Thursday, October 30, 2014

Seminar: What if bikes could talk to cars? How one CMU researcher will save the cyclists!

What if bikes could talk to cars? featuring Carnegie Mellon University researcher Anthony Rowe.
Part of the Traffic21 and T-SET UTC Faculty Seminar Series 
Thursday, Nov 20
Hamburg Hall 1000

Japanese make precise 3D city maps to prepare for robot car boom

A leading Japanese map maker is making extremely accurate 3D maps of Japanese cities in the expectation of a boom in robotic cars in a few years. The maps would help future cars navigate heavy traffic and bad weather.

GM chief announces American-made Chevy Volt, touts V2X investments

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday that the Detroit automaker plans to spend almost $300 million in Michigan from now to the end of the year as it ramps up production of the next-generation Chevrolet Volt and other vehicles.

A welcome change for Squirrel Hill

A group of Carnegie Mellon University students is examining Squirrel Hill's entrance corridor in an effort to strengthen its barely detectable pulse. Graduate students in the School of Architecture's urban design and real estate and design classes hope to reverse a decade of decline around the intersection of Forward and Murray avenues.

The rise of human-like robots, cars and drones

Consider an experiment by Adam Waytz at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who recently asked participants to place themselves in a simulator depicting a driverless car. In one situation, the car remained silent and simply drove the volunteer to their destination, but in a second batch the participants were guided by a female voice, Iris, who gave them a running commentary of the drive. In both cases, the car ended up in a crash, but the participants were far less angry, and more forgiving, when they had interacted with Iris. “They were willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the car when it had human-like characteristics,” says Waytz.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

8 cities doing cool things with big data

As computers get smaller every day, cities are getting smarter. If you can slap a sensor on anything–which at this point, costs pennies–you can track it. And cities are discovering a hunger for big data: Navigant Research forecasts that smart city technology investment will reach $27.5 billion by 2023. Odds are your city has already bought into the trend. Here are eight cities changing their urban fabric with sensors, crowd sourcing and all things big data.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Can urban traffic jams be solved like internet traffic jams?

The idea hit Prabhakar in December, 2007, when he was late for a meeting and "stuck in the mother of all traffic jams," he recounted to Business Insider. It occurred to him that street traffic and internet traffic are the same problem, too many people trying to get to the same place at once. He had helped solve internet congestion, could he do the same for real live traffic?

Webinar: Guidelines on Virtual Transportation Management Center Development

Dan Lukasik, P.E., will present a summary on the “Guidelines for Virtual Transportation Management Center Development.” The purpose of the document was to develop guidelines for the creation, implementation and operation of a Virtual TMC. This guidebook is intended to serve as a detailed reference that addresses the concepts, methods, processes, tasks, techniques, and other related issues for practitioners to consider associated with planning and development for a virtual TMC. The guidebook describes the business planning process for developing a virtual TMC. Also, it provides guidance and procedures for addressing technical, operational and institutional issues such as data needs, communications, responsibilities, and agreements for collaborating remotely that will be beneficial.

N.J. paving the way for self-driven cars

New Jersey could become the third state to permit the testing and licensing of self-driving vehicles. This doesn't mean you can go buy one anytime soon, but the New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee has advanced a measure to establish standards for the development and licensing of self-driving cars.

Shared standards begin to emerge in car connectivity

With as many as 25 million vehicles expected to be equipped with Wi-Fi by the end of the decade, the search continues for a shared standard platform. MirrorLink is working to establish that standard, but there are still other players including Apple, Mobile High-Definition Link and other platforms that use micro-USB ports. 


For all the good public transportation does for a city, getting stuck at a train station for an hour is a special kind of headache. In Brooklyn, though, there is a new transportation alternative for people looking to get from local point A to local point B, and it involves easy-to-park Smart cars.

For First Time Since 1970s, Bike Deaths Increase

The number of U.S. bicyclists killed in traffic increased in 2011 and 2012, marking the end of a decline in cycling fatalities that stretches back to the 1970s, according to a new analysis by a traffic safety group.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Want a personal valet? There's an app for that!

In some areas of San Francisco, it can take a half-hour or more to find a parking spot.
But what if a valet met you at a chosen destination, parked your car nearby, and brought it back as soon as you were ready to leave?

EV sales continue to rise despite lower gas prices, higher hybrid cost

Four years after the Volt went on sale in late 2010 to enormous fanfare, sales haven't met early optimistic predictions: While the idea of an electric car may be intriguing, most consumers aren't willing to pay the relatively high sticker price for an EV.


Fifteen teams have been chosen to work at the Carnegie Mellon University Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site, designed to create an effective and replicable process to commercialize innovations based on customer discovery and product adaptation...

...The 2014 CMU I-Corps Site teams include... ... Surtrac: creates technology that implements an adaptive traffic signal control to move traffic more efficiently and reduce wasteful car idling.

Ford to Add Pedestrian Detection to Its Cars

Ford is giving its cars the ability to spot—and avoid hitting—pedestrians using a combination of radar and camera sensing. The system will appear in Europe next year on Ford’s Mondeo sedan.

The human-driven driverless car

The combination of Uber and cheap labour could pose a formidable threat to the driverless car. The cost of the sensors and processors needed to pilot an autonomous vehicle is falling and is likely to fall much more as production ramps up. Yet the technology is still pricey, especially compared with a human, which, after all, is a rather efficient package of sensory and information-processing equipment. At low wages, a smartphone-enabled human driver is formidable competition for a driverless vehicle.

FAA Deputy Administrator to Speak about NextGen's Impact on Transportation and the Economy

Michael G. Whitaker, deputy administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will present a talk at Volpe titled “Delivering Efficiency with NextGen.” In this talk, Whitaker will discuss how the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is crucial to enable growth and change in aviation. He will also examine how NextGen will make the U.S. more competitive in the global economy and the impact of aviation on U.S. regional economies.

The Brits look to take their buses driverless

Driverless buses could soon be unveiled in Britain with one major operator already in discussions about introducing the first automated services, the Government has revealed. Claire Perry, the Transport Minister, said that operating buses without drivers could help companies provide “better and more frequent” services, particularly in rural areas.

New Zealand pushes for testing of driverless cars on public roads

The prospect of cars travelling New Zealand highways with no one behind the wheel is moving closer says new Transport Minister Simon Bridges. Officials are reviewing legislation allowing for the testing of umanned autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Experts discuss technology’s role in future of transportation

There is a one-word explanation for the quiver in experts’ voices when they talk about transportation’s future: Technology.  It has revolutionized transportation just as it has forever changed most other aspects of life, and in the years to come it promises to take transportation to a dozen forks in the road.

Carnegie Mellon: Bigger may not be better with battery makers

"Electric vehicle batteries are expensive. Federal and state governments have been subsidizing and mandating electric vehicle sales for years with the idea that increasing production volume will reduce costs and make these vehicles viable for mainstream consumers." Professor of Engineering and Public Policy and Mechanical Engineering Jeremy Michalek, said in a statement about the Carnegie study appearing in the Journal of Power Sources this week.

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

...Raj Rajkumar, director of autonomous driving research at Carnegie-Mellon University, former home of both the current and prior directors of Google's car project. Rajkumar adds that the Detroit carmakers with whom he collaborates on autonomous vehicles believe that the prospect of a fully self-driving car arriving anytime soon is "pure science fiction."

Hot topography, the geography of opportunity, and getting to work fast

Perhaps there is no more critical pair of factors than transportation and employment opportunities, the intersection of which reveals not only whether a person in a certain city can find decent job, but also how much time and money getting to that job will cost him. Environmental scientist David Levinson calls this “the geography of opportunity,” and his newly published study Access Across America: Transit 2014 maps this terrain with a mesmerizing selection of data.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rogue C6 smart bicycle takes aim at the urban commuter

On the technology side of things, the bike has integrated lights in the seatpost and 200 lumen lights in the handlebars. An iOS companion app works with the GPS system and displays information such as speed, cadence, elevation and a map for navigation.

Telematics viewed as a vehicle safety game-changer

“New vehicle safety technologies, such as lane keeping systems and active cruise control can often take up to three decades to fully encompass the vehicle population,” Chris Hayes, second VP for transportation risk control at the Travelers insurance firm, told Fleet Owner.

How drowsy is too drowsy to drive?

For the first time Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board will hold a forum on drowsy driving and how it affects Americans behind the wheel.
According to the AAA, 83 percent of Americans believe drowsy drivers pose a threat to their personal safety, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues.
The NTSB is now trying to get to the root of the problem to prevent more fatalities.

AT&T Announces Winners Of The $50,000 'Connected Intersections' Traffic Safety Innovation Challenge

An app that alerts pedestrians as they are about to enter an intersection and one that alerts drivers when they are showing signs of drowsiness are the grand prize winners in AT&T's Connected Intersections Challenge, a tech challenge aimed at spurring technological solutions to improve traffic safety on New York City streets. For the past four months, developers from around the world worked on technologies that utilize wireless networks to better connect pedestrians, cyclists and motorists and alert them to potential dangers.

Driverless cars could be mandatory within two generations

Autonomous cars will be the norm within two generations according to experts speaking at the Teradata Partners conference. At today's keynote session Dr Peter Diamandis told delegates: "[Autonomous cars] are going to change everything. I have got two three year olds at home and they are not going to learn to drive. They are not going to own a car in the future, but they will have access to one."

Carnegie Mellon University to Host Second Annual Nationwide High School Computer Security Contest

There will be over $30,000 in prizes for this years event, as well as new tools designed to help teachers use PicoCTF as a classroom activity. Winners of the competition will be flown to Carnegie Mellon University for an immersion day and award presentation.  Participation in the competition is free and open to students in grades 6 -12.

Everyday Counts Initiative webinars: Free registration

EDC is a state-based model to identify and rapidly deploy proven, but underutilized innovations to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce congestion and improve environmental sustainability. The seven Regional Summits scheduled this fall will set the stage for deployment of 11 innovations through the third 2-year cycle of EDC (EDC-3) in 2015 and 2016.

Will Twitter Revolutionize How Cities Plan for the Future?

After all, it’s a vast trove of data, tantalizingly accessible; Twitter alone generates about 500 million short messages per day. “Some research starts with, here’s this problem we want to solve, and some starts with, here’s this opportunity, let’s see what we can do with it,” says Dan Tasse, a doctoral candidate in human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon who authored a recent conference paper titled “Using Social Media to Understand Cities.” “This was kind of the latter … we saw, ‘Well, shoot, we have pretty detailed information, and it’s just publicly available.”

New Smart Street Corners That Will Act Like a Fitbit for the City

Later this fall, the Windy City will install a network of 40 sensor nodes on light poles at the University of Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. The goal is to eventually expand the system to 1,000 sensors (enough to cover the Chicago Loop) over the next few years. Spearheaded by the University of Chicago’s Urban Center for Computational Data, it’s called the Array of Things initiative, and the goal is to gather an unprecedented set of ambient data to help government officials and residents understand how their city ticks so they can make it a happier, healthier, and smarter place to live.

Self-Driving Cars Are the Best Thing to Ever Happen to Cyclists

Volvo’s cyclist-specific safety mechanism, which is already on the market, incorporates a radar in the radiator grille and a camera set in the rear-view mirror. The radar senses objects ahead and measures the distance between the object and the car, while the camera picks up on the objects’ pattern of movement and predicts which way the pedestrian, cyclist, or fellow vehicle might go. The system can recognize a cyclist based on speed and profile. Should the cyclist swerve or brake suddenly, the system recognizes the move and automatically stops the car.

Volpe's Anne Aylward to Discuss Intermodal Transportation System Requirements

Join Anne D. Aylward, Volpe's deputy associate administrator for Research and Innovation, for her upcoming talk on intermodal transportation system requirements.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET
Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center

Do traffic tickets reduce motor vehicle crashes?

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, “Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment,” explores data from the CIOT program in Massachusetts. The author, Dara Lee Luca of the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Missouri, analyzed the relationship between the number of CIOT citations issued and motor-vehicle crash and fatality rates.

Public trial of driverless vehicles kicks off at Chinese and Japanese Gardens

Instead of GPS — which has an accuracy of between 50 and 100 meters, making it unsuitable for navigating urban environments — the buggies, powered by onboard computers, will navigate the grounds using pre-loaded maps and live sensor data. They can also communicate with each other to avoid overlapping paths.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Call for papers now open for the 2015 ITS World Congress

The International Program Committee of the 22nd ITS World Congress is pleased to announce that the Call for Technical, Scientific and Commercial papers is now available. The 22nd ITS World Congress -- Towards Intelligent Mobility -- Better Use of Space will take place Oct. 5-9, 2015 in Bordeaux, France.

Droopy Eyelid Detector One Solution to Truck Crashes

The American Trucking Associations said it supports new technologies that improve vehicle safety and driver performance as long as the benefit is proven, and there is a reasonable cost. As early as 2010, the ATA petitioned for requirements that trucks have devices that can limit their speed, a change that is now in the early stages of rulemaking. 

PennDOT announces innovation mapping tool

“The STIC Web Viewer allows our customers and partners to see the innovative techniques that we’re implementing to increase safety, save time and money for our customers and business partners,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “Working with our state, federal and industry partners we’re identifying proven practices and are continuously striving to deliver a safer, more efficient transportation system.”

Print your car!

In September, the Phoenix, Arizona-based manufacturer of low-volume, crowd-sourced automobile designs moved the industry down the line just a bit further with the Strati, a full-size 3-D printed car.

UPenn's Tiny Robots Fly Well With Others

The quadcopters at the University of Pennsylvania GRASP Lab are truly trained to follow the golden robot rule: fly with others as you’d fly with yourself. Thanks to researchers Yash Mulgaonkar, Gareth Cross and Vijay Kumar, we can see how close these little flying robots are to their noble goal.

Even Electric Buses are Going Wireless

“This trial of extended range diesel electric hybrid buses, utilising the latest inductive charging technology, could be a step closer to getting even cleaner double deck buses on London’s streets,” transportation official Mike Weston said in a statement.

Electric roads that charge cars will get pitched to FHWA in Dec

Mr Jones says the system gives electric cars “limitless range, automatic control, very high speeds, greater efficiency, huge passenger carrying capacity and improved safety, all done without a single technical breakthrough.”

Automobility given prioritization

Transportation engineers think of themselves as detached and data driven. But bias is built in to many of the profession’s key metrics, write Eric Dumbaugh, Jeffrey Tumlin, and Wesley Marshall in an excellent report recently published by the Institute for Transportation Engineers Journal. You can trace this bias all the way back to the dawn of the automotive era.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Surprise, car sharing a boon for sustainability

At the same time, players in the traditional auto environment are starting to toy with the idea that they have to think differently about transportation. Maybe the aim is no longer to have as many people as possible own cars, but to provide transportation services — including real-time traffic information and parking information — and allow people to use cars when they need to without having to own them. Often, Shaheen conceded, the environment turns out to be an afterthought, no more than a welcomed side effect.

The Secret History of the Driverless Car

As autonomous vehicles like Stephen King’s Christine and Knight Rider’s KITT graced the big and small screens, researchers’ efforts began to bear fruit. A team at Bundeswehr University Munich transformed a Mercedes van into a self-driving vehicle called VaMoRs, and the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute turned a Chevrolet panel van into the first in its line of Navlab robot cars. (Why vans? To store all the computing equipment necessary to operate the vehicles.)

Need a car, need more room? Enter KUBE, the RoomCar.

The Kube is like a driverless car that you can park next to your living room and even use as an additional room. It works on the same principle as a maglev train, which uses magnets to lift and propel vehicles. It takes its energy (electricity) from the tracks, and it’s an autonomous vehicle, so it takes you where you command it to go.

Hurry up: Lyft and Uber NOT cheaper than owning a car yet!

Both companies have said they would like their services to be cheaper than owning a personal vehicle, but a report released Tuesday by NerdWallet Insurance shows that at least in Pittsburgh, owning a car is still cheaper than relying on ridesharing.
Even More>>

NEW Robotics Fellowship at Penn Engineering’s GRASP Lab

“We are focusing on advanced technologies that enable autonomous operation of aerial and ground vehicles in unstructured environments. The UTRC gift will allow doctoral students to investigate and develop solutions to these problems,” Dr. Kumar said.

RoboBOATS at the Heinz History Center

That equipment will include the robotic watercraft developed with the help of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.  The unmanned boat already has been used to test water in African lakes. The vessel was designed to resemble a crocodile, a shape that scares off hippos that otherwise might damage it, Leslie Przybylek said. Ms. Przybylek, the history center curator, will moderate the discussion.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Schneider Electric India takes on Smart Cities

Schneider Electric India hosted an engaging panel discussion with subject matter experts to deliberate on India's urban infrastructure and identify the building blocks for making the government's 'Smart Cities' project a reality.

The contour of the discussion was shaped and led by Dr R K Misra, Founder Director, Center for Smart Cities and the panellists comprised an eclectic mix of eminent dignitaries...including Dr. Rahul Tongia, Fellow, Brookings India; Advisor, Smart Grid Task Force, Govt. of India, Adjunct Professor, Carnegie Mellon University.

Google VP Claire Hughes Johnson talks driverless business

[Video] Claire Hughes Johnson discusses the challenges associated with bringing the autonomous car to the consumer market.

Working Moms Need Driverless Cars Now!

The average mom drives her children around for 1,248 miles per year, according to a 2013 study. That’s the equivalent of mothers spending two weeks of every year just getting their kids from A to Z. In 1995 (the last time The Surface Transportation Policy Project surveyed the driving habits of working moms), mothers spent more than half their time in the car chauffeuring their kids and doing errands. In the last twenty years, there is plenty of evidence that suggests that percentage has only increased.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The latest and greatest in reasearch on Carsharing, Taxis, and Automated Transport

The Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2416 includes 11 papers that explore fleet sizing for flexible carsharing systems; pilots of low-cost transit service enhancements through agency collaboration; pedicabs for urban transportation in U.S. cities; public perceptions and market characteristics of peer-to-peer carsharing in the San Francisco Bay Area, California; and a model of station-based and free-floating carsharing demand.

Yes, but can the robot get OUT of the car? The next DARPA challenge

The WPI robotics team, which is working with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, is already figuring out how to best get their 6-foot tall, 330-pound Boston Dynamics-built Atlas robot to maneuver out of a vehicle. (They've named it "Warner.") Of all of the known tasks they'll face -- DARPA has warned them that there will be a surprise one -- simply getting out of a car is the most daunting.

Check out USDOT Connected Vehicle Test Bed Activities at the SAE Convergence Conference and Exhibition

The USDOT's Intelligent Transportation System Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) will host a Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA) training workshop and a live demonstration of the Southeast Michigan Connected Vehicle Test Bed vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity during the upcoming SAE Convergence Conference and Exhibition to be held in Detroit, Michigan, from October 20 to 22, 2014.

Meet "Bobby," Audi's Driverless Racing Car

Autonomous cars are quickly becoming a reality on public roads as technology and infrastructure begin to take shape, but Audi is also working hard to make driverless cars a part of the racing world. Those watching the season finale of the German Touring Car Championship on October 19 will get a first-hand look at what we can expect in the future, as an Audi RS 7 will take a racing-speed lap at the Hockenheimring track without a human driver -- at speeds of up to 150 mph.

Tesla’s add-ons, will they work?

Raj Rajkumar, a pioneer of self-driving cars with Carnegie Mellon University, also was impressed but wondered how the “auto-pilot” would perform in different weather and road conditions.

Bikesafe: The USDOT prioritizes biking and releases a new guide

U.S. DOT released a new guide for transportation professionals it calls Bikesafe. The online resource includes recommendations for state departments of transportation and local governments on how to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Not stuck in their ways: seniors as early adopters of the driverless car.

The boomers all moved to the suburbs, and the suburbs don’t have good transit. When boomers get to be seniors, they will find themselves without as much driving ability and without the ability to use transit to get places.

The driverless race is on and it's tipping the scales of power in the auto industry.

“It’s all the suppliers into the industry who, in the fullness of time, will gain the power,” says a senior industry analyst, who works closely with the leading carmakers. “If I’m the buyer, I don’t care if it’s a 1.9-litre car or a 2.4 – because I’m not driving it.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

So Your City Is Adding HOT Lanes. But Do They Work for Transit?

Newmark says expanding roads to make HOT lanes leads to better transit performance than turning existing HOV lanes into HOT lanes, which risks congestion in the lanes.

Breath-powered car? Leave it to the French.

Under pressure to meet a French initiative to develop an affordable vehicle that gets 2 L/100 km fuel efficiency by 2020, the company’s engineers took a deep breath, exhaled, and then got to work on a potential hybrid system that combines a gas-powered engine with a hydraulic motor running on compressed air.

Safe Driving with Siri? Sorry Siri, it's not you, it's me.

The research, conducted at the University of Utah, found that most distracting voice-activating systems flustered drivers to the point of them “cursing the systems out” for misunderstanding words and commands, said David Strayer, Strayer, a neuroscientist with the University of Utah who led the research.

The London Underground explores future proofing

These things are not really going to go into service until 2020, and will run for another thirty or forty years after that so you have to think about every eventuality that might happen...

...They're adaptable. I can't say too much on the subject but yes… it's future proofed.

Cars, the more expensive smart phone, woo the kiddos

After all, if their $400 electronic tablets can relay flight information, flash news alerts and display real-time weather radar in Chicago, shouldn’t a $40,000 Buick do the same?

Read more here:

States find that Data Analysis beats the Grim Reaper

They ended up launching a project, with FHWA’s help, that used complex data analysis to identify the most dangerous intersections statewide. Then they hired a private company to install simple, low-cost fixes, such as larger signs and new pavement markings, at nearly 2,000 locations – the largest such deployment any state had made.

AND the new guide says: technology helps everything in transportation

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) UK have jointly issued a guide for local authorities on emerging transport technology. The guide highlighted examples of new technology that can help make transport systems safer, less congested and easier to manage. In particular, it said that the increased connectivity of devices means there is the potential for greater sharing of data to better inform decision making, both by road users and local authorities.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cameras sought for work zones on Pennsylvania highways

Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, with membership of more than 400 construction, engineering and manufacturing companies, will make the issue a legislative priority when the General Assembly begins its new session next year, said Jason Wagner, director of policy and government relations.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rod Diridon, Sr., to Receive Hall of Fame Award from American Public Transportation Association

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) will induct Rod Diridon, Sr., into its prestigious Hall of Fame at its annual meeting and expo in Houston on Tuesday, October 14. Mr. Diridon is emeritus executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), which is affiliated with the San Jose (Calif.) State University College of Business.

$75 million set aside for Pa. traffic signal upgrades

“With advances in technology, this investment will greatly change the commute patterns in congested corridors,” reducing delays by up to 30 percent, said state Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch, who announced the program in Harrisburg on Tuesday.

Mazda will let you keep your high-beams on without annoying everyone

They're just a few ways that car headlights are evolving. More futuristic, Intel and Carnegie Mellon University have shown a technology under development that can make heavy rain or snow appear almost invisible to a driver, by not shining light on the raindrops as they fall.

Feds consider vehicle electronics rules

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday it is considering imposing vehicle electronic requirements and asked major automakers to consider if voluntary standards for vehicle electronics make sense.

The Six Minute Pitch: A Transportation Startup Challenge

The Six Minute Pitch: A Transportation Startup Challenge is a special Young Member Council (YMC) session at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 94th Annual Meeting during which selected presenters pitch their cutting-edge, research-based concept for a transportation product- or service-based business to a panel of distinguished transportation industry investors and entrepreneurs in just six minutes. It's basically the transportation industry's national version of Shark Tank, Startup Battlefield, or Dragons' Den!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Amazon, Google Form Small UAV Coalition

Two of the world’s best-known companies, four drone manufacturers, a state-of-the-art camera company and a drone-component firm are taking a bold stance for the fast-growing industry, forming the Small UAV Coalition to advance the regulatory environment that will support safe, reliable and timely operation of small UAVs.

New automotive technologies help offer hybrid features at lower cost

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute released the results of a study last week that found an increased interest in hybrid vehicles from drivers who did not own a hybrid. The Institute reports that of the 1,000 drivers of traditional vehicles polled, 31% planned to make their next vehicle a hybrid. A third of drivers in the study said that they were not considering hybrids at all, but those who would reconsider that decision cited initial lower costs as a factor that could change their minds.

Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now

In some cases, a state or county controls only a small number of downtown streets. In other cases, they control them all...
...And states and counties almost always apply a 12-foot standard. Why do they do this? Because they believe that wider lanes are safer. And in this belief, they are dead wrong. Or, to be more accurate, they are wrong, and thousands of Americans are dead.

Driverless cars: What to watch for

Lawmakers in various states including Georgia are trying to get their heads around the rapidly accelerating technology involving driverless cars. There are a lot of questions: Who will be responsible in case of accidents? How will they interact with standard cars? Today, we offer three columns written by presenters at the first hearing of the Georgia House study committee on autonomous vehicles. They elaborate on their concerns, and enthusiasm, for what could be breakthrough safety technology. The committee meets again later this month.

The Next Page: Pedestrians at risk

More bicycle lanes, pedestrian crosswalks with right-of-way warning signs, enforcement of laws against speeding and jaywalking and implementation of CMU Traffic 21 electronic innovations are a start. But still more needs to be done to enhance street safety. Speed bumps and red light cameras anyone?

Finally, a flying car for everybody? It's the idiot-proof aerial commuter

For Dr. Heinrich H. Bülthoff -- one of the leading researchers on the'MyCopter' project -- it's a serious question. Making an idiot-proof flying car that anyone can pilot has involved years of painstaking research and may be the secret to the long-held dream of firing up the rotors, levitating and simply flying out of the bumper-to-bumper grind.

Now the European Union wants to make the dream a reality, researching the feasibility of small commuter air vehicles to ease the world's traffic congestion.


What if subway passengers agreed to let the M.T.A. know where they are in the system using their cell phones? That was the premise of a futuristic—but not necessarily unrealistic—vision presented Tuesday night at an installment of the N.Y.U. Rudin Center’s “Transportation Innovation: Short Talks, Big Ideas” series.

How Are Cities Tackling Transportation and Civic Innovation?

In only its second year, the 2014 Atlantic CityLab summit brought hundreds of civic leaders from across globe and more than 30 mayors to collaborate and ideate on cities’ most prolific challenges. Among topics discussed, emphasis concentrated on use-cases for innovation and insights into transit solutions.

AERIS Moving Towards Deployment Workshop

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) ITS Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) is sponsoring a one-day workshop in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 2014. The purpose of the workshop is to engage the stakeholder community on discussion around candidate environmental connected vehicle applications that may be good candidates for the near-term deployment.

Government ZipCars? Feds enter growing car-sharing economy

GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a statement that the goal of the pilot is to save money by reducing the need to buy new cars and bringing more efficiency to the government fleet.

Technology Takes the Wheel

“This is the year we’ll look back on as the turning point,” said Scott Belcher, president of the nonprofit Intelligent Transportation Society of America, who has helped organize a global connected car expo for seven years. “We’re at the cusp now of this completely new generation of transportation, and it’s going to change things on a scale not seen since Eisenhower and the Interstate Highway System.”

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Why wearables are shaking up the transportation industry

Use of smartglasses within transport and logistics can be compared to voice technology, whereby commands are spoken by an operator and actioned by a local device or remote service, which helps to increase productivity levels and eliminate errors. However, whilst voice is effective to a degree, it has had limited potential for applications outside the four walls of a warehouse or depot to date. Smartglasses on the other hand, offer seemingly infinite applications for mobile and field based workers to enable cost and efficiency savings, using a combination of tiny computer connected to a heads-up display, with an integrated camera, microphone, and built-in connectivity.

New wireless technology could help drastically reduce vehicle crashes

President Obama got a look at V2X in July when he visited a Federal Highway Administration research center in McLean. In a driving simulator, he saw how V2X transmitters let cars talk to the world around them and warn drivers of trouble ahead — giving them precious time to react if, for example, an oncoming vehicle appears to be about to run a red light or another is coming around a blind corner. This isn’t the stuff of science fiction. It’s engineering reality. And we’re ready to move it from the lab to the nation’s roads.

Town Built for Driverless Cars

“If you go out on the public streets you come up against rare events that are very challenging for sensors,” says Peter Sweatman, director of the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center, which is overseeing the project. “Having identified challenging scenarios, we need to re-create them in a highly repeatable way. We don’t want to be just driving around the public roads.”

Jaguar joins the race to driverless cars

JLR's director of research and technology Dr Wolfgang Epple said the advanced technology added to its new XE sedan meant it was prepped and ready to start the first steps towards fully autonomous driving."For Jaguar Land Rover it will happen within the next 10 years," he said.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hate driving to work? Walking or public transit could improve your mood

A new study published in Preventive Medicine by three economists from the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) looked at the psychological effects of commuting on nearly 18,000 British commuters between the ages of 18-65-year-old, in 18 waves of surveys between 1991 and 2009. The study focused on commuters who switched from car commuting to alternative commuting, including active travel (i.e. walking or cycling).

Google Wants To Make One App For All The Everyday Things In Your Life

Google itself suggests that the idea make brands help people get things done that bit easier — like a Zipcar broadcasting a signup page so you can drive away in seconds, enabling mobile payments so you won't keep having to dig in your pocket for change to get a Pepsi and finding out that “Mike’s Pizza” place next-door has a Monday offer on.

Tesla self-driving car will be ready by next year, says Elon Musk

"Autonomous cars will definitely be a reality. A Tesla car next year will probably be 90 per cent capable of autopilot. Like so 90 percent of your miles can be on auto. For sure. Highway travel," Musk said, while mentioning the car features an autopilot system reliant upon a combination of various sensors, cameras, image recognition with radar, and long-range ultrasonics.

Ford Innovate Mobility Challenge Series

Ford Motor Company invites software developers, designers, and technologists across the globe to explore mobility issues and unearth new solutions that will help make mobility accessible and affordable for everyone.  Eight competitions seek applications that will benefit residents of Los Angeles, Lisbon, Mumbai, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Shanghai, Chongqing, and beyond.
Prizes: $210,000 USD

New Technology Could Have Us Generate Power As We Walk

Researchers at the Center for Research in Advanced Materials (CIMAV) have designed a small, flat cylinder that fits in a shoe and stores the mechanical-vibrational energy that a human creates by walking. The scientists then used the captured energy to recharge AAA batteries and even self-powered clocks.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Webinar: Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)

The FTA will host a webinar on its Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development Planning Notice of Funding Availability on Thursday, October 9 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm Eastern time. The webinar will provide an overview of the program, describe eligible applicants and projects, and provide an opportunity for attendees to obtain answers to other questions.

The USDOT Connected Vehicles Pilot Deployment Program Webinar Series Part 3: Open Source, Open Data and Performance Measurement

The webinar, sponsored by the USDOT, will be hosted by Randy Butler and Gene McHale. The webinar will explore several topics relevant to:
- Open Source
- Open Data
- Performance Measurement

October 17, 2014
11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT

California Is A Long Way From Driverless Cars, Consumer Watchdog Tells Insurance Commissioner; Urges Focus On Immediate Concerns Of Privacy And Auto Safety

Consumer Watchdog today challenged the idea that widespread use of fully autonomous or driverless cars is imminent, and urged the state Insurance Commissioner to focus on immediate consumer concerns of auto safety and privacy.

Pittsburgh in Focus at National Engineering Forum

The National Engineering Forum (NEF) is in Pittsburgh today to celebrate the city’s engineering leadership and foster actionable discussions on sustaining America’s engineering enterprise. Partnering with NEF, Carnegie Mellon University Dean of the College of Engineering and Thomas Lord Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering James H. Garrett Jr. and US Steel Dean of Engineering and Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Gerald D. Holder, are bringing together executives from industry, academia, government and other sectors to participate in an outcome-oriented dialogue on the challenges facing American engineering.

French inventor takes executives for a ride with no driver

The eight-passenger vehicle took small groups of executives from businesses and government agencies on brief trips at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies campus. It can move at up to 25 mph for 24 hours, traveling about 60 miles before a recharge. Induct Technology representatives said the company will extend the range by next year. 

Could pay-to-play lanes solve urban gridlock?

What is greener – the HOV lanes on California freeways (which, now, also allow electric vehicles with only one passenger), or the newer HOT lanes that are open to any vehicle willing to pay a toll?

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti: We Will Be the First City to Do Autonomous Vehicles Right

Garcetti says the city is working with UCLA to develop a neighborhood for driverless vehicles, perhaps around the university in Westwood. He's also working on something secretive-sounding with the brains at Xerox—"kind of like the Skunk Works guys who brought us the mouse and everything else"—to manage such a driverless network, as well as more traditional manned vehicles from bus down to bicycle.


José Viegas, Secretary-General of the International Transport Forum at the OECD says, “The digitalization of everything is changing transport in ways we are only beginning to fathom. But transport should go beyond adaptation, it should leverage innovations produced in engineering and organizational sciences. If it combines them into innovative, effective patterns, it can once more change the way the world is functioning.” International travel has boomed in the last 20 years, with an increasing global middle class with access to leisure time. Additionally, international trade has increased with the shrinking cost of transportation.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program Inviting Select Cities and Countries to Compete for Funding and Support

With a new commitment of $125 million over five years, the program will work at both the national level to strengthen road safety legislation and the city level implementing proven road safety interventions. The proposals cities submit will detail how they plan to address road safety by applying solutions to a number of challenges including improving pedestrian and cyclist safety, enhancing laws to combat drinking and driving and speeding as well as encouraging the use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints. Proposals will also detail how cities plan on improving road infrastructure and street design, provide safer mobility options for all road users and guarantee safer public modes of transportation.