Friday, May 31, 2013

Smart map tracks people through camera networks

Dubbed the Marauder's Map after the magical map used by Harry Potter, the system takes security camera footage and analyses it using an algorithm that combines facial recognition, colour matching of clothing, and a person's expected position based on their last known location.The main challenge in designing the map, says Shoou-I Yu, a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was finding and following individuals in complex indoor environments where walls and furniture can block the cameras. He and his colleagues found a solution by combining several tracking techniques. For example, an individual whose clothes are the same colour, and whose facial features correspond to those of the person who appears just a few frames back in the footage suggests that the two are a match.
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Webinar - Parking Industry Apps: A Results Based Approach to Social Media

June 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM EDT, 1:00 PM CDT, 12:00 PM MDT, 11:00 AM PDT
Social media has made parking even easier to track. Using this universal platform that is easily accessible to everyone parking organizations are finding it easier than ever to fosters brand awareness, improve customer service and even communicate with their own employees.

Study: Parking goes high-tech in many cities

Technology is going to transform how motorists hunt down available parking in crowded cities, ending the need to circle endlessly for a space, a new study says.
Programs have been launched in several cities that allow motorists to get real-time information about parking beamed to their smartphones, says the study from the International Parking Institute.
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U.S. DOT Announces 2013 Road Weather Management Stakeholder Meeting Update and Agenda Overview

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will be sponsoring its annual Road Weather Management Stakeholder meeting on July 16-18, 2013 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  
The purpose of the meeting is to provide a venue for peer exchange between the transportation and weather communities consisting of State Departments of Transportation, academia, vendors, weather service providers (public and private), and consultants. 
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tech giants’ team up for Smart Cities Council

Over a dozen of leading technology companies – including some of the worlds largest – formed a new council to help cities around the world achieve growth and sustainability.
Alstom, AT&T, Bechtel, Cisco, Electricite de France, General Electric, I.B.M,, Itron, Microsoft, National Grid, Qualcomm and S&C Electric have led the creation of Smart Cities Council.
In addition, associate partners include ABB, Alphinat, Grid2020, Invensys, MaxWest Environmental Systems, Opower and Zipcar (a division of Avis).

SPC Draft TIP, Initial Input

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is in the early phases of creating the draft 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which identifies the region’s priority transportation projects for the next four years.  The regional TIP is updated every two years in a cooperative process of local, state, and federal agencies, as well as the general public.
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U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Policy on Automated Vehicle Development

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced a new policy concerning vehicle automation, including its plans for research on related safety issues and recommendations for states related to the testing, licensing, and regulation of “autonomous” or “self-driving” vehicles. Self-driving vehicles are those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.
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The DARPA Challenge and CMU

History of Carnegie Mellon University's success with autonomous vehicles in the various DARPA Challenges from 2002 to present.
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Freakonomics Radio: Baby, you can program my (driverless) car

Teams of engineers and computer scientists are in a race right now to create the first fleet of driverless cars.
One of those teams is at Carnegie Mellon University.
“The 20th century kind of represented the love affairs of Americans with cars,” says Raj Rajkumar, co-director of a research lab at CMU. “We are essentially trying to take the love affair away.”
Stephen Dubner took a ride with Rajkumar and his colleagues in the latest prototype, a Cadillac SUV (the CMU lab is partially funded by GM).More>>

The Year of the Bike Share rides a blue wave into New York City

Earlier this spring, I wrote that 2013 is the Year of the Bike-Share, and on Monday, New York City proved it. That morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan launched Citi Bike, the nation's largest bike share system.
With 6,000 bright blue bikes available to more than 16,000 members at more than 300 stations --including the solar-powered City Hall station where the launch ceremony took place-- this is a terrific next step for a city that has already embraced bicycling as a mode of transportation that residents want.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Car Talk – ITS lets Vehicles Communicate with Each Other

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to drive a new model Mercedes Benz that was equipped with a number of “smart” features – many of them for safety purposes. Equipped with numerous sensors – it alerted me when I was too close to an object both from the front and rear and also alerted me when I was switching lanes and a car was in my blind spot. While these features were certainly useful – what if your vehicle could do more – such as “see” vehicles that you can’t see or inform you of roadway conditions and hazards that you can’t see or perhaps know the speed and location of approaching vehicles?
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Eighth Annual Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Safety Symposium and Workshop

TRB's second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) will hold its Eighth Annual Safety Research Symposium on July 11, 2013, and a Safety Research Workshop on July 12, 2013. The concomitant events will take place in Washington, D.C.
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Google Said to Consider Buying Waze Presaging Bidding War

Google Inc. (GOOG), maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze Inc., setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook Inc., people familiar with the matter said.
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A series of leaps for robot-kind

This running, jumping and climbing robot is the X-RHex Lite (XRL) from the University of Pennsylvania’s Kod*lab.
There’s no commentary or soundtrack to distract from the remarkable number of feats performed in the footage.
XRL itself is described as a design study, building on a previous robot - the X-RHx - using a slightly different configuration to simplify fabrication, while minimising weight.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Thoughtful Policy Framework for Intelligent Cars | Commentary

Our highways aren’t filled with driverless cars — yet. But thanks to “intelligent” transportation technologies that have started to bring cutting-edge capabilities to every aspect of our vehicles, we’re a lot closer to that futuristic vision...
That’s why we at the Telecommunications Industry Association have gathered with leading high-tech companies and industry groups from across the expanding connected and autonomous vehicle ecosystem to form the Intelligent Car Coalition. The coalition will provide leadership around important societal issues such as distracted driving and educate on the cutting-edge innovations that have the potential to unleash enormous societal benefits in the intelligent transportation arena.
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One year after White House Digital Government Strategy, DOT putting safety information in consumers' hands

On May 23, 2012, President Obama launched a comprehensive Digital Government Strategy aimed at delivering better services to the American people. The Strategy is built on a simple idea: that all Americans should be able to access information from their government anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
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GM exec: Apps coming to select cars later this year

Mary Chan, head of the global connected consumer unit for GM, told CNET that apps would come to select cars in the second half. The initial set of apps will be per-determined by the company, will be available for download, and will make up the early stages of its in-car app store. More importantly, GM will also debut an app framework in these cars that will enable the download of future apps.
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Experts To Focus on Safety Strategies for US Infrastructure At Carnegie Mellon's Washington Speaker Series

Carnegie Mellon University's M. Granger Morgan will moderate a distinguished panel of experts on the critical infrastructure in the United States from 7 to 8 p.m., Thursday, May 30, at the sixth installment of the CMU College of Engineering's Washington Speaker Series at the Cosmos Club at 2121 Massachusetts Ave. in Washington, D.C.
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Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/22/5439676/experts-to-focus-on-safety-strategies.html#storylink=cpy

How technology can make travelling smarter and safer by 2025 – WEF

Four new solutions that are based largely on existing technology could drastically improve the safety and efficiency of travel and transportation by 2025 – that’s according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) out today.
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3 Robots That Want To Save Your Life

CHIMP: Carnegie Mellon scientists are designing a robot monkey tank, above, to climb ladders, roll over rubble, and most importantly, open doors. Designed to work in human-sized spaces, CHIMP will be partially autonomous, which means it should be able to navigate through a disaster area with little human input. CHIMP is just one of several designs competing in a DARPA challenge to build robotic first responders.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Public Transit Users Demand Digital Services

The study, released Tuesday, suggests travelers expect to have the capability to use their mobile phones as electronic tickets as early as this year, for example, and they have equally high expectations of public transit when it comes to communications via social media. 
The study suggests 52% of global public transit users would be willing to pay at least 10% more for technological improvements, such as using a smartphone as an e-ticket.
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Big Data, Analytics and a New Era of Efficiency in Government

Buy something from Amazon and you will soon find the online retailer telling you what other products you might like. Linger too long on your preferred cell provider's website for new phones and you will quickly encounter a live person to chat with online about the options. Each day, companies of all sizes discover new ways to gain customer insights that allow them to target products and services with unprecedented specificity.
This same technology can fundamentally change the way government operates, breaking down hierarchies and silos, enabling preventive action, incorporating citizens into every aspect of governance and increasing overall efficiency. Data analytics offer us unprecedented opportunities to improve the effectiveness of government.
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CMU working on vehicle that can drive itself

Watch WTAE news story featuring Carnegie Mellon's self driving vehicle.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Information for Authors: A Guide for Preparing and Submitting Manuscripts for Presentation at the TRB Annual Meeting and for Publications in the TRB’s Journal

TRB has released the latest version of its information for authors guide. The guide is designed to help both new and veteran TRB paper authors navigate the paper submission process for TRB’s upcoming Annual Meeting and for TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.
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RFP: IDEA Program Announcement 2013: Funding Proposals Now Being Accepted

TRB’s Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) annual program announcement solicits funding proposals for the upcoming review cycles.  The announcement explains the IDEA programs, describes the types of eligible projects and their funding structures, suggests general areas for which IDEA proposals can be submitted, and provides guidelines and forms for submitting proposals.

  • NCHRP IDEA proposals are due September 1st and March 1st, depending on which of the two funding cycles is targeted.
  • The Safety IDEA program has only one review cycle per year; Safety IDEA proposals are due September 16, 2013.
  • Transit IDEA proposals are due November 1st and May 1st.  
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2014 TRB 93rd Annual Meeting and Transportation Research Record Call for Papers

TRB standing committees have issued calls for papers for the TRB 93rd Annual Meeting, January 12-16, 2014, in Washington, D.C, and the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board (TRR). While papers addressing any relevant aspect of transportation research will be considered, some committees are soliciting papers in specific subject areas to help potential authors identify topics for their papers.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Company preparing map app of Pittsburgh's steps

ESRI is a mapping services company whose software is used by governments, corporations, institutions and disaster relief organizations around the globe. But it is going hyperlocal in Pittsburgh.
That's how Lauri Dafner ended up at a cookout on Brian Oswald's patio one recent evening in the South Side Slopes, where a group of residents was planning this year's Step Trek...
Sixty-six of the city's 90 neighborhoods have at least one set of hillside steps. There are 716 sets in all, and the Slopes has the most with 66.
Step Trek is in its 13th year as a fundraiser for the neighborhood association. As many as 1,100 people have taken tours of the hillside steps in past years.
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Technology leaders form Intelligent Car Coalition

he Coalition will be a non-profit, consumer advocacy and education organization, and its founding members include: the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), AT&T, Hughes Telematics (a Verizon Company), Intel, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Verizon. The Coalition will engage federal policymakers in discussions about the promise of intelligent vehicle technologies and share its thoughts on important societal issues like distracted driving, as well as other complex policy issues that may emerge, such as data privacy and security, liability, research and development, and public-private partnerships.
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Report shows majority would trust autonomous cars

When questioned about autonomous or driverless vehicles, more than half of global consumers (57%) stated they would be likely to ride in a car controlled entirely by technology that does not require a human driver. The most trusting consumers in this regard were in Brazil with 96%, India (86%), China (70%) and the USA (60%). However, confidence in the systems was less high in Europe and Japan, with under half of drivers in France and the UK (45%), 37% in Germany and only 28% in Japan, keen on the technology.
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EC to introduce ‘intelligent information services’ for drivers

The European Commission (EC) has adopted two regulations to promote the roll-out of ‘intelligent information services’, such as real-time warnings about dangerous road conditions ahead and information on safe and secure parking places for truck drivers. The information will be provided through several different methods, including variable message signs (VMS), RDS radio systems and cell phone applications.
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Industry groups join forces on smart fare security for public transportation

Smart ticketing and electronic fare sales for public transportion may not seem an obvious target for a cyber-crook at first glance, but when you consider all the credit card transactions and contactless payments flying around, e-security emerges as a big concern, particularly when it comes to the cards themselves.
The Open Standard for Public Transport (OSPT) Alliance and ITSO, the organization responsible for the UK national specification for smart ticketing, are joining forces to promote more advanced security measures.
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GM unveils data center in Detroit suburb


GM has outsourced many of its computing and information technology (IT) functions in recent years, which it says were more costly and not as effective as the two data centers will be for the Detroit-based company.
Construction of a $258 million companion data center at the GM vehicle proving grounds in Milford, Michigan, will begin this summer.
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Call for Papers - The 2013 International Conference on Transportation

The 2013 International Conference on Transportation will be held in Xianning, China from December 04-06, 2013. The conference will discuss experiences in transportation research and development, and provide a platform for both domestic and overseas experts to exchange ideas and suggestions in transportation engineering, vehicle operation engineering, transportation planning, traffic information engineering and control, pavement &bridge engineering and other related topics.
Paper submission due: July 07,2013
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A Methodology to Estimate Capacity Impact due to Connected Vehicle Technology

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003,  USAReceived 16 March 2011; Revised 21 June 2011; Accepted 7 September 2011Academic Editor: Nandana Rajatheva
This paper proposes a methodology to analyze the benefit of highway capacity gained from connected vehicle technology. To fulfill this purpose, a model incorporating the effects of connected vehicle technology on car following is formulated, building on which a rough estimate of the resulting capacity gain is derived.
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The future of travel: Transportation confronts its 'Kodak moment'

Transportation is on the cusp of being radically transformed by the digital revolution. From self-driving cars to intelligent public transit systems, the future of 21st-century transportation is being mapped out right now in Silicon Valley.
At the inaugural FutureCast event in Palo Alto, 50 innovative entrepreneurs, executives, policy makers and writers were invited to discuss how online technology is transforming transportation.
The goal was to rethink travel in today's networked society and re-imagine the car, bus and train in the digital age.

Will your next car join the 'revolution' in information technology?

Humans have been at the helm of the vehicle for the past 120 years. But now cars are starting to think for themselves and talk to smartphones, intersections and each other through what are broadly called intelligent transportation systems, or ITS. Cars are connecting through a combination of Wi-Fi, GPS, cameras, radar and sensors. And as technology improves, vehicles will take increasing control of their own mobility.
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Tampa planners, Carnegie Mellon researchers look for social hot spots

The two are teaming up for a project to analyze social media data that tags places its users visit — the coffee shop, the gym, a ballgame, a nightclub.
"As a planner, any time you can find a source of information about how people are interacting with the urban environment, it becomes an interesting piece of data to look at," said Randy Goers, Tampa's urban planning coordinator.
Or, as Mayor Bob Buckhorn says, "more data is better for us."
The initiative got its start last year when city planners began looking at data from Foursquare, a free application that allows mobile phone users to let others know about the places they go.
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Pedestrian and Bicyclist Warning Devices and Signs at Highway-Rail and Pathway-Rail Grade Crossing

The Illinois Center for Transportation at the University of Illinois has released a report that discusses safety at rail grade crossings including pedestrian and non-motorized user behavior and attitudes toward safety at such crossings.

Traffic Safety Facts 2011: A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a report that contains motor vehicle traffic crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System for data year 2011.
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Extraction of Layer Properties from Intelligent Compaction Data

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) Final Report for NCHRP-IDEA Project 145: Extraction of Layer Properties from Intelligent Compaction Data examines a methodology that was developed to extract layer elastic modulus/stiffness from composite soil stiffness and global positioning system-based location provided by currently available vibratory intelligent compaction rollers.
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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. This four-day event will focus on challenges and opportunities related to the increasing automation of motor vehicles as well as the environments in which they operate. The workshop will build on the 2012 workshop on the state-of-the-art in road vehicle automation research with the objective of identifying and documenting societal, policy, and technology research needs.
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Cities see wide-ranging benefits from smart transportation projects

Today there's keen interest in the compelling ways cities around the world are using advanced technologies to ease traffic congestion, improve roadway safety and otherwise enhance urban mobility. In fact, Navigant Research released a new tracker report earlier this year that found more than 50% of smart city projects are focused on innovations in transportation and urban mobility. The project examples highlighted below are good fodder for other cities looking for innovative ways to address transportation pain points.
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Study highlights importance of travel time as a metric

As commute times increase, married women work fewer hours or even drop out of the workforce according to a forthcoming article in the Journal of Urban Economics. The finding, summarized for a general audience recently in Atlantic Cities, helps explain differences in women’s workforce participation across various metro areas.
This insight may seem less important to transportation practice than to labor-market studies. But in its focus on travel time as a driver of economic outcomes, the article has clear relevance to transportation agencies that are wrestling with setting meaningful, outcome-based performance measures.
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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces New Connected Vehicle Test Bed Affiliation

The U.S Department of Transportation released a memoranda that helps to create an affiliation of 5.9GHz Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) infrastructure device makers, operators of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I ) installations, and developers of applications that use V2I communications. The goal of creating this organizational structure is to harness the collective abilities of these members to transition the technology toward full deployment by allowing for the exchange of information, the sharing of deployment lessons learned,  developing a common technical platform, and expanding test bed options for users.
The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) expects to enter into a number of these agreements with public, private, and academic organizations to create an affiliation of test beds.
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CMU Engineering Students Unveil Futuristic Inventions


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you want to solve a problem, call an engineer. Or, in this case, 75 engineering students at Carnegie Mellon University.  The seniors filled a room with innovations for the future...
 Finally, student Andre Sucanto demonstrates how a manual wheel chair fits neatly onto an electric scooter.
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Pittsburgh airport unveils iPhone app

Pittsburgh International Airport? There's an app for that.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority unveiled its iPhone and iPad app for Pittsburgh International Airport that will include flight status information, how full the airport parking lots are, and the wait at the security checkpoint.  There also are links to Airmall shopping, car rental and airline websites.
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Friday, May 10, 2013

Facebook Pursues $1 Billion App Deal

Facebook Inc. FB -1.37% is in talks to acquire Waze, a navigation app for mobile devices, in a deal that could be worth as much as $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
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Infrastructure Navigator Webinar -

ITS America will hold an introductory webinar to teach users how to navigate this robust new RFP and procurement search tool. After registering below, you will receive an initial email with login instructions, as well as a reminder 24 hours prior to the May 23rd session

The webinar will start at 2:00pm Eastern on Thursday, May 23 and will last approximately one hour. We will close with a Q&A session - please submit your questions online throughout the webinar via chat and session moderators will pose your questions to the presenters.
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ITS America Members Honored by White House as 2013 Transportation Champions of Change

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) today congratulates three of its members, Michael Pack from the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT Lab), Dr. Thomas Dingus from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and Bernie Arseneau representing Sue Groth from the Office of Traffic, Safety and Technology, Minnesota Department of Transportation, for being named 2013 Transportation Champions of Change.
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Robots rule in hacker-friendly Pittsburgh (RFP)

Hackers have always been welcome in Pittsburgh, where engineers flood out of Carnegie Mellon University Hand the University of Pittsburgh, venture capital firms specialize in robotics startups, and it’s easy to find a member of a hardware hacking club.
But now, entrepreneurs building gadgets, robots or an “Internet of Things” startup have a new Pittsburgh hot spot. The five-year-old AlphaLab accelerator will host the first AlphaLab Gear class in downtown Pittsburgh this fall. The accelerator for hardware and robotics startups begins accepting applications May 15th.
Those accepted to the six-month program will choose between a $25,000 and $50,000 investment (each with different terms) from AlphaLab’s parent company, the 13-year-old venture capital firm Innovation Works.
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Truck parking program may get federal boost

Efforts to create a national “truck parking” management system may soon be getting some extra help from the U.S. Department of Transportation, according Dan Murray, vice president for the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), as truck parking is increasingly being viewed as a way to address driver fatigue issues.
In his keynote address at the Pegasus TransTech User Conference in Safety Harbor, FL, last week, Murray said that while truck parking doesn’t rank high on the industry’s list of top concerns – the tops slots taken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, hours-of-service (HOS) reform, the health of the U.S. economy, and the driver shortage – lack of parking is seen as growing problem due to HOS rest period requirements.
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2013 Pgh Thinkathon

A two-day weekend hackathon to develop solutions for some of the city's challenges as a part of the National Day of Civic Hacking.
June 1-2, 2013
Downtown Pittsburgh, PA
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White House honors Port of Pittsburgh official

The White House named the commission's executive director, James R. McCarville, 67, one of 12 Transportation Champions of Change nationally.
“Clearly, the reason I was honored was the work of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission and its Wireless Waterway Committee, which was ... thousands of hours of volunteer service that they put into it,” said McCarville, a Ross resident, who was recognized during a ceremony at the White House.
About a decade ago, the commission partnered with Carnegie Mellon University students to develop a computerized virtual locking system, he said. Called SmartLock, it aids vessels entering a lock chamber in low-visibility conditions, McCarville said. 

Webinar - Keep It Real: Real-Time Transit Traveler Information Systems – 511, Social Media, and More



Date: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost: All T3 webinars are free of charge
The growing popularity of mobile devices able to provide on-demand, just-in-time, personalized traveler information is changing the public's expectations for how transportation agencies communicate with customers and deliver services. Travelers who are able to access real-time data on traffic congestion, transit schedules, or transit arrivals are able to make more informed decisions and adjust travel plans “on the fly” by using online travel planners, mobile device applications, electronic signs, and other technologies. This webinar will feature speakers from a range of agencies discussing the costs and benefits of real-time transit traveler information systems; describing the challenges, successes, and future direction of traveler information systems; and sharing various uses of apps and social media to deliver traveler information.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The 2nd Connected and Self-driven Vehicles Symposium - UNIVERSITY TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH CENTER REGION 2

Monday, June 17, 2013 and Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The symposium will be held at the CoRe Auditorium in Busch campus of Rutgers University
 The second Connected and Self-driven Vehicles symposium will bring industry, government and academia together to explore the future directions in research and deployment of connected vehicle technologies in our region. Similar to the last year's symposium, many wireless communication technologies such as Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), Infrastructure-to-Vehicle (I2V), and Vehicle-to-Other (V2O) that can be used to improve our transportation system will be the centerpiece of this meeting.
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ITS Podcast Front Page

ITS Podcast is a new publication of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society aiming to take the ITS research and best practice to the general public in an attractive format. The goal is to offer insightful and entertaining monthly interviews with the leaders in ITS.
We will introduce to anyone interested in intelligent transportation and related scientific discoveries the cutting-edge of ITS research by interviewing authors of selected papers in the ITS Transactions and the Magazine, keynote speakers at the ITS conferences, and other top ITS scientists or engineers working on hot new topics.

African Bus Routes Redrawn Using Cell-Phone Data The largest-ever release of mobile-phone data yields a model for fixing bus routes.

Researchers at IBM, using movement data collected from millions of cell-phone users in Ivory Coast in West Africa, have developed a new model for optimizing an urban transportation system.
The IBM model prescribed changes in bus routes around the around Abidjan, the nation’s largest city. These changes—based on people’s movements as discerned from cell-phone records—could, in theory, slash travel times 10 percent.
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UAS Attracting Interest From New Users but Still Prompt Worries, Speakers Say

Unmanned systems are drawing increasing interest from not only police and first responders but journalists and environmentalists alike, although privacy fears must be addressed and operational rules created, according to speakers at a Tuesday conference.
Future Tense, a joint venture of the New America Foundation, Arizona State University and Slate magazine, sponsored "The Drone Next Door," a wide-ranging series of discussions on unmanned aircraft as they transition from military to civilian use.
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The U.S. Navy introduced its first squadron that combines combat helicopters with unmanned aerial vehicles at an air base near San Diego on Thursday, calling the approach the future of warfare.


The squadron of about 140 sailors, called the Magicians, will work off coastal combat ships that are smaller and faster than destroyers and aircraft carriers.
"We've been using multimillion dollar destroyers to chase Somali pirates," Admiral David Buss said. "This approach is designed for near-shore environment where our current experience shows us we're most likely to encounter threats."
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is in talks with Google to develop a new autopilot system for its electric cars

Entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has revealed today that he’s been in talks with Google to develop an ‘autopilot’ function for his company’s electric cars.
Bloomberg reports that Musk has been in discussions with Google over “self-driving technology” currently being developed over at Tesla Motors. The entrepreneur was cited as saying that he prefers the term ‘autopilot’, rather than ‘self-driving’, however to describe what they’re cooking up.
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Evaluation of Dynamic Message Signs and Their Potential Impact on Traffic Flow

The Maryland State Highway Administration has released a report that explores the potential impact that dynamic message signs have on traffic flow as well as their accuracy, timeliness, relevance, and usefulness.
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Estimating Lives Saved by Electronic Stability Control, 2009-2011

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a research summary that discusses the number of lives saved in passenger cars from the use of electronic stability control.
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Increasing Truck Driver's Awareness: Use of In-Vehicle 3D Sounds

TRB’s Safety Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) Program Final Report for Safety-IDEA Project 19: Increasing Truck Driver's Awareness: Use of In-Vehicle 3D Sounds explores the development and testing of a system using in-vehicle three-dimensional sound as a technique for augmenting the truck driver’s situational awareness.
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Letter Report on Review of the U.S. DOT Strategic Plan for Research, Development, and Technology 2013-2018

On April 30, 2013, TRB’s Committee for Review of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Strategic Plan for Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T) sent its letter report to Ray LaHood, Secretary of the U.S. DOT. Section 508 of the 2012 surface transportation authorization statute, as amended by Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP 21), requires the U.S. DOT to develop a 5-year strategic plan for federal transportation RD&T that describes the primary purposes, topics, expected outcomes, and anticipated funding of RD&T.
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"Congestion Costing Critique: Critical Evaluation of the 'Urban Mobility Report'"


The Urban Mobility Report (UMR) is a widely-cited study that quantifies and monetizes (measures in monetary units) traffic congestion costs in U.S. metropolitan regions. This report critically examines the UMR’s assumptions and methods. The UMR reflects an older planning paradigm which assumes that “transportation” means automobile travel, and so evaluates transport system performance based primarily on automobile travel speeds; it ignores other modes, other planning objectives and other impacts. 
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Request for Info on SHRP2 Safety Data System

The USDOT will be one of several organizations that will be involved in the long-term stewardship of the SHRP2 Safety Data. In support of that function, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is working collaboratively with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and other institutions to identify options for providing the research community with broad access to the data in a useful, convenient, timely and affordable manner, while providing security that meets all relevant standards. FHWA and NHTSA are therefore seeking information from organizations interested in long-term ownership, operation, or sponsorship of the SHRP 2 Safety Data.
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Monday, May 6, 2013

McCandless Teen and 'Girl of Steel' Wins Honor at Robotics Championship

A McCandless teen was recently honored at a national robotics competition championship.
Naoka Gunawardena was one 10 winners to receive Dean’s List honors at the FIRST--For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology--Robotics Competition Championship on April 27 in St. Louis.
Gunawardena is a junior at the Ellis School, an independent school for girls in Pittsburgh, and a member of the Girls of Steel, a robotics team sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University’s Field Robotics Center.
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

The rise of safety innovations in intelligent mobility

Deloitte Review
The widely acknowledged challenge for vehicle safety has long been to prevent or reduce the potential severity of casualties. The two major categories of safety-related efforts today include passive and active, with the former relatively mature both as a concept and technology. Active safety, however, is still in its infancy, with its potential emerging in the context of data acquisition and processing advances. In the future, vehicle safety will likely fuse with information communication technologies (ICT) into a system category that can be described as info-safety2—with a larger influence on shaping an information-connected mobility.
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The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission Wants Your Input!


The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is in the early phases of creating the draft 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which identifies the region’s priority transportation projects for the next four years. The regional TIP is updated every two years in a cooperative process of local, state, and federal agencies, as well as the general public.
To make it easier to provide input online, SPC has created an online form to help you with your submissions. Please go to www.spcregion.org/trans_tip_projform.asp to give us your ideas.
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