Friday, March 29, 2013

Research, technology, and data drive America's transportation system

Secretary LaHood -
I’ve talked a lot about how the Department of Transportation is a data-driven organization – data helps ensure we are as effective as possible when it comes to improving our country’s safety, mobility, and economic competitiveness.
Without good data, we wouldn’t be able to plan as effectively for the future or identify trends as they first start emerging.  That’s exactly what was on Deputy Research and Innovative Technology Administrator Greg Winfree’s mind when he addressed the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Forum last week.
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Apps Coming to Cars, but They’re Still Miles From Perfection

One thing is certain at today’s New York International Auto Show: Auto makers are getting more app-happy.
But auto apps are still far from high-tech perfection, and concerns about driver distraction still play a big part in how these apps work in cars.
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Brace Yourself for Robo-Innovation


Robots already vacuum our floors, help dispose of bombs and are exploring Mars. But in his new book, "Robot Futures," Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Professor Illah Nourbakhsh argues that robots are not just wondrous machines, but a new species that bridges the material and digital worlds. The ramifications for society are both good and bad, he says, and people need to start thinking about the future.
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AppMyCity! Prize, an exciting mobile app contest

The AppMyCity! Prize is an exciting mobile app contest organized by the New Cities Foundation, and made possible by Google. We awarded the first AppMyCity! Prize at the inaugural New Cities Summit in Paris in 2012, and look forward to selecting this year’s winner at our upcoming Summit in São Paulo on June 4-6. Our media partner is Atlantic Cities.

The AppMyCity! Prize rewards new mobile applications that improve the urban experience, connect people, and make cities more fun, fair, vibrant, and sustainable places. Entries are open at www.appmycity.org and the submission deadline is April 26, 2013. Three finalists will be invited to attend the New Cities Summit in São Paulo to present their app before the international, high profile audience of urban leaders, innovators and thinkers. The winner will be selected at the Summit and will receive $5,000 USD to support further development of their app.


Call for Papers 17th IRF World Meeting & Exhibition

17th IRF World Meeting & Exhibition
November 9-13, 2013 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Technical Sessions
- For innovative technical, institutional, economic, business and policy issues that are relevant, recent and significant.

Scientific Sessions
- For original research and technological innovation that is recent, relevant and significant.
In addition, accepted authors will also have the opportunity to present their papers in interactive, poster-based sessions.
Abstract Guidelines:
The abstract should be written in English, readily understandable to most readers and may contain up to a maximum of 300 words.
The deadline for submission is April 15, 2013. There is no cost to submit an abstract.

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Google Glass Could Be Banned for Drivers in West Virginia

We knew this was coming. Legislators in West Virginia are proposing an amendment that bans Google Glass or any other head-mounted display while driving.
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Your car may be invading your privacy

Is your car spying on you?
If it's a recent model, has a fancy infotainment system or is equipped with toll-booth transponders or other units you brought into the car that can monitor your driving, your driving habits or destination could be open to the scrutiny of others. If your car is electric, it's almost surely capable of ratting you out.
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Webinar - Smart Traffic Management: Lessons from New York City's Midtown in Motion Project

Date:   April 18, 2013
Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
In summer 2011, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) kicked off the Midtown in Motion (MiM) project.
The purpose of the MiM project is to promote multimodal mobility in the midtown core of Manhattan – a 110 square block area or “zone” from 2nd to 6th Avenues and from 42nd to 57th Streets. The MiM project integrates features of Active Traffic Management (ATM) and the full capabilities of the NYCDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Infrastructure; a recent deployment of advanced solid-state traffic controllers (ASTCs) and a comprehensive network of sensors (e.g. video, microwave, and electronic toll collection readers), a wireless communication system, and the New York City Traffic Control System software system, which manages the project.
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Bike-sharing is just the start: Pittsburgh must continue to provide more and better transportation alternatives

The bike program was made public the same week as other transportation initiatives were publicly discussed by the city. Many were consistent with a study conducted by IBM. Our company spent nearly one month here last year performing a pro bono Smarter Cities Challenge consulting engagement for the city, during which we analyzed Pittsburgh's transportation needs. IBM then submitted detailed recommendations for implementing innovative transportation-related programs. The city recently posted our suggested blueprint.
When my IBM colleagues were in town, they were struck by the degree of commitment by public, private, academic and not-for-profit stakeholders, and by the experiments already under way by such institutions as Carnegie Mellon University. The willingness to collaborate will be an important predictor of success for the area's progressive transportation plans.

Los Angeles completes citywide intelligent transportation system - First in the world to implement full citywide network

The city of Los Angeles completed the implementation of a citywide intelligent transportation system (ITS) in February, adding the last of its nearly-4,400 signalized intersections to the network. It is the first city in the world to complete a full-city ITS.  
The entire network is monitored by the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control System (ATSAC), which is operated out of a former bomb shelter beneath City Hall East.
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

12 Fresh Ideas for Transforming the Places We Live With Open Data

This year, the Knight News Challenge has been soliciting project proposals that would open up and leverage government data anywhere at the national, state and local levels (in the U.S. and abroad). As of last week, 886 projects are vying for a share of the $5 million in funding, all in response to this question: "How can we make the places we live more awesome through data and technology?"
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Best Practice Study on the Use of ITS Standards in Traffic Management

Austroads has released a report that reviews implementation of Intelligent Transport Systems Standards in traffic management and proposes a best practice framework for Australia and New Zealand. This report is available without a fee after logging on to the site.
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Feasibility of Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to Track Bicycle Lane Positioning

The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies has released a report that discusses whether smartphone GPS units or enhanced GPS units could be used to track and map the location of cyclists on streets.
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Workshop on the Future of Road Vehicle Automation - 2013

TRB is sponsoring the Workshop on the Future of Road Vehicle Automation on July 16-19, 2013, in Palo Alto, California. The workshop will focus on road vehicle automation state of the art as well as continue a discussion that began during a half day workshop at the 2013 TRB 92nd Annual Meeting on the potential roles for the U.S. Department of Transportation and state departments of transportation in vehicle automation activities.
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NYPD License Plate Readers Will Be Able To Track Every Car Entering Manhattan

The ring of steel is expanding. New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced a "major project" at a budget hearing on Tuesday to install license plate reader cameras "in every lane of traffic on all of the bridges and tunnels that serve as entrances and exits to Manhattan."
Soon, no one will be able to drive onto or off of the island without potentially being recorded.
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Interstate ‘eyes’ monitor traffic

"They may look like cameras, but they're not. They're actually speed sensors," said David Rose, public information officer with Ohio Department of Transportation District 10, which includes Marietta.
He said the sensors are part of ODOT's Intelligent Traffic System (ITS) that uses such high-tech devices on major roadways to provide ODOT and the traveling public with accurate, real-time traffic data through the state's Ohgo.com website.
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Smart parking: A launchpad for intelligent transportation

In 2007 city drivers in a pint-sized 15-block district in Los Angeles drove more than 950,000 miles, emitted 730 metric tons of carbon dioxide, and burned 47,000 gallons of gas … searching for parking.
There’s a good bit of irony at work in those numbers, considering that there are an estimated 4.5 parking spaces per vehicle in the United States, including three surface parking spaces per vehicle. Of course, don’t tell that to an urban driver searching for a parking spot in a busy city.
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CMU team gets $6M government grant to protect unmanned ground vehicles, high-end consumer autos from cyberattack

Even a $99.99 remote-controlled hobby plane at Brookstone could be redirected from its intended path, says Franz Franchetti, a Carnegie Mellon University engineering professor.
“Theoretically, people can do these kinds of things,” says Franchetti, who is part of the nation's effort to stop cyberattacks. He heads a team that received a $6 million government grant to find a way to make sure that control remains with the owner. Team members' task is to develop ultra-secure software and sensors to protect computer systems on unmanned ground vehicles and high-end consumer autos from cyberattack. The grant is from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Freakonomics Radio: Parking Is Hell

Our friends at Freakonomics Radio take on the perennial puzzle of automotive life: where to put your car when it’s not moving. The average car spends about 95 percent of its life stationary. Give a listen.
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The Social and Economic Case for Autonomous Vehicles

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


Rayburn House Office Building
45 Independence Avenue Southwest (B-338)
Washington, DC 20515 
 The advent of autonomous vehicles is poised to transform the automobile industry as profoundly as the introduction of automated manufacturing assembly lines did nearly a century ago. This event will explore the social and economic case for welcoming the arrival of autonomous vehicles and explaining how they will deliver a range of benefits.

Exclusive Debate: Formulate a Business Strategy for V2X Deployment

I would like to offer you access to an exclusive Telematics Update debate in which Denso, Cisco Systems and Sprint offer a concise analysis on how to create a business case for V2X technologies.
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ITS America Announces 2013 Best of ITS Awards Finalists

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) today announced the list of finalists for the 2013 Best of ITS Awards, a highly competitive program which recognizes the most innovative projects and influential achievements in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) industry.
Finalists will be recognized and the winners announced during the Opening Plenary session of the 23rd ITS America Annual Meeting and Exposition on Monday, April 22, 2013 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee...

The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University: “SURTRAC: Scalable Urban Traffic Control”
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

IBM to Pittsburgh: Use data to help motorists get around

The company sent eight analysts to Pittsburgh last year to recommend technology-based solutions to the city's transportation woes. Pittsburgh got an estimated $400,000 worth of free help through the company's Smarter Cities Challenge program.
“IBM is saying, ‘Look, you guys have a lot of good data. You have a lot of good partnerships. You just have to develop applications so that data can be shared and get it out to people who are using the system,'” said Stan Caldwell, deputy executive director of Carnegie Mellon University's Traffic 21 program and T-Set University Transportation Centers.

Webinar - Smart Traffic Management: Lessons from New York City's Midtown in Motion Project

Date: April 18, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost: All T3 webinars are free of charge
The purpose of the MiM project is to promote multimodal mobility in the midtown core of Manhattan – a 110 square block area or “zone” from 2nd to 6th Avenues and from 42nd to 57th Streets. The MiM project integrates features of Active Traffic Management (ATM) and the full capabilities of the NYCDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Infrastructure; a recent deployment of advanced solid-state traffic controllers (ASTCs) and a comprehensive network of sensors (e.g. video, microwave, and electronic toll collection readers), a wireless communication system, and the New York City Traffic Control System software system, which manages the project.
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Civil Integrated Management (CIM) Workshop

There is a Civil Integrated Management Workshop taking place at the Empire Plaza Convention Center in Albany, NY on Wednesday, March 27th . This workshop will be specific to the Civil Integrated Management technology which is part of the FHWA's Every Day Counts 2 initiative. This event also includes a session on GIS - Cloud Base Asset Management - Geospatial Data Collaboration which is another FHWA's Every Day Counts 2 initiative.
This workshop will highlight how NYSDOT, other state DOTs and the industry is using CIM technology with LiDAR and real location GPS data integrated into construction vehicles for greater efficiency on cost and time scheduling and risk management on projects.
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Development of an Innovative Prototype Lane Departure Warning System

The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Research has released a report that discusses the development of a new prototype lane departure warning system using an image-based approach to find the vehicle's lateral characteristics and establish an operation algorithm.

Freeway Travel-time Estimation and Forecasting

The Georgia Institute of Technology has released a study that proposes a real-time travel-time estimation algorithm model that incorporates advances in traffic flow theory and simulation.
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TRB Webinar: Guidelines for the Use of Mobile LIDAR in Transportation Applications

TRB will conduct a webinar on April 11, 2013, from 2:00p.m.- 3:30 p.m. ET that will highlight TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program report: Guidelines for the Use of Mobile LIDAR in Transportation Applications. Participants must register in advance of the webinar and there is a fee for non-TRB Sponsor employees. A certificate for 1.5 Professional Development Hours (PDH) will be provided to attendees who register and attend the webinar as an individual.
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Engineering Month: Urban congestion puts spotlight on transportation engineering

Even within transportation engineering there are a variety of sub-fields a student could study, starting with traditional traffic engineering, road design and safety. For those with a futuristic or technological bent, there are also areas such as travel-demand forecasting and intelligent transportation systems.
“Across the board there is a need for solutions to congestion and transportation problems,” Mr. Roorda says. “There’s a demand in all of these disciplines.”
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Request for Information (RFI): USDOT Seeks Input on Automated Vehicle Technology

 The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is seeking informed views on the opportunities from and challenges to the development, deployment, operation, and use of increased automation of the surface transportation system, including vehicles, drivers, users, road-based infrastructure, information systems, and applications. The goal for this Request for Information (RFI) is to develop a USDOT multimodal research plan for automation.

2013 White House Champions of Change - Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century

On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Office of Public Engagement will host a Champions of Change event on “Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century.”   This Champions of Change event will focus on individuals or organizations that have provided exemplary leadership in implementing transportation technology solutions to enhance performance, reduce congestion, improve safety, and facilitate communication across the transportation industry at the local, state or regional level...
 Please submit nominations to champions@dot.gov by midnight on Thursday, March 28, 2013. The nomination form is available in related documents or you can email the requested information in an email to champions@dot.gov.
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SEPTA to hike fares, use new technology

No matter the mode of public transit, SEPTA commuters will soon be paying more to reach their destinations, but they’ll be paying in a way SEPTA promises will be more convenient than the technologically outdated mode involving tokens, tickets and paper transfers.

“The ease of using smart-card technology … is going to have huge positive benefits for our customers,” Richard Burnfield, SEPTA chief financial officer, said at a news conference announcing the changes.Among those benefits: no more waiting in line to buy passes and tokens, and easier replacement of lost or stolen passes that are registered with SEPTA, he said
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Carnegie Mellon Boosts Entrepreneurship Efforts By Merging Project Olympus and Don Jones Center

Carnegie Mellon University is bolstering its leadership in turning university research and ideas into commercial enterprises by establishing the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), which merges the strengths of Project Olympus and the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship.

The new CIE will be led jointly by Lenore Blum, founding director of Project Olympus and professor of computer science, and Dave Mawhinney, executive director of the Don Jones Center and assistant teaching professor of entrepreneurship. The CIE has three goals: 1) defining CMU as the "destination of choice" for individuals interested in entrepreneurship; 2) fostering an "inside-out" approach of creating winning commercial ventures from cutting-edge research; and 3) developing an extensive, vibrant network of alumni entrepreneurs.

NSA, Carnegie Mellon seek high school hackers

Bored with classes? Carnegie Mellon University and one of the government's top spy agencies want to interest high school students in a game of computer hacking.
Their goal with "Toaster Wars" is to cultivate the nation's next generation of cyber warriors in offensive and defensive strategies. The free, online "high school hacking competition" is scheduled to run from April 26 to May 6, and any U.S. student or team in grades six through 12 can apply and participate.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Issue: Volume 78, Number 49
Agency: ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. 
Action: Notice.
RITA Office: Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office
The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program Advisory Committee (ITS PAC) will hold a meeting on March 27, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EST), and on March 28, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EST) in the Admiral II and III rooms of the Courtyard Marriott Capitol Hill/Navy Yard Hotel, 140 L Street SE., Washington, DC 20003.
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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, will provide a unique forum for sharing the latest industry technologies, solutions and best practices from all over the world, and set new standards of excellence and hospitality.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

US DOT Releases First Version of Research Data Exchange

U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration and the Federal Highway Administration released the first version of the Research Data Exchange (RDE), a transportation data sharing system that promotes sharing of archived and real-time data from multiple sources and multiple modes. This new data sharing capability will support the needs of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) researchers and developers while reducing costs and encouraging innovation. Data accessible through the RDE is quality-checked, well-documented, and available to the public.
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CMU’s New Robot : Near-human Strength and Dexterity

A team from Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center is building a new class of robot to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Robotics Challenge — a human-size robot that moves, not by walking, but on rubberized tracks on the extremities of each of its four limbs...
The robot also will be pre-programmed to execute tasks such as grasping a tool, stepping on a ladder rung or turning a steering wheel without step-by-step direction from the human controller, circumventing the lag between command and execution.
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Robotics spin-out leases Heppenstall building

A new robotics company is ready to spin out of the National Robotics Engineering Center into a significant new space for itself in Lawrenceville.
Carnegie Robotics, whose president and CEO John Bares was the director of NREC, has signed a long-term lease for the 30,000-square-foot blue former Heppenstall building owned by the Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania...

“We’re very happy to have Carnegie Robotics in there,” said Smith. “It represents a great win for NREC and Carnegie Mellon University in spinning out companies and it continues to reinforce the continuing robotics cluster of companies in Lawrenceville.”
When asked if this was the biggest lease he’s seen so far for a robotics spin out, Smith said he believed so.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Carnegie Mellon's Human-Scale CHIMP Robot Has Four Limbs, But Moves on Treads Like a Tank

A team from Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Center is building a new class of robot to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Robotics Challenge -- a human-size robot that moves, not by walking, but on rubberized tracks on the extremities of each of its four limbs.
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Global Symposium on Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure May 14-16, 2013

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is pleased to host the first annual Global Symposium on Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure, May 14-16, 2013, in Ann Arbor. This three-day event will bring together leading industry, academic and government experts to discuss and strategize how connected vehicle technology is transforming the transportation industry.

Register today for AUVSI's Driverless Car Summit 2013


Automated vehicles are the future of the automotive industry, and AUVSI’s Driverless Car Summit 2013 is the premier event addressing the latest advancements, challenges and opportunities happening in this dynamic sector of transportation! Make plans to attend the 2013 summit taking place 11-12 June at the Sound Board, MotorCity Hotel in Detroit! We are planning another exciting agenda featuring a broad range of experts discussing everything from technology to insurance.
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