Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Talking Cars Will Be Good for Buses

This is the theory of University of Arizona researchers Wei Wu and Larry Head. They’ve been simulating an idea called “bus lane with intermittent priority” – or BLIP – that would use connected vehicle technology to solve one of the bigger challenges posed by Bus Rapid Transit systems. Cities around the world are increasingly turning to the relatively affordable transit solution to move more passengers on dedicated bus lanes without the unpredictability of traffic congestion or the cost of constructing railways.
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Carnegie Mellon Business School Faculty Working With City To Optimize Metered Street Parking Near Oakland Campus

PITTSBURGH—At 50 cents per hour, street parking near Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business was very tough to find. But, today, at $2 per hour, many spaces, particularly in Schenley Park, are unused. Two faculty members at CMU’s Tepper School of Business are working with the City of Pittsburgh to optimize the street parking in the area by instituting a rate schedule that fluctuates each month based on usage.
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Glasgow wins future cities grant

The city of Glasgow has won a Future Cities Demonstrator grant from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), a body set up by the UK government in 2007 to stimulate technology-enabled innovation.
The grant, worth US$37.8 million, is intended to make Glasgow one of the UK's first smart cities; the money will be used on projects to demonstrate how a city of the future might work.
Plans include better services for citizens, with real-time information about traffic and apps to check that buses and trains are on time. Other services promised include linking up the CCTV cameras across the city with its traffic management unit in order to identify traffic incidents faster.
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There's a Planning App for That

Each year I provide an update on mobile applications. Some of you may have read my previous report last fall on Planetizen. For 2013, there is a lot to share. The growth in mobile apps is amazing and increasingly they are supporting the things we do as planners. If you have apps that should be added to my growing list for 2013, please let me know...
 Tiramisu: Provides real time and historic data on bus arrivals and number of seats on public transit in Pittsburgh. Available for iPhone...
 ParkPGH: Users can find information about the location and availability of spaces in parking garages in Pittsburgh. Available for iPhone.
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Environment Perception and Navigation for Intelligent Vehicles

IV'13 Symposium Workshop, June 23, 2013, Gold Coast, Australia
This workshop is soliciting papers with contributions on novel theoretical approaches or practical applications of navigation and perception systems for intelligent vehicles in real and complex environments. In-depth analyses of state-of-the-art are also encouraged for submission.
The workshop will have a strong demonstration orientation. Authors willing to present their innovative ideas by means of software demonstrators, videos, or live demos will be welcome.
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Engineering and Design schools partner with Carnegie Mellon to research transportation

It won’t be too long before cars can start talking to each other.
Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Design and Carnegie Mellon University are working on a collaborative effort to improve the future of transportation through an interdisciplinary research group known as the Consortium for Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation.  The U.S. Department of Transportation funded this faculty-led, student-based interdisciplinary research initiative with a grant of $6.9 million.
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Golden Gate Bridge tests new toll system

The future will arrive, under the cover of darkness, at the Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday morning, though drivers probably won't notice anything unusual other than a preponderance of TV trucks.
At about 5 a.m., the bridge district plans to switch on its new all-electronic toll-collection system, which will eliminate toll collectors when it's fully implemented in March. For now, though, toll takers will coexist with the high-tech equipment as the Golden Gate tests the state's first human-free, cash-free toll-taking operation on a bridge.

Going Down the Road -- In a Car That Drives Itself

But accidents will be sure to happen, and the question that was put to the Davos audience was: Would the citizens of your country accept some level of fatalities in accidents caused by "technology failure" attributed to a centrally controlled system, in exchange for fewer overall transportation fatalities provided by reduced human error? Only 46 percent said yes, while 54 percent said no. This prompted an interesting discussion on technology failures on planes and trains.
The audience was also asked: Autonomous transportation systems require a free flow of information between transportation providers. Will governments accept facilitating and/or managing the process and liabilities associated with this information exchange? The audience was divided between 53 percent Yes and 47 percent No.
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Registration is now open for the 23rd ITS America Annual Meeting and Exposition


The Intelligent Transportation Society of America's 23rd Annual Meeting and Exposition will be held in Nashville, Tenn., from April 22–24 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. This year's meeting will showcase the latest ITS technology solutions with an Exhibit Hall and panel discussions featuring national, regional and local transportation officials and innovation leaders.
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The U.S. Department of Transportation's Dynamic Mobility Applications Program

Such a system of "connected vehicles," mobile devices, and roads will provide a wealth of transportation data, from which innovative and transformative applications will be built. These applications will make travel not only safer, but smarter and greener. The possibilities are boundless.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Dynamic Mobility Applications program is exploring these possibilities, specifically focusing on reducing delays and congestion and thus significantly improving mobility. Here are some of the applications that a connected vehicle world would make possible:
  • Enable Advanced Traveler Information System (EnableATIS) 
  • Freight Advanced Traveler Information Systems (FRATIS) 
  • Integrated Dynamic Transit Operations (IDTO) 
  • Intelligent Network Flow Optimization (INFLO) 
  • Multi-Modal Intelligent Traffic Signal Systems (MMITSS) 
  • Response, Emergency Staging and Communications, Uniform Management, and Evacuation (R.E.S.C.U.M.E.). 
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REU in Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania

The GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania is proud to be offering eight 10-week paid summer research internships for undergraduate students.
The focus of this NSF-funded REU Site is Robotics, including Machine Perception, Motion Planning, Flying Robots, Haptic Interfaces, Dynamics and Control, Humanoid Robots, Robotic Surgery, and Robot Design.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

School Bus Safety Study—Kadyn’s Law

The Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University has released a report that examines school bus safety measures, including the feasibility of using cameras mounted on buses, requiring children to board a bus on the same side as their home, and prioritizing school bus safety issues in driver training curriculum.
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Analysis of Single Frequency, Carrier Phase Based GPS Positioning Performance and Sensor Aiding Requirements

The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies has released a report that outlines the design and testing of a low-cost, single frequency, carrier phase positioning system and analyzes aiding sensor accuracy requirements.
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Call for Nominations for 2013 Communication Awards

The Keck Futures Initiative--a program of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine--will award four $20,000 prizes in 2013 to individuals or teams who have developed creative, original works that address issues and advances in science, engineering and/or medicine for the general public. Nominations are being accepted in four categories: book; film, radio, or television; magazine/newspaper; and online. Nominations must be completed online no later than February 8, 2013.
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Smart Rivers 2013

TRB is cosponsoring Smart Rivers 2013 on September 23-27, 2013, in Leige, Belgium and Maastricht, the Netherlands. The conference will explore ways to enhance the efficient integration of inland waterways into a more integrated intermodal transport system.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PennDOT prepares for advent of autonomous vehicles

To help PennDOT prepare for the day when autonomous vehicles are the norm, Schoch recruited Carnegie Mellon University.
PennDOT and CMU will look at how to regulate self-driving vehicles and how they might affect policy decisions in a study expected to get under way in about a month and to take a year to complete, said Allen D. Biehler, a former PennDOT secretary who is now a distinguished professor of transportation systems and policy at CMU. 


Monday, January 28, 2013

The Man Behind NextBus Wants to Make Every Car a Taxi

Commuters in Washington are still bemoaning the fall of the popular predictor app NextBus DC, caught up in complexities over data access rights. But NextBus creator Ken Schmier is looking ahead.
“Frankly,” says the Bay Area attorney and businessman, “I think transit agencies are obsolete.”
Schmier’s eyes are on what he’s calling Micro-Transit. The goal: To turn every car in America into a taxicab.
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Audi develops semi-autonomous vehicles

Audi has developed two fully operational demonstration vehicles that show how future models could offer ‘hands and feet-free’ driving in moving traffic and completely ‘driver-free’ parking. The first of the two working prototypes shows how piloted driving in traffic jams will in future reduce the driver’s workload in stressful situations, such as in congested traffic. At speeds of between zero and 60km/h (37mph), the system helps to steer the car within certain constraints, and also accelerates and brakes autonomously.
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ITS JPO Newsletter January 2013

Meet the New Director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO): Kenneth Leonard
Integrated Corridor Management Demonstration Sites to “Go Live” in Spring 2013
Working Together Toward a Connected Future: Affiliated Connected Vehicle Test Bed Stakeholder Engagement
New Transportation Management Call Center Opens in Camden County, NJ
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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Demonstration of Automatic Crowd-Metrics Measurement Technology at the Sakura Matsuri 2012 Festival (video)

Travel time reliability—which is increasingly important to highways, arterials, transit, and air travel—is also important to pedestrians. When managing large crowds, performance measures relating to volume, density, and trajectory of pedestrians (crowd metrics) are essential. PRISM (PRoximity Information System for Mobility), which was developed in SHRP 2 Reliability IDEA Project L15B (Proximity Information Resources for Special Events), gives event organizers the ability to automatically measure crowd metrics.
Watch Video
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Using ITS to maximise safety and traffic flow for cycling

Copenhagen, Denmark, has long been known as one of the world’s leading cities for cycling. In some areas of the city, the modal share of bikes has reached a level of as much as 50 %. And on some of the most frequently used bike paths the average daily number of cyclists is close to 30,000. As these numbers continue to rise, new ways of planning and implementing cycling infrastructure are needed. Increasingly, Danish traffic planners are turning to technology as a tool for planning cycling infrastructure.
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Remote control cars (video)

Chinese manufacturer BYD are now marketing a remote control feature that lets you remote-control your car from your key-fob.  Although it might be an oddball feature used to stand out in the crowded automotive market, the ability to tele-operate a vehicle is interesting. Watch video
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Bump On The Road For Driverless Cars Isn't Technology, It's You

Brabec describes the automated parking feature as a "valet situation," where you would be able to use your smartphone to communicate with the car and have it park itself in a parking structure.
That technology is here right now. But what's keeping all the cool stuff away from us?
Well, we are.
Listen to NPR story.
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Call for nominations for ITS America Hall of Fame Awards


ITS America is seeking nominations for the class of 2013 Hall of Fame Awards recipients. The Hall of Fame Awards recognizes individuals with outstanding, lifelong careers dedicated to organizational and thought leadership that contributes to the vision of intelligent transportation systems.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Transportation research leader heads connected vehicle/roads research operation

Raymond J. Resendes of La Plata, Md., who has been chief of the Intelligent Technologies Research Division of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 2005, has been named director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute's National Capital Region operation.
The transportation institute's capital region operation includes the Virginia Connected Test Bed, the Northern Virginia testing area for the Connected Vehicle/Infrastructure University Transportation Center, and other research projects related to connected vehicles and roads, such as intersection management and communication between emergency vehicles.
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IEEE ITS SOCIETY NEWSLETTER


Message from the Editor 
Message from the President 
2012 Board of Governors Election Results 
2013 IEEE ITS Awards Call for Nomination 
2013 IEEE ITSS Best Ph.D. Dissertation Award Call for Application 
IEEE Fellow Nomination and Senior Member Application 
IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies CFN
More>> 

One hundred Harvard Kilobots swarm together

Robots by the dozen are prohibitively expensive, so actually testing how large swarms would work together is often limited to computer simulations. That's where Harvard's Kilobots are beginning to bear fruit – at a cost of US$14 each in batches of a thousand, they're a tenth the cost of their cheapest competitor. At such bargain-basement prices, Michael Rubenstein, Christian Ahler, and Radhika Nagpal at the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group have begun to build their own little robot army.
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(China) PLA develops unmanned road vehicle

China’s Military Transportation University has developed a third-generation unmanned road vehicle with technology that could eventually be implemented for civilian-use, the army’s PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.
The university claimed the new “intelligent car” – codenamed Lion No 3– had hit a top speed of 105km/h during a series of highway tests.
Fully automated and driven by computer, the vehicle managed to safely overtake cars “33 times in 85 minutes”.
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Pike Research forecasts smart city technology market to grow to $20.2B annually in 2020; smart transportation component to be worth $5.5B by 2020

In a new report, Pike Research forecasts that the smart city technology market will grow from $6.1 billion annually in 2012 to $20.2 billion in 2020—a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.2%. Globally, Pike anticipates cumulative investment of more than $117 billion in smart city technologies between 2012 and 2020.
Pike Research analyzes the market in terms of the five “industries” that are core to the development of smart cities: smart energy; smart water; smart transportation; smart buildings; and smart government. The fastest-growing of these industries will be smart transportation, with a CAGR of 19.5% between 2012 and 2020. By 2020, the smart transportation market related to smart cities will be worth $5.5 billion annually.
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"Shareway" presents a vision of transport infrastructure in 2030

American-based architectural studio Höweler + Yoon Architecture has developed an intriguing concept for modern urban infrastructure between Boston and Washington called "Boswash." Central to the design of this imagined mega-region is the firm's "Shareway" design – a bundled transport concept that seeks to redress the nightmare of the urban commute by connecting public and individual transport to a single artery along the 450 mile (724 km) route of the existing Interstate 95.  The concept landed Höweler + Yoon the 2012 Audi Urban Future Award which aims to understand the cities of the future, and answer the question ‘in which form will individual mobility be possible?’ through the study of city development, global urban planning and their relevance for future mobility.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visualization Resources for Iowa State University and the Iowa DOT: An Automated Design Model to Simulator Converter

The Iowa State University Institute for Transportation has released a report that discusses an automatic conversion software tool that takes input from a state DOT MicroStation three-dimensional design file and converts it to a form that can be used by a National Advanced Driving Simulator MiniSim.
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Deployment, Use, and Effect of Real-Time Traveler Information Systems

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Web-Only Document 192: Deployment, Use, and Effect of Real-Time Traveler Information Systems explores the deployment, use, and effect of real-time traveler information (TI) systems. The report examines transportation agency dissemination practices, assesses traveler perception and use of TI systems, and offers best practices on ways to implement TI systems.
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Understanding the Contributions of Operations, Technology, and Design to Meeting Highway Capacity Needs

TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Capacity Project C05 has released a prepublication, non-edited draft version of a report titled Understanding the Contributions of Operations, Technology, and Design to Meeting Highway Capacity Needs that explores methodologies designed to help effectively determine the capacity gain that might be expected from candidate operational improvements relative to the capacity gain that would be provided by constructing additional capacity.
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Transit 2012, Volume 3

TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2276 consists of 19 papers that examine world transit research; the optimal length of a transit network; location methods for urban public transit networks; dynamic transit accessibility; stop aggregation models; the activities of smart card data transit users; bus timetables for multiple vehicle types; secondary benefits of transit priority; and the impact of bus transit centers on property values.
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RFI: NCHRP FY 2013: 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 15, 2013. All proposed new topics must be submitted online through the TRB Synthesis Topic Submittal website.
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Why 3D Modeling Will Play a Huge Role in Tackling Rapid Urbanization

One constantly evolving 3D model of a city, though, could knit all of this data into one tool, while enabling interactive simulations that would be readily understandable by engineers and the public alike. This video used the model of downtown Seattle, developed with software from Autodesk, to simulate the potential impacts of a massive earthquake on the Alaskan Way Viaduct during a time when the Washington Department of Transportation was planning to fortify it (the real damage kicks in at the 1:00 mark):
More and see video>>

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley Announces Connected Embedded Systems Concentration Offered Through the Software Engineering Graduate Program

Mobile computing is rapidly overshadowing the PC world but with a new generation of computing –the Internet of Things– on the rise, CMU-SV’s offering of a Connected Embedded Track situates the university and its students on the cutting-edge of this emerging field.
“Offering this concentration will allow our campus to contribute to a space that will be really big in the future,” said Dr. Martin Griss, Director, Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley & Associate Dean, College of Engineering. “As billions of devices are connected through the Internet, we need to understand how to use these connected devices in applications. This concentration ties together our software side and our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE side).”
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German 'Smarter Traffic' pilot project complete

The City of Cologne in Germany and IBM have announced the completion of a ‘smarter traffic’ pilot project to predict and manage traffic flow and road congestion in the city. The pilot demonstrates how the city of Cologne can anticipate, better manage, and in many cases, avoid traffic jams and trouble spots across the city using analytics technology. The city’s traffic engineers and IBM were able to predict traffic volume and flow with over 90% accuracy up to 30 minutes in advance.
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RITA Open Position in Transportation Operations Applications Team in the Office of Operations Research and Development (R&D)

This position is a senior professional in the Transportation Operations Applications Team in the Office of Operations Research and Development (R&D), and is recognized as a leader and national expert in research related to:  
(a) Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), 
(b) traffic adaptive control systems, 
(c) vehicle automation, 
(d) wireless communications systems, and/or 
(e) cooperative vehicle-highway systems to help achieve the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) mobility and safety goals.

Finally: A Transit Ticket on Your Smart Phone

In November, the MBTA ( Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ) became the first municipal transit agency to introduce ticketing via smart phone. Earlier this week, the agency passed the million-dollar milestone selling single, 10-trip and one-month passes for its commuter rail system through the new app, offering a proof of concept for an idea that could expand soon to buses and metro service and other cities.
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NEW and IMPROVED Telecommunications Technology E-Learning Course offerings

The Consortium for ITS Training and Education (CITE) is now accepting registrations for two of its Elearning courses: Telecommunications and Networking Fundamentals (formerly Introduction
Telecommunications Technology) and Network Design and Deployment Considerations for ITS
Managers and Professionals (formerly Advanced Telecommunications Technology).
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Disney Trains, Google Transit, Flying Cars, and Metro Pac-Man at TransportationCamp

DC Transportation Camp Review from Mobility Lab
Hundreds of “transit nerds” shared ideas last weekend, as TransportationCamp made a welcome return to the Washington D.C. region.
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Call for Abstracts - Mid-Colonial District of ITE in April 2013

The ITE Mid-Colonial District will hold its Annual Meeting at the Double Tree by Hilton, Annapolis, Maryland on Wednesday, April 24 through Friday, April 26, 2013.  The Conference Technical Program
committee is also currently accepting  abstracts for presentation for our technical sessions. The deadline for submission of abstracts  is February 22, 2013.More>>

Friday, January 18, 2013

Penn drives transportation research forward

The U.S. Department of Transportation intends to get ahead of the curve by funding interdisciplinary research groups across the country called University Transportation Centers (UTC). One of these is the Consortium for Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation, a new collaboration between researchers at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Design, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Daniel Lee, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering and the Penn director of the UTC, helped kick off the collaboration with faculty from both Penn and CMU at a symposium on campus on Jan. 11.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

TRB toasts University Transportation Centers program on its 25th anniversary

Secretary LaHood: As I wrote yesterday, my TRB-week kicked off with a High Speed Rail Workshop last Sunday. Another TRB event that I was happy to participate in that day was the 25th anniversary celebration of our University Transportation Centers program.
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New Exploratory Advanced Research Request for Proposals (Deadline 3/15/13)

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Broad Agency announcement (BAA) soliciting proposals that address Exploratory Advanced Research topics.  The Broad Agency Announcement (number DTFH61-13-R-00011) is open through March 15, 2013.  The announcement includes the following topics
  • Topic 1A, High Performance Vehicle Streams;
  • Topic 1B, New Approaches for Testing Connected Highway and Vehicle Systems;
  • Topic 1C, Innovative Applications for Emerging Real‐Time Data;
  • Topic 1D, Partial Automation for Truck Platooning;
  • Topic 2A, Automated Feature Extraction; and
  • Topic 2B, Automated Identity Masking.
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Monday, January 14, 2013

The U.S. Department of Transportation Seeks Stakeholder Input on the Next ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2015-2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is seeking public input as it develops the next version of the ITS Strategic Plan. A new document called An Open Dialogue on the Draft Focus and Themes for the Next ITS Strategic Research Plan: Engaging Stakeholders in Their Discussion and Development was released today and it identifies the ITS-related issues that USDOT will focus on for the rest of the decade.
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First gen autonomous driving

The inevitable combination of adaptive cruise-control and lane-following functions into a system that takes over both lateral and longitudinal control is becoming reality. The videos below show both the Mercedes and Volvo versions of such systems.
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Wireless carriers focus on future growth beyond smartphones

"We are going to encourage thermostats, healthcare devices, your car and all of those things to be connected over the Verizon network," Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam said in an interview. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc.
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Workforce development grants from FTA will boost transit agencies and job-seekers

This Administration has made unprecedented investments in our nation's transportation system. These investments have created jobs, and they have helped position us for a cleaner, safer, and more economically competitive future. But we won't be able to continue building or running the systems we build without talented people to do the work.
So today, we're announcing $7 million in workforce development grants from the Federal Transit Administration to 17 organizations in 12 different states.
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Call for Papers 17th IRF World Meeting & Exhibition

The Technical and Scientific Committee of the 17th IRF World Meeting & Exhibition invites surface transportation experts and researchers from all over the world to submit paper abstracts for evaluation.
Abstracts should reflect original research or innovation in technical, institutional, economic, business and policy issues that are relevant, recent and significant. This global event, to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 9-13, 2013
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New Year, New Life for Governor's School

The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences (PGSS) is a summer program hosted by Carnegie Mellon University for high school students to conduct sophisticated research and study various scientific disciplines. When the state stopped funding the program in 2009, PGSS alumni and their parents were determined to bring it back.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

A car that takes contol (Carngie Mellon's Autonomous Cadillac SRX)

Carnegie Mellon's Autonomous Cadillac SRX can drive itself on public roads, detect and stop for pedestrians, and communicate with traffic signals--among other things--all while looking very normal.
See NY Times article and video
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

App Creates Virtual Escort Home: WOW Wireless Lifesaver January 2013

The students at the University of Maryland in College Park are safer on campus these days thanks to Dr. Ashok Agrawala. He describes a virtual campus safety app he created called “Escort-M” that transmits real-time audio, video and location information from a UMD user’s wireless device to public safety personnel at the university’s Security Operations Center. In essence, it provides students or faculty walking late at night with a virtual personal security guard.
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Anglo American PLC and Carnegie Mellon University sign master agreement for robotics development

Carnegie Mellon University has signed a five-year master agreement with one of the world's largest mining companies, London-based Anglo American PLC, to develop robotic technologies for mining.
CMU's Robotics Institute (RI), through its National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Field Robotics Center (FRC), will design, build and deploy mining robots, robotic tools and autonomous technologies in partnership with Anglo American's Technology Development Group.
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Call for papers and special interest sessions — Submission deadline: Jan. 11, 2013


The deadline for submitting papers and special interest session topics for the 20th ITS World Congress is coming to a close on Jan. 11, and we invite all interested parties to submit a paper or session proposal to be considered for presentation and publication at the World Congress which will take place in Tokyo from Oct. 15–18, 2013. 
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