America's system of rail freight is the world's best. High-speed passenger trains could ruin it [more inside]
America's system of rail freight is the world's best. High-speed passenger trains could ruin it [more inside]
"Eighty-seven percent of all trips are made by personal vehicle and 99 percent of those trips arrive at a free parking space." But that free parking comes at a high cost according to Donald Shoup's research. He advocates for charging the right price for on-street parking and for removing off-street parking requirements. Shoup's ideas are coming to the streets in San Francisco's new demand-responsive parking system. Loyal Shoupistas work to spread and implement his ideas.
What are the things that will help create more Nimble Cities? (This post is heavy with slate-related links.) Slate asks readers to help make transportation in and between cities more efficient, safe, and pleasant. "While we're certainly not opposed to your most forward-looking proposals: Let's fire up Chicago's once sprawling pneumatic tube network; let's not let those zeppelin masts go to waste!--what we're most interested in are things in the here and now, things that are already making (or will soon be making) a difference in your city." Should cities install moving sidewalks? How about eliminating parking spaces or bicycle highways? [more inside]
Paris Metro's cheaters say solidarity is the ticket. Scofflaws who jump the turnstiles or enter through the exits of the Paris public transit system have formed mutuelles des fraudeurs — insurance funds that pay the fine if they get caught.
Photographer Eric Fischer created stunning maps of the places that pictures are taken in fifty cities worldwide. New York. London. Paris. San Francisco. [more inside]
The 11th annual NYC Commuter Race -- starring Al Roker on a bike, Meredith Vieira in a car, and Matt Lauer taking mass transit, each traveling from 72nd and Broadway to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The event (previously on MeFi) is organized by Transportation Alternatives.
Are you using the full potential of your dog? Dog-powered cars, then and now. Dog-powered scooters, bikes, and skateboards (previously). Churn butter. Drive sewing machines. Turn roasting spits. Power your home or vehicle with dog poop biofuel. Pull a cart with your dog. Ride your dog. Monkey riding a dog.
Toyota executives are currently testifying before Congress about the safety issues that have led to the recall of millions of vehicles. They insist that "We are confident that no problems exist with the electronic throttle control system in our vehicles." Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) says "I would not consider... of value" their report in support of this claim.
Kolelinia is a city fly attempt. We are born to move, this makes us alive. The transport is not only a transport, it has to be an experience! (via)
Copenhagen: Come see "the busiest bicycling street in the Western world", and lots of other you-gotta-see-them-to-believe-them features including bike counters (featuring digital readouts), LEDS, double bike lanes (for passing) and giant hot pink cars. Bicycle Highways may be coming to your town. [more inside]
In the late 1890s, a wooden "cycle-way" was built between Pasadena and Los Angeles for bicycle travel before freeways existed. It ran along the Arroyo Seco and though it was planned for the full ten mile distance, only two miles were completed by 1900 as the popularity of the bicycle waned. In 1983 a bike path was built along the stream basin but is both riddled with glass and debris and dangerous to impassible during a rainstorm. For the last 15 years, a group in Pasadena has been leading the effort to restore a bike path between Pasadena and Los Angeles.
Fear of Cycling, an essay in five parts: introduction, constructing fear of cycling, helmet promotion campaigns, new cycling spaces, making cycling strange.
In part because a gender gap persists in urban cycling, women are considered an “indicator species” for bike-friendly cities. [more inside]
The Independent State of Samoa has just 200,000 citizens, but you can be sure many are a little less than placid today. They are undergoing a shift that few nations have done; one that may be as jarring as when Jekyll changes to Hyde. They are about to change lanes. In a big way. [more inside]
The funicular railway is a kind of cable-based railway that gives me great joy because of its peculiar shape and its uselessness for doing anything other than what it does. A funicular carriage is generally stairstepped or terraced, so you can't repurpose these cars for other uses. They generally work in a particular way, too, as pairs: one goes up the mountain, one comes down the mountain! Maybe this kind of glee is why they seem to be especially popular in Japan today, where they can be taken to many popular sightseeing areas--but a fair number of funicular railway riders are probably there for the journey, not the destination. [more inside]
Since 1870, the Hatton Ferry in Hatton, VA, has been helping people and vehicles cross the James River - under pole power [ferry is cable-assisted, and poling starts at 3:42]. Before the nation was connected by a network of bridges, pole barges like this were a common means of transportation across smaller waterways. Hatton Ferry is thought to be the very last working survivor of those thousands of the pole-driven ferries; but today, due to DOT budget constraints, it may go out of existence. [more inside]
On Sunday New York City closed two of the busiest sections of perhaps the most famous street in the U.S. to traffic and created pedestrian plazas in the "Crossroads of the World" (and also in Herald Square) [brief plan / NYCDOT detailed plan]. [more inside]
...the Department of Transportation will not keep secret the data we collect on birds striking airplanes. - Ray LaHood, United States Secretary of TransportationFrom the dreaded mourning dove to the nefarious Canada goose to the humble armadillo, the FAA's recently released National Wildlife Strike Database ON-LINE contains information on aircraft/wildlife strikes from over 100,000 reported incidents between 1990 and 2008. [more inside]
Meta-efficiency is the analysis of efficiency at a more comprehensive level. Metaefficient Review assesses products considering not only their energy efficiency but also the embodied energy, toxicity, affordability, and usability. [more inside]
I like watching videos of people riding fixed gear bikes in the city: Empire, MashSF, Macaframa, Fast Friday, Bootleg Sessions, Lucas Brunelle's crazy vids (linked on MeFi before). Don't like videos? Try Fixed Gear Magazine (pdf of vol 1 and vol 2) or CogMag (dead tree mag, but excerpts from each issue are on their site).
NextBus uses GPS to tell you the predicted time of the next bus. Google maps show buses in real time, and you can get updates on your phone/PDA. The coverage is limited to certain agencies within the US, so these other sites might be useful: Hopstop covers subways and buses in NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and more. (mobile version) Google Transit has many US metro areas in addition to Canada, Europe, and Japan. (previously) Many more locations inside. [more inside]
Running Like Wildfire — Imagine a national disaster that stopped 99% of American transportation in its tracks; shut down the country; halted shipping and trade; hobbled counter-insurgency operations, and helped Boston burn down. It spread from Canada southward to Cuba and westward to the Pacific, crippling all that Americans took for granted: their cities and towns; their supplies of food and consumer goods; their jobs, businesses, and the national economy. Such was the Great Epizootic of 1872.
The Future Generator at the London Transport Museum is a forecasting look at the effect of transport on climate change in London. But you can get a sense of history as well. The museum's collection originated in the 1920s, when the London General Omnibus Company decided to preserve two Victorian horse buses and an early motorbus for future generations. They moved to the present location in 1980. Londoners can take a trip back in time on the Metropolitan line and enjoy a special day out in Metro-land as two historic electric trains run special excursions on Sunday 14 September 2008. [more inside]
Destined for display at this year's Burning Man, a very impressive quadricycle is out and about in an early appearance. (via) [more inside]
iHitch is to hitchhiking that CouchSurfing is to hotels. iHitch is just an idea, but key technologies (GPS phones, GPS in cars, Web2.0) are coming available in critical mass that could transform 'hitchhiking' into a mainstream, safe, reliable and cheap form of transportation. Some metro area carpool websites have already successfully started down this road.
Bicycles are the most efficient mode of transportation; walking is a distant second, followed by crowded vans and motorcycles, with everything else being relatively equal. This may change soon. WSJ online jokingly tests a new plug-in electric bike versus a standard racing model.
The Boys and the Subway A father's artistic account of his sons' love of the NYC subway system.
The Great NYC Commuter Race! A short by Streetfilms about Transportation Alternatives' annual event that pits a cyclist against a car and a straphanger in a race to Union Square from Fort Greene. Guess who wins?
Too much traffic? Can't find parking? Choking on smog? Worried about climate change? Gas prices too high, but you still have to drive? Send your city planner a link to the Online Encyclopedia of Transportation Demand Management strategies. [more inside]
Two visualization projects: All of the streets in the lower 48 United States: an image of 26 million individual road segments. No other features (such as outlines or geographic features) have been added to this image. And zipdecode, a unique map of US zipcodes.
How far away from work do you live? How much of your pay gets used up to get you to and from work, get you around town, and pay for where you live? As gas and food prices continue to rise, "affordability" has become a more critical notion for everyday Americans. The Center for Neighborhood Technology developed their Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which aims to help better inform renters and owners about the relationship of transportation options to where one lives.
I know a man who once went to Sioux City, not one of the world’s leading destinations, precisely because he had never been there before. More than a decade later he still talks about the experience, from the Sergeant Floyd obelisk to the dog track of North Sioux and the meat packing plant converted to a shopping mall. The same impulse explains a non-specialist’s reading a history of Byzantine iconography or a survey of Australian wildlife. Both offer a break in daily life and an enlargement of our sense of wonder and possibility. That awareness can provide a sense of transcendence, and connection, or even the spark of divine discontent that leads people to change their lives.Reading as Vacation, an essay by J. D. Smith and Subway Reader, pictures of people who read while using public transportation.
According to the breathless headline in the New York Times, it was "THE WORST STORM THE CITY HAS EVER KNOWN. BUSINESS AND TRAVEL COMPLETELY SUSPENDED. NEW-YORK HELPLESS IN A TORNADO OF WIND AND SNOW WHICH PARALYZED ALL INDUSTRY, ISOLATED THE CITY FROM THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, CAUSED MANY ACCIDENTS AND GREAT DISCOMFORT, AND EXPOSED IT TO MANY DANGERS." It became known as The Great Blizzard of 1888, and it occurred on this date, March 12, 1888. [more inside]
The Tata Nano (pic) is a car that costs less new than the amount I've spent on gas during single car trips, recently announced to the auto market in India. The Chery QQ ^, successful , widely exported, and recognized as the Hostage Taker's Vehicle of Choice by China Car Times, is the runner-up for the world's cheapest car but is still approximately twice as expensive. Yes indeed, the price of gas is not going to come back down. So much for my coast-to-coast road trips. [more inside]
TheDataWeb - a network of online data libraries on topics including census data, economic data, health data, income and unemployment data, population data, labor data, cancer data, crime and transportation data, family dynamics, vital statistics data
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of mankind" - H.G. Wells
Bike Hacks! Bored with your generic two-wheeler? Check out this collection of funky bicycle modifications. My favorite is the grocery cart.
In the U.S., motorists do not pay their way. The US government spends more on highways and other auto-related expenses than it receives from auto-related taxes, unlike almost every country in Europe. In a recent report [pdf], Mark Delucchi calculates automobile-related costs and revenues in three different ways and concludes the subsidy is around 20-70 cents per gallon or $24-105 billion in 2002. But what are automobile-related costs, you ask? [more inside]
There and Back Again: The Soul of the Commuter How long is your commute? Is it worth the personal and social cost? Nick Paumgarten in this week's New Yorker on the bargains Americans strike between their work lives and home lives.
“We work, we do not steal” is what the Rickshaw Wallahs have to say about it, whose means of livelihood the Kolkata assembly plans to ban soon, but hasn’t figured out an alternate source of income for yet. Meanwhile, the good old rickshaw has been finding a new home abroad, albeit one of a more novel nature. (More on the state of Transportaion in India, and a World Bank perspective on the facilities provided by the subcontinent. Plus, some more images of the Rickshaw.)
Livestock's Long Shadow, a new UN FAO report (full report) says livestock (cows, pig, sheep, etc.) generate more CO2 than all forms of transportation (cars, planes, etc) combined, with the worlds live stock expected to double by 2050.
Beautiful Subways --worldwide--from palatial to postmodern, folksy to brutalist (pee smells not included--and don't miss Tehran's)
Although bicycles could be worse for the environment then cars, (pdf) a new motor that could replace the front wheel of a bike could accelerate that trend.