Monday, September 30, 2013

Intelligent transportation systems and the urban parking crunch

Smart parking is rapidly emerging as a popular term for applying new technology to an old problem: the urban parking crunch. Virtually all city drivers have suffered through the truly miserable experience of circling downtown blocks over and over in search of an open spot.
The necessary evil of “cruising” for parking comes with unnecessarily high costs, as experts such as UCLA Professor Donald Shoup have pointed out. After completing a one-year study in Los Angeles, Shoup found that “the search for curb parking in this 15-block district created about 950,000 excess vehicle miles of travel — equivalent to 38 trips around the earth or four trips to the moon.”

Getting Their Trucks in a Row, Europeans Revisit the Convoy

Researchers in Europe are working on a concept that will be familiar to anyone who has seen films about the bands of travelers who settled the American West. The project is developing an electronic communications system that enables a wagon train of tractor-trailer trucks and cars to make semiautonomous road trips possible — without the complexity of efforts like Google’s driverless vehicles.
The Volvos — both the car and truck companies, that is, which have different owners — call the idea “platooning” and see it as a bridge to traveling by driverless cars.

Nissan's Autonomous Car Is Road Legal in Japan

People driving around without their hands on the wheel is, unfortunately, nothing new. But now that person driving next to you while typing on a laptop might actually be legal—at least in Japan.
Nissan is one of the more ambitious automakers in the driverless car game, and this week took a notable step forward when its Leaf autonomous vehicle (can we call them AVs now?) testbed received license approval to drive on Japanese roads. That means Nissan will be able to collect real-life road data on its driver-assist system, as SVP Takao Asami notes in the brief video above. As for the license itself, Nissan has stated the year 2020 is its deadline for bringing multiple AVs to market.

The Next Step to Driverless Cars

Are you ready to let the car do the driving? That vision may be some way from reality, but for the first time crash tests are rating the performance of automatic braking systems in midsize cars and SUVs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has tested new technology in cars aimed at preventing frontal crashes.

Driverless Cars for the Road Ahead

Very thorough article on driverless cars from the Wall Street Journal...
Dan Neil says computer-controlled cars will be a reality. The question isn't "if" but "how" can technology allow humans to take a back seat to the computer...
Anybody want a car that doesn't crash? At this month's Frankfurt auto show, mega-auto supplier Continental announced a partnership with to help bring autonomous vehicles to market, with "zero accidents" as a possible result. Volvo has promised to injury-proof its cars by 2020. GM and Carnegie Mellon aim to develop autonomous technology to eliminate car accidents.

The weird, counter-intuitive science of traffic jams

— Self-driving cars steered by robots could do a lot to reduce traffic jams. That's because the human inability to maintain a steady, constant speed on the road is responsible for a lot of congestion. Japanese physicists discovered this when they had people try to drive around in steady speeds on a circular road. Jams materialized out of nowhere. People braked erratically and started responding uncertainly to people ahead of them.

Michigan Startup's New Technology Rewards You Just For Driving Your Car

Livio, a Michigan-based start-up, has parked itself in the middle of this space, offering a digital marketplace that it says serves everybody’s interests. Its new technology, Livio Keys, is a customizable software package that helps the apps and content partners work directly with carmakers to offer promotional deals to drivers. It works with both Bluetooth audio and proprietary platforms, and is compatible with HTML5 sites, mobile apps from iTunes, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and carmakers’ own dashboard apps.

U.S. Department of Transportation Awards $63 Million in University Transportation Center Grants

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) today announced approximately $63 million in grants to 33 University Transportation Centers (UTCs) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing our nation.  

New SMART Signal installation helps MnDOT monitor timing plans

Researchers from the U of M recently developed a new version of software for the SMART Signal system, and deployments at more than 50 intersections managed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) are already under way.
SMART Signal (Systematic Monitoring of Arterial Road and Traffic Signals) automatically collects and processes data from traffic signal controllers at multiple intersections. It then creates performance measures, including information on the times and locations congestion occurs on a roadway.

New Flagler Bridge gets smarter with built-in sensor technology

When the new Flagler Bridge in West Palm Beach is completed, it will be smarter than the average bridge.
The Florida Department of Transportation is including built-in sensors on the bridge to help keep tabs on its health and maintenance. It will be the first new bridge FDOT has built in Palm Beach and Broward counties with the "smart bridge" technology. But more are expected to come.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

With Engineers On Board, A Startup Is Driving The Hyperloop Idea Forward

After announcing a plan in August to take Elon Musk’s Hyperloop idea and run with it, Southern California-based JumpStartFund has recruited two respected engineers to lead the effort. Marco Villa, former director of mission operations for SpaceX and and Patricia Galloway, the first woman President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, will coordinate a month-long process of soliciting community interest and ideas for the project, which will culminate in JumpStartFund forming a company to pursue the development of the Hyperloop.

Friday, September 27, 2013

New technology clears the way for Palm Beach County emergency vehicles

Years in the making, the new system gives traffic signal priority to fire engines and rescue vehicles dispatched by the county — but it's vastly different from preemptive systems used in other places that allow emergency vehicles to turn traffic lights green as they approach an intersection.
Instead, Palm Beach County's system automatically extends the length of time for green lights as emergency vehicles on the way to calls. The extra green light time occurs before emergency vehicles get to intersections, effectively clearing out the lines of vehicles waiting at red lights. That prevents first responders from getting stuck behind stacks of gridlocked cars.

Texas Instruments video highlighting Carnegie Mellon Smart Transportation Technology

Check out video here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

House to hold hearing on driverless cars

he House Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing next month about "the future role of autonomous vehicles in U.S. transportation," officials with the panel announced on Wednesday.
Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) proclaimed driverless cars were "the future of transportation" after riding in one in his home state earlier this month.

Boeing tests pilotless F-16 fighter jet

Google may have a driverless car, but Boeing has a pilotless F-16 fighter jet.
The plane rolled down the runway and then took off during a test flight at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida last week.

VIEWS Google car could help the blind

If I want to go anywhere in Chicago, my methods of transportation are very limited. For someone who's blind and has cerebral palsy, taking public transit is beyond difficult.

World Transit Research September 2013 Newsletter

Publication Date 9-2013
Recommended Citation
Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University. (2013). September 2013 World Transit Research Newsletter.

Driverless cars coming, but consumers not ready yet

Drivers still need to be convinced to let go of the steering wheel and be taken to their destination, driver surveys say -- in spite of the fact that driverless technology is already in some cars.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Top 25 Universities To Work For

Trailing close behind in the No. 2 spot is Carnegie Mellon University, with a rating of 4.3 out of 5.  Zupan says employees there ranked the university high “due to factors like the stimulating environment, the good location and the opportunities to collaborate.”
An IT manager at the Pittsburgh-based University wrote: “Strong work/life balance; staff is engaged in and proud of the CMU environment and reputation; ability to attract talented staff; strong focus on professional development; nice campus.”

The secret, sordid lives of shared cars

So you want to share your car. You’ve got a plan to rent it out during your off-hours. Good on you: You might help a few of your neighbors get by without owning a car, sparing your city some pollution-spewing, parking-space-hogging trouble. But be warned: Your car will take on a life of its own, and much of it will be a mystery to you.

Penn's Center for Technology Transfer Launches Mobile App Contest

The University of Pennsylvania's Center for Technology Transfer (, through its business incubator UPstart program, has launched a new mobile application design contest called the AppItUP Challenge ( The contest will gather the best app ideas from the Penn community and help make them a reality by connecting them with local venture capital firms as well as professional software developers.

Next Generation Vehicle Positioning and Simulation Solutions - Using GPS and Advanced Simulation Tools to Improve Highway Safety

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released a fact sheet that summarizes capabilities of GPS and advanced simulation tools in communicating changes in road conditions from factors such as debris, changes in pavement condition, or accidents.

Improving Management of Transportation Information

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 754: Improving Management of Transportation Information is a selective review of practices of state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agencies that collect, store, and use transportation data and information. The report also included potential guidance on strategies and actions a DOT might implement to help improve information capture, preservation, search, retrieval, and governance.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bike sharing programs transform transportation in cities

Bike sharing programs are popping up in major cities all over the United States. Offering a flexibility that trains and buses can't match, shareable bikes are expected to become more widely available -- including in Chicago, among the largest cities to offer a bike-share program.
Listen to Radio Broadcast from PRI

Nap App Means You'll Never Miss Your Subway Stop Again

In the last scene of Girls' first season, Lena Dunham's character Hannah falls asleep on a late-night, Coney Island-bound subway train. It's light out by the time she wakes up. She's missed her stop, and her purse is gone.
If only she'd had MetroNap App. The cool new app, only available for Android, uses the phone's built-in accelerometer and the stop-and-go motion of the train to sense how far you've traveled towards your chosen destination. Because knowledge of specific train routes and stations is so central to its function, the app only works in New York.

German car maker says being first with an autonomous car is not its priority.

BMW has admitted that winning the race to develop a driverless car is “not a priority”. 
The German car maker is among the leaders in autonomous driving technologies, but a company executive has said that being the first with an auto pilot function provides a philosophical dilemma for the brand which prides itself on “the pleasure of driving”.

Who’s afraid of driverless cars?

With companies as different as General Motors and Google investing in the technologies, self-operated cars are speeding towards road-going reality. The most recent reminder of this came from Nissan, which promised to put an autonomous vehicle in consumers’ hands by 2020. Luxury sedans from Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, Volvo and Infiniti already contain some form of corrective-steering technology, with more brands joining virtually every few weeks.
Questions around how these vehicles will work and interact with traditional cars, and how broad the adoption will be, remain wide open.

Salute Promising Young Professional Engineers – Nominate a 'New Face' for 2014 Recognition by Oct. 18

Do you work with or know a civil engineer who's 30 or under, yet is already making a name for himself or herself? Does this individual show the potential for a long and distinguished career in the profession and a commitment to excellence in everything he or she does? If so, nominate him or her for ASCE’s 2014 New Faces of Civil Engineering–Professionals recognition program. If chosen, in addition to being named one of ASCE's 10 young civil engineering professionals to watch, your nominee may be selected for the distinction of being recognized as a New Face of Engineering by the National Engineers Week Foundation.   

Main Roads needs to get out of slow lane

Earlier this year, I wrote about work done around the world to improve the efficiency of roads and reduce congestion.
It included an article about research under way at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to build smarter traffic lights - signals that could gather accurate information about traffic conditions and volumes and transfer that information further down the road.
An initial trial of the system resulted in a 40 per cent improvement in traffic flow and a 30 per cent reduction in car stops.
One of its co-ordinators, Dr Stephen Smith, said a growing city like Perth "would benefit from testing and investing in new technologies like those being used in Pittsburgh".

Friday, September 20, 2013

CMU robotics lands chopper without pilot

Carnegie Mellon University was part of a team that successfully landed the first big helicopter automatically.
IEEE Spectrum, the publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, has a first-person article written by two CMU robotics specialists, Lyle Chamberlain and Sebastian Scherer, who helped develop the Boeing Unmanned Little Bird helicopter.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

First Annual Oakland Transportation Fair - Thursday, September 26, 2013 - RSVP TODAY!

This event is FREE and open to the public.
Come learn from local institutions, regional transportation & land use policy leaders, and city & state planning agencies about transportation initiatives that impact the Oakland neighborhood.
Exhibitors include: City of Pittsburgh-Dept. of City Planning, City of Pittsburgh-Dept.of Public Works, Southwestern Pennsylvainia Commission, PennDOT, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, URA, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, PAAC, UPMC. CMU, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Traffic 21, Sustainable Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Regional Clean Cities, OBID, Zip Car, Carlow University, Bike Pittsburgh and more.

Tesla battles Google in race to get driverless cars on the road: Elon Musk says company will produce self-driving vehicles by 2016 Read more:

Electric car company Tesla Motors will produce a driverless within the next three years, according to its chief executive, Elon Musk.
The move will see Tesla overtake Google, who three years ago began the race to bring driverless cars on to the road.

Google’s programme, however, has been slow to get off the ground because carmakers are worried about potential liabilities from accidents, according to a source speaking to the Financial Times.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Smart Transportation Market - Global Industry Analysis, Growth, Size, Trends and Forecast (2013 - 2019)

The global smart transportation market has shown remarkable progress in the recent years and is also showing attractive market potential for future.  It is primarily driven by the rising demand for better safety and securities and time saving techniques. The global smart transportation market is segmented into two major categories, on the basis of solutions types into: parking management and guiding system, ticket management system, passenger information system, integrated supervision system, and traffic management system.

The Ethics of Driverless Cars

Autonomous cars are a reality on the roads today, and it might not be long before they become commonplace on America’s roads. This raises some serious issues though with the ethics of autonomous cars.

On The Modern Farm, Drones And Tractors Work Side By Side

Diseased crops or livestock can cost a farmer his livelihood for the season. So having earlier information about when a disease or another stress, like a pest or drought, is taking hold is extremely valuable.
In agriculture, that’s part of the promise that drone technology brings. Up until recently, drones have been associated with the military and war, and lately, with DIY hobbyists too. But drones (aka unmanned aerial vehicles) for large-scale commercial uses are now poised to lift off in the U.S. in a big way.

TRB’s SHRP 2 Tuesdays Webinar: Advances in Travel Demand Forecasting

As part of the SHRP2 Tuesdays Webinar Series, TRB will conduct a webinar on October 1, 2013 from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. ET that will explore five SHRP 2 projects relating to travel demand forecasting:

  • Partnership to Develop an Integrated, Advanced Travel Demand Model with Mode Choice Capability and Fine-Grained, Time-Sensitive Networks (C10A and C10B)
  • Understanding How Highway Congestion and Pricing Affect Travel Demand (C04)
  • The Effect of Smart Growth Policies on Travel Demand (C16)
  • Primer on Advanced, Dynamic, Integrated Models (C46) 

Rise of the Machines: Future of Smart Cars : Video

From toasters to turbines, almost anything that uses electricity can now speak to us...and each other. Go inside the future of Smart Cars with CNBC's Rise of the Machines.
Don't miss the premiere Wednesday, Sept. 18th 9p ET/PT
Highlighting Carnegie Mellon's Driverless Car
Check out the promo video here.

Intel/Carnegie Mellon University Develop New Headlight Technology to Combat Rain, Snow

Researchers at Intel and Carnegie Mellon University are developing new headlights that can selectively choose what and what not to illuminate, specifically snow and rain, with a said goal of illuminating the road as bright as possible.
Intel and a team from Carnegie Mellon University are working on headlights that will essentially make rain invisible by not illuminating it. It sounds simple enough, but the system is a somewhat intricate combination of a projector-type light source, light beam splitter, processor, and camera.

Feeling tipsy? New apps read blood alcohol levels, hail a taxi

Before getting behind the wheel after a night out, a driver can test his blood alcohol level with new apps that not only give a reading but can call a cab.  Breathometer, for iPhones and Android smartphones, and BACtrack, for iPhones, display a user's blood alcohol level within seconds on smartphone-connected breathalyzers.

Urban and Traffic Data Systems 2013, Volume 1

TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2338 consists of 9 papers that explore multiday driving patterns and fuel usage; efficient transit analysis; route choice analysis; Bluetooth-based travel time estimation; sensor optimization for travel time data collection; and standardized data processing. Additional topics include: shortest paths in stochastic time-dependent networks; detecting travel time outliers; and probe vehicle-based mobility performance measures.

TRB Webinar: Lessons Learned from State DOT Activities Addressing Data for Decision Making and Performance Measures

TRB will conduct a webinar on September 23, 2013 from 2:00 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. ET that will explore the process of turning data into information to make sound decisions within state and metropolitan transportation agencies. 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.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Nevada hitches ride on robotic prototype car

Last year, the state became the first in the nation to regulate self-driving automobiles.
The distinction is a point of pride for Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who became the first governor to ride Google's self-driving car at the time. Sandoval hopes that the state's foresight will pay off for Nevadans in the form of increased business opportunities once the technology gets off the starting block and into the mainstream.

Read more here:

Friday, September 13, 2013

The laser light that could cut cyclist deaths

(CNN) -- It looks like a regular bike light, but one day a Blaze could save your life.
Invented by a UK design student, Blaze is a detachable lamp that projects a laser image five meters in front of your bicycle to let motorists, bus drivers and pedestrians know you are coming.

Smart mobility can transform San Francisco's infrastructure

Integrating intelligent mobility technologies for a more sustainable transportation system is a significant piece of what makes a city "smarter." These solutions can allow buses to deliver riders to their destinations faster, offer drivers mobile parking applications that indicate any open parking spot and centralize a city's mobility infrastructure in one control center.
There are five practical solutions that would significantly impact San Francisco's infrastructure:

Driverless Mercedes Debuts At Frankfurt International Car Show : Video

Daimler has unveiled its much anticipated self-driving Mercedes Benz at the Frankfurt International car show. The auto maker has been making incremental improvements to its autonomous technology, saying the car, driving with limited autonomy, performed well on a recent 100 km test drive through Germany. Daimler plans to have a fully autonomous vehicle available to consumers by 2020. Rob Muir reports.

If a Car’s Really 'Autonomous,' Why V2X?

Perhaps, one of the biggest mistakes the United States is making in its vision for the future of V2X is the conspicuous absence of US mobile operators in the debate, according to Egil Juliussen, HIS Automotive's principal analyst responsible for infotainment and ADAS. He pointed out that cellular operators are natural partners for V2X, because their cell towers can integrate V2I. Without leveraging the cellular infrastructure to integrate V2I, V2X will be a much more expensive proposition. In contrast, he told us, in Europe, the mobile industry has been actively participating in V2X trials.
Riches, pointing out that most government and big-industry developments are avoiding LTE, said, "That could be a big mistake."

Hollande turns to robots, driverless cars to revive French industry

The Socialist president, whose 2014 national budget next month will focus on curbing spending, vowed to turn back what he called a 'lost decade' of conservative rule in which some 700,000 jobs fled domestic industries.
But the scheme will rely heavily on private investment and the government will act mostly as a coordinator to spur growth in 34 priority areas, from driverless cars to electric planes and a new generation of high-speed trains.

Ford CEO: driverless cars nowhere near ready yet

Mulally says the driverless car will not arrive in showrooms all of a sudden, but that it will evolve over time with features being added every year.The neat thing about this technology is that it's going into the car now.
"It used to be only passive safety, but all this active safety that we're adding now [is] making the car safer and safer and safer. So it's not like it's going to be one big leap into the driverless future. You're seeing all that going in the car today, but who knows what the time frame is. It'll come when all those things come together."

TRB Webinar: TRID: Leveraging Search Results with Reference Management Tools

TRB will conduct a webinar on October 8, 2013 from 2:00 p.m.- 3:30 p.m. ET that will demonstrate the use of desktop and online reference management tools. Participants must register in advance of the webinar, there are no professional credits associated with this webinar, and there is no fee to register.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Continental AG nearing partnership with IBM for driverless car systems development

Continental AG, the German automotive parts supplier, is entering into a partnership with IBM to develop systems to be utilized for driverless vehicles. IBM is the world's largest technology services company.

Driverless Cars for Construction

How will this impact the construction industry? Certainly this smarter transportation—which includes the autonomous vehicles, but could also extend to other forms of transportation—is coming. The construction industry will need to determine how these vehicles play into an overall corporate strategy.

CMU's Autonomous Car Doesn't Look like a Robot

The future of automobile autonomy isn't going to involve cars covered in cameras and radar and lasers. It's going to be all invisible, and CMU is already there...
That's CMU's BOSS competing in the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007, with who knows how many sensors mounted all over it. And even Google's autonomous cars have that signature Velodyne LIDAR mounted on top of them:

'UltraBike' for blind cyclists unveiled at Glasgow conference

The two-day Technology for Life event is exploring how new technology can transform the lives of blind and partially sighted people.
Delegates have been given a chance to try the UltraBike, which allows people with sight loss to cycle independently.
The event has been organised by the RNIB Scotland charity.
The UltraBike has been created by Harrogate-based Sound Foresight Technology.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fare Enough -- How Smart Technology Could Waste Commuter Time and Money

Smart transportation technology has the power to help improve the commute by understanding human flexibility. Rather than striving to develop at all costs, cities should take time to understand the needs of their commuters, when developing commuter-focused technology.

Verizon Chasing Insurance Telematics Gold

Verizon Enterprise Solutions wants to put insurance companies in the driving seat when it comes to selling advanced in-car services to users, but may be facing an uphill battle to convince the industry to go its way. Speaking at last week's Insurance Telematics event in Chicago, George Ayers, VP of global sales for Verizon Telematics, said that offering services such as automatic roadside assistance, vehicle location, driving diagnostics, geo-fencing, and automated maintenance enables insurers to develop deeper and more positive relationships with their customers. By contrast, Ayers said, UBI is just another form of price competition, in which insurance companies use telematics devices installed in vehicles -- often temporarily -- to deliver insurance price cuts to safer drivers.

Ridership Impacts of South Florida’s EASY Smart Card

The Florida Department of Transportation has released a report that discusses a case study of ridership and customer behavior, as it relates to fare policy, when Smart Card systems are introduced.

Volpe News: The End of Growth in Auto Use, Technology’s Impact on Traveler Behavior, and more

Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center, has released the latest edition of its newsletter designed to feature events and research produced by the Center. Part of the U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Volpe staff partner with public and private organizations to assess the needs of the transportation community, evaluate research and development, assist in the deployment of transportation technologies, and inform decision- and policy-making.

RFP: Planning and Evaluating Active Traffic Management Strategies

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has issued a request for proposals to develop a guide for planning and evaluating active traffic management in recurrent and nonrecurring conditions. Proposals are due October 29, 2013.

Self-driving cars don't yield for naysayers

As development of self-driving car technology moves ahead, there's a growing faction of people in the blogosphere who say they won't let a computer usurp their driving independence.
In one online discussion, comments ranged from "They'll take the steering wheel out of my cold, dead hands" to "I'm not trusting a robot to drive a car for me [for] a long time."

Bill Shuster: Driverless cars are ‘the future of transportation’

Shuster acknowledges the policy problems. “We have to start to figure out how to embrace this technology because it’s coming,” he said.
Shuster — who often drives between Washington, D.C., and his southwestern Pennsylvania district — pointed to his home state, where PennDOT has partnered with Carnegie Mellon to look at how roads could change with the popularization of autonomous cars.
“Because autonomous vehicles will be able to travel more closely together, maybe six-lane roads with 14-foot-wide lanes and 30-foot medians are no longer needed,” PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch, who was on the ride with Shuster, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier this year.

Cadillac SRX converted into a self-driving car

Self-driving cars have been the talk of the automotive industry in recent times, with some major car-makers now setting dates for the debut of these vehicles in the marketplace. The latest glimpse into this autonomous future comes from Carnegie Mellon University, where researchers have loaded a Cadillac SRX with an array of sensors that allow it to manage highway traffic, congested roadways, and even merging on and off ramps.
The Carnegie Mellon team, led by Raj Rajkumar, outfitted an average-looking 2011 Cadillac SRX with an array of radars, which are subtly hidden within the car. The SRX was chosen because "GM has been a long-term partner and sponsor," Rajkumar tells Gizmag.

CMU professors help change street parking rates

“That’s our goal. If it goes above 80, we raise the price to bring it back to 80; if it goes below 80 we lower the price until it gets back up to 80.”
Fichman cited SFpark, a project used to improve parking in San Francisco, as an inspiration for the plan to change parking rates at Carnegie Mellon.
Fichman also credits assistant professor of operations research and public policy at Heinz College Robert Hampshire for the idea.
According to SFpark’s website, the project “collect[s] and distribute[s] real-time information about where parking is available so drivers can quickly find open spaces. To help achieve the right level of parking availability, SFpark periodically adjusts meter and garage pricing up and down to match demand. Demand-responsive pricing encourages drivers to park in underused areas and garages.”

Monday, September 9, 2013

Self-Driving CMU Car Changes Lane, Waits For Pedestrians In Test Drive

The vehicle looks, from the outside, much like any other 2011 Cadillac SRX. It is not. It is a self-driving car, developed by the Carnegie Mellon University, that negotiated congestion and highway traffic while safely changing lanes and merging during a 33-mile drive from Cranberry, Pa., to Pittsburgh International Airport, as part of a demonstration.

Volpe Webinar: Reflections on the Future of Transportation Research and Education

Straight from the Source with Professor Robert Bertini
"Discoveries in D.C. and Delft: Reflections on the Future of Transportation Research and Education"
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
12 p.m. Eastern Time

The CMU Caddy: Unobtrusively Driverless

Carnegie Mellon creates practical self-driving car.  The vehicle uses only automotive-grade radars and lidars, which are unobtrusively embedded around the car. Its computers are hidden under the cargo floor.
This Cadillac SRX also can communicate with instrumented traffic lights and other vehicles equipped with wireless communication devices to enable cooperation...
“We are extremely honored that Chairman Shuster and Secretary Schoch wanted to be part of this event today,” said Raj Rajkumar, who directs CMU’s U.S. Department of Transportation-funded transportation research center and co-directs the CMU-General Motors Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Honda shows safety technology that links cars, motorcycles, pedestrians - nice video

Honda held demonstrations in Detroit today of experimental safety technology designed to prevent its vehicles from colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians and motorcycles.
Embedded computer chips on vehicles, in motorcycles and in a pedestrian’s cell phone can communicate their respective whereabouts and detect if they are on a collision course. If so, warnings will show up on the vehicles’ screen or the phone. If that doesn’t work, the vehicle is programmed to make an emergency stop.

Officials near breakthrough on 'connected' vehicles

After its investigation of a South Jersey school bus accident that killed 11-year-old Isabelle Tezsla, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended last month that all new vehicles be equipped with crash-avoidance technology to prevent similar tragedies.
On Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it "could be at the verge" of a breakthrough in such technology to allow vehicles to communicate with each other and "transform the nation's surface transportation safety, mobility and environmental performance."

Lawrence Solomon: Smart roads are making new mass transit and expressways obsolete

These innovations will soon shelve the major new roads and the major new transit schemes that our traffic planners have in the works. No need for governments to expropriate businesses for road widenings and no need for them to expropriate farms for new freeways. No need for drivers to endure years of detours and other disruptions while the new infrastructure is built. No sucker punches to the taxpayer, as projects come in years late and billions of dollars over budget. And no need to put up with more congestion!

How OnStar Helped First Responders During an Emergency: September WOW Wireless Lifechanger

After a severe storm nearly leveled a campground in a national park in Tennessee, injuring several families, Carole Cooper of Knoxville, TN used her OnStar communications service to call for help. While authorities worked to clear the roads, first responders walked to the scene and used her vehicle as a makeshift command post and eventually as transportation to waiting ambulances.

5th North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum – YPT Members Get Discount!

Are you interested in North American infrastructure? If so, you can register for the  5th North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum, in Washington, DC and join over 500+ executives to discuss the Top 100 infrastructure projects in North America, to be held on October 29 – 31, 2013. The best news is that YPT Members will get a YPT Member Discount (click to find out how)!

With Autopilot in Slow Traffic, Mercedes Steps Toward Driverless Cars

Daimler’s (DAI:GR) Mercedes is leading the way with an add-on called “Stop & Go Pilot” available in its €79,800 ($105,800) flagship S-Class sedan. Backed by an array of 12 ultrasonic detectors, 5 cameras, and 6 radar sensors, the S-Class can match the speed of the car in front of it in heavy traffic, even coming to a complete stop and adjusting steering to stay in the lane, as it slowly trails the car ahead. The optional feature costs €2,678 in Germany, where it’s already available.

Driverless Cadillac performs flawlessly in road test

Like something out of a science-fiction flick, the computerized Cadillac SRX drove itself along Western Pennsylvania roads and interstates on Wednesday, delivering its human passengers safely to Pittsburgh International Airport.
“This is the future of transportation,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch, who was part of a group that rode in the specially equipped, autonomous car for 33 miles from Cranberry to the airport as part of a demonstration by General Motors and Carnegie Mellon University students and staff. “I have 2-year-old twins, and I'm not sure if they'll be driving the way we are now.”

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First, smart cars. Next, smart transport grids

Haunted by the nightmare of global traffic paralysis, Ford Motor executive chairman William Ford Jr. has a global dream.
Given current growth trends, the world's population is expected to reach 9 billion people by midcentury. That also means a quadrupling in the number of cars to 4 billion by 2050 -- and that, said Ford, is a recipe for global gridlock that he argues will become "a human rights issue, not just an inconvenience."

Inrix Traffic demos Google Glass as a HUD in the car

Lately there's been a lot of hubbub about the use of head-up displays (HUDs) to increase safety by helping drivers to keep their eyes on the road while driving and navigating. Inrix, provider of traffic data and services, is also working on getting into the HUD business, but instead of projecting relevant information onto the vehicle's windshield, it's demonstrating a concept that makes use of Google Glass to float traffic data before the driver's very eyes.

Computer-operated car developed by Carnegie Mellon University takes Pa. congressman for a ride

A Pennsylvania congressman caught a cutting-edge ride to the airport on Wednesday.
Rep. Bill Shuster, a Republican from Altoona, made a 33-mile trip from Cranberry Township to Pittsburgh International Airport at about 11 a.m. in a computer-operated car. 
The so-called driverless Cadillac SRX was designed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers who have been working on the project since 2008. The car uses inputs from radars, laser rangefinders, and infrared cameras to maneuver in traffic.
Shuster is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and he was accompanied by Barry Schoch, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Modeling Seniors’ Activity-Travel Data

The Illinois Center for Transportation has released a report that discusses the dynamics of elderly activity-travel behavior and its potential effects on the transportation system.

CMU Researchers Unveil Self-Driving Cadillac

CMU has been working on autonomous vehicle technology since 1985. This particular model has been in development for just over two years. Financial support for the project came from General Motors, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Hillman Foundation.

Congressman hitches a ride in a stealthy self-driving Cadillac

Google's not the only entity testing self-driving cars on actual US roads. Today, Bill Schuster (R-PA), the congressman who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, took a 33-mile trip in an autonomous vehicle built by Carnegie Mellon University and funded by General Motors. The 2011 Cadillac SRX ferried the Pennsylvania congressman from the town of Cranberry to Pittsburgh International Airport earlier this morning, while a cameraman broadcast his journey to the web.
The trick: unlike Google's self-driving vehicles, the Cadillac doesn't require a giant spinning array of lasers mounted on the roof.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Unjam Traffic

Two months ago, Google paid an estimated $1 billion for a company it said will revolutionize the way people get around. The company Google bought doesn’t make electric cars. It doesn’t make solar-powered airplanes. It doesn’t make any vehicle at all.  Waze, the Israeli startup for which Google paid an Instagram-size bounty, is an app that aims to help drivers avoid traffic jams. Drivers use the software to report road congestion to one another—and thus, they hope, reduce their commute times, fuel consumption, and greenhouse-gas emissions, all without ever changing the vehicles they drive.

Attend Rail~Volution this October in Seattle!

Rail~Volution, one of the most anticipated conferences of the year for people passionate about public transportation and smart growth, will be held in Seattle on October 20-23, 2013.
Every year, Rail~Volution attracts thousands of the nation’s top transit experts, along with advocates, community activists, planners, and government officials.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nokia Unveils HERE Auto – Connecting Your Car To The Cloud

Nokia on Friday announced Here Auto, their first push into a smarter vehicle platform. Noting the growing rift between automobiles and smart devices, Nokia’s Here Auto is expected to be their first push into building software to be used by the driverless cars of the future.
Just like its namesake, Here Auto delivers maps and other navigation information to the car’s in-dash infotainment system. Going beyond maps, Here Auto companion apps will deliver music and social experiences as well as let drivers check their gas tank and tire pressure from their smartphone.
The Finnish smartphone maker plans to show off Here Auto at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 10, 2013.

Is Canada ready for self-driving cars?

Moritz said as systems evolve, they may allow for driverless driving.
"Transport Canada would permit the importation of a driverless vehicle, provided that it has been certified by the manufacturer as complying with the safety standards that apply to the vehicle class," Moritz wrote.
Paul Godsmark, a former highway designer living near Edmonton who made a presentation on autonomous vehicles earlier this year to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, said a number of legal issues arise with vehicles that drive themselves at the push of a button.

Virginia News Google’s self-driving car to be in Blacksburg next week

Google’s self-driving car will make an appearance in Blacksburg next week, as Virginia Tech plans to announce a partnership the school has formed with the technology giant.
Tech hasn’t yet announced exactly how it’s involved in the research, but the car will be at the Virginia Tech Smart Road for a media event on Tuesday afternoon. U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, and Morgan Griffith, R-9th, will be there and expect to take a test drive, according to a spokeswoman for Goodlatte.

Can a Self-Driving Car By 2020 Happen Without Google?

Should we expect the car makers to deliver better results than Google, given their superior knowledge of the driving experience? Or will Google and other information managers come out on top with software and sensors that Ford and Nissan never thought of?
I think the truth lies in between Silicon Valley and Detroit. There's a place for deep insights in what makes the cars tick, and how drivers relate to their surroundings. But you can't ignore the data manipulation side of the equation, either. Managing physical objects at highway speeds based on computerized sensor data is an incredibly hard problem.
So the best solutions will have to come from partnerships across the computing and automotive sectors. The Google-Audi-Toyota trifecta is exactly the right idea.

Computer chauffeur: Driverless cars are coming, ready or not than any other invention, it put Americans figuratively -- and literally -- into the driving seat, consigning the old ways to a glimpse in the rearview mirror. But what if technology were to yank that independent driver from behind the wheel, making him or her just another passenger?
This is not fanciful. As the Post-Gazette's Michael A. Fuoco reported last Sunday, the future is today in the Pittsburgh area. He rode in a vehicle that looked like any other Cadillac SRX, but was not. This car had four passengers but no driver, at least a human driver. A computer assisted by lasers and radar did the driving.
This curious Cadillac was an experimental self-driving vehicle developed at the General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Autonomous Driving Collaborative Research Lab at CMU in Oakland. The goal is to develop an autonomous driving vehicle that can more safely navigate highways than humans can.

AASHTO's Member State DOTs Are Using Smart Technology to Keep Infrastructure Operating Safely

Just as patients communicate their symptoms to doctors – smart technology is allowing infrastructure to tell civil engineers when something is wrong. Sensors installed on bridges, in roadways, and on maintenance vehicles, are communicating real-time performance and weather data, allowing engineers to solve problems before they occur.
“Most people look at a road or a bridge and never realize the technology that today’s modern transportation agencies are using to help our transportation system function at its best,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Association. “State DOTs are dramatically improving the way transportation systems, services and information are being delivered, shared and utilized all across the country.”

Call for Nominations: IRF Fellowship Program: Class of 2015

he International Road Educational Foundation is now accepting nominations for the IRF Fellowship Program - Class of 2015 (starting fall semester, 2014).  
The IRF Fellowship Program provides a one-time graduate level scholarship to young professionals from developing countries who have strong academic backgrounds, professional qualifications, leadership potential, and a commitment to return to their respective home countries after graduation. Students selected for the Class of 2015 will also participate in the IRF's Road Scholar Program, held in Washington, D.C., January 2015.