom have expressed a desire to “age in place.” This means that many of them are modifying their living quarters to include such “universal design” features as wider doors and hallways to accommodate wheelchair use.
Dubai Aims to Be the Transportation City of Tomorrow
Wall St. Journal, April 13, 2017 - DUBAI—Transportation authorities here in the largest city in the United Arab Emirates are working on a novel solution for businesspeople stuck in traffic jams: flying, driverless drone taxis that will swoop in and swiftly take them to their destinations. Dubai is looking at approving use of an autonomous drone that will carry one passenger short distances. The battery-powered flying taxi—built by Chinese drone maker Ehang Inc.—could be available for booking through an app as soon as this year, depending on how tests go, Dubai’s transportation authority says.
National Awards for Driving Positive Change in Underserved Communities
March 30, 2017 - hAt a social innovation summit in the nation’s capital today, The Atlantic and Allstate will honor five nonprofits with Renewal Awards for their innovative, grassroots approach to solving our nation’s most pressing challenges.The five Renewal Award recipients have a shared mission, which is to meet the needs of underserved communities, including LGBT homeless youth, incarcerated women and their families, neighborhoods ravaged by violence, and at-risk young men and women. The winners have affected thousands of lives and serve as role models for other organizations grappling with how to drive change in communities across the country.
Three Revolutions Turning the Transportation World Upside-Down
GovTech, March 23, 2017 - Less than six months ago, 150 representatives from various organizations — including the California Governor’s Office; Austin, Texas; several University of California campuses; Google X; Uber and Lyft, among many others — gathered in Sacramento, Calif., to discuss the three revolutions taking place in transportation: sharing, electrification and automation.The meeting, hosted by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) through its 3 Revolutions Policy Initiative, explored the key policies and strategies surrounding potential synergies among electrification, automation and vehicle sharing, and how best to guide those policies to serve the public interest.
Ports, Truck Drivers Testing Appointment Systems 2.0 for Shipping Container Pickups
Trucks.com. March 28, 2017 - Truck drivers are on the fence about new appointment systems meant to eliminate congestion outside terminal gates that are popping up in ports from Long Beach, Calif., to Newark, N.J. That’s because they remember early appointment systems intended to allow drivers to pick up and drop off shipping containers that fell short of their intended outcome. Some were designed without input from the truckers that used them.
WELCOME TO UBERVILLE: Uber wants to take over public transit, one small town at a time
The verge, March 17, 2017 - My first morning in Altamonte Springs, Florida, I was faced with a dilemma: how to travel the two miles from my hotel to city hall without a car. Walking would take nearly an hour in the sweltering June heat. Taking a bus would entail waiting up to a half hour at a stop with little shelter from the forecasted thunderstorms, followed by a looping detour to the local mall. The trip could potentially take longer than walking.
What Works: The Train Line That Brought the Twin Cities Back Together
Politico magazine, March 15, 2017 - More than 45,000 people rode the Green Line on its first day, June 15, 2014—the first time trains had connected the Twin Cities’ downtowns in more than 60 years. The $957 million project had taken eight years to design and build, but it was 30 years in the making if you counted the time it took to line up political support. The party wasn’t a simple celebration of a civic triumph. It was also a chance for light rail’s supporters to start winning over residents and business owners along the route who had been skeptical, even downright hostile to the trains. It was their chance for the supporters to start making good on promises that light rail would do more good than harm.
Study: Driverless tech means millions fewer cars, but new bills to pay
Curbed, March 13, 2017 - With Uber, Lyft, and leading automakers running trials for ridesharing with local transit agencies and testing automated drivers, a new future for urban transportation is beginning to take shape. According to a new report, “Driverless Future: A Policy Roadmap for City Leaders,” prepared by researchers from Arcadis, H&R Advising, and Sam Schwartz Consulting, that shift will change cities in many of the same ways you’ve heard before: roadways won’t look the same and urban design will need to adapt to new transportation realities. But this report also offers some new ways of looking at how this shift will impact U.S. cities. First of all, the study attempts to place numbers on just how many drivers will be impacted by the technology shift, and how many could afford or decide to switch to AV vehicles or a combination of AV rides and ridesharing, effectively abandoning private ownership.
Omaha’s Answer to Costly Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads
New York Times, MARCH 7, 2017 - After living more than 40 years along a road plagued by potholes, Jo Anne Amoura was excited to see city crews shred her block of Leavenworth Street into gravel. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great. We’re going to get a new street,’” Ms. Amoura recalled. “And then we waited and waited and waited.” Fresh pavement never arrived. Only after the asphalt had been ripped out almost three years ago did Ms. Amoura and her neighbors learn that their street had been “reclaimed,” Omaha City Hall’s euphemism for unpaving a road.
Building a Road Map for the Self-Driving Car
New York Times, MARCH 2, 2017 - How do you create a map showing every road in the United States, with the precise location of every stop sign, all the lane markings, every exit ramp and every traffic light — and update it in real time as traffic is rerouted around construction and accidents? That’s a challenge that automakers and technology companies are confronting in their race to develop self-driving cars, the kind that someday will let you sit back and read or watch TV on the way to work each morning.
When Robots Take Bad Jobs: Trucking industry ripe for automation
The Atlantic, Feb. 27, 2017 - ames Ford worked at various printing presses for decades, eventually becoming head pressman at a bookbinding shop in Michigan. But the industry was changing, and as the work required fewer and fewer people, he searched around for his next career. He settled on truck driving…Ford is one of thousands of workers going through schools like Celadon, which promise to get people out on the road and into employment in short order. Every year, the trucking industry makes a big push to recruit new workers like Ford, bemoaning a driver shortage in a booming industry.
How to pay for Texas' $12 billion bullet train without asking the state for money
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 20, 2017 - Texas Central Partners has repeated its promise time and time again.It will connect Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes with the nation’s first high-speed rail line. And it will get the $12 billion job done without public funding.This collaboration between The Dallas Morning News and the Texas Tribune explores how a plan to link Dallas and Houston by high-speed rail highlights a widening divide between Texas' rural roots and its explosive urban-suburban growth. Proponents of the Texas bullet train say it’s not only possible, but inevitable, as the country's interstates, bridges and tunnels near the end of their useful lives.
Highway or No, Trenton Eyes Waterfront Redevelopment
NextCity | February 17, 2017 - Just south of Trenton’s famous bridge, which telegraphs the message “Trenton Makes, the World Takes,” is a swath of waterfront property many agree could yield much more for New Jersey’s capital city — if only a pesky little highway could be replaced. Cut off from the rest of downtown by Route 29, the crescent-moon-shaped tract of land hosts a minor league baseball stadium, a nightclub, an underutilized park and a handful of state agency offices. Employees overwhelmingly drive to the area and, when there’s not a game going on, leave it nearly empty after 5 o’clock.
How Smart Transportation Projects Can Help Solve Social Issues
Govtech, Feb. 1, 2017 - When the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) put out a Smart Cities Challenge, one might have expected the proposed solutions to cluster around transit issues. They did, but many went much further. In its newly issued report on lessons learned from the challenge, which ended in June 2016, the department details a range of proposals that look to leverage transit not just as a tool for managing commuting and congestions, but also as a means for addressing wider range of issues.
How Can Automation Improve Freight Delivery?
ENO FOUNDATION, Feb. 6 2017 - At Eno’s Capital Convergence conference, held last month, one of the sessions examined the impact that existing and imminent new technologies will have on the freight sector.
City of Seattle Building Stronger Connections With Community Liaisons
NextCity, Feb. 17, 2017 - The city of Seattle has plenty of wealthy homeowners who turn out in force to public meetings to voice opinions about decisions that will affect their neighborhoods — including Mayor Ed Murray’s zoning overhaul. But City Hall wants to hear from a more diverse set of voices when making decisions about everything from land use to affordable housing, and a new outreach program is designed to include members of historically marginalized groups. Through the initiative, the city is hiring “public outreach and engagement liaisons” (POELs) from those communities — think recent Somali immigrants, LGBT youth, Chinese-American business owners — to do outreach.
Is America Breaking Up With Cars?
CityLab Feb. 14, 2017 - After 2006, car ownership and vehicle miles began declining. But the latest installment of this research, conducted by Michael Sivak, who heads the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation research consortium—shows a hint of a rebound. In 2015, vehicle ownership rates ticked up 1.4 percent on average from 2012. Car ownership went from .744 per person in 2012 to .756 per person in 2015 and from 1.27 per household in 2013 to 1.95 per household in 2015.
As Trump Vows Building Splurge, Famed Traffic Choke Point Offers Warning
New York Times, FEB. 6, 2017 - BREEZEWOOD, Pa. — Millions of people who travel between the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest each year fight through Breezewood, Pa., a strange gap in the Interstate System. A leg of Route I-70 brings drivers north from Washington and Baltimore to plug into the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the great road network that runs west to the heartland cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago.
Cameras Can Speed Cities to Improving Pedestrian Safety
Next City, February 3, 2017 -The great irony of Vision Zero (a goal to prevent all traffic-related deaths), if you ask Tarek Sayed, is that to know how to reduce pedestrian fatalities, you need data on pedestrian fatalities.
Cities, suburbs are requiring too much parking near transit stations, study says
Washington Post, Feb. 1, 2017 - Auto-centric standards and zoning requirements have led to too much parking being built around transit stations, leaving many parking spaces empty and wasting valuable land that could be better used, according to a study released Tuesday by Smart Growth America.
Tinder for cities and other tech tools for inclusive town planning
Guardian, Jan. 24, 2017 - Imagine if next time you saw a plan for an oversized monster tower block proposed for your street, you could get out your smartphone and swipe left to oppose it? Or see a carefully designed scheme for a new neighbourhood library and swipe right to support it? Tinder for urban planning might sound far-fetched, but it is already being trialled in the sun-kissed Californian city of Santa Monica.
Peak Millennial? Cities Can’t Assume a Continued Boost From the Young
New York Times, Jan. 23, 2017 - Over the past decade, many American cities have been transformed by young professionals of the millennial generation, with downtowns turning into bustling neighborhoods full of new apartments and pricey coffee bars. But soon, cities may start running out of millennials. A number of demographers, along with economists and real estate consultants, are starting to contemplate what urban cores will look like now that the generation — America’s largest — is cresting.
How Sadik-Khan clawed back the streets of NYC for walkers and bikers – book review
UrbDeZine San Francisco, Jan. 21, 2017 - Written primarily for urban activists, Janette Sadik-Kahn’s Street Fight documents the now well-copied street improvement initiatives implemented during her six-year tenure as transportation commissioner in New York City. Sadik-Khan’s mission was to “claw back” the public realm from the 100-year onslaught of auto-centricity and to, in her words, “rebalance” our streets to more equitably serve pedestrians and bicyclists and more effectively accommodate other forms of mobility.
Beware the Man With the Flying Car:They’re not the solution to our traffic problems
Slate, Jan. 18 2017 - It has been 11 months since the aviation giant Airbus, through its Silicon Valley branch A3, launched Project Vahana—an effort to build the world’s first certified, commercial passenger aircraft with no pilot. On Monday, Airbus CEO Tom Enders told a tech conference in Munich that a prototype would be ready by the end of 2017…There are a few problems with the breathless press coverage here. First of all, what Enders said wasn’t exactly news. A3 CEO Rodin Lyasoff wrote in September that a prototype, which looks like a bobsled with wings and propellers, would be ready by the end of 2017. More significantly, this month’s Airbus magazine story…
Yellow Cab, Long a Fixture of City Life, Is for Many a Thing of the Past
New York Times, JAN. 15, 2017 - John McFadden no longer sticks his hand out for a yellow cab. He has plenty of other options at his fingertips. With a couple of taps on his phone, he lines up rides with Via, a car-pooling service that shuttles him around Manhattan with strangers for a flat rate of $5. When he wants to ride alone, he taps again, this time summoning a car through Uber.
Uber Offers City Planners a Slice of Traffic Data
NextCity, Jan. 9 2017 - Despite its popularity with riders, Uber and city governments aren’t exactly BFFs. On Sunday, however, the ride-hailing app company unveiled a new data-sharing website aimed at public planners and city officials in a move that The New York Times is calling a “tiny olive branch.” Just how tiny remains to be seen. The site, dubbed “Movement,” curates GPS data from more than 2 million trips, and it could be a helpful tool for observing traffic patterns and reducing congestion. Uber claims that the information it has crowdsourced (well, driver-sourced) is more reliable than the data typically mined by third-party agencies for city governments — largely because all of its drivers use smartphones with global positioning technology.
On The Move: Disruptive Transportation Models Of The Future
Clean Technica, Jan. 9 2017 -In conversation with: Greg Lindsay, Author, Futurist, and non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Initiative. How do we take practical steps to achieve urban sustainability and to make transport more climate friendly? One way of framing the question is to think about the future we’re trying to avoid, a future the science fiction author Bruce Sterling once described as: “Old people, in big cities, afraid of the sky.” He was alluding to the triple dilemma of global aging, urbanization, and climate change
Alphabet’s Waymo Cuts Cost of Key Self-Driving Sensor by 90%
Bloomberg, January 8, 2017 - Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, has slashed the cost of a key technology required to bring self-driving cars to the masses and rolled it out Sunday in an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Waymo has cut costs by 90 percent on LiDAR sensors, which bounce light off objects to create a three-dimensional map of a car’s surroundings. The breakthrough will let Waymo bring the technology to millions of consumers, John Krafcik, Waymo’s chief executive officer, said in a speech at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Why transportation tech is on a collision course for 2017
GreenBiz, Jan. 4, 2016 - During the last year alone, a self-driving truck has completed a commercial beer run, two automotive giants have spun out new divisions focused on "smart mobility," and one of the world’s biggest car companies unveiled a new electric vehicle amid Tesla-level intrigue.
NYC's brand new subway is the most expensive in the world — that's a problem
Vox, Jan. 1, 2017 - Today, New York City is celebrating the opening of the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, a project that’s been anticipated for nearly a century and that’s sorely needed to relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue lines and to extend access to some very densely populated neighborhoods. But as exciting as the opening is, phase one is also a very modest-size project encompassing just three stations. The plan is, eventually, to extend it up into East Harlem, and potentially then either go farther south or swing west to provide crosstown subway service across 125th Street.
Selected Transportation News Sources
The Atlantic Cities
Transportation Communications Newsletter
Politico Morning Transportation
The Hill's Transportation
Streetsblog Capitol Hill
Mobilizing the Region
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