Friday, June 28, 2013

Improving Transit Performance with Automated Data Collection Systems

Nigel Wilson relies on the London Underground Oyster card, but not for his daily commute. Wilson uses data from transit fare cards to research and improve transit services in London. Wilson, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, was at Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, to participate in a Straight from the Source talk about automated data collection systems like the Oyster card, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority CharlieCard, and Hong Kong Octopus Card to improve public transit performance.
Wilson examines data collected by a variety of automated systems to understand passenger movements. The process requires creative use of data from systems that were not created for the purpose of counting passenger trips or the time a person spends waiting for a transit vehicle.

New App Puts Vehicle Safety in Consumers' Hands

A new iPhone application has made it easier for consumers to make important vehicle safety decisions in real time. Developed by Volpe for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the SaferCar app allows users to access information from NHTSA's site to search vehicle 5-Star Safety Ratings, locate child seat installation help, file a vehicle safety complaint, and receive automatic notices about recalls.  "The app allows the consumer to make more informed decisions about the cars they want to buy and it impacts important safety decisions," said Bob Berk, chief of Volpe's Safety Information Systems Division.

Army, West Pointer Easing Transportation Headaches

The transportation iPhone app idea started as a result of Kopser’s  long commute to the Pentagon in Washington D.C. “What should have been a five-minute commute would become a traffic nightmare depending on the day,” he says. While sitting on his porch in Arlington, Va., with friends he thought about his messy commute and ways to solve the problem. “I told them that I had the solution and turned an idea and PowerPoint into what RideScout is today,” he says.
He created RideScout with his Army friend Craig Cumming. RideScout guides or shows transportation options in real time, including taxis, buses, pedicabs, and rideshare options with friends, family or strangers.  “People waste a lot of time in traffic and millions of fuel wasted. I’m making it easier and safer for people and get them out of their cars to other existing transportation,” he added.

Will government regulation crash driverless cars?

Driverless cars are not just a distant idea. Industry experts say fully autonomous vehicles could be a common sight on U.S. roads by 2025. Seven states — including California, Florida and Nevada — have legalized the testing of self-driving cars, and several others are considering doing the same. Many teams are competing to develop the best model. Carnegie Mellon University is working on one for General Motors.

Penn to Implement AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative

The University of Pennsylvania has been named a project site for the Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, a multiyear, multimillion dollar project that aims to improve the quality of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Developed by the Association of American Universities in 2011, the project called for proposals from member universities, looking for those best able to demonstrate the effectiveness of evidence-based teaching practices in these disciplines.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hundreds of Los Angeles taxis circle City Hall to protest app-supported ride-sharing services

Los Angeles cabbies staged a noisy protest Tuesday over the smartphone-driven ride-sharing services that are cutting into their business.
About 200 taxis honked their horns and circled City Hall to demand the city crack down on app-driven companies that allow consumers to book rides online with limousine companies and private drivers.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

News from TRB's IDEA Programs – Summer/Fall 2013

The latest issue of Ignition, a periodic news magazine from TRB's Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) programs, examines how ghostly images can identify aggregates and improve quality control/quality assurance; a warning system to help improve transit track safety; improved crack filling and joint sealant in pavements; the path for more innovations; railroad safety; driver behavior improvement; and more.

Second Round of SHRP 2 Implementation Assistance Program Announced

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has announced that the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) Implementation Assistance Program which will be held in August.

Future Science City gears up

Beijing's Future Science City (FSC), located in its northern Changping District, is gearing up to develop itself into a smart city.The FSC, launched in 2009, has now taken shape, with 70 percent of its main infrastructure having been completed. The main roads, a total of more than 50, will be opened to traffic as of late this year.The construction of the smart city, which features the application of IT and other intelligent technologies, is well on track to be completed by the end of 2015.

CMU Students Show Fingerprints May Be Way to Buy

In the age of the Google Wallet and PayPal, the use of fingerprints as a payment method doesn't seem implausible. And the idea wasn't for Umang Patel and three other Carnegie Mellon University students who recently launched their own biometrics-based pay system as an alternative to plastic credit.
With PayTango, a swipe of the finger links users' personal information to their credit or debit card in less than 15 seconds, making for a quick and easy-to-use system.

Work begins to install city signs meant to keep drivers updated

A contractor is installing a series of variable message signs at nine locations along Spokane city streets.
Those signs will be connected to the region’s “intelligent transportation system” to keep drivers informed of what’s ahead.
Until now, most variable message signs have been placed along major highways.
The city has been installing fiber optic cable in the pavement over the past several years in preparation for this summer’s sign installations, city spokeswoman Julie Happy said.
“I think these will be great for traffic flow,” she said.
Drivers will be warned about accidents, obstructions, construction and road conditions through information gathered and disseminated by the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Citi Bike Smart Helmet Helps Guide Riders To Nearest Docking Station

 Check out the video here to see how the Smart Helmet works in New York City.
As helpful as the Citi Bike program is, one thing that is still a bit tricky is knowing where exactly docking stations are located, but the Citi Bike Smart Helmet is being introduced to help with this problem. The Carrera foldable hemet has been modified with LED strip lights embedded into the groves of the helmet, a FLORA accelerometer, compass and FLORA GPS to help guide the rider to the nearest docking station:

New York City Gets Legislature’s Nod to Install Speed Cameras

New York State lawmakers voted on Saturday to allow New York City to install cameras to catch speeding motorists near schools.

CMU grad comes short of finish line

Faster than a speeding car, Eric Whitman's chance to win $50,000 and a job with an engineering design firm came to an abrupt halt.
Mr. Whitman, 27, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate student in robotics, was eliminated a week ago in the penultimate episode of Discovery's "Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius."
He and three others had to figure a way to monitor cars going through a checkpoint with the option of safely stopping one. He and teammate Tom Johnson created a device (build) that used netting to trap the car, and its execution was flawless.

Friday, June 21, 2013

eCall: automated emergency call for road accidents mandatory in cars from 2015

To help mitigate the consequences of serious road accidents across the EU, today the European Commission adopted two proposals to ensure that, by October 2015, cars will automatically call emergency services in case of a serious crash. The "eCall" system automatically dials 112 - Europe's single emergency number - in the event of a serious accident. It communicates the vehicle's location to emergency services, even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call. It is estimated that it could save up to 2500 lives a year (MEMO/13/547).

Allegheny County visitors rave over Cleveland's HealthLine bus line

Mr. Fitzgerald, the Allegheny County executive, led a delegation of nearly 70 Pittsburgh business, government and community leaders Thursday on a tour of Cleveland's innovative HealthLine, which uses buses that have been modified to resemble and behave like rail cars.
The vehicles cruised several miles of what is known as a Bus Rapid Transit line, on which they travel in their own dedicated lane, passing several of the 40 stations on the 9.4-mile HealthLine, which connects Cleveland's downtown with its medical-university-arts hubs.
The delegation, which included representatives of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Pittsburgh City Council, UPMC, the Port Authority, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Carnegie Mellon University, the Penguins and the Benedum Foundation, saw a system that operates faster and draws more riders than the traditional bus line it replaced. They also saw block after block of redevelopment on the Euclid Avenue route, much of which followed HealthLine's debut in 2008.

Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division Honored with Smart Solution Spotlight Award for Implementing DrivewyzeTM Motor Carrier Bypass Telematics Technology

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) today recognized the Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division for the organization’s leadership in helping modernize Maryland’s transportation infrastructure to improve safety and efficiency by deploying the DrivewyzeTM commercial vehicle inspection pre-clearance program.
“ITS America is excited to honor the Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division for its use of vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology to provide a convenient, safe and secure bypass solution for motor carriers on our nation’s roadways,” said ITS America Executive Vice President Tom Kern.

Self-drive your way to glory with ZoomCar

Self-drive was the fastest growing segment which prompted the duo of Greg Moran and David Back, graduates from the University of Pennsylvania to start-up. They launched ZoomCar, a membership based self-drive service which allows individuals to hire cars by the hour or by the day...
 Having partnered US based vehicle technology partner JustShareIt, the venture claims it has developed a state of the art vehicle reservation, billing entry and security technology not only to boost customer experience but also to ensure that ZoomCar vehicles are monitored and tracked to avoid defaults.

CMU, Motorola and other schools team on R&D

Carnegie Mellon University — along with seven other universities from around the country — is signing on with Motorola Mobility in a university research agreement meant to offer closer collaboration on research and streamlined commercialization.
The other schools signing an agreement with Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group are: California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hybrids Better Choice for City Drivers, CMU Study Finds

Will that hybrid vehicle pay for itself and help the environment? That depends on how and where you drive, Carnegie Mellon University researchers report.
Jeremy Michalek, a professor of mechanical engineering and engineering and public policy at CMU, and Orkun Karabasoglua, a mechanical engineering research assistant, analyzed the potential cost and greenhouse gas savings of hybrid and electric vehicles under different driving conditions.

Ford Using Robotic Test Drivers for Trucks

Ford is now the first automaker to develop a robotic test-driving program to drive vehicles in high impact on-road and off-road durability testing at their Michigan Proving Ground in Romeo, Mich. The purpose of using robots will be for driving Ford trucks when the terrain is too taxing for human drivers. Autonomous Solutions Inc. provided Ford with the design and manufacturing of the software for the robotic operations.

Connected Vehicle Technology Research on I-66

(WUSA9) -- If you drive I-66 Northern Virginia, you are well-acquainted with gridlock.
But congestion and safety could improve on I-66 and elsewhere, thanks to new connected vehicle technology, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell cut the ribbon for a new research "test bed" along a four square mile area on I-66 from the Beltway to Nutley and on parallel Routes 50 and 29.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has installed 45 radio devices in the test bed. 

Technology helps ambulance crews battle construction, traffic

A new computer-based GPS and traffic modeling system is helping local ambulance crews navigate the ever-changing terrain of Tarrant County roads. The MARVLIS system is starting to be used by MedStar crews in the field. Right now, a handful of supervisor units use the system to help direct ambulance crews around construction delays, and also roads which may have bad traffic.

Electronic License Plates Could Improve Highway Safety

South Carolina is considering a proposal, still in its early stages, to switch from metal license plates to new electronic license plates, or e-tags, as a way to improve highway safety.
"It's the first of its kind," says David Findlay, co-founder of Compliance Innovations, the South Carolina company that created the e-tags.  "It's not an LCD or an LED. What it's made of is electronic paper. It's a new technology that allows you to hold the image with no power whatsoever for over 10 years. The only time it needs power is when you're changing the status or the image on the plate."

2013 ITSPA Annual Awards Nominations

During the ITSPA Annual Meeting on August 13, 2013 to be held in Harrisburg, PA, the Board of Directors will present two (2) “Best of ITSPA” awards. The first award will recognize an individual (ITSPA Person of the Year) that demonstrates devotion, excellence and leadership in advancing ITS in Pennsylvania. The second award will recognize a project that demonstrates innovation, coordination, and measurable results.
At this time, ITSPA is requesting nomination for Project of the Year and Person of the Year nominations for these awards. Please complete the  nomination form and return to Dan Corey of AECOM by July 19, 2013.


IBM Offers Lagos ‘Smart Transportation’

A team of IBM experts completing a month-long pro bono consulting assignment, has made recommendations to the Lagos State Government on how to ensure a more efficient flow of traffic.
Working with the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport and the Lagos State Ministries of Transportation, Works & Infrastructure, Science & Technology, the IBM team of experts proposed technology-driven strategies called ‘Smart Transportation’ to make travel easier.

RFI: NCHRP FY 2014 Projects: Oversight Panel Nominee Solicitation

TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) is soliciting nominees to serve on oversight panels for new projects being established under the NCHRP's FY 2014 program. Nominees should have expertise directly relevant to the proposed project topic. To help identify nominees who are members of historically underrepresented groups, TRB encourages the nomination of women and members of minority groups.  Panels for the new projects are scheduled to meet beginning in late July through September. Panel members are prohibited from submitting or participating in preparation of proposals on projects under their jurisdiction, and they serve without compensation but are paid travel and subsistence expenses.

7th Annual Competition and Call for Communications Concepts with John and Jane Q. Public: Transportation Modeling and Simulation

The TRB Technical Activities Division’s Planning and Environment Group is holding its seventh annual competition to find top methods for communicating transportation concepts to non-professional audiences. Entries, which should focus on best practices in communicating transportation modeling and simulation to the public, are due by August 5, 2013.

Cognitive Distraction: Something to Think About from Recent Studies

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released a report that introduces its study ofexplores drivers performing secondary tasks such as listening to the radio, conversing with a passenger, conversing on a cell phone, and interacting with an advanced speech-to-text system.

Adaptive Collective Routing Using Gaussian Process Dynamic Congestion Models

The Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation Center at Carnegie Mellon University has released a report that explains a model for characterizing congestion conditions that facilitates real-time adaptive routing.

Guidelines for the Use of Mobile LIDAR in Transportation Applications

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 748: Guidelines for the Use of Mobile LIDAR in Transportation Applications presents guidelines for the application of mobile 3D light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology to the operations of state departments of transportation.
Mobile LIDAR uses laser scanning equipment mounted on vehicles in combination with global positioning systems (GPS) and inertial measurement units (IMU) to rapidly and safely capture large datasets necessary to create highly accurate, high resolution digital representations of roadways and their surroundings.

Innovations in Freight Modeling and Data: Integrating Supply-Chain Models and Data into Public-Sector Freight Demand Modeling

TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) is holding a symposium on October 21-22, 2013, in Herndon, Virginia (near Dulles Airport) that will provide a forum to explore how transportation planners , in focusing on freight flows, can benefit from using private-sector techniques to amplify existing freight-demand forecasting models, data, and methods.

Chow is studying ways to make Canada's aging transportation systems "smarter." That is done in two ways. First, designing the systems to respond to people's actual behaviour in terms of when, where and how they travel and for what reasons. Second, the systems need to be designed so that they can adapt to in the environment.

Read more at:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PennDOT embraces social media

Texting while driving on Pennsylvania roads is illegal, but the state Department of Transportation is hoping drivers will use their smartphones to access videos and live traffic updates - before getting behind the wheel.
PennDOT has created official profiles on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The content is aimed at providing educational videos and live traffic updates for motorists, PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Carnegie Mellon robot hunts for life in one of the deadest places on Earth

Scientists looking for life on Mars are studying the driest desert on Earth. This month, Carnegie Mellon University's Zoë robot will traverse Chile’s near-uninhabitable Atacama Desert as part of an astrobiology experiment aimed at testing technologies and techniques for NASA’s next rover to search for life on Mars at the end of the decade.

Can 'smart' traffic lights ease Toronto’s road congestion?

But what if you could actually teach those stupid lights a lesson? Literally. What if you could significantly shorten the delays you face on those fitful rides to work? Baher Abdulhai, head of the University of Toronto’s Intelligent Transportation Centre, says he and his team can do just that. Abdulhai’s group has developed a system that would use small, artificial-intelligence-based computers to improve an intersection’s throughput efficiency as much as 60 per cent. “On average on (simulated) tests in downtown Toronto, we found reductions in queuing delays at intersections of about 40 per cent overall,” Abdulhai says.

GM to offer 4G mobile Internet access in most '15 vehicles

General Motors Co. Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said Thursday that the automaker thinks cars and trucks will become the “next major technology platform,” and it plans to leverage its OnStar unit’s size and services and new 4G LTE mobile broadband to help it bring more connected services to consumers.
GM said the average U.S. consumer uses their smartphone and tablet for more than 2.5 hours a day, exceeding the 15 hours a week people spend as a driver or passenger in a car.
“Marry the two and you have a megatrend that we intend to harness for competitive advantage,” Akerson told the Chief Executives’ Club of Boston, according to prepared remarks.

Voice-based devices can have hand in driver distraction

While car manufacturers continue working to provide consumers with increasingly advanced technology in their vehicles, the study states that the "lessons learned from the current research suggest that such voice-based interaction is not risk-free, and in some instances the impairments to driving may rise to the level associated with drunk driving."
Marcel Just, a psychology professor and director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University, said multitasking always comes with a cost. A person almost never performs a task as well when required to divide attention between activities as compared with giving the one task full attention. There is a limit to the amount of brain activity that can occur at any one time, he said.

Driverless Car Steers Humans to a Safer Roads

At first glance, Carnegie Mellon University's Cadillac SUV looks like any other car on the road. But unlike other cars, this one drives itself. According to Professor Raj Rajkumar and his team at the university - the Cadillac prototype is the most advanced example of driverless car technology yet produced.
The research engineering team has been working on the autonomous car since 2000 with more than $11 million of finding from both the National Science Foundation and General Motors.
Rajkumar says driverless cars will one day be the norm, replacing the single biggest cause of traffic accidents on the road - human drivers. Human error accounts for more than 1.3 million traffic deaths globally every year and costs hundreds of billions of dollars.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Tech Use in New Cars to Grow 70%

Global V2V penetration into new vehicles will increase from just over 10% in 2018 to 70% in 2027, with the EU, U.S., and Japan as key regions adopting V2V in the mid-term...
 With multiple trials taking place or planned in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Australia and overall awareness about the benefits of cooperative systems increasing, 2013 is clearly a pivotal year for the future of V2X and the use of reserved DRSC spectrum in particular. However, doubts have arisen about the desirability and financial feasibility of deploying V2X communication and application technology platforms, with some touting LTE-Advanced as a viable alternative.

Intelligent Transport System to improve safety of railway crossings

In the quest for smarter and safer transportation networks, automakers have been working on communication systems that use wireless technologies to share information between vehicles and infrastructure, such as traffic lights, road works, intersections and stop signs. The potential applications of these vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems are constantly being expanded, and while GM has been working to bring cyclists and pedestrians into the mix, a team from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, is looking to improve safety at railway crossings by developing a system that enables communication between trains and road vehicles.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Traffic flow is no accident in Cranberry

Coordinating traffic signals on Cranberry's busy roads in 2011 saved motorists about $2 million annually, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers.
“We can't keep adding pavement,” township Manager Jerry Andree said. “We have to move traffic efficiently."...
Coordinating the signals helps drivers in the region save about $2 annually on fuel and wear and tear on their vehicles, CMU postdoctoral researchers Yeganeh Mashayekh and Chris Hendrickson found through the university's Traffic 21 research program. Cranberry drivers save about $600,000. 

Video techniques enable tracking of multiple people indoors

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a method for tracking the locations of multiple individuals in complex, indoor settings using a network of video cameras.
The method was able to automatically follow the movements of 13 people within a nursing home, even though individuals sometimes moved out of view of the cameras. To track them, the researchers made use of multiple cues (apparel colour, person detection, trajectory and facial recognition) from the video feed.

Global V2V Penetration into New Vehicles to Rise to 70% in 2027, Driven by Both Mandates and Commercial Consortiums, Says ABI Research

— Global V2V Penetration into new vehicles will increase from just over 10% in 2018 to 70% in 2027, with the EU, US, and Japan as key regions adopting V2V in the mid-term.
“V2X market and regulatory dynamics vary greatly from region to region. While the US will decide whether or not to mandate V2X by the end of 2013 with implementation not expected before 2018, in Europe the CAR 2 CAR Communication Consortium (C2C-CC) has issued a MoU signed by major vehicle OEMs including Audi, BMW, Daimler, Honda, Man, Opel, PSA, Renault, Volkswagen, and Volvo committing to deploying pan-European standard Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems by 2015 to improve road safety, traffic efficiency, and sustainable driving in line with the 2010 ITS EU Directive,” says VP and practice director Dominique Bonte.

The future of transport is self-driving cars, says GPS inventor Bradford Parkinson

(CNN) -- The future of transport is self-driving cars, says GPS inventor Bradford Parkinson.
The famed inventor, military hero and former boy scout, told CNN that advances in the use of GPS mean that the technology could not only emerge in the next few years, but is already being road tested by companies such as Google.
"I think (the future) leads to robotic cars. I think there will come a time when you go down the highway and you don't have to have your hand on the steering wheel at all. It'll be a combination of GPS, radar and other sensors."

Show me the Waze: Google maps a $1 billion deal

Google mapped out a key strategy with its $1 billion acquisition of map-software provider Waze on Tuesday.
"I am excited to announce today that we have accepted an offer to join Google," Waze CEO Noam Bardin said in a blog post Tuesday morning.
Google would not comment beyond its own blog post announcing the deal, but a source told USA TODAY the deal's amount. The source asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak on behalf of the search-engine giant.

Honda, BMW experiment with the autonomous motorcycle

BMW and Honda have already added plenty of connectivity to their cars, but now they’re turning attention to vehicles that have fewer than four wheels. The two automotive giants are working with the University of Michigan and Australian startup Cohda Wireless to put networking smarts into their motorcycles.
Adelaide-based Cohda designs radio systems and software that will not only link nearby vehicles on the road to each other, but also to the road itself. The idea behind its autonomous car technology is to create an ever-changing ad-hoc network of vehicles communicating their intentions and interacting with the infrastructure of the road. (For more detailed information, see GigaOM’s connected car infographic).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Smart Pavement Monitoring System

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released a report that documents the development of a self-powered sensor system for continuous structural health monitoring of new or resurfaced asphalt and concrete pavements.

Gearing up for the Smart Car/Road Revolution

The automobile industry is undergoing the greatest technological revolution since… well, probably since the invention of the automobile. Cars are getting “smarter,” as in embedded with more powerful sensors and artificial intelligence, and they are getting more connected — with other cars and with roads, which are getting smarter as well. The way people drive 10 years from now will be radically different from the way they drive today, especially if driverless cars become the norm.

Lane-Level Vehicle Positioning

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released a tech brief sheet that discusses aiding sensors that may be feasible for automotive applications and combinations of sensors that may achieve lane-level positional accuracy.

Maps That Live and Breathe With Data

But largely missing from Google’s Maps — and from those of other players in the field like Microsoft and Apple — is the social component. The map is simply presented by the company.
With Waze, the mob is the map, and like a mob, it can be churning with energy. The start-up, which has only a few employees, has generated many of its maps by tracking the movements of its nearly 50 million users via GPS. In any given month, about one-third of them are firing up the app, and as they drive, they can share information about slowdowns, speed traps and road closures, allowing Waze to update suggested routes in real time.

Driverless car steering course to road-readiness

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are putting the finishing touches on their version of a driverless car that, they say, lays the groundwork for computers to replace humans in the driver seat within a decade. Ben Gruber went for a ride.

U.S. Census: Smartphones Help Close Racial/Ethnic Gap in Internet Use

Such gaps are less pronounced or even non-existent when it comes to smartphone usage, however. Although smartphone usage was higher for Asian respondents (51.6%), the reported rates for white non-Hispanics and African-Americans were not statistically different from one another, running about 48% for both groups. The usage rates of African-Americans and Hispanics also were not statistically different from one another, the census bureau said.
“When compared to percentages of home Internet use, smartphones appear to be leveling the Internet use disparities traditionally present for race and ethnicity groups,” wrote the report authors.

Call for Papers: Innovations in Freight Modeling & Data

Innovations in Freight Mode ling & Data
A Transportation Research Board SHRP 2 Symposium October 21 - 22, 2013, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dulles Airport, Washington, DC

With $50M in Funding, Anki Emerges to Bring Robotics to Entertainment

The company, founded by robotics Ph.D. graduates from Carnegie Mellon University, is readying to launch its first product, Anki Drive, a physical racing game that will contain toy-size cars, endowed with the ability to understand their and other cars’ locations and make decisions based on calculating the possibilities of other cars’ movements. Users will be able to interact and control the robots via iOS applications.

Do Hybrids Save Money? Depends How You Drive

Vehicle window stickers, fuel economy standards and even life cycle studies offer incomplete efficiency estimates for vehicles because they often fail to account for driving conditions, a Carnegie Mellon University analysis has found. Researchers concluded that driving patterns have a substantial effect on the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles.
CMU researchers Orkun Karabasoglua and Jeremy Michalek compared hybrid, extended-range plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles for their potential to reduce lifetime cost and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions under various scenarios and simulated driving conditions with findings including:

Driverless Car Summit Starts With Focus on Implementation

AUVSI’s Driverless Car Summit 2013 kicked off with discussion on how to make automated driving a reality.  The summit, held for the second year in a row at the MotorCity hotel in Detroit, has always had the goal of making driverless cars hit the streets by 2022, but with a recent release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on its commitment to increasing autonomy in vehicles to achieve greater safety, this year’s conference hit a pragmatic tone early in the presentations.

Driverless trains plan as Berejiklian does a U-turn

Remote-operated trains will be introduced across parts of Sydney, prompting questions over whether passengers will feel safe without a driver at the controls.
It contradicts a previous government statement that the trains would have drivers, and is likely to fuel tensions with unions over potential job impacts.  Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the rail line would be a “fully-automated rapid transit system” – the first of its kind in Australia.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gov't to Establish Modern ITS to Tackle Traffic Congestion

As part of long term efforts to tackle traffic congestion in urban centres, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, will be seeking to establish a modern Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).
This is to provide real-time monitoring and control of highway traffic operations, through a centralized Traffic Management Centre (TMC).

New NFTA police smart phone app is in use

The app works for people on a Metro bus, a train, in a rail station, at the Buffalo and Niagara Falls airports and at the NFTA Boat Harbor.
Transit Police Chief George W. Gast said his department is only the fourth law enforcement agency in the country to implement such a smart phone app for public transit and the first department to use it for aviation and marine situations.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Car Apps That Help You Find a Parking Spot, and More

Wall Street Journal - Forget about Facebook updates in your dashboard. Auto technologists are shifting to helping drivers find a parking spot, the nearest subway entrance or a charging station for their electric car.
The dream, industry executives say, is to create a car that can make driving less stressful by anticipating traffic jams and suggesting alternative routes or locating parking spots in an unfamiliar place.

Analyzing Driver Behavior Using Data from the SHRP 2 Naturalistic Driving Study

TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) has released a project brief that describes how Naturalistic Driving Study data (NDS) can be searched. The brief also provides an overview of three SHRP 2 projects that are analyzing NDS and Roadway Information Database data to develop real-world safety countermeasures.

Questions, Questions, and More Questions: Measuring the Impact of Advanced Transportation Technologies on Traveler Behavior

Lappin, who is a member of Volpe's Center for Transportation Policy and Planning, surveys tens of thousands of travelers to measure the quality and impact of Intelligent Transportation Systems services. Jane and the Volpe team have published reports on this topic and can be found on Volpe's Technical Reports & Presentations database.
When and Where
12:00 – 12:45 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway, Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA
Join us in person or via webinar

Friday, June 7, 2013

[INFOGRAPHIC] Parking: The Good, The Bad, The Brilliant

You’ve likely heard it before: experts estimate that 30% of urban traffic is caused by drivers circling the block looking for a space.
So, what’s the difference between searching for parking with real-time parking availability vs. good-old-fashioned luck? Here, we’ve put Parker™ by Streetline to the test, and outlined the results in this beautiful infographic Parking: The Good, The Bad, The Brilliant that we just released today.

Nort Dakota officials unveil details for drone technology park

North Dakota officials kicked off a conference on unmanned aircraft systems Thursday by touting two proposals they say would make the state a global leader in civilian drone research and training.
The first one is a technology and business park known as Grand Sky, which would be the largest industrial complex in North Dakota and provide instruction for pilots, sensor operators and maintenance workers. Backers of the plan expect to finalize a contract for the facility in the next few weeks.

NHTSA: US now at 'historic turning point' on driverless cars

States that are considering allowing driverless cars on their road should standardize their regulations of automated vehicles, the Obama administration said in a new policy issued on Thursday.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was issuing recommendations for driverless cars because companies like Google are developing automated technologies for vehicles and several states are beginning to approve their use.

High-Tech Sensors Help Old Port City Leap Into Smart Future

Aside from the occasional ferry down from England, the old Spanish port city of Santander doesn't get too many foreign visitors. So imagine the locals' surprise when delegations from Google, Microsoft and the Japanese government all landed there recently, to literally walk the streets.
What they've been flocking to see is mostly invisible: 12,000 sensors buried under the asphalt, affixed to street lamps and atop city buses. The sensors measure everything from air pollution to where there are free parking spaces. They can even tell garbage collectors which dumpsters are full, and automatically dim street lights when no one is around.

Singapore: where an intelligent transportation system can work...

I was amazed by what Singapore has become today as one of the top global cities in Asia. It has one of the most extraordinary advanced transportation management system in the world. The Land transportation system (LTA) is using its best efforts to develop and control traffic through all Singapore.
In this blog, you will see what initiatives that LTA used to reach the best solutions for traffic control that included the city and highway congestions, intelligent systems in car crossroads, intelligent parking and disability pedestrians crossing intersections though using the intelligent transportation system (ITS).

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Power generating shoe insert

SolePower is an energy harvesting company bringing a power generating shoe insert to market. The technology is ideal for powering mobile electronic devices such as cell phones and GPS. Early adopters in the US will be outdoor enthusiasts and SolePower technology has additional applications in the military, developing nations, and other commercial markets...
 The founders developed the first prototype at Carnegie Mellon University, as part of their capstone mechanical engineering design project. The task was "design a product that solves a problem for students". The first prototype was demoed at CMU and in Washington D.C. and featured in local newspapers. SolePower was founded by Matthew Stanton and Hahna Alexander in September, 2012.

App that’s against driver distraction

Salamtek (Your Safety), a free Android application that works against driver distraction by intelligently limiting phone usage while driving has been launched by the Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre (QMIC) and the Ministry of Municipal Affiairs and Urban Planning (MMUP).
The app, intended to help improve road safety, is a part of Masarak, a suite of intelligent transport, logistics management and road safety services fully developed in Qatar and jointly owned by QMIC and MMUP.

U.S. 280 project receives $2 million federal grant for use of innovative technology

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Modifications along the U.S. 280 corridor are one of 14 projects nationwide chosen for an innovative infrastructure grant, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.
The U.S. 280 project has been awarded $2 million under the Federal Highway Administration's Highways for LIFE program, U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood said.
The Highways for LIFE program rewards projects that use innovative technologies and practices to quickly improve highway safety and reduce congestion.
The grant award mentions the use of adaptive traffic signals -- a network of traffic lights which use cameras to determine how long they should stay green -- as an example of using technology to improve traffic flow.

Smart cities: "It takes an ecosystem"

More than a dozen of the world's top technology firms in areas like smart energy, water and transportation have formed the Smart Cities Council to provide cities with tools and best practices to achieve prosperity and sustainability...
"All over the world, rapid urbanization is putting enormous stress on city resources and infrastructure," said Jesse Berst, founding chairman of the Smart Cities Council. "Cities are at a crossroads; many are nearing the point at which they could easily become overwhelmed by issues related to crime, congestion, and public health and safety. To prevent this, cities can use smart technologies to not just manage problems, but to usher in a new era of prosperity and sustainability."

'Smart' Solutions to Reduce Congestion and Emissions

Cell phone warnings about traffic jams, a network management center to monitor all of Moscow's transportation activities in real time and metro passes that also work on commuter trains are just a few services that city authorities are preparing to launch in their efforts to ease congestion.
Moscow's transportation officials presented an ambitious roadmap of how public transport will function in the city at the Smart City of the Future forum this week. The plans rely heavily on the use of mobile communications platforms and synchronizing existing services.

Intelligent traffic system to hit the road

China will build an intelligent transportation system by 2015 to tackle traffic congestion and save energy.
The government may prioritize the development of intelligent signals for public transportation in an effort to boost traffic efficiency, said Wu Zhongze, chairman of the China Intelligent Transportation Systems Association.

Australian Intelligent Transport Systems Summit

Australia will welcome international experts working at the leading edge of Intelligent Transport Systems to speak at the ITS Summit to be held at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney from 18 to 20 September 2013.
The international input will add value to progress the Summit’s key objective to formulate a national vision for ITS in Australia.


The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a grant Wednesday to the Traffic Engineering Company of São Paulo (Companhia de Engenharia e Trafego, CET- São Paulo) in support of the development and implementation of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for the Tiete and Pinheiros corridors.
The $420,000 grant funds technical assistance that will aid CET in creating the ITS implementation plan as well as provide recommendations and specifications for the corridors. Samantha Carl-Yoder, Deputy Consul General to São Paulo, and Jilmar Augustinho, CET's President and São Paulo City Transportation Secretary, signed the grant at the CET office in São Paulo.

New ITS Webinar- Fundamentals of Database Management Systems

Consortium for ITS Training and Education (CITE) – back by Popular Demand, CITE is now accepting registrations for our online, blended (instructor-led) course  Fundamentals of Database Management Systems - (June 7 through July 27).
This course emphasizes the importance of database design, use, and management to ITS; provides a general description of databases and database management systems; discusses relational database tables, E-R Models, and the role of metadata; describes SQL; and explores the role of databases in data warehousing and GISs.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why autonomous robots need ethical ‘brakes’

Honda’s ASIMO, also referred to as a humanoid robot, even celebrated its 10th birthday on 31 October 2010.
Other examples include Vikia from the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that had a flat-screen monitor, which displayed an animated computer graphics model of a female face. Then followed Valerie, touted as one of the world’s first storytelling roboceptionists with sensors to alert it (she) to the presence of people to whom it would offer assistance and directions. Valerie also spent time on the telephone, imitating a human receptionist. Tank was a later version of Valerie.

Hackers to take over downtown Palo Alto today

The city will also set up a "Tech Farmers Market," where instead of farm-to-table goods, there will be ideas-to-minds concepts. Organizations such as Microsoft, the City of Palo Alto 311 team, Carnegie-Mellon University, Benetech, KQED and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation will be there to exchange ideas with participants.

Cranberry touts signal savings

A traffic study by Carnegie Mellon University found that the township’s traffic signal timing project done in 2011 has saved commuters $600,000 in fuel and maintenance costs and saved the community about $2 million.
Yeganeh Mashayekh and Chris Hendrickson from CMU’s Traffic 21, part of the university’s Transportation Center, did the postdoctoral study to determine the impacts of Cranberry’s Signal Timing Project, which re-synchronized the traffic signal timings along the Route 19/228/Freedom Road corridor. 

Coming soon: Jacksonville traffic gets intelligent

Imagine technology where cars, roads and traffic signals all talk to each other in order to make decisions that get everyone to where they’re going more quickly.
That’s the kind of system the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization has been quietly implementing on commuter routes for four years. Within two years it will start to deliver results.