Tuesday, December 24, 2013

5 cool car trends to watch in 2014

From driverless cars to diesels that even Americans will love, our car blogger gazes into his crystal ball. If you’re thinking of buying a new car in 2014, the trends are mostly positive. The auto market has gotten incredibly competitive as automakers head into the finale of a 15-million-vehicle sales year. That means they’re fighting for market share, and using just about any advantage to get your attention — and your dollars.

The Big Selling Point For Driverless Cars: Safety

Watching a car drive or park itself is a dramatic sight. It conjures images of a Jetsonian future, in which mobility robots whisk us to desired locations with a voice command.
But for the people who actually make and sell cars—automakers and their friendly neighborhood dealerships—the advent of driver-assist functions have a more practical purpose. “They want to sell more cars because cars are safer,” John Gartner, the leader for smart transportation research at Navigant Research, told me.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Carnegie Mellon robot places 3rd in national Defense Department tests, Japanese team 1st

A Carnegie Mellon University robot has placed third in a national competition sponsored by the Defense Department.
Seventeen humanoid robots competed Friday and Saturday at Homestead Miami Speedway in Miami for how well they can complete tasks such as driving an all-terrain vehicle and opening doors. The goal is to make robots that could function in disaster zones that are dangerous to humans, such as nuclear accidents.
The CMU robot called CHIMP — for CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform — had a score of 18 out of 32, just behind IHMC from Pensacola, Florida at 20. Schaft, Inc., a Japanese company that was recently bought by Google, was the leader with 27 points. A team from MIT was fourth with 16 points.

TRB’s SHRP 2 Tuesdays Webinar: Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement Strategic Plan

As part of the SHRP2 Tuesdays Webinar Series, TRB will conduct a webinar on January 21, 2014 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm ET that will explore the SHRP 2 research that documents the process used to improve the practice of freight demand modeling and freight data. The webinar will highlight the fundamental changes in freight modeling, data, and data collection that could help public and private sector decision-makers make better and more informed decisions. The Research Report and the companion Strategic Plan are available on the TRB website.

Google vs. Tesla vs. Ford: Who Has the Best Self-Driving Car to Get You Home Safely?

From tech heavyweights to auto upstarts, companies from every walk of industry are developing autonomous car technology these days. It's only a matter of time until self-driving cars become as commonplace as SUVs. However, when it comes to the autonomous future of transportation, what's less clear is whose technology will rein supreme.

A Primer for Agent-Based Simulation and Modeling in Transportation Applications

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released a report that explores agent-based modeling and simulation methods, including the general frameworks and commonly-shared procedures in transportation applications.

Safety IDEA Program Annual Report - January 2014

TRB’s Safety Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis (IDEA) program has released its annual report, which summarizes projects active or completed during the 2013 program year. The report also includes descriptions of projects completed before the 2013 program year.
The Safety IDEA program is sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration. The Safety IDEA program provides funding for projects that promote innovative approaches to improving railroad safety or performance.

2014 TRB 93rd Annual Meeting: Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Chairman's Luncheon Featured Speaker

Anthony Foxx, the seventeenth U.S. Secretary of Transportation, will be the featured speaker at the Wednesday, January 15, 2014, Chairman’s Luncheon at the TRB 93rd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The Chairman’s Luncheon is the premier event of the Annual Meeting, drawing an audience of about 750 leaders in transportation from the public and private sectors throughout the United States and abroad. Secretary Foxx previously served as the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina from 2009 to 2013.

The Laughable Fiction of Travel-Demand Forecasts

The Virginia Department of Transportation and regional transportation planning organizations periodically make traffic forecasts for planning purposes. The idea makes sense in the abstract — estimating future volumes of traffic is needed to determine how much, and where, we should invest in new transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, the process is flawed. Estimates have consistently overshot the mark in recent years, feeding the sense of transportation “crisis,” justifying the construction of uneconomical projects and feeding the clamor for higher taxes.

UK government wants to lead the way on driverless cars

The government has announced that it wants to make the UK a world centre for the development of driverless cars.
It said it would conduct a review next year to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework is in place for such vehicles to be incorporated on Britain’s roads.
It will also create a £10m prize to fund a town or city to become a testing ground for autonomous vehicles…

Crablike robot walks on walls, ceilings with magnet feet

Here's what we all long to see -- a robot crawling along the ceiling.
That may or may not give you goosebumps. But if you're an engineer, a magnetic wall-crawler developed at Osaka City University in Japan could prove useful when inspecting bridges and other structures.
The awkwardly named Bridge Inspection Robot Equipping Magnets (BIREM) can move as fast as 7.8 inches per second. Imagine that skittering up your wall.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

U.S. Department of Transportation Connected Vehicle Planning and Policy Stakeholder Workshop

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation System Joint Programs Office (ITS JPO) will conduct a free public workshop focused on soliciting input from transportation infrastructure owner/operators which would potentially deploy and utilize connected vehicle technologies on stakeholder needs for policies, guidelines, and tools in support of successful implementation. Although the target audience is State and local DOTs, transit agencies, and other infrastructure owners the meeting will be open to other stakeholders in the connected vehicle community, national associations, and the general public.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 16, 2014, from 1:00 PM (EDT) to 4:00 PM EDT in the Hampton Room at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street, NW in Washington, DC. Remote participation will be available via webinar.

ITSPA's Winter 2014 Scholarship is now accepting applications

The $2,500.00 ITSPA Annual Scholarship is awarded to the individual in an undergraduate or graduate program who meets the below minimum requirements and demonstrates exemplary aptitude in the areas of civil and/or electrical engineering in the transportation industry...
All applications, essays, and transcripts must be received by Dan Corey, Committee Chairman, no later than February 28, 2014.

Esurance Tracks Teen Drivers in Appeal to Parents

Esurance, the car insurer owned by Allstate Corp. (ALL), is seeking to appeal to parents with technology that can disable their children’s mobile phones when they are behind the wheel and provide warnings when they drive too fast.

The Top Transportation Challenges in 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation's lead watchdog says that developing safety plans, inspecting bridges and tunnels and managing the future of air traffic technology will be among the biggest challenges facing the department in 2014.

ITS ePrimer: A New Learning Resource from the ITS Professional Capacity Building Program

A New Learning Resource from the ITS Professional Capacity Building Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s ITS Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program is pleased to announce the release of a new ITS learning resource, the ITS ePrimer. The ePrimer provides transportation professionals, educators, students, and planners with a series of up to date, web-based modules describing key Intelligent Transportation System topics, all written from a multimodal perspective. The first nine of the 14-module ePrimer are available now. All modules will be online by the end of December.

Will The Google Car Force A Choice Between Lives And Jobs?

Jobs will only be lost if Google or some other innovator delivers fully autonomous cars. That would also mean, however, that we could reap tremendous gains in vehicle safety.  We would be forced to choose between saving lives and losing jobs. I would choose lives.

Call for Papers: European Transport Conference 2014

29 September - 1 October 2014
Campus Westend, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
Call for Papers
Abstract Submission Deadline: 5 February 2014
The European Transport Conference (ETC) connects the worlds of research, consultancy, policy and practice.  Attendance at ETC allows different groups to pose questions to fellow professionals and to assess what is possible in terms of delivery. Researchers are challenged by policy-makers; practitioners need to deliver on the ground what the policy-makers want.

South Florida Traffic May Soon Be Run By A Wireless Command Center That Communicates With Cars

Florida, along with a handful of other states, is at the forefront of a national effort to create a system that allows vehicles to wirelessly communicate with each other and the streets and roads around them.
"It can actually really change transportation," said George Gilhooley, vice president of HNTB Corporation, a transportation consulting firm. "The real key driver behind it all is safety. It can save lives, prevent injuries."
Picture everything vehicles do -- how fast they're going, whether windshield wipers are on, if brakes are suddenly engaged -- sent to a traffic command center that predicts and prevents traffic slowdowns based on that information.

Report: Make Transportation Technology a Priority

Self-driving cars once seemed the stuff of science fiction. But with such projects from companies like Google already being showcased in Texas, lawmakers and transportation officials see an opportunity to use new technology to relieve congestion and improve safety in the rapidly growing state.

Moovit closes $28 million funding round to boost public transportation data

Moovit, the public transportation app that uses Waze-like crowdsourced data to give users accurate readings on their morning commute, has closed a $28 million funding round, led by Sequoia Capital, to make better use of the data it has collected on public transportation systems across more than 100 cities.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beyond ‘Boss’: GM, Carnegie Mellon build on success

General Motors recently renewed its five-year agreement with research partner Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh to continue developing technologies that could allow future production vehicles to drive autonomously...
 “Automated vehicle technologies have the potential to improve driver performance, enjoyment and safety by easing workload when traffic and road conditions allow, but ultimately vehicle operation will always be the driver’s choice and responsibility,” Capp said. “GM and Carnegie Mellon are making rapid progress toward making these technologies production viable.”

Got some great innovative ideas? 2nd Annual Outside-the-Box Transportation Innovations Competition w/ $17.5k Prize Purse Now Open!

Calling all young professionals and students!
George Mason University’s School of Public Policy is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual Cameron Rian Hays Competition for Outside-the-Box Transportation Business and Policy Innovations!
If you are 35 or under, submit a proposal outlining your creative way to address a significant transportation challenge and you could win $10,000! Get your idea to the decision makers who can help you make it happen; visit our website for submission guidelines and procedures:

Inspiring Innovations Step Into the Spotlight at 2014 International CES

From driverless cars and 3D printing to Ultra HD TV, health technologies and beyond, the 2014 International CES® is the place to see inspiring innovations across the consumer technology ecosystem. Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the 2014 CES, the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, will run January 7-10, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

States Use Technology and Smart Solutions to Battle Winter Weather

"New technologies are being tested and implemented by state DOTs every day," says Mike Hancock, AASHTO president and secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "State transportation officials are turning to proven solutions to do their jobs faster, better and smarter. The following examples are just a few of the many ways states are keeping people and goods moving safely, this winter."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Women in Transportation Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon University's H. John Heinz III College, in partnership with the Traffic21 Initiative and the T-SET University Transportation Center (UTC), is pleased to announce the creation of the Women in Transportation Fellowship.  Heinz College will award the scholarship every other year to an incoming student who is entering the Master of Science in Public Policy and Management or Master of Information Systems Management degree programs. It is awarded to an outstanding female student who has, within the standard application for admission, demonstrated an interest and commitment to Intelligent Transportation Systems.

'Robot dragonfly' is the smallest and lightest self-navigating drone

A group of Dutch engineers from the Delft University of Technology have created the world’s first Micro Air Vehicle that can fly in any surroundings and automatically avoid obstacles. 
Micro Air Vehicles are a specific class of aerial drones nearer in size to insects than airplanes, and the DelFly Explorer is no exception – weighing just 20 grams, or as much as four sheets of A4 paper.

Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots

BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas have joined Google’s growing robot menagerie.
Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.
It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year.

A Connected City Rises

Energy management, security, and intelligent transportation are just a few of the new technologies that are coming to cities. As technologies advance, city officials are deciding how they will build these smart cities. How will this impact construction? A look at new technologies available provides a glimpse into the connected city of the future.

Chicago's New Smart Cards Make Commuting Even Harder

"Stop. Stop. Go."
The error message blinks back at commuters from electronic turnstiles in the Chicago subway stations. Many need to swipe several times before the city's new transit card even registers. And that's only one of the challenges the system currently faces.
Ventra, the new electronic open-fare system for Chicago’s public transit system, launched August 2013. The Ventra smart cards are slated to replace the city’s old magnetic strip fare card system before the new year.

Modeling, Implementation, and Validation of Arterial Travel Time Reliability

The Florida Department of Transportation has released a report that evaluates and refines methods for estimating travel time reliability for arterials.

Innovator: November/December 2013

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released the latest issue of its Innovator newsletter, which is designed to help advance widespread implementation of innovations and technologies in the highway community and help chronicle a nationwide movement to improve the way highways are built.

Trip Generation Rates for Transportation Impact Analyses of Infill Developments

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 758: Trip Generation Rates for Transportation Impact Analyses of Infill Developments details a procedure for analyzing potential vehicular trip generation impacts in urban and urbanizing locales.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Breaking Down Barriers: Creating a more disability-friendly city

Can Pittsburgh become a more accessible community -- not simply by providing more wheelchair ramps and automatic doors, but actually serving all types of disabilities and touching every aspect of daily life?
With the abundance of technology brainpower in our city, can we create solutions to access barriers that not only enhance lives here but help people elsewhere?
These two questions were the centerpiece of Pittsburgh's first "Accessibility Meetup," held last week at Google's offices in Larimer. Organized by local disability advocates Gabe McMorland, 31, and Chris Maury, 27, the Pittsburgh endeavor takes a cue from similar efforts in Chicago, Toronto and other cities with a progressive agenda to become barrier-free.

Port of Long Beach Battles Traffic Congestion with New Freight Mobility Application Technology

The Port of Long Beach began a testing phase Wednesday with its Freight Advanced Traveler Information System (FRATIS) Demonstration Project, which aims to improve freight traffic and communications, air quality, and boost container volume in participating test ports within the next 20 years.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), the FRATIS Demonstration Projects has partnered with public and private organizations to streamline the information flow between trucks and port terminals using Bluetooth proximity-reading technology.

The Cost of Gridlock: Can smart signals and crowd sourcing clear the roads?

Imagine a traffic signal that can think on its feet.
The signal collects data from roadside cameras and, ultimately, wireless transmitters in connected “talking” cars, which guide it to adjust the duration of red, amber and green lights based on the number of vehicles queuing up.
Intersections are linked across a neighborhood via GPS chips, prioritizing those where lineups are excessive and making signals more responsive to real-time conditions while lowering traffic control costs.
This award-winning technology was developed by University of Toronto engineering graduate Samah El-Tantawy under the supervision of Baher Abdulhai, director of the university’s Toronto Intelligent Transportation Systems Centre and Testbed.

Newly installed road sign reflectors alert drivers that surface is frozen

CLARKSTON, WA - The cold front sweeping down from Canada has thermometers still well-below freezing temperatures. To get drivers to slow down the Asotin County Public Works Department recently installed these handy reflectors. They turn blue when the area gets below freezing. A few have been installed around the county near steep grades, like this one at the bottom of Critchfield Road.

Ford joins driverless car stampede

Add Ford Motor Co. to the growing list of automakers working to bring driverless cars to the market.
Ford announced a partnership with the University of Michigan and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. to test how the technology might be applied to reduce congestion and improve traffic safety.
The test bed for Ford’s automated driving technology is a Fusion Hybrid sedan that the company showed today in Dearborn at a media briefing. The car drives itself and will be used for testing. The goal is to advance the technology so that it can be installed in mainstream vehicles by 2025.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The ITS World Congress Clock is Ticking

There is just a little more than one month remaining to submit proposals for a technical or scientific paper, or a Special Interest Session topic at the 2014 ITS World Congress.  The final deadline is January 15, 2014.

Chicago’s ‘Smart Card’ Debacle and Privatisation

Riding the buses in Chicago has been awfully fun this busy Christmas Season. Half the time, it’s been free.
This fall, you see, after a series of delays, the city brought online a new fare payment system called “Ventra” in which customers tap “smart cards” against electronic readers at bus entrances and train station turnstiles. Only it turns out these cards are not so smart. Half the time, tap after tap after tap, the damned things don’t work, and the bus driver just exasperatedly waves you through.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Public Meeting Seeking Stakeholder Input to the Federal Highway Administration's Intelligent Network Flow Optimization (INFLO) Bundle

The Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Programs Office will host a free public meeting to obtain stakeholder input on concepts, opportunities and needs for the Intelligent Network Flow Optimization (INFLO). The public meeting is set for December 18, 2013 Southeast Michigan and will continue all day.

Survey: Gen Y wants self-driving car features

If you're wondering why automakers seem so hellbent all of a sudden on developing driverless car, blame Gen Y.
The technologies that Gen Y consumers want the most in a new car are the same safety systems that would be found in driverless cars, a new survey by Accenture consulting finds. The survey covered 14,000 drivers in 12 countries, including the U.S.

SMART Driverless golf cart provides a glimpse into a future of autonomous vehicles

The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Future Urban Mobility Interdisciplinary Research Group (FM IRG) recently showcased its driverless golf cart. Fitted with an onboard computer and laser sensors, each with a field vision of 270 degrees, the golf cart can drive on its own and stop to pick up and drop off passengers. The FM IRG, led by Professor Emilio Frazzoli of aeronautics and astronautics, has been developing the automated vehicle with collaborators from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

DMV releases draft rules for driverless cars

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has posted draft rules that will guide manufacturers in their testing of driverless cars by as soon as next year. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, only California, Nevada, and Florida have even begun setting up a regulatory structure for such vehicles, and California is farther ahead than the other two states.

Cars as Roadside Units: A Self-Organizing Network Solution

The Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation Center at Carnegie Mellon University has released a report that proposes solutions to facilitating the deployment of roadside units designed to increase the connectivity of vehicular ad hoc networks.

Deploying Road Side Units in Sparse Vehicular Networks: What Really Works and What Does Not

The Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation Center at Carnegie Mellon University has released a report that considers the benefits of deploying road side units—an infrastructure along roads that relays wireless communications between vehicles—as a means to improve communications in highway scenarios.

Development of Speed Models for Improving Travel Forecasting and Highway Performance Evaluation

The Florida Department of Transportation has released a report that explains the use of hourly volume and speed data from traffic count stations for determining free-flow speeds and capacities of highway facilities.

Committee for Intelligent Construction Systems and Technology: Program Review Letter Report: November 26, 2013

On November 26, 2013, TRB’s Committee for Intelligent Construction Systems and Technology: Program Review sent its second letter report to Victor Mendez, administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The committee provides advice and guidance to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration concerning the conduct of its Intelligent Construction Systems and Technology program.

SwRI now operating a test bed for intelligent, connected vehicles

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is now serving as a Connected Vehicle Affiliated Test Bed, recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration. As a Connected Vehicle Test Bed, SwRI supports public and private sector research, testing and demonstrations of innovative, next-generation intelligent transportation technologies.

Driverless Cars Aren't a Threat to Progressive

A Wall Street bigwig is currently claiming that driverless cars could put Progressive out of business. In fact, his firm is betting money on the demise of the entire auto-insurance industry. Supposedly, safer, driverless cars will eliminate accidents and the need for insurance. After considering the argument and looking at some data, I don't think betting against Progressive based on driverless cars is a very solid thesis.

Rinspeed to show infotainment for autonomous driving in Geneva

Taking the advent of autonomous driving for granted, Rinspeed sees new opportunities for in-car infotainment functions. At the Geneva auto show in March, the Swiss concept-car specialist will unveil a vision of a vehicle designed to allow passengers as well as drivers a new kind of freedom.

Morgan Stanley predicts autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020

With the technology for driverless vehicles already available and only incremental research and development required, the authors of the report note that the main obstacles to the growth of the autonomous vehicle industry will be infrastructure development, liability concerns in the case of a accident and customer acceptance of the technology itself.

Monday, December 9, 2013

SwRI Operating Connected Vehicle Affiliated Test Bed

— Southwest Research Institute, a leader in intelligent vehicle technology, is now serving as a Connected Vehicle Affiliated Test Bed, recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration. As a Connected Vehicle Test Bed, SwRI supports public and private sector research, testing and demonstrations of innovative, next-generation intelligent transportation technologies.

CMU robot to show its disaster relief capabilities in competition

CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville has two weeks to refine and tweak CHIMP -- the CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform -- for the Dec. 20- 21 Robotics Challenge to be held in a created disaster site at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, a NASCAR track in Homestead, Fla.
Sponsored and funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the competition includes four tracks involving 17 teams. CHIMP is participating in Track A, which will require the partially autonomous robot to complete eight tasks, including turning valves, traversing debris, using power tools, getting in and out of vehicles, and climbing ladders.

CMU robot to show its disaster relief capabilities in competition Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2013/12/07/CMU-robot-to-show-its-disaster-relief-capabilities-in-competition/stories/201312070119#ixzz2n2axP7mc

Google has generated plenty of buzz with its driverless car project, but what if Apple developed its own Siri-controlled alternative? Considering the digital assistant’s not-so-stellar reputation on iOS, you might not feel comfortable putting Siri in charge of your car. Well that’s exactly the inspiration for this hilarious parody commercial for Steeri from YouTube comedy duo Smart Department.

Apple and Siri Spoofed in Steeri Driverless-Car Parody Video

Google has generated plenty of buzz with its driverless car project, but what if Apple developed its own Siri-controlled alternative? Considering the digital assistant’s not-so-stellar reputation on iOS, you might not feel comfortable putting Siri in charge of your car. Well that’s exactly the inspiration for this hilarious parody commercial for Steeri from YouTube comedy duo Smart Department.

Carnegie Mellon's Burcu Akinci Co-Leads Team Developing Low-Flying Robots for Bridge Inspections

Carnegie Mellon University's Burcu Akinci is co-leading a multidisciplinary research team charged with supporting bridge inspectors through the use of small autonomous aerial robots.
"The proposed work utilizes small flying robots, coupled with three-dimensional imaging and state-of-the-art modeling, analysis and visualization to develop safe and efficient assessment of structures," said Akinci, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at CMU and co-director of the Smart Infrastructure Institute (SII), an interdisciplinary research lab at CMU. 

Video: Thruway installs LED signs to alert wrong-way drivers

The state Thruway Authority today said it has installed Doppler-radar-enhanced LED signs to alert wrong-way drivers before they enter exits in Buffalo and Nyack, Rockland County.
The signs are at the Niagara Expressway (I-190) at the southbound exit 9 off-ramp in Buffalo and at exit 10 on I-87/I-287 in Nyack.
Both spots have had crashes involving wrong-way drivers.

Smart cities - Are smart cities empty hype?

The Economist feature and online debate on Smart Cities

UK government to invest in rural coverage and driverless cars

The UK government will open a £10m fund in early 2014 to test innovative solutions to deliver superfast broadband services to remote areas of the UK. It has also pledged to make the UK a centre for the testing and development of driverless cars.

Billionaires and transportation toys

Stodgy world of planes, trains and automobiles, meet the billionaires with “Star Trek” dreams.
Technology moguls are brimming with ideas for bringing flying robots, self-driving cars, people-moving tubes and space-traveling tourists to the sleepy realm of transportation, which hasn’t seen a major shakeup in decades.

The Steel City Codefest 2014 - Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA - The Steel City Codefest is a civic, citywide, 24-hour Hackathon that brings together coders, designers and community members to create apps to benefit government, nonprofits and residents.
Codefest 2014 will be held on February 22 – 23 at the American Eagle Corporate Offices in the South Side. Tickets will go on sale January 15 and are $10 each. Only 130 tickets will be sold and teams should be formed in advance of buying tickets.

Europe’s public transport ITS market expected to exceed US$1.9 billion by 2017

According to new research from the analyst firm Berg Insight, the market value for public transport intelligent transport systems (ITS) in Europe was US$1.3 billion in 2012. Growing at a compound annual growth rate of nine per cent, the market is expected to reach US$1.9 billion by 2017.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

City Council gives preliminary approval to install red-light cameras, final vote to come next week

Council is expected to take a final vote next week on legislation that would permit about 20 cameras at intersections throughout the city. Under state law, the measure would die on July 15, 2017, unless the Legislature and council reauthorize it.
Pittsburgh police couldn't provide information about which intersections in the city are most dangerous.
Council members cited traffic safety, ticket revenue and the “sunset” provision allowing for the measure to end as reasons for considering the program.
“What raised my comfort level enough to vote on it is there is a sunset provision,” Councilman Bruce Kraus said, adding that the city can use new revenue for traffic safety enhancements. “We can try it for two years. If it doesn't work, council doesn't have to renew it.” 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Driverless Cars Could Be Cruising California Roads By Spring

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has released its newly created regulations for the testing of automated vehicles.
The DMV’s Bernard Soriano said the regulations are intended for manufactures who want to begin testing their cars on California roads. The rules cover everything from how much insurance the cars must have to who can drive them.

Video: Drones to save and change lives

Drones are increasingly becoming part of our lives. In parts of the Philippines, recently devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, drones equipped with small cameras are proving vital in helping relief teams do their work.
Data collected by drones provides a clear overview of a damaged area, allowing aid agencies to assess the situation rather than having to walk or drive through debris.


Amazon unveils futuristic plan: Delivery by drone

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had a big surprise for correspondent Charlie Rose this week. After their 60 Minutes interview, Bezos walked Rose into a mystery room at the Amazon offices and revealed a secret R&D project: “Octocopter” drones that will fly packages directly to your doorstep in 30 minutes.
It’s an audacious plan that Bezos says requires more safety testing and FAA approvals, but he estimates that delivery-by-drone, called Amazon “Prime Air,” will be available to customers in as soon as 4-5 years.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pittsburgh Bike Share is looking for an Executive Director

Pittsburgh Bike Share is a non-profit 501(c) 3 status organization in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania responsible for bringing bike share to the Pittsburgh region.  The organization seeks a highly motivated Executive Director who will launch the bike share system.

TRB Webinar: Organizational and Institutional Approaches to Enhance Highway Operations and Travel Time Reliability

TRB will conduct a webinar on January 8, 2014 from 2:00pm – 3:30pm ET that will explore the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). The CMM, developed by TRB’s second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2), aims to improve transportation systems management and operations (see corresponding report and guide). There is no fee for this webinar, and no professional development hours will be offered for this session.

2014: A Connected Year for Construction?

Each year the analysts come out with predictions about technology trends for the coming year. In the past, such trends have included the cloud, mobile, and more—all of which are still predicted to be big areas of growth in 2014. However this year the analysts are making a bold prediction, saying IoT (Internet of Things) will be one of the top technology trends for enterprises in 2014.
IoT or M2M (machine-to-machine) is when devices have sensors, RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags, and other smart systems to enable connectivity between machines, devices, and people.

Theory, Explanation, and Prediction in Road Safety

TRB’s Transportation Research Circular E-C179: Theory, Explanation, and Prediction in Road Safety summarizes the discussion and describes potential areas of advanced safety research identified by the participants at a November 2008 workshop. The objectives of the workshop were to explore promising future directions in highway crash data modeling and to identify potential areas for advanced research to provide a theoretic foundation for explaining crash causation.

RFP: Development of Roundabout Crash Prediction Models and Methods

TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) has issued a request for proposals to develop safety performance functions and crash modification factors for all road users (including non-motorized users) that can be used to estimate the severity and number of crashes likely to occur at roundabouts. Proposals are due January 23, 2014.

11th International Conference on Low-Volume Roads

TRB is sponsoring the 11th International Conference on Low-Volume Roads on July 12-15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The conference, held every four years, will examine new technologies and new techniques in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and administration of low-volume roads. Papers on all aspects of low-volume roads and streets may be submitted using TRB's Paper Submission website from December 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.

Assessment of the Geographic Information Systems’ (GIS) Needs and Obstacles in Traffic Safety

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released a report that explores the use of GIS for safety decision making at the state and local level, and considers opportunities for FHWA to use this technology to improve highway safety.

Monday, December 2, 2013

DOT meets Executive Order, opens data for public use

November 30 was also a critical deadline for DOT to reach some of the milestones in President Obama's Executive Order on Open Data. I'm happy to say that this Department has met its obligations.
But, more than just meeting our requirements, opening our data is about unleashing the power of information for public use.

Secret Weapon in Mall Battle: Parking Apps

She checks the parking lots on her ParkMe smartphone app “so that I can see what I’m up against, or if I need to change my plans.” If a lot is below 90 percent full, the trip is on. Her favorite, not far from her workplace, is a garage at the Santa Monica Place mall, where sensors and lights guide her to a specific open space.
“It’s a daily battle,” said Ms. Scott, 29, the founder of Laudville, a social technology start-up. “Anything to make it easier makes a really big difference.”
The fight for a mall parking spot, long a necessary evil of Black Friday, is growing easier thanks to the proliferation of new technologies, from apps and sensors to color-coded lights and electronic boards. 

CMU Facutly Wins Award: 40 Under 40: 2013 Our honorees help the city to become even more innovative, caring and socially conscious

M. Bernardine Dias [39]
Associate Research Professor, Carnegie Mellon University; Founder and Director, TechBridgeWorld, CMU Robotics Institute
Growing up in Sri Lanka, M. Bernardine Dias witnessed foreign experts who were flown in at great expense to solve problems. In the end, they often tried to “transplant a solution,” she says. “It never really worked and often caused more problems.” That’s what she wanted to avoid when she founded TechBridgeWorld, a research group out of Carnegie Mellon University that seeks to use robotics to solve problems and meet the needs of underserved communities.

Experts: Airline pilots so reliant on computers they sometimes fail to take control in mishaps

Pilots are becoming so reliant on computer systems that do most of the flying in today's airliners that on the rare occasions when something goes wrong, they're sometimes unprepared to take control, according to aviation safety experts and government and industry studies.
Increasing automation has been a tremendous safety boon to aviation, contributing to historically low accident rates in the U.S. and many parts of the world.
But automation has changed the relationship between pilots and planes, presenting new challenges.