Tuesday, February 28, 2012

App will help blind, visually impaired navigate streets

A University of Minnesota researcher is developing an app that would tell the blind and visually-impaired not only when to cross the street, but which direction they’re going and how many lanes they have to cross.

Has the Time Come for an Older Driver Vehicle?

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has released a report that provides the background and rationale for an older driver vehicle and that explores research and issues with respect to older adults’ usage of vehicles.

U.S. DOT Research Hub Website

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT’s) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) has released a test version of the U.S. DOT Research Hub website, a searchable database of the latest agency-sponsored research, development, and technology projects. The database acts as a central location for information on projects funded by U.S. DOT operating administrations, provides access to the Department's research portfolio at the project level, and provides links to research reports and other products.

Volpe Highlights: February 2012

The U.S. Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has released the latest issue of its monthly newsletter that highlights work taking place at the center as well as information of interest to the transportation research community.

4th Transportation Research Board Conference on Innovations in Travel Modeling (ITM)

TRB is sponsoring the 4th Transportation Research Board Conference on Innovations in Travel Modeling (ITM) on April 30-May 2, 2012, in Tampa, Florida. The conference is designed to allow researchers and practitioners to share knowledge and experiences on current models and modeling research. The conference will review advances made possible by the integration of social, land-use, transportation supply, and technology into the modeling process.

Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) Workforce Summit

TRB is cosponsoring the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) Workforce Summit on April 24-26, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The summit is designed to help foster a national dialogue on the needs for and development of the transportation workforce in the United States and to promote greater visibility for transportation careers in industry, government agencies, and academia.

Pittsburgh in running to share millions in IBM support

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has reapplied to IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge to secure help with the city's transportation planning initiative, MovePGH. He met with IBM representatives Friday to discuss the request...
Officials said IBM's previous work on transportation issues here may give the city a competitive advantage. IBM has supported Carnegie Mellon University's Traffic 21 Initiative, which has resulted in projects such as ParkPGH, which provides real-time information on parking space availability in the Cultural District.

A regulation is set to require rearview cameras in cars

Now, auto safety regulators have decided to do something about it. Federal regulators plan to announce this week that automakers will be required to put rearview cameras in all passenger vehicles by 2014 to help drivers see what is behind them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which proposed the mandate in late 2010, is expected to send a final version of the rule to Congress on Wednesday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How technology in cities can help deliver a sustainable future

The instrumentation of the planet is providing us with increasingly detailed information about the services we depend on and advances in data communications are allowing us to combine real-time data with existing information. At the same time recent advances in analytic algorithms mean that, more than ever before, we can gain new insights from this rich data store to help us make smarter decisions.

Ford: Connected Cars Can Save Us From Gridlock

Bill Ford Jr., the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company and great grandson of Henry Ford, cautioned against the threat of increased car ownership without a corresponding increase in automotive connectivity. Ford made his comments today during his keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, reflecting a growing viewpoint among many auto executives and urbanists.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Carmakers may need to cooperate for wireless safety tech rollout

Over at Mashable, former car designer Steve Tengler compiled a list of the challenges facing the widespread implementation of such connected safety systems. And one of the main problems is that, for the technology to be effective, it needs to have mass uptake in new and old car models. But it’s hard to start that revolution, and no one wants to be first out of the gate.

Access to the car pool lane can be yours, for a price

Since October, a program created to improve traffic flow in restricted-use lanes around Atlanta has made it possible for solitary motorists to buy their way into the express lane; car pools of three or more, eligible alternative-fuel vehicles, motorcycles and an expanded fleet of buses can still scoot in free. Payment is made using an electronic transponder, and under what the Georgia Transportation Department calls value pricing, tolls increase as traffic in the restricted lane builds. The rate can vary from 1 cent to 90 cents a mile.

CMU team proposes scheme to improve packet error rate of DSRC in vehicle-to-vehicle communications

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a dynamic equalization scheme atop existing IEEE 802.11p Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications that significantly improves the packet error rate (PER) of data transmissions without changing the DSRC standard.

Gen Y carbuyers favor hybrids, demand connectivity

Deloitte asked business schools at UCLA, Michigan State University and Carnegie Mellon University to analyze 2011 study results and give and defend presentations at a forum in Detroit in January. The student team at Carnegie Mellon — all members of Gen Y — was asked to focus on issues of vehicle interiors and driver interfacing.

Smart Technolgy involved in new I-95 weigh station

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety, joined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and SC Department of Transportation, officially opened a state-of-the art weigh station in Dorchester County today. This facility is the first of its kind in the Southeast, giving officers the technology to detect safety violations on commercial trucks that could lead to deadly collisions on the highways. The new site is fully operational and in use.

New Fuel Cell Demonstration on Mobile Rover at NASA

The rover that will demonstrate the fuel cell in Glenn's Simulated Lunar Operations (SLOPE) facility is called SCARAB. It was developed by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, Pittsburgh, under a grant from Glenn, and is regularly used for Human Robotic systems project mobility research in SLOPE.

Bali’s Capital of Denpasar Getting Automated Area Traffic Control Systems to Keep Traffic Moving Through Crowded Intersections

Traffic authorities in Bali are increasingly concerned with the level of traffic congestion, with several intersections receiving a very negative “F Category” classification reserved for the worst areas of traffic bottlenecks. In order to reduce gridlock, the Bali Traffic Department is installing Area Traffic Control Systems (ATCS) for installation at the worst affected crossroads.

‘Smart’ cities aim to predict — and manage — traffic future

Look at what IBM is currently doing in the Chinese city of Zhenjiang. Using its Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities, Big Blue aims to help the city of three million use analytics to not only enable real-time bus monitoring and management, but to simulate traffic flow patterns ahead of time.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New SEPTA system aimed at preventing train collisions

SEPTA will spend $100 million for a new, federally mandated train-control system designed to prevent the kind of collision that killed 25 people and injured more than 130 in Los Angeles in 2008. The new system must be installed by Dec. 31, 2015, under current federal law. The system will be designed to automatically halt trains if engineers do not heed stop signals.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mind-controlled skateboard is literally powered by your thoughts

You don't have to be Professor X or Yoda to control the Board of Imagination with your mind. This futuristic skateboard by Chaotic Moon Labs can read your brain waves and take you to where you want to go, even if you're not a mutant or a Jedi.

Google Transit: How (and Why) the Search Giant is Remapping Public Transportation

This revolution, as with almost everything the company does, is proceeding at Internet scale. More than 475 transit agencies in the U.S. and around the world now submit their operating schedules to Google, which publishes the data as part of its Google Maps service.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

General Motors Executive Describes Future of Emissions-Free, Safe Cars

Nady Boules, the director of GM’s Electrical and Controls Integration Lab, told those attending his presentation — entitled General Motors Advanced Vehicle and Transportation Research — the cars of the future will be “energized by electricity and hydrogen, powered by internal motors, controlled electronically and should be connected.”

Penn Engineering prof designs cars of the future

Recently, Lee served as the head Penn faculty member on a proposal to fund a $3.5 million center to conduct research and implement technologies related to improving the safety and efficiency of transportation. The newly launched University Transportation Center is a partnership between Penn Engineering and Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) College of Engineering.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication can prevent crashes

Consumer Reports
The system allows cars in the same area to instantly communicate with one another over a wireless network, exchanging data about each vehicle’s speed, location, and direction of travel. With that information, the system can determine whether a crash is likely and warn drivers to brake. In more advanced designs, it can even brake the car if a driver doesn’t respond quickly enough.

U.S. DOT Announces Public Meeting on Enabling a Secure Environment for Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Transactions

The Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office will hold a free Policy Research Workshop on Enabling a Secure Environment for Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Transactions. The meeting will take place April 19-20 in Washington, DC.

ThingWorx Joins Carnegie Mellon, IBM in Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator

ThingWorx™, the provider of the first application platform for the connected world, announced its partnership today with Carnegie Mellon’s Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator (PSII). The ThingWorx platform will be used to gather and manage real-time information communicated by sensors and other connected devices tied to physical infrastructure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Zipcar And Ford Exec's Firm Back College Car Sharing

Zipcar (ZIP), a novel by-the-hour car sharing service and 2011 IPO, is backing an even newer idea: share your own car. Zipcar said Wednesday that it has taken the lead in a $13.7 million series A investment round in Wheelz, a startup that lets college students make money sharing their own cars parked on campus. Intelligent-transportation investment firm Fontinalis Partners, co-founded by Ford Motor (F) Executive Chairman Bill Ford, is another backer.

Are Driverless Cars of the Future Closer Than We Think?

Auto technology experts say “yes.” And they say that some of those advances may happen quicker than you might think. “We are seeing just seismic changes as we speak,” said Scott Belcher, president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

Speak up: Why the Feds want voice recognition tech to cut distraction in cars

“Siri, let’s build a talking car.” That’s the likely outcome of the government’s latest proposal to cut driver distraction.

How Mobile Payments Are Revolutionizing Public Transit

The global transportation industry has become a testing ground for new payment systems, as cutting-edge technologies have been introduced to taxis, buses and trains worldwide to streamline your jaunts around town. From reserving and paying for a cab with an app to purchasing train tickets via an iPod, various countries are experimenting with new ways to reach out to travelers and make payment and transport a whole lot easier.

How a coke dealer busted by GPS tracking is changing privacy law

I had a conversation recently with Norman Sadeh, director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Mobile Commerce Laboratory and contributor to an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court last fall that supported Jones’ position. He made reference to the 3PD in our conversation and further explained that if you want an accurate representation of privacy expectations today, there’s no need to look far beyond Facebook and Foursquare.

Car recorder convicts driver in 3 deaths

Pittsburgh - A retired engineer from Ford Motor Co. testified Tuesday that event data recorders are an accepted technology in the automobile industry used to ensure that airbag deployment systems work properly and to assist in the investigation of vehicle crashes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Innovator: January/February 2012

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released the latest issue of its Innovator newsletter, which is designed to help advance widespread implementation of innovations and technologies in the highway community and help chronicle a nationwide movement to improve the way highways are built.

Energy and Global Climate Change 2011

TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 contains 19 papers that explore economic and environmental optimization of vehicle fleets, driver response to energy information feedback, California's low-carbon fuel standard, feebates and fuel economy standards, energy use for transport in 27 European Union countries through 2030, and a comparison of diesel and hybrid models in the United States in 2010.

Urban and Traffic Data Systems: 2011

Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2256 consists of 22 papers that explore network stratification method by travel time variation, license plate image binarization, centrality characteristics of road network patterns, commuting mode share, optimal paths in a public transit network, estimating route choice and travel time reliability, travel time prediction, detecting travel time outliers, pulse-breakup errors from freeway loop detectors, traffic information and management, and counting motorcycles and estimating motorcycle vehicle miles of travel.

This version of the TRR also examines nonintrusive technologies for traffic detection; dynamic traffic densities for official statistics; short-term counts to seasonal adjustment factor groupings; inductive loop detector sensitivity errors; automated quality assurance methodology for archived transit data; development of traffic inputs, forecasting traffic loads, and axle load distribution for the new Mechanistic–Empirical Pavement Design Guide; analysis of weigh-in-motion data for truck weight grouping; and capturing transportation infrastructure performance.

Annual Meeting Online Portal: Full 2012 TRB 91st Annual Meeting Content Now Available

The slides and posters of the more than 3,500 program presentations, and videos of some 40 high-profile sessions at the 2012 TRB 91st Annual Meeting are now available through the TRB Annual Meeting Online (AMOnline) portal.

Registration Now Open for ITS America’s 2012 Annual Meeting & Exposition

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) today announced the launch of online registration for its 22nd Annual Meeting and Exposition. Attendees can register now for the meeting, workshops and special events to take advantage of early registration rates which end March 16.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How will RoboCars work, and when will we have RoboCar's?

The RoboCar vision offers huge gains in accident rates, erasing traffic congestion and more, but is it pie in the sky or will we actually have self-driving robotic cars roaming our cities in the future? Today Google's Self-Driving car project does have modified Toyota Prius's roaming the streets, primarily in Silicon Valley, prototyping the RoboCar's of the future.

The Future of Infrastructure Design

Across the globe, and particularly in the United States, growing city populations are placing unprecedented stresses on transportation, energy, water, and communication networks, many of which are quickly deteriorating. The coming infrastructure crises have been gaining presence in the media and in government policy as the implications of the impending economic constraints begin to set in. Finally, public and private investors are beginning to pour billions of dollars into infrastructural renewal and expansion projects. But with rapidly changing technologies and innovations, what will these projects look like? This month, we take a look at emerging trends in the field.

Computers may control intersections for self-driving cars

The intersections of the future will not rely on stoplights or stop signs. Instead, when cars are driven by software, they could be managed by virtual traffic controllers, which stay in close contact with the automobiles as they approach the intersection, said Peter Stone, a professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Austin.

Traffic center’s eyes are on I-95

FAIRFAX -The flow of traffic on Interstate 95 may constantly fluctuate, but it rarely, if ever, stops. What never stops is the round-the-clock monitoring at the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center in Northern Virginia.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Driverless Cars - More Than Just Google

(Lots of great videos)
Driverless cars have come a long way since Stanley, Standford University's robot vehicle, won the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005 by traversing a route of 150 miles through the Mojave Desert. In 2007 DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) set as arguably more difficult challenge - that of negotiating a 60 mile urban area course including merging with other traffic and obeying traffic regulations without a driver, something that five vehicles achieved although the fastest time, by contest winner Carnegie Mellon's Boss was an average 14 mph.

Nevada issues rules for driverless cars

GM is also working on fully autonomous vehicles. In 2007, GM worked with Carnegie Mellon University on a Chevrolet Tahoe that can drive itself. Called the Boss, the Tahoe was able to drive through 60 miles of urban traffic on its own.

During stop at Va. Tech, LaHood focuses on unfocused drivers

During a visit to Virginia Tech, LaHood first went to the Transportation Institute, the university's largest research lab and a source of safe-driving research on which federal officials rely. He was driven to the Smart Road test track and saw a simulated rainstorm.

When cars get really smart, they start talking to the road

Dr. Boukerche is the director of Developing Next Generation Intelligent Vehicular Networks and Applications (DIVA), a network that includes researchers at eight universities, as well as government organizations, and computer and telecom companies working on a large-scale research program that promises to transform the way Canadians drive.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Signal project to be done in March

West Virginia
The project will synchronize stop lights through computer-coordinated data from roadside video cameras, weather stations and pavement sensors to help traffic move more safely and more efficiently. The data will be relayed to a central location at the Nick J. Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute at Marshall University.

Fishers to be 1st Indiana city with 'smart' traffic signals

Fishers will be the first community in Indiana to install a series of smart traffic signals that will adapt to daily changing traffic patterns.

When The Car Is The Driver

NPR Video on Google Vehicle
This week the state of Nevada finalized new rules that will make it possible for robotic self-driving cars to receive their own special driving permits. It's not quite driver's licenses for robots — but it's close.

In San Francisco, Buses Become the Police

By early next year the city's entire fleet of 819 buses will be equipped with forward-facing cameras that take pictures of cars traveling or parked in the bus and transit-only lanes.

ITS JPO Releases Turbo Architecture Version 7.0

Turbo Architecture is a software application that supports development of regional and project ITS architectures using the National ITS Architecture as a reference.

Self-driven cars and other innovative ideas

Michel Parent, a French research scientist and the father of the cybercar concept, says shared and automated cars could be important tools to help improve mobility and reduce congestion in large urban areas. Speaking this week at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, Parent described tests of several innovative urban transport systems that have been under development in Europe over the last two decades.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carnegie Mellon University and Penn Engineering Receive $3.5 Million for Innovative Transportation Research

PITTSBURGH—The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering and the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science a $3.5 million grant for the next two years to conduct research and implement technologies for improving the safety and efficiency of transportation...
At Carnegie Mellon, the new center also will engage work underway by Traffic 21.

Gov't to carmakers: Harness dashboard technology

Carmakers should design potentially distracting dashboard technology so it's automatically disabled while the vehicle is in motion, federal safety officials said Thursday.

'Smart' Crosswalks Headed To East Hampton's Main Street

Pedestrians will be able to push a button before entering the crosswalk, thereby activating amber lights embedded in the street.

Austrians will make Russian highway smart

Russian roads are notoriously bad, and when drivers get a good piece of highway they’re inclined to speed up. It’s become a headache for Russia’s first toll road operators who were forced to find a smart solution.

Former White House tech guru talks technology

Vivek Kundra spearheaded an efficiency drive in the US government, lifting it out of the technology dark ages. (5 minute video interview)

New app, IE511, reports traffic, solutions

Every day, Southern Californians waste 1.8 million vehicle hours stuck in traffic. If you ask most people about their commute, it’s the worst part of their day. Now a new, free smartphone app for online traffic service, IE511, delivers an on-the-go solution for re-routing commutes around congestion.

Distracted Driving Countermeasures for Commercial Vehicles

TRB’s Commercial Truck and Bus Safety Synthesis Program (CTBSSP) Synthesis 24: Distracted Driving Countermeasures for Commercial Vehicles examines driving distractions, as well as any protective (safety-enhancing) effects of particular devices.

Fifth National Bus Rapid Transit Conference

TRB is sponsoring the Fifth National Bus Rapid Transit Conference in August 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference is designed to bring together transit professionals interested in planning, implementing, and enhancing Bus Rapid Transit service so they can discuss and share information on the latest developments, technologies, and lessons learned in the field.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Study concludes no one strategy sufficient for targeted GHG reduction from LDVs; positive combinatorial effects

After considering a wide range of possible strategies to reduce light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, a team from Carnegie Mellon University, RAND Corporation and the University of Toronto has concluded that no one strategy will be sufficient to meet GHG emissions reduction goals to avoid climate change. Strategies considered included fuel and vehicle options; low-carbon and renewable power; travel demand management; and land use changes.

However, they also found that many of these changes have positive combinatorial effects, “so the best strategy is to pursue combinations of transportation GHG reduction strategies to meet reduction goals.”

Cadillac XTS to feature safety tech developed from autonomous vehicles

Five years ago, GM engineers, a variety of partner companies, and Carnegie Mellon University built a Chevrolet Tahoe that autonomously traversed 60 miles of urban traffic in less than six hours, taking home the DARPA Urban Challenge win. Later this year, some of that technology will make its way to production in the 2013 Cadillac XTS.

Great video on Budapest Automatic Car Park

An underground public automatic car park with an amount of 404 parking spaces in total in the center of Budapest, Hungary.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Senators to introduce long-awaited cybersecurity bill next week

The bill would authorize the Department of Homeland Securityto beef up security standards for privately owned critical networks, such as those affecting transportation and water systems, said Leslie Phillips, spokeswoman for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Don't Look Now: A Car That Tweets

Wall Street Journal
Undaunted by fear of safety regulations, auto makers are piling new technologies into their vehicles: everything from 17-inch dashboard screens to services that check Facebook and buy movie tickets.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Citys personal road transit hopes coming alive

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (India): The State Government has accorded in-principle approval for the proposal for introducing Personal Road Transit (PRT) system in Thiruvananthapuram, which was submitted by INKEL...
PRT uses highly intelligent computer- controlled, driver-less and battery-operated 4-6 seat vehicles running on an elevated guideway.

Judge awaits more evidence before ruling on fatal crash

Pittsburgh - An Allegheny County Common Pleas judge on Wednesday withheld the verdict in a homicide by vehicle case against an Upper St. Clair man, saying that he was giving more time to both sides to establish the scientific value -- or lack of it -- of the data recorder in the crashed car...
"I can find no Pennsylvania case law which permits this use" of the recorder in the case, he said. "There is no precedent for introducing this into evidence."That does not necessarily make it inadmissible, the judge continued, adding that there are appellate decisions in at least three states where the recorders can be relied upon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest Bloggers Aneesh Chopra, John Porcari, Michael Huerta: Partnering to Modernize our Nation’s Air Transportation System

On January 31st, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched a new, online dashboard that provides increased transparency into a vital component of NextGen's modernization of our Nation’s air transportation system infrastructure.

Peter Shawn Taylor: Car hacking, the crime of tomorrow

Following Toyota’s unintentional acceleration crisis in 2010, the U.S. Transportation Research Board (TRB) commissioned a report on the implications of the widespread use of on-board electronics. While the Toyota issue turned out to be more human error than computer malevolence, the TRB report, released last month, did find much to be concerned about. Perhaps the biggest issue is what it called “automotive vulnerabilities to cyberattack,” or car hacking.

UAVs shrink as technology grows

AeroVironment has captured the imagination of a worldwide audience with news of a major extension of its activities into nano air vehicles (NAVs).

New Holland Agriculture's second-generation hydrogen-powered tractor

“The new NH² has evolved from the concept tractor that won the Gold Innovation Medal at SIMA 2009,” said Riccardo Morselli, Innovation Product Development, New Holland Agriculture. “It was developed in collaboration with CRF, a process that has involved equipping the new machine with all of the features required to ensure it will deliver the kind of performance associated with a conventional diesel tractor, both in the field and on the road.”

IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society Newsletter

Includes information on their September 2012 Conference in Anchorage, Alaska and calls for papers.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

U.S. DOT Announces Public Meeting on Enabling a Secure Environment for Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Transactions

The Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office announced that it will hold a free Policy Research Workshop on Enabling a Secure Environment for Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Transactions. The meeting will take place April 19-20 in Washington, DC.

Autonomous Cars Through the Ages

Darpa made things a little tougher in 2007 when it staged a 60-mile race in an urban environment. Eighty-nine teams entered, and 11 made it to the start. The course included 4 miles of k-rail enclosed "streets" where entrants had to cope with manned-vehicle traffic at the former George Air Force Base. Carnegie Mellon's team, Tartan Racing, completed the course in a bit more than 4 hours and 10 minutes with a Chevrolet Tahoe it named "Boss"

International workshop on cooperative intelligent transport systems kicks off

The 4th ETSI Workshop on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) will start in Doha. The workshop hosted by the QU Wireless Innovations Center (QUWIC) which is located at the Qatar Science & Technology Park. The workshop which is co-organized by ETSI and QUWIC will take place in the new Qatar National Convention Center.

Monday, February 6, 2012

As the railroad industry thrives, Pittsburgh companies profit and add jobs

The railroad industry is picking up steam again, after losing ground decades ago to the nation's trucking industry. And Pittsburgh's expertise and history in the business -- Andrew Carnegie and the city's other industrialists needed good ways to move their steel a century ago -- has put the region on track to benefit from rail's resurgence.

Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) User Needs Workshop

When: March 14-15, 2012
Time: March 14: 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Eastern Time and March 15: 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
Where: Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S.DOT) will host a free public workshop to discuss the Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) Program and solicit user needs for its Transformative Concept.


UT survey reports drivers feel less safe than five years ago

According to a survey conducted by the Center for Transportation Research (CTR), four out of 10 drivers feel less safe on the road than they did five years ago. This rising fear among drivers relates to the growing use of smart phones, particularly for texting, while behind the wheel.

New Agile Flying Robots Travel In Fleet

University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception (GRASP) Lab released a video this week of a swarm of flying robotic devices. In the video, the airborne robots are seen performing complex moves and navigating spaces with obstacles.

Friday, February 3, 2012

MovePGH kicks off amid transit worries

Pittsburgh, PA
Thursday evening, city planners and consultants kicked off MovePGH, the 18-month-long transportation wedge of Pittsburgh’s 25-year plan, which is expected to be adopted sometime in 2014. “We are not starting over on anything,” Paul Moore, a principal and vice president with AECOM, told a crowd of about 150 people gathered at Carnegie Mellon University . “Recommendations from all previous work automatically go into the list for evaluation.”

You Already Own the Next Most Important Transportation Planning Tool

Ward’s MPO in North Carolina wound up contracting with AirSage to do an origin-destination study of travel patterns and to measure traffic speeds. Using cell phone data, that $300,000 floating car survey was essentially replaced for $25,000 – and with greater scale and accuracy.

New York testing parking spaces that find you

A company called Streetline, Inc. is working with the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) to deploy a sensor based Smart Parking system as part of a pilot project. The sensors are being installed along Arthur Ave. in the Bronx in cooperation with two other vendors. NYCDOT is running the installation as a feasibility test of the sensor technology to ease parking availability, cutting emissions by the amount of time normally spent finding a space.

Key to smart transit is data sharing, experts say at Cities Summit

The future of public transit depends on smart technologies and data sharing, according to global civic leaders and innovators in Vancouver this week for the 2012 Cities Summit.

Video Demonstrations of Three SHRP 2 Products Now Available

• Geotechnical Solutions for Transportation Infrastructure: a web tool that provides guidance for soil improvement, rapid embankment construction, and stabilization of the pavement working platform
• Transportation Project Impact Case Studies (T-PICS): a national database of case studies that can be used to assess the pre- and post-construction economic development and related effects of various kinds of transportation projects
• My Road Trip Advisor: a tool that predicts arrival times for travelers based on travel time reliability information

Thursday, February 2, 2012

CES 2012: Robots helping to improve lives

Some robots are purely for fun, while others are seriously improving the lives of those who use them. The latter is particularly true for robots coming out of the Quality of Life Technology Center in Pittsburgh. A collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the center works on projects to help the elderly or people with disabilities. An example of one of those projects is PERMA, the Personal Mobility and Manipulation Appliance, which gives people in wheelchairs an extra set of arms...really long arms!

Now, stereo cameras that detect pedestrians from within cars

A newly developed system locates pedestrians in front of the vehicle using artificial vision. Soon to be integrated into the top-of-the-range Mercedes vehicles, the device includes two cameras and a unit that process information supplied in real time by all image points.

Graduate Research Award Program on Public Sector Aviation Issues

The Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), National Academies, is pleased to announce the Graduate Research Award Program on Public-Sector Aviation Issues for the 2012/2013 academic year. This program, sponsored by the U.S. DOT Federal Aviation Administration and administered by the ACRP, is designed to encourage applied research on airport and related aviation system issues and to foster the next generation of aviation community leaders. Under the program, up to 10 awards of $10,000 each will be made to full-time graduate students for successful completion of a research paper on public-sector airport-related aviation issues during the upcoming academic year.

U.S. National ITS Architecture has been updated to version 7.0

The National Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Architecture provides a common framework for planning, defining, and integrating ITS deployments. The Architecture has been developed and evolved stakeholder input utilizing a consensus-building methodology in accordance with legislative direction to develop and maintain a National Architecture.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

U.S. Commerce Secretary Applauds Pittsburgh Progress

One week after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, Commerce Secretary John Bryson joined Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and others at Carnegie Mellon University to discuss their commitment to energy efficiency, conservation, and innovation, as well as creating and retaining jobs. The main focus of the discussion was on supporting American manufacturers.


Shadow Matching

GNSS positioning in dense urban areas is unreliable, with accuracy particularly poor in the cross-street direction. One solution is shadow matching, a new positioning technique that uses 3D building models to predict which satellites are visible from different locations and compares this with the measured satellite visibility to determine position. This article presents test results of a preliminary shadow-matching algorithm in a London urban canyon and discusses the practical implementation of the technique.

New zone established for Taiwan business

Local authorities said the investment zone will focus on wind power equipment manufacturing, photoelectricity, intelligent transportation, and high-end service industries.

Looking Beyond Gadgets, Six Trends in Consumer Electronics

4. Intelligent Transportation
Safer, faster, more convenient transportation is a growing trend affecting commuters and consumers worldwide. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) focus on the use of ordinary devices (such as a cell phone or GPS) that are enabled with built-in custom software so cars and buses can “communicate” with roadways and transportation systems.

Beyond the Personal Automobile

How about using technology to allow millions of us to move beyond car ownership? You won't hear large automobile companies talk about it, but information technology gives society the greatest chance in decades to rethink transportation. Instead of cars equipped with medical sensors, I would like to see fewer cars and more room for bike paths. A little exercise will make our hearts stronger.

Intelligent Transportation Systems and Vehicle-Highway Automation 2011

TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2243 consists of 18 papers that explore re-identification of trucks over long distances, lane-level travel times, private-sector probe-based speed data in the planning processes, travel time estimation enhancement, sustainable urban transport, university students’ acquisition and use of travel information, integration of variable speed limit control and travel time estimation, vehicle-to-infrastructure traffic information system for the work zone, and preceding vehicle type classification.

Research Pays Off: Automated Speed Enforcement Slows Down Drivers in Work Zones

In 2004 the Illinois Department of Transportation deployed two self-contained vans to implement a legislatively mandated speed-radar photo enforcement (SPE) program in work zones on highways. The speeds of vehicles approaching the SPE vans are monitored with two radar systems: down-the-road radar and across the-road radar. The speed obtained from the down-the-road radar is displayed on a light-emitting diode display on top of the SPE van. The display gives speeding drivers a final chance to reduce speed and comply with the work zone speed limit. If the speed of the vehicle, measured by across-the-road radar, is greater than a specified value, the two onboard cameras are activated to take pictures of the driver and the rear license plate of the vehicle.

NCHRP FY 2012: Synthesis Study Topics Sought

TRB is seeking potential synthesis study topics as part of the upcoming activities of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). Topics may be submitted at any time; however, the deadline for the upcoming submission cycle is February 17, 2012. All proposed new topics must be submitted online through the TRB Synthesis Topic Submittal website.