Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eliminating unexplained traffic jams

At this month’s IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transport Systems, Berthold Horn, a professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, presented a new algorithm for alleviating traffic flow instabilities, which he believes could be implemented by a variation of the adaptive cruise-control systems that are an option on many of today’s high-end cars.
A car with adaptive cruise control uses sensors, such as radar or laser rangefinders, to monitor the speed and distance of the car in front of it. That way, the driver doesn’t have to turn the cruise control off when traffic gets backed up: The car will automatically slow when it needs to and return to its programmed speed when possible.

Greg Winfree sworn in as Administrator of RITA

Congratulations are in order this week to Greg Winfree, who was sworn in on Monday as the new Administrator of our Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).
Though prior to Monday, the sign on his door read "Deputy Administrator," Administrator Winfree was very much prepared on his first day. After all, he had already been at RITA's helm in an "Acting" capacity since October 2011.

Liability could be roadblock for driverless cars

— It’s the year 2017. You’re seated behind the wheel of one of the first driverless cars to hit the market.
Everything is fine until a heavy downpour hits. Your automated vehicle loses its ability to survey the road ahead as it speeds toward a busy intersection. In the blink of an eye, the car hands off all control to you — along with all legal liability in the case of a crash.

Philadelphia spins closer toward a bike sharing program

Philadelphia's plan to set up a bicycle sharing system is rolling forward.
Andrew Stober, chief of staff for the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities, says bids for the bikeshare program should be in before the end of November. The office hopes to award a contract shortly after the first of the year.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Carnige Mellon/PennDOT Connected and Autonomous Vehicles 2040 Vision Project Workshop

Earlier this month a team from CMU and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) held a workshop for their Connected and Autonomous Vehicles 2040 Vision Project in Harrisburg, PA. The CMU group will develop scenarios of implementing automated and connected vehicles and the resulting economic, environmental and social impacts to PENNDOT operations going forward to 2040.

The U.S. cities where the fewest commuters get to work by car

The Institute for Quality Communities at the University of Oklahoma recently dug through the latest Census metrics on how Americans commute to work, a dataset locally notable for the fact that Tulsa and Oklahoma City don’t compare all that well. Relative to the 60 largest cities in America, Oklahoma City ranks last in the share of commuters — 2.2 percent of them — who get to work by biking, walking, or public transit. That’s as much a reflection of the design of the city as the preferences of its commuters: Simply put, Oklahoma City was built for cars.

Governor's School for the Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University Accepting Applications for Summer 2014 Program

The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University is now accepting applications from talented high school juniors for the summer 2014 program, scheduled for June 29 through Aug. 2, 2014.
With the support of Governor Tom Corbett, the state Department of Education, Carnegie Mellon University and the school's alumni, the program offers an enrichment experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and encourages Pennsylvania's youth to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. It is open to students who attend a public, nonpublic and private school, or are homeschooled.
The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences is an intensive, five-week summer residential program that emphasizes cooperative learning and hands-on laboratory research for 56 high school juniors pursuing careers in science and mathematics.

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Target 11: As drone use rises, so does concerns about privacy

The number of drones flying above you is expected to rise dramatically.
The military has used them for years, and now some local universities and businesses want to use them.  But with that projected explosion of drones comes some very serious safety and privacy concerns.
At Carnegie Mellon University, researchers are on the cutting edge of drone technology.  They’ve developed the Hexicopter, and students and professors gave Target 11 an inside look at this state-of-the-art drone.

LaunchCMU Pittsburgh A Research and Entrepreneurship Showcase

Join the experts who look to Carnegie Mellon University for technology breakthroughs. Our current portfolio of emerging technologies and startup companies includes:
  • personalized medicine
  • energy management
  • machine learning
  • smart transportation
  • consumer behavior
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
12:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Carnegie Mellon University

Carsharing; Demand Management; and Parking 2013

TRB’s Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2359 contains 10 papers that address parking patrol surveys; smart parking systems; parking at sporting event stadiums; parking utilization in neighborhood shopping centers on transit routes; and cost-effectiveness of traffic and demand management measures. This TRR also examines dynamic ridesharing systems; dynamic vehicle allocation for carsharing systems; travel behavior of carsharing members; residential on-site carsharing and off-street parking in the San Francisco Bay Area; and the effect of carshares on travel behavior.

Competition and Call for the Six Minute Pitch: A Transportation Startup Challenge

TRB’s Young Members Council is sponsoring a competition for entrepreneurs with cutting-edge, research-based concepts for transportation product or service-based business. Selected presenters will have the opportunity to make a six minute, interactive presentation to a panel of distinguished transportation industry investors and entrepreneurs...
The deadline for submission of proposed presentations has been extended to November 15, 2013. Presentations will be made during a session at the TRB Annual Meeting, January 12-16, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

Smart parking solutions can transform our cities

Smart parking pilot programs are now being deployed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Beijing, Shanghai, São Paulo, and the Netherlands. For example, in Los Angeles, low-power sensors and smart meters track the occupancy of parking spaces throughout the Hollywood district, one of its most congested areas. Users can access that occupancy data to determine the availability of spots and then pay for them with their mobile phones. In addition to lending convenience and environmental benefits, smart parking improves the utilization of existing parking, leading to greater revenue for parking owners. Los Angeles saw a return on its investment in smart parking within three months.

Five-Year, $4.6 Million Federal Grant Supports Continued Accessibility Research

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, are collaborating on a five-year, $4.6 million federally funded project to advance physical access and public transportation for people with disabilities by bringing together computer science technology and the principles of universal design.  The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Accessible Public Transportation has received a new grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) that extends the existing five-year grant that concludes this year...
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon will use Tiramisu Transit, an app developed under the prior RERC, to understand how real-time trip information and community dialog can empower accessible travel. Buffalo researchers will continue design research to make boarding and disembarking buses faster, safer and more accessible. Another project will leverage existing technologies supported by the Traffic21 program at Carnegie Mellon to develop software systems to help riders during multi-modal trips.

Monday, October 28, 2013

UCF selected to create smart grid for plug-in electric vehicles

The University of Central Florida was selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to create a smart grid for plug-in electric vehicles as part of a four-year, $9 million research effort to create the nation's electric-vehicle transportation network.

Driverless cars to be launched on UK streets

In a first, is set to introduce driverless cars on its streets - and the vehicles will share the pavement with pedestrians.
The first of a planned 100 electric vehicles will take to the streets of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, which has helpfully wide pavements, from early 2015 as part of a 65 million pounds five-year project.
The self-driving 'pods' will carry two people plus their baggage and glide along a separate lane from pedestrians at speeds of up to 19 kph.

Data Shows Google’s Robot Cars Are Smoother, Safer Drivers Than You or I

Data gathered from Google’s self-driving Prius and Lexus cars shows that they are safer and smoother when steering themselves than when a human takes the wheel, according to the leader of Google’s autonomous-car project.
Chris Urmson made those claims today at a robotics conference in Santa Clara, California. He presented results from two studies of data from the hundreds of thousands of miles Google’s vehicles have logged on public roads in California and Nevada.

Driverless Cars Won’t Help The Climate Without Some Guidance

Driverless cars could transform transportation. How they do it is up to us.
In a few decades, the world could be full of dense urban transit utopias, where individual car ownership is a thing of the past, bikes and public transport are preferred for most trips, and the rides people do take are in tiny, electric, incredibly-efficient taxis.
Or the driverless car could usher in a new era of urban sprawl and car use, sounding the death knell for public transport as people choose to use their own car for longer trips and tolerate longer commutes from the center of the city since they can sleep, work, or watch a movie the whole time.

Keeping over-height and overheating vehicles out of tunnels

On the other side of the world a fire in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel (SHT) was the initial incentive for developing a laser-generated Softstop ‘water curtain’ STOP sign, subsequently routinely used to deter overheight vehicles. Developed by Asia-Pacific special effects company Laservision, using events industry experience and hydraulic engineering technology, this creates a ‘barrier’ of last resort. The activated curtain carries a laser projection of a large, apparently solid ‘STOP’ sign at the portal to shock drivers that have ignored previous warnings to halt. It has enjoyed a 90% success rate.
Says tunnel general manager Bob Allen, who found Laservision through an internet search: “At the initial incident, drivers ignored conventional warnings and continued towards the fire. They exposed themselves to smoke and toxic fumes and then, to compound the situation, turned around and drove back out against incoming traffic.”

USDOT to Host Seven-Part Webinar Series on Connected Vehicle Applications

Join the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA) team for a seven-part webinar series to learn about and provide comments on the first draft of the connected vehicle architecture views. The objective of these webinars is to gather feedback on the views before launching analysis that will identify candidate interfaces for standardization.

What will a future of self-driving cars mean for cyclists?

There are a huge implications of driverless cars that we, as a society, haven’t really started to fathom. These may lead us places we don’t want to go, especially if we see bikes as an integral part of liveable, healthy, and vibrant cities.
Consider this: Autonomous cars may eliminate the reasons many people choose to commute by bike, from high parking rates to long commute times.
Take parking in Calgary as an example. Nearly half of downtown workers take transit, and a smaller but not insignificant number ride bikes, partly because it is so difficult and expensive to find park a car downtown.

High-Tech Manhole Covers Will Charge Parked Electric Vehicles

New York City startup HEVO Power aims to make charging an electric car as easy as finding a parking place. The company, collaborating with New York University, plans to roll out a pilot project by early next year that uses manhole-like units embedded into the pavement near Washington Square Park as wireless charging stations for electric vehicles.

São Paulo starts tech-driven plan to improve transport system

The São Paulo city government will use open data and a skilled crowd of techies to try and improve its precarious public transport network.
São Paulo’s metro network is efficient but small, with only 74km of track compared with 337km of track in New York City. As a result, the roads are packed full with buses - and car ownership in Brazil rose 32 percent to 7.4 million during the past decade, which partly explains why São Paulo is often nicknamed "the city of 19 million traffic jams."

How do bike-sharing schemes shape cities?

NEXT month a so-called "brand new means of transport" will be launched in Copenhagen: the bicycle. GoBike, Europe's latest bike-sharing scheme, will have bicycles with built-in tablet computers that direct cyclists to the best local restaurants, show offers in nearby shops and give the latest train times. Bike-sharing is shifting up a gear: it seems that nearly every self-respecting mayor is either developing a scheme or announcing an expansion to one. What is the impact on cities' development?

Transit strike boosts ride-sharing apps in San Francisco

If there’s any U.S. city whose citizens are likely to use technology to alleviate a transit strike, San Francisco is it. On Monday, ride-sharing and car-hailing services, many fueled by smartphone apps, reported increased use after a strike halted America’s fifth-largest light rail system, the Bay Area Rapid Transit. 

2013 ITS Transit Best Practices Workshop

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is organizing, in conjunction with ITS America, an ITS Transit Best Practices Workshop, Nov. 13-14, at the Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport. The workshop will cover cutting-edge developments, Transit Connected Vehicle safety and mobility applications, and ITS Transit developments and best practices, as well as discuss challenges facing the transit industry.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pittsburgh-based AlphaLab Now Taking Applications from Tech Entrepreneurs

Twice a year we select on average 6-8 startups to participate in our intensive 20-week program. Our companies come from various sectors including web services, mobile, gaming, and IoT devices. During our program you'll rapidly iterate on your product based on customer feedback, you'll be challenged by your mentors, learn from fellow entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts, and get introduced to Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurial network. At the end of the program you'll present your company to investors and media from around the nation at AlphaLab Demo Day.

National Robotics Initiative Awards provide $7 million for Carnegie Mellon research projects (Bridge Inspection)

Robotic rotorcraft for inspecting bridges and other infrastructure, tools for minimally invasive surgery that guide surgeons by creating 3D maps of internal organs and assistive robots for blind travelers are among seven new Carnegie Mellon University research projects sponsored through the National Robotics Initiative.
The National Science Foundation announced it has awarded a total of more than $7 million to Carnegie Mellon researchers in the latest round of grants for the initiative—a multi-agency effort to develop robots that can work with humans to extend and augment human skills. U.S. President Barack Obama announced the National Robotics Initiative at Carnegie Mellon in 2011.

3 Ways Driverless Cars Will Revolutionize Road Transport

  • As well as road safety, there’s the prospect of fully-automated cars driving in high-speed platoons to reduce aerodynamic drag on the vehicles, thus providing up to 20% savings on fuel consumption.
  • As self-driving cars become the standard (and thus, more affordable), car-sharing services will become even more prominent. This could lead to less car ownership, as people see the cost benefits of hiring cars on-demand, rather than paying for one outright.
  • Four times as many cars could travel on the roads if all vehicles were fully-automated, says Knight. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, this could make a serious dent in the 5.5 billion hours and 2.9 billion gallons of fuel lost each year due to traffic congestion.

Driverless cars predicted by end of decade

The Eno Center for Transportation released a paper that predicted a nation full of driverless “autonomous” vehicles could save $447 billion and 21,700 lives annually by preventing 4.2 million crashes and reducing fuel consumption by 724 million gallons. Still, switching from highways full of drivers to highways full of computers won’t be simple.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

TechBridgeWorld Interactive

February 20, 2014 | 4:30 - 6:30PM
Newell Simon Hall Perlis Atrium
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
Our biennial event demonstrates technology bridging divides around the world. 2014 marks TechBridgeWorld's 10-year anniversary of developing Technologies with a Global Heart!


Join us as Professor Ozan Tonguz discusses his work with Virtual Traffic Lights and how they can make our intersections safer for both drivers and pedestrians. The results of his investigation in the last three years have shown that this technology can reduce the commute time of urban workers between 40-60% during rush hours which seems pretty significant in terms of reducing accidents at intersections, mitigating congestion, increasing productivity, reducing carbon footprint of cars, increasing the energy-efficiency of transportation, and supporting a greener environment.
Date: Monday October 28, 2013
Time: Noon-1:00pm
Location: 1000 Hamburg Hall
Pizza lunch will be provided

TRB Competition: Submit Your Six Minute Pitch Now!

Are you an entrepreneur or innovator with the next great business idea that will revolutionize transportation as we know it?
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Young Member Council (YMC) is seeking emerging entrepreneurs to participate in The Six Minute Pitch: A Transportation Startup Challenge, a session that will be held at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, January 12-16, 2014, in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the Annual Meeting visit TRB’s website.

Unmanned boat to help chart water quality in Marina catchment

A solar-powered catamaran will be making its rounds in the Kallang Basin. But unlike other leisure boats, this one will be unmanned just like those used in the military.
The Waterways Watch Society (WWS), non-governmental organisation that has helped monitor and clean Singapore's waterways for 15 years, will use the catamaran to monitor water quality in Marina catchment area. The boat will collect water quality data to add to data that is already being collected by national water agency PUB.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Exploring Travelers' Behavior in Response to Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) Using a Driving Simulator

The Maryland State Highway Administration has released a report that explores the effectiveness of a dynamic message sign by examining driving subjects’ performance while using a driving simulator.

Innovations in Travel Demand Forecasting–2014

TRB is sponsoring a conference on Innovations in Travel Demand Forecasting–2014 on April 27-30, 2014, in Baltimore, Maryland. The event will allow researchers and practitioners to share knowledge and experiences on the latest developments in travel modeling and identify research and implementation challenges and issues associated with deploying cutting-edge computational methods. The conference will also review advances made possible by the integration of social, land-use, transportation supply, and technology into the modeling process.

Optical motion-tracking technology from CMU & Disney has near-real-time response

Many approaches exist for tracking human motion, including expensive, highly precise systems used to create computer-generated imagery (CGI) for films. Though Lumitrack's developers have targeted games as an initial application, the technology's combination of low latency, high precision and low cost make it suitable for many applications, including CGI and human-robot interaction.

RTA offers smart taxi apps

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority has embraced the smartphone revolution and developed some novel ways of getting around the city. Its first app offers a new way of ordering a taxi, and seeks to revolutionise RTA's taxi workflow system. It all starts with a simple shake of your smartphone.
"Normally when you want a taxi you wave your hand. Now, with this new app, all you have to do is shake your phone," says Adeli Shakri, Director, Transportation Systems Department, RTA.

Will Abington's red-light camera program pay for itself?

HARRISBURG — To pay for itself, the state’s first suburban red-light camera program must nab more red-light runners than one of Philadelphia’s most dangerous intersections, the AAA Mid-Atlantic found in a new analysis.
Abington Township is the first municipality other than Philadelphia to advance a red-light camera program. Ten cameras are on track to go up in three of Abington’s busiest intersections by the end of the year.

New ITS ePrimer Released Through Free Webinar Hosted by U.S. Department of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will host a free one-hour briefing about the new ITS ePrimer, a soon-to-be-released, Web resource to build upon the knowledge and expertise of current and emerging transportation engineering and intelligent transportation system (ITS) professionals and educators.

Toyota's newest innovation: Car that steers away from pedestrians

It's not quite the driverless cars that Google, Tesla Motors, Nissan and Daimler AG are working on. But Toyota says it has developed a system that steers cars away from pedestrians.
Toyota calls the innovation its Pre-Collision System, which uses automatic steering and braking controlled by sensors to detect pedestrians, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Wi-Fi enabled cars pose ‘great concern’ to safety, says researcher

TORONTO – Researchers are warning that plans to provide high-speed Internet access in Canadian vehicles will pose a great safety risk to drivers who are easily distracted by voice-operated devices.
“Because of the potential for driver distraction, safety should be of great concern,” said University of Toronto professor Ian Spence, author of a new study on the impact of auditory distractions on visual attention.

OSU testing drivers’ reactions when cars take over to avoid crashes

Ohio State University will study how drivers react in accidents when the car is doing the driving.
Researchers at the university will lead a $4.3 million study into driver behavior in crash situations at OSU’s Driving Simulation Laboratory. It will focus on how humans interact with intelligent, autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Driverless car demand seen boosted by the elderly

“Seniors are often regarded as the victims of traffic accidents, Moritaka Yoshida, managing officer and chief safety technology officer at Toyota, said this month as the company announced plans for automated-driving systems. ‘‘However, recently an increasing number of accidents are caused by senior drivers.’’

Race to develop self-driving cars heats up

U.S. companies are leading the way. Last year, Google Inc. posted a video on YouTube showing a car traveling on its own while its "driver" eats a hamburger with his hands completely off the steering wheel. The clip, covering a slice of the firm's 200,000 miles of computer-led driving tests on public roads, has been viewed almost 5 million times.
Google is aiming to introduce the technology by 2017, while General Motors Co. has announced a plan to put its own automated driving technology into practical use in the second half of the 2010s.

Smart robots, driverless cars work – but they bring ethical issues too

From personalised searches of Google to the seductive experience of driverless cars, from educational robots that hone your French to prosthetics that are stronger and faster than our own limbs: artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionise our lives.
Now scientists, legal experts and philosophers are joining forces to scrutinise the promise of intelligent systems and wrangle over their implications. This week in Brighton, the fourth EuCogIII members' conference is set to tackle these issues head on. "Fundamentally we're interested in considering the ethical and societal impact of such systems," says Alan Winfield, professor of electronic engineering at UWE Bristol. It is time, he says, to make some crucial decisions. "If we get it wrong, there are consequences right now."

BART Strike Sparks Calls For Driverless Trains

The BART strike is disrupting life for almost a half-million Bay Area commuters, including Silicon Valley workers, to the point where it’s sparked a debate over whether the region should use driverless trains.  Experts say one thing is certain—CIOs need to prepare for a future in which automation of many routine tasks, such as operating transit vehicles, flipping burgers, or handling customer complaints, are the norm.

Is Zoox—And Its Autonomous Car—For Real?

This is what the mysterious website promises. And according to the scant amount of information on the single-page site pictured above, that new class of animal is a fully autonomous electric car (level 4, by NHTSA classification) to be unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show and Connected Car Expo this coming November. Considering no carmaker or outside company has developed a true fully autonomous vehicle yet, that's big news! But just one question: Who—or more importantly, what—is Zoox?

Friday, October 18, 2013

FlyKly Creates Smart Bicycle Wheel

This week FlyKly launched a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign to get the Smart Wheel rolling.
This lightweight yet highly efficient wheel is designed to fit practically any bicycle yet likely won’t even require a trip to the bike shop. The Smart Wheel features an electric-powered pedal assist that is built into the rear wheel’s hub.
The FlyKly Smart Wheel in essence replaces the standard gears on a bike with an app-controlled motor system, and it is powered by an internal rechargeable 36 volt battery.

Making the Autonomous Car a Reality: Getting Drivers Ready is Half the Battle

What was once only an idea steeped in science fiction is now on the drawing tables of Google and GM. But before you swap your keys for your laptop, there are a few hurdles the industry needs to clear.
There are at least three high-level challenges, or “areas for investigation,” that the automotive industry needs to work on before we start seeing acceptable driverless cars:

Driverless Cars: The Next Space Race?

Few topics generate more buzz than autonomous cars. Just getting to work each day turns most of us into drivers or passengers, and anything that will make time spent in a vehicle safer and more tolerable captures major attention.
Some carmakers insist the day of cars that drive themselves isn't far off. If you're not up to speed, check out this infographic below from Fully autonomous cars are many things – unbelievable, futuristic, and awesome. At the same time, they're also scary.

Start Your Own Bike-Share With This Keyless Bike Lock

We already have official bike-share systems and online marketplaces for renting out bikes. But BitLock, a new keyless lock, creates a charming new way to make any bike a bike-share bike.

Will the Connected Car Leave the Smartphone in the Dust?

Smartphones and cars concoct a toxic coupling in the collective conscious. In many regards with good reason—no one would argue in favor of texting while driving. But in a lot of ways, the car and the connected device form a symbiotic relationship. Without a connected device along for the ride, a car is about as “dumb” as can be.
Juniper Research puts nearly 100 million connected cars on the road by 2016. In the U.S. alone, ComScore estimates 141 million people own smartphones. So the chances for interaction between connected cars and smartphones is only going to increase.

Iteris’ Vantage SmartCycle Wins Orange County Tech Alliance High-Tech Innovation Award

Iteris, Inc . (NYSE MKT: ITI), a leader in providing intelligent traffic management information solutions, has won the Outstanding Product Innovation in the Green Engineering category of the Orange County Technology Alliance annual High-Tech Innovation Awards for its Vantage® SmartCycle™  bicycle detection product.
Iteris’ SmartCycle detects bicyclists at an intersection to trigger the green light and allow additional time for cyclists to safely cross the intersection.

Slideshow: ITS Touts Automation & Big-Data

TOKYO -- The focus of the ITS (Intelligent Transport System) World Congress is not easy to pin down. Involving more than 60 countries, it turns out to be a confluence of disparate industries -- foremost among them automotive, mobile, telecommunications, and computers.
With “automation” and “big-data” as the key themes this year, the technology types who descended on Tokyo for the congress this week included mobile operators, system integrators and builders of data centers. There were also carmakers, tier-one suppliers, chip vendors, and software developers.


Carnegie Mellon Receives $5.65 Million Federal Grant To Help Make Driving and Roadways Safer

There are about 10 million automobile and truck accidents in the U.S., one million injuries and 32,000 fatalities every year. Most of these accidents occur due to human error such as distracted driving. To help solve these safety woes, the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $5.65 million grant to establish a national research center led by Carnegie Mellon University.
"This two-year grant for a national Department of Transportation (DOT) center will help us apply high-tech to make transportation systems smarter and reduce crashes," said Raj Rajkumar, center director and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at CMU. He also serves as co-director of two General Motors-CMU Collaborative Research labs.
Carnegie Mellon's team includes researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

Driverless cars are on the way

Self-parking was just one of several autonomous exercises, including overtaking, reading traffic lights, avoiding a pedestrian darting into the road, that the Leaf prototype demonstrated.
I suspect I am not alone in feeling uneasy about letting a computer drive me to work or the shops. But every time I get stuck in stop-and-go traffic and think about how I could be focusing on other tasks, the concept of the autonomous car becomes more and more attractive.

Profs, experts suggest reforms to 38th, Spruce streets

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
The intersection at 38th and Spruce streets — the site of seven accidents this calendar year — has received harsh criticism from city planning experts on the safety of its design.
“Right now it is not pedestrian friendly enough,” Erick Guerra, a city planning professor from the School of Design, said. The intersection saw two accidents this semester and five last semester, which sent at least eight people to the hospital in 2013. Experts agreed that the street’s historic design and later updates such as bike lanes all played into its current state as one of campus’s most dangerous intersections.

New Helsinki Bus Line Lets You Choose Your Own Route

An on-demand minibus service run by Helsinki’s public transit authority lets riders choose their own route and summon a trip with a smartphone.
Called Kutsuplus (Finnish for “call plus,” referring to the on-call nature of the service) the system of on-demand minibuses lets riders decide on a start and end point, and choose whether to share a journey or take a private trip. Called demand-responsive public transit, it’s designed for maximum flexibility.

Driverless car no longer just science fiction

Engineers all over the world are hard at work shaping the highway of the future. While a few kinks still need to be worked out, the reality of a road-ready driverless car is right around the corner. Terrell Brown reports.

EU agrees on plan to make cities smarter

Leaders of European cities have met today in Brussels with industry and research community representatives to discuss the next steps in the framework of the Smart Cities and Communities Partnership.
The Smart Cities Partnership Strategic Implementation Plan sets out a broad range of new actions and approaches to encourage cities to become smarter, focusing on building improvements, and the integration of information technologies into the transport and energy infrastructure, while relying on fast and secure networks that ensure high-quality connectivity.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Carnegie Mellon Receives $5.65 Million Federal Grant To Help Make Driving and Roadways Safer

Pittsburgh: There are about 10 million automobile and truck accidents in the U.S., one million injuries and 32,000 fatalities every year. Most of these accidents occur due to human error such as distracted driving. To help solve these safety woes, the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $5.65 million grant to establish a national research center led by Carnegie Mellon University.

$4.6 Million in Grants Awarded for Research Projects Aimed at Helping Improve Lives of People with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education announced today the award of more than $4.6 million in grants to five institutions for research projects aimed at helping improve the lives of people with disabilities.
The grants are being awarded under the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) Program. The recipients will conduct programs of advanced research of an engineering or technical nature designed to apply technology, scientific achievement and psychological and social knowledge to solve rehabilitation problems and remove environmental barriers.
 Carnegie Mellon University - (CFDA 81.133E-8) -- $923,878

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stuck in Traffic: Analyzing Real Time Traffic Capabilities of Personal Navigation Devices and Traffic Phone Applications

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has released a report that measures the real time traffic capability and accuracy of personal navigation devices and smartphone applications to determine how well the devices report traffic jams.

An Integrated Framework for Modeling Freight Mode and Route Choice

The Maryland State Highway Administration has released a report that presents a methodology to determine freight mode choice for use in the statewide travel demand modeling.

New Network and Data Sciences Center to Open at Penn

The integration of computers in all facets of modern life has led to an explosion in networks and the amount of data flowing through them. This information has enabled the more efficient management of electrical grids and new research techniques in fields ranging from sociology to astronomy to genetics. But this proliferation of information can be a double-edged sword; social media networks, for example, have opened the doors to new ways of studying populations but also raise questions about privacy and the commodification of user data.

RFP: Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program has issued a request for proposals to improve the classification, search, and retrieval of transportation information at state departments of transportation. Proposals are due December 6, 2013.

RFP: Methodology for Estimating the Value of Travel Time Reliability for Truck Freight System Users

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program has issued a request for proposals to develop and demonstrate a methodology that can estimate the value of travel time reliability to truck freight system users when evaluating proposed highway infrastructure and operations investments. Proposals are due November 19, 2013.

NCAP won't test collision-avoidance systems on cyclists

Speaking to Carlton Reid of and, Volvo software expert Dr Andrew Backhouse said: “Euro NCAP is planning to introduce ratings for collision avoidance systems. 2014 will see the first ratings. There is a lot of talk about testing the system on pedestrians. Nothing is planned for cyclists though.”
In 2012, 5,979 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured on UK roads, 420 of them fatally, so equipping cars with systems that detect and avoid them when the driver fails to  can only be a good idea.

Drivers would rather buy a self-driving car from Google than Ford

RESEARCH HAS FOUND that drivers would rather buy a self-driving car from Google than from a carmaker like Ford.
The KPMG study "Self Driving Cars: Are We Ready?" was based on a combination of surveys and collated "web chatter" and showed that Google was the brand most associated with autonomous motoring, followed by Nissan, after the latter firm's pledge to produce a self-driving vehicle by 2020.

Driverless cars light the road to Sydney’s future

Public transport will be radicalised
Sydney must also position itself for the future and make itself attractive as an incubator of constant change and radical innovation. The exact pathway our city will take is not necessarily known. Instead, the task is to ensure red tape, bureaucracy and politics are not impediments as we shift up several gears and ensure the positive alchemy of innovation dominates our planning.
Autonomous vehicles are a good example for Sydney to workshop. When this radical technology is available to the masses, the city will change in a way difficult to imagine. How will we respond to the complex and exciting transport innovations and their urban consequences?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Researchers improve transportation safety

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania and the Department of Transportation (DOT), are taking strides to reduce these staggering numbers. Last week, DOT renewed the grant for Carnegie Mellon’s Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation (T-SET) program for the next two years, awarding close to $5.7 million.
The DOT’s University Transportation Centers program picks five universities around the nation to lead and set the standards in strategic areas including safety, economic, environmental, and maintenance concerns with transportation.
Two years ago, T-SET partnered with the University of Pennsylvania and was recognized as a University Transportation Center with an emphasis on safety; it has been awarded $2.85 million in grant money each year since.

A car that drives itself

(CBS News) CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. - It's been a year since California passed a law letting driverless cars on the road -- and major automakers are now busier than ever building vehicles that don't need you.
It looks like an SUV driven right off the showroom floor. But this Cadillac SRX is not like anything you've seen before.
"So my feet are just sitting down here," said lead engineer Jarrod Snider, demonstrating inside the car with us, "my hands are off the wheel. And you will see that it has to operate the breaks, the throttle, the steering, thrust, turn signals."
 The fully-autonomous vehicle was designed by engineers at the GM Collaborative Research Lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Google leads the way in driverless car race

The race is on among the world’s top car makers, parts firms – and Google – to develop truly driverless vehicles.
Google says it will take just a few more years. Others say a decade is more realistic. And BMW, despite its engineering skills, says it isn’t in a hurry to be first.

E-ZPasses Get Read All Over New York (Not Just At Toll Booths)

After spotting a police car with two huge boxes on its trunk — that turned out to be license-plate-reading cameras — a man in New Jersey became obsessed with the loss of privacy for vehicles on American roads. (He’s not the only one.) The man, who goes by the Internet handle “Puking Monkey,” did an analysis of the many ways his car could be tracked and stumbled upon something rather interesting: his E-ZPass, which he obtained for the purpose of paying tolls, was being used to track his car in unexpected places, far away from any toll booths.
Puking Monkey is an electronics tinkerer, so he hacked his RFID-enabled E-ZPass to set off a light and a “moo cow” every time it was being read.

State Regulators Step In On Ridesharing Controversies

Companies that let people use their smartphones to find rides have racked up several recent victories with state regulators, despite intense opposition from taxi and limousine companies.
Outfits such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar all have sprung up in the last four years, and now operate in cities as far-flung as Honolulu and Berlin.  Using the apps, customers can pick what kind of car they want, ensure that drivers will take them to their destination and pay drivers (including tip) with their phones, instead of using a physical credit card or cash.

Wi-MM Bike Tracks Your Bike Through the Cloud

Is your bike 3G-enabled? Wi-MM thinks it should be, and the startup’s Bike+ BPU-100 anti-theft and cycling computer system is the way it hopes to help cyclists keep track of their metal steeds. Built in partnership with Verizon’s Innovation Center in San Francisco, Wi-MM – “Wireless Machine-to-Machine”, and not to be confused with the Google-acquired smartwatch company WIMM – plans to strap a combination GPS and 3G-enabled adapter to your bike’s crossbar, initially integrated into a water bottle holder, which constantly pings its position to the cloud.

Seeing Bike-Share as an Alternative to Streetcars

A lot of cities want to expand their transit service but don't have the money to dig an entire subway system (or even to extend one that already exists). Usually these places will instead consider enhancing bus service (often through bus-rapid transit) or, perhaps, building an above-ground rail system (lately streetcars have been the rage). During a discussion about the future of urban mobility at CityLab, Chicago transportation chief Gabe Klein suggested another option: bike-share.
"There's this argument about streetcar versus BRT, and what should primary cities, secondary cities sort of look at," said Klein. "I think, first of all, you shouldn't count out bike-share as mass transit."

Public transit gets on the bus with smartphone ticketing

Municipal transportation authorities around the country are adding pay-by-phone options for riders, with the Dallas/Fort Worth area the latest region to offer customers the ability to buy commuter rail and bus tickets via their smartphones.

Ford Inches Us Closer to a Future of Autonomous Parking

While automatic parallel parking systems have been around for nearly a decade, until now, they required the driver to stay inside the vehicle to shift gears and cover the brake. Ford’s system eliminates the need for the driver to change from Drive to Reverse, but the lawyers have already spoiled the fun...
Ford is also showing off a prototype system that would detect pedestrians and other vehicles in the car’s path of travel and if sufficient braking force can’t be applied in time, the car will automatically swerve to avoid hitting the obstacle. But for now, both systems are in the testing phases and won’t make it to market for at least another three to four years.

Connected Cars: How Long Must We Wait?

The advocates of an entirely different way of driving will tell you that we're within sight of the threshold, and connected cars are coming. But maybe not before manufacturers and developers agree on how different kinds of cars and apps will link together.

$24 Million Fiber-Optic ITS System for Northwest Florida

Once it's completed, the system will include 183 traffic cameras, 17 overhead message signs, 135 microwave vehicle detectors, 40 travel time sensors, three road and weather information sensors and eight highway advisory radios.
It will allow emergency personnel to better detect the locations of highway incidents, their severity, and getting first responders to the scene.

Oregon Road Usage Charge Summit 2013!

This important event will help Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation accomplish two goals: 1) Share information about the legislatively-approved Road Usage Charge Program with other states who may be interested in joining in the program or aspects of it; and 2) Share opportunities with potential vendors and service providers for the upcoming Road Usage Charge Program for the state, where up to 5,000 volunteers will pay a "per mile" fee instead of the gas tax.

Where:   World Trade Center, 121 SW Salmon St., Portland, OR 97204, Google MapWhen:    Nov. 13, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Nov. 14 – 15 are set aside for optional one-one-one meetings between ODOT and potential vendors/service providers)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Self-driving cars? They are (sort of) here already - Video

With automakers starting to make realistic predictions about when they can deliver self-driving cars, many motorists may not realize that to a large extent, such cars are here already.  Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Acura are among automakers that have started fielding vehicles that allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel.
See video of CMU autonomous vehicle demo.

Carnegie Mellon pledges to make chips smarter

The solution, Blanton and his team claim, is SLIC: Statistical Learning in Chip, a machine-learning system which allows a circuit to monitor its performance and conditions and make adjustments as required to ensure peak efficiency. Using technology developed in partnership with the Robotics Institute, the team hopes to create 'smart' processors which can dramatically boost their efficiency automatically and without user interaction.

The SLIC technology would go far beyond existing power management systems, adjusting the silicon circuit in far finer-grained ways than is currently possible and based on far more data than the crude temperature- and load-sensitive triggers used today.

Call for Presentations and Papers: 21st National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation

21st National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation
October 26-29, 2014
Deadline for early submission and consideration is October 15, 2013. Abstracts submitted after that date will be considered through January 10, 2014.

The workshops and panels are organized around five topical routes. Presentations proposed for each route should address innovations in one of three areas: innovation in the customer experience, innovation in organizational and/or program sustainability, or innovation in economic development and community sustainability.

Autonomous Cars: We Won't Need Lanes Where We're Going, Says Kevin Warwick

The controversial Cybernetics Professor, Kevin Warwick, doesn’t just implant chips in his nearest and dearest. Part of his research agenda is helping to usher in the first cooperative, self-driving vehicles. Emma Byrne finds out what the car of tomorrow—and the car industry of tomorrow—will look like. According to Warwick, autonomous cars will be safer, more efficient, and a great way to show off…

Driver-less cars are coming – and they'll see cyclists coming too

In a world with cars that don't kill, taxis without cabbies, and HGVs driven by computers not blindspot-afflicted drivers, there will be less need for hard infrastructure. Many bicycle advocates believe we've started on a Dutch-style 40-year trajectory to getting segregated cycle paths almost everywhere, but driverless cars will be here long before that.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Proposal to bring 500 rental bikes to Pittsburgh pedals ahead

Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary to a plan that would put 500 bicycle rentals on city streets.
Under the legislation, the city would collaborate with the Pittsburgh Bike Share Partnership to provide short-term rentals and allow people to ride between bike stations. Users would pay with a credit card to unlock a bike, then dock it at another station.

Several luxury automakers now have systems that automatically steer cars on highways

With automakers starting to make realistic predictions about when they can deliver self-driving cars, many motorists may not realize that to a large extent, such cars are here already.
Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Acura are among automakers that have started fielding vehicles that allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel. The cars stay on the road using a combination of radar and camera systems that track lane lines on the pavement. Most have alarms that remind drivers to put their hands back on after a few seconds. But not all: Infiniti's Q50 sedan can steer itself for miles without a finger on the wheel.
See video of CMU autonomous vehicle.

The 'autonomous,' hackable car

It is time to start thinking of your car as another mobile device.
And that is both a good and bad thing. The almost magical capabilities of mobile devices help workers to be vastly more productive and collaborative, while keeping them much more entertained and connected during their off hours. A self-driving car could, in different ways, do the same. 
But those handheld devices also expose users to risks like the loss of assets and/or confidential information. Which raises the obvious question: If the best security available can't protect your smartphone, how is it going to protect you in your car?
It's one thing to have your credit card numbers stolen. It's another thing entirely to have your brakes suddenly disabled as you re heading at high speed toward an overpass abutment or the truck in front of you.

NSF Grant Will Integrate Carnegie Mellon Robotic Kits Into Middle School Courses in Pennsylvania and West Virginia

An innovative program that introduces robotic technology into non-technical middle school classes will be used by suburban Pittsburgh and rural West Virginia schools in a federally funded research project to identify and nurture students with an affinity for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Southeast Michigan Connected Vehicle Test Bed 2014 Project Information Meeting

October 29, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will be hosting a webinar for the Southeast Michigan Connected Vehicle Test Bed 2014 Project on October 29, 2013. Developers, equipment manufacturers and government agencies are invited to provide their ideas and to participate in designing the supporting interoperability process.

Bus Time Set to Expand to Manhattan This Month; Queens and Brooklyn Next

Nearly a year after the Bronx became the second borough to get real-time bus tracking on all its buses, the MTA’s Bus Time program is set to expand to Manhattan this month, according to signs spotted in Manhattan subway stations by Twitter user David Rose and Second Avenue Sagas.
In March, the MTA announced that Bus Time would go live in Manhattan “this year,” followed by Brooklyn, then Queens. The authority said that by April 2014, all five boroughs will have Bus Time.

Using ITS to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Program

Date: October 30, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost: All T3 webinars are free of charge
This webinar will feature speakers from a range of transportation agencies discussing using ITS technology to enhance their Traffic Incident Management (TIM) Programs. Challenges, successes, and future direction of ITS integration with TIM Programs; and sharing various ideas on how performance measures can help improve a TIM program will be discussed.

Predicting the future by gathering diagnostics

As the bandwidth of cellular links rises, off-highway suppliers and users alike are striving to get even more functionality. That’s especially true with one of the common telematic features, gathering diagnostic information.
There can be huge benefits when diagnostic data turns into prognostics, alerting operators that a component or system is nearing its failure points. Prognostics is already common for fluids—Allison Transmissions includes it on every automatic transmission.
However, prognostics is more of a challenge for mechanical parts. It’s no simple task to analyze vibration, temperature, and other parameters and determine that a field failure is imminent unless a service stop is scheduled. 

Additive manufacturing grows in the aerospace industry

The pace of the metallics revival is quickening. The re-emergence of metallic solutions as alternatives to future wing structures, for example, is an area that is being actively developed by GKN Aerospace, a global Tier 1 supplier that has a very sizable stake in both metallic and composite structural manufacturing for all the major aerospace constructors.
The company believes that additive manufacturing (AM) presents a massive opportunity to create complex shapes, some of which would be impossible to manufacture using conventional methods, with higher functionality and different materials. 

Ford tests driverless car parking

Ford is experimenting with two new gee-whiz technologies, one that allows a car to park itself without a driver inside and another that automatically turns the steering wheel to avoid hitting a pedestrian.
The trials are going in Belgium and there are no plans to market either in the U.S. anytime soon, but both point to how automakers are gradually moving toward self-driving technology in cars.

Future Mobility Demand in Megaregions: A National Study with a Focus on the Gulf Coast

The Southwest Region University Transportation Center has released a report that presents an approach for using aggregate data to estimate future passenger and freight mob ility demand in a megaregion.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

PGH to be crowned “Rust Cup Champion” in Youngstown, OH on Oct 18th

The five-month long National Bike Challenge came to a close on October 1st. The nonprofit organization Bike Pittsburgh rallied 1,513 Pittsburghers to ride 675,665 miles, totaling 1,614,584 points, which placed Pittsburgh third out of participating US cities with populations over 200,000. More importantly, Pittsburgh beat Cleveland in the Rust Belt Battle of the Bikes – a challenge which Bike Cleveland posed to Bike Pittsburgh at the beginning of the 2013 Challenge season.  Pittsburgh’s victory brings the Rust Cup Trophy and Rust Belt Champion Title to Pittsburgh until the two cities pedal it out again during next year’s Challenge.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Connected Vehicle Applications for Speed Harmonization with Queue Warning Workshop

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced a two-day public meeting to seek stakeholder input on the Intelligent Network Flow Optimization (INFLO) bundle of applications. This bundle features three high-priority transformative applications that have the potential to maximize roadway throughput, reduce crashes, and reduce fuel consumption through the use of data from wirelessly connected vehicles, traveler communication devices, and smart infrastructure. The USDOT’s Dynamic Mobility Applications (DMA) program identified the three applications—queue warning (Q-WARN), dynamic speed harmonization (SPD-HARM), and cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC)—as high priority for the Connected Vehicle Research Program.

Now you can track your Amtrak train in real time

There are a few select people who are really into watching trains. Most of us probably would rather watch plants grow. But Amtrak’s new “Track a Train” system is a) actually useful and b) OK-we-admit-it pretty cool.

Carnegie Mellon Racing accelerates toward electronic vehicles

Carnegie Mellon University’s chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), which has historically built and competed with gasoline-powered cars, is transitioning to electric vehicles (EV) in preparation for the second-annual Formula SAE Electric event in June. This event is the newest division in SAE International’s Formula SAE competition. According to the Formula SAE website, a team of mostly undergraduate engineering students must “conceive, design, fabricate, develop and compete with small, formula-style vehicles” before the competition date in June. The students will act as contractors and build their car according to a fictional customer’s specifications. At the event, they will be awarded points based on their design, cost, and business plans as well as the vehicle performance.

The next wave of urban transportation innovation is upon us

Now the next wave of urban transportation innovation is on the way, with services allowing people to rent each others’ cars, find seats for road trips and even recover lost wallets from cabs. Some of the new apps and concepts were on display at an event organized last week by Smart Growth America and the online magazine Elevation DC, and hosted by 1776, the start-up incubator on 15th Street NW. A sampling:

'Attention Powered Car' Designed To Reduce Crashes, Links Driver Focus With Machine Performance [VIDEO]

As automakers race to develop driverless cars, an Australian technology company has developed a tool to bring the man back into the loop: an interface that measures the attention of the human driver, and makes adjustments accordingly.
In a partnership with the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia, electronics company Emotiv offers a car equipped with a matching headset designed to reduce the frequency of highway crashes caused by inattention.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Guest Post: The RMT – Data-driven Intelligent Transportation Idea from Italy

The EU began work on the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) framework in the early part of last decade, the U.S. Department of Transport hosted its first Connected Vehicle workshop earlier this year; and truly coordinated and integrated transportation systems exist only as computer simulations or localized pilot schemes. But the potential for the ITS is tremendous and it was fully recognized at this year’s Smart Mobility World exhibition held from 25th – 27th September in Turin, Italy. The highlight of the exhibition was the Road Management Tool Project (RMT) – a collaboration between the Turin city council and Tecnositaf S.p.A. It’s a 16,000-mile long network of integrated road communications featuring an independent uniform data network.

IBM brings in academic superstars to move cognitive computing beyond Watson

IBM’s famous Watson system kicked butt on Jeopardy! and is already making a name for itself in the health care space but it’s not yet good enough. That’s why IBM is teaming with MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, New York University and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on a research initiative it hopes will advance the state of the art in what IBM calls “cognitive computing.”

Google Advances Car Automation I.P. By Applying For Gesture-Based Car Controls Patent

The proposed system relies on a ceiling-mounted camera and laser scanner to trigger actions based on what the driver does with their hands.  For example, swiping near the window could have it roll down and pointing to the radio can turn the volume up.  It is unknown when or whether this technology will end up cars.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Penn Professors Teach Online Class to Plan Cities of the Future

The year 2050 seems far away, but urban planners are already working on designing cities to accommodate the expected huge population increase in cities across the globe.
And three professors in the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Stefan Al, Jonathan Barnett and Gary Hack hope more people around the world will start thinking and talking about planning cities of the future.
The U.S. Census Bureau says the world population is at 7 billion today, and by 2050 that number will rise to 10 billion. It’s estimated that about 70 percent of those people will be living in cities.
Beginning on Oct. 7, the professors will be teaching the course “Designing Cities” a massive open online class, or MOOC, through the free online learning platform Coursera.

Commuters not heeding high tech speed limit signs

Researchers say Twin Cities commuters are contributing to traffic jams on I-35W, by ignoring high tech advisory speed limit signs designed to ease congestion.
That is among the findings of a comprehensive study of congestion along the I-35W corridor, by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute headed by a group of University of Minnesota engineers.
The signs are part of the smart lane technology built into a 16-mile stretch of the interstate, from Burnsville to Minneapolis. They were installed over the past three years with the use of federal anti-congestion grants.

Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?

The new study goes a long way toward providing hard evidence of a continuing bias against women in the sciences. Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s in this country are awarded to women, and only about half of those women are American; of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14 percent are women. The numbers of black and Hispanic scientists are even lower; in a typical year, 13 African-Americans and 20 Latinos of either sex receive Ph.D.’s in physics. The reasons for those shortages are hardly mysterious — many minority students attend secondary schools that leave them too far behind to catch up in science, and the effects of prejudice at every stage of their education are well documented. But what could still be keeping women out of the STEM fields (“STEM” being the current shorthand for “science, technology, engineering and mathematics”), which offer so much in the way of job prospects, prestige, intellectual stimulation and income?

SSTI to Transport Officials: Start Planning for a Future With Less Driving

For a long time in the United States, driving activity moved in step with the economy. Since economic growth was fairly steady, consistent growth in driving was built into all the traffic modeling the engineers used to plan and build streets and transportation infrastructure. But now per capita driving has declined eight straight years in America. Total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) hasn’t really budged in five years, and remains below its peak. A number of things have fundamentally changed since the time when you could chart driving behavior into the future using an upward line, according to a new paper by the State Smart Transportation Initiative, a think-tank based out of the University of Wisconsin which counts 19 state DOTs among its partners.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

T-SET Seminar: Safety Should Be Beautiful

Join us as Jonathan Ota and Ethan Frier discuss how their love for bicycles has turned into an entrepreneurial venture.
Project Aura, which designed the LED-light which illuminates the wheels of a bicycle, got its start from a small grant from the Undergraduate Research Office at CMU. Today, Project Aura is changing the way we think about bike safety by making bicyclists more visible to passing vehicles.

Date: Monday October 7, 2013
Time: Noon-1:00pm
Location: 1000 Hamburg Hall
Pizza lunch will be provided
Video Link Available
More>> (and to register) 

USDOT staff presentations from the Connected Vehicle Public Meeting (September 24-26, 2013)

The presentations made by U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) staff at the recently held Connected Vehicle Public Meeting are now available on our website. This event featured discussions on the ITS JPO's connected vehicle safety program, including vehicle-to-vehicle communications, safety pilot, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, human factors, and policy. There ware also special sessions dedicated to the ITS Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2019 and the USDOT Multimodal Plan for Vehicle Automation.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

2013-2014 AERIS Fall/Winter Webinar Series Announcement

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) announces a series of webinars for its Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) program. The webinars will focus on current themes in transportation and how the AERIS Program intends to incorporate them into its research. The webinar series will also highlight preliminary modeling results for the Eco-Signal Operations applications, including:
Eco-Approach and Departure at Signalized Intersections
Eco-Traffic Signal Timing
Eco-Traffic Signal Priority, and
Connected Eco-Driving.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Penn, Carnegie Mellon Receive Grant for Transportation Research

The University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University have received a $5.65 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant for a joint research center to conduct transportation technology research and development.
The two-year grant will allow the Penn CMU partnership, Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation, or T-SET, to continue to develop and implement new technologies.
"It's great to be recognized as a national DOT transportation center, said Dan Lee, co-director of T-SET and professor of electrical and systems engineering in Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Our faculty and students are excited to be working on research related to improving the safety and efficiency of our transportation systems."

Short Sleepers Most Likely to Be Drowsy Drivers, Penn Medicine Study Finds

PHILADELPHIA — Federal data suggests that 15 to 33 percent of fatal automobile crashes are caused by drowsy drivers, but very little research has addressed what factors play a role in operating a vehicle in this impaired state. New research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is revealing that short sleepers, those who sleep less than six hours per night on average, are the most likely to experience drowsy driving , even when they feel completely rested. The study is published in the October issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Does the Gas Tax Have a Future?

Richard A. Stafford, director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic 21 initiative, tells VM, “The march of alternative ways to power vehicles (natural gas, natural gas liquids, electric) make any oil-based tax antiquated whether it’s on wholesale or retail and whether it’s indexed with inflation or not.” If that’s the case, we might want to replace the gas tax altogether with some kind of fee based on miles traveled – though we can see how implementing such a policy could get hairy.

LaunchCMU Pittsburgh A Research and Entrepreneurship Showcase

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
12:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Carnegie Mellon University
University Center/Gates Hillman Complex
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
12:30 pm
Demo and Poster Session
2:00 pm
Showcase of Presentations
5:00 pm
Networking Reception