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Obama: 80 Percent of Americans Should Have Access to High Speed Rail By 2036

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(Washington, DC -- Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is calling for what aids are calling "an upfront investment" in 2011 so that by 2036, eighty percent of Americans have access to high speed rail. That would mean high speed rail lines connecting, more or less, Tampa to Orlando, San Francisco to Southern California, Boston to Washington,  Chicago to Milwaukee, St. Louis to Detroit, and Portland to Seattle, at a cost to exceed -- conservatively -- $100 billion.

Right now, no Americans have access to high speed rail.  The administration has invested $10 billion to date. China has spent at least half a trillion dollars.

"America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities and constructed the interstate highway system," according to prepared remarks distributed by the White House. "The jobs created by these projects didn't just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town's new train station or the new off-ramp.

"Within 25 years our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high speed rail which could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car," the President said. "For some trips it will be faster than flying -- without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway."

A year ago, the President also spoke of high speed rail in his State of the Union.  The next day, he flew to Tampa  to announce that city's high speed rail project would be one of main recipients of high speed rail grants. At the time, it seemed a deft move by the President -- he got to travel to a purple state and announce a big, future-looking infrastructure project. It seemed to be a win-win.

But in the past year, high speed rail has become a considerably murkier political issue. Scott Walker, running for Governor of Wisconsin, explicitly campaigned against high speed rail in a television commercial, and set up a website notrain.com. His explicit theme: "their" rail would drain money from "our" roads.  Walker won handily.  In Ohio, John Kasich promised in a debate that he'd send $400 million  for high speed rail back to Washington. He is now the governor of Ohio.   And in Florida, Governor Rick Scott, who just took over from Charlie Crist, has said he'd only support that state's high speed rail if Florida taxpayers don't have to pay.  That project is one of the farthest along in the country, and the Tampa-Orlando route is expected to be among the first that's up and running.

But Obama is pressing ahead, with advisors heavily hinting he'd be talking about infrastructure for several days as a way to invest in jobs and the future of the American economy.  Meanwhile, the administration was brushing off naysayers.  At a Washington, DC conference for transportation professionals, Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari said "he's optimistic" that Americans will embrace the idea of infrastructure investment if it's adequately explained.

And Joe Szabo, the Federal Rail Administrator, was even more animated when Transportation Nation asked him about the mixed political reception to high-speed rail in the last year. "It's about quality of life for Americans. There' s going to be 70 million more people in the United States in the next 25 years, the vast majority of those concentrated in the megaregions. To the critics I would ask 'what's your plan?  How do you plan to move 70 million more people. How do you plan to do it while reducing congestion, reducing fuel consumption, and improving air quality?'"

President Obama has been completely consistent on this issue -- supporting high speed rail spending in his campaign, supporting it in the stimulus bill, (in fact,Rahm Emmanuel, now running for Mayor of Chicago, pushed high speed rail spending from $1-2 billion to $8 billion in the wee hours of the morning before the bill was announced,) emphasizing it at the outset of the 2010 campaign season with a Labor Day plan to spend $50 billion on roads, rails, and airports, and then inviting guests to the White House on Columbus Day to emphasize the plan. Even as the public reacted with a shrug, the President kept touting the plan.

Supporters of high speed rail hailed the President's remark. US PIRG said it would "revolutionize" transportation the way the interstate highway system had.  But there was measured optimism. "We need to need to figure out a way to pay for it," said Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Puentes said funding for the project may come from "untraditional" sources. "We have an 8 billion down payment plus 2 billion that came in the budget. That' s a fraction of what we'll need."

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President: We Have To Do Better on Infrastructure

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Excerpt from the President's State of the Union address: "The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information -- from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.

Our infrastructure used to be the best -- but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports.  Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”

We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.

Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble these efforts.

We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age.  It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.

All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs.  But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.

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Obama: One Million Electric Vehicles by 2015

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From the speech: "At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities.  With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

"We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s."

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President: Six Year Transportation Plan to be Outlined in Budget

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From a White House Fact Sheet:  "The President’s Budget will outline a comprehensive, six-year plan to leverage our resources to repair crumbling roads, bridges, and transit. It will feature up-front investments that will both help generate hundreds of thousands of jobs now and lay a foundation for future economic growth that will benefit all Americans. It will also include transformational investments such as an infrastructure bank that will revolutionize infrastructure finance, leveraging government resources through attracting private capital to build projects of national and regional significance. The President is committed to making sure that this infrastructure program is fully paid for, and free of earmarks."

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Down to the Wire on Whether NJ Will Pay $271 Million for Cancelling ARC Tunnel

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) The clock is ticking on a proposed deal between the feds and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie over his decision in October to cancel the ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson because of projected cost overruns.

Christie has until the end of today to decide whether he will reimburse the Federal Transit Administration $271 million spent on ARC. In exchange, the agency would then turn around and hand back $128 million to the state for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, earlier today Christie told Bloomberg TV: "We're having conversations with Mayor Bloomberg and others regarding the extension of the No. 7 train to Secaucus, New Jersey, which would do what we really wanted the ARC tunnel to do originally." (See WNYC for the full story.)

Governor Christie has said the state doesn't owe the money. Last month, he directed New Jersey Transit to hire Patton Boggs, a high-powered Washington law firm, to make the case for him with the federal government--by lawsuit, if necessary. The firm now stands ready to file suit if an agreement isn't reached in the next several hours.

"We have until midnight tonight," said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak earlier today. "We have about seven hours and forty-nine minutes, something like that. We expect that our attorneys in Washington will be filing a timely response today."

Asked at a transportation conference in Washington how the negotiations were going, FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff declined to comment. The agency has already granted the state two extensions on an original deadline of December 24.

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Check TN Tonight For State of the Union Coverage

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We'll be posting and tweeting.  Alex, Kate & I will tell you what's what, on the SOTU and transportation, with reports from Todd Zwillich, who'll be in the chamber.  Join us here, at 9 EST.

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Federal Rail Administrator Szabo: Loss of Wisconsin Won't Slow Midwest High Speed Rail

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Federal Rail Administrator, Joe Szabo, is telling the TRB conference the loss of Wisconsin won't really affect the Midwest high speed rail network.

Szabo "This is a state driven program -- it's up to the states to determine what their vision is.  The population will be 70 million more people in the next 25 years...how do you plan to move ‘em? The dollars are so hotly competitive that if one or two states decide this isn’t a part of a vision there are dozens of states that have decided it is part of their vision….At this point there’s enough work to be done to build out that midwest plan…Illinois is moving forward, Michigan is moving forward, the plan is going forward to build Chicago to Milwaukee.  Others will clearly be clamouring for their leg."

Adds Roy Keinetz: "Don’t confuse the short term with the long term.”

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More hints on what the State of the Union will say about Transportation

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(Washington, DC -- Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  What's in tonight's speech?  No one is saying for sure, but Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari just told an audience of transportation professionals in Washington:  "You can bet the President will talk about what we need to do to address our shared challenges…our economy can’t roll along on rusty rails or overburned roads or congested runways.  Transportation is  essential to our nation’s success, the President understands that.

"We may not be able to discuss exactly what we’ll be hearing tonight, but we do know this after years of stagnant budgets…this President clearly gets how important [transportation infrastructure] is.  In America we invest in the future not just in spite of the challenges but because of them...We’ve always found great opportunity in the shadow of great challenge"

"If we’re honest with our selves we look at transportation infrastructure and we know it was built by our parents, our grandparents, in some cases our great grandparents."

We'll have more soon.

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Hiking Up Fees In Texas Could Help Congestion Problems, But Not Solve Them

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(Houston - Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) David Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor of Texas, told the Dallas Morning News that he’ll encourage lawmakers to seek out more money for highway construction.

He said he won’t support a tax increase, but would possibly favor raising fees, namely on vehicle registration. Alan Clark, the director of transportation planning at the Houston-Galveston Area Council, says if nothing is done, money for road projects could actually fall over the next ten years. “I’m very encouraged that the legislator is talking about it," says Clark, "and I think that there are many things they could do that would be a step in the right direction. Raising the vehicle registration fee could be one of those.”

Listen to the story here.

Clark says if everyone in the greater Houston area paid $20 more for vehicle registration, that would generate an additional $60 to $70 million a year. Clark says the extra money would help repair some of the roads and pay for some new projects in the region. But he says it wouldn’t solve all of Houston’s congestion problems.

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TN Moving Stories: Madison To Get Bike Share Program, Distracted Walking Under Fire, and NYC To Renovate Dozens of Subway Stations

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Perfect transit moment in DC, not too far from the Transportation Research Bureau conference: Metro, bikes, buses, pedestrians, cars (Kate Hinds)

Lawmakers in New York and Arkansas are considering restrictions on using cell phones and music players such as iPods by people running and walking on the street or sidewalk. (AP via Syracuse.com)

Mazda gets in the electric vehicles game; the "Demio" to be produced in Japan next year. (Business Green)

The NYC MTA is renovating dozens of subway stations in the outer boroughs. (NY1)

Five leading Democrats in the Virginia state Senate have crossed party lines and agreed to co-sponsor a $3.3 billion transportation package advanced by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, significantly boosting the chances that one of the Republican governor's top legislative priorities for the year will pass the General Assembly. (Washington Post)

Madison's finance committee approved funding for a bike-share program that could begin in May. (Wisconsin State Journal)

The Transport Politic tries to explain the Republican party's reluctance to invest in transit infrastructure. In a nutshell: "The Democratic Party holds most of its power in the nation’s cities, whereas the GOP retains greater strength in the exurbs and rural areas."

Which means: the president will be taking some political risks when he makes a pitch for funding infrastructure in tonight's State of the Union speech. (New York Times)

Stories we're following:  Republican and Democratic officials spar on merits of infrastructure spending, can rail and roads stabilize Afganistan, and Ghanzhou's BRT, with 800,000 riders, wins sustainable transport award.

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Guangzhou Wins ITDP Sustainable Transit Award

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

[UPDATED] (Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The 2011 Sustainable Transport Award goes to Guangzhou, China in large part for a successful and highly popular bus rapid transit system that integrates with bike lanes, bike share and metro stations, "raising the bar for all cities" according to the Institute for Transportation Development Policy that gives the award every year.

Here's the ITDP write up on the city's BRT system, which carries 800,000 people each day.

Accepting the award, Lu Yuan, a Guangzhou government official said, "It is a big honor to win this award ... and in the future we will continue to grow green transportation" systems to create a "sustainable, low-carbon and happy Guangzhou."

The other cities in contention for the prize were: Tehran, Iran (which inadvertently caused a minor international incident); Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico; Lima, Peru; and Nantes, France. Previous winners include Ahmedebad, India; Bogota, Colombia; and New York City.

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Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy: Infrastructure to be "one of the themes" of State of the Union

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Washington, DC -- Andrea Bernstein)  Assistant Undersecretary for Transportation Policy at the U.S. DOT, Polly Trottenberg, is promising infrastructure will be "one of the themes" of President Obama's  State of the Union address tomorrow night. She told an assembled crowd of transportation researchers at the Sustainable Transport Award ceremony hosted by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

President Obama has been pushing infrastructure spending since at least, Labor Day, when he proposed a new $50 billion spending plan for rail, airports and roads -- one that got a mixed reception from voters. But it's been a main part of the pre-SOTU leak strategy, so clearly, despite House Republican objections that we've reported on, the President and his strategists think it's ultimately a winning issue.

Trottenberg cautioned that "finding revenue sources on a state, federal, and local level has proved a difficult challenge, as is achieving political consensus."

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House GOP Leader: Not "An Easy Answer" to "Just Spend More" on Transportation

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Washington, DC -- Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pushed back directly Monday on the Obama Administration calls for increased transportation infrastructure funding.

In an extended exchange with reporters, Cantor said that throwing more money at the nation's transportation infrastructure isn't responsible in the face of mounting government debt. "It's not some easy answer, 'just spend more'. I mean, again, the American people are tired of that," he said.

President Barack Obama is expected to make a push for more spending on research and development and transportation infrastructure in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Even as the White House and Congress embark on likely difficult negotiations over how to curb overall spending levels, the White House says the president wants to continue to invest in sectors he thinks can help spur economic growth.

Cantor acknowledged that the transportation system is in ill health. "I don't think anybody tell you that our nation's transportation infrastructure is in a state of existence that we would accept," he said.

Republicans are starting to talk about boosting public-private partnerships as a way to leverage more transportation dollars. At the same time, conservatives in the House are calling on their colleagues to kill $10 billion in high-speed rail projects funded mostly by the stimulus.

"Everything is on the table. We've just got to learn how to prioritize and do more with less in all areas of government," Cantor said.

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DOT Contest: Design a Better Way for Cars to Talk With Each OTher

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The technology research arm of the Department of Transportation launched a competition  to spur new ideas on how cars should talk to each other to increase safety, sustainability and congestion. The cars can also communicate with bikes or anything else actually, as long as they use Dedicated Short-Range Communications technology.

The Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge, “invites problems solvers, and innovators to develop new applications, devices, products, services and business solutions—any operational concept” based on the new kind of technology known as DSRC that lets moving vehicles communicate with each other and with intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

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From Aid to Trade in Afghanistan: How the U.S. Military is Helping Develop Rail

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Matt Dellinger - Transportation Nation) Winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan might involve building roads and rail. That's the idea behind the Silk Road Initiative, an effort that the American military is leading to improve infrastructure and stimulate trade in the region.

Colonel Ted Hodgson, who is on staff at US Central Command, is a member of the Afghan Future Working group, which formed about a year ago. Colonel Hodgson (who appeared this morning on The Takeaway) rattles off a number of telling statistics: only 7% or the roads in Afghanistan are paved; about 90% of crops there rot before they make it to market; the country is rich in coal and mineral deposits, but without rail those resources are virtually moot. Last summer, a 75-kilometer rail line opened from the country's northern border to the city of Mazar-e-Sharif—the first rail line in the nation's history—but more track is needed, and the Afghanis need training on how to operate and maintain a railroad.

December 5, 2010: A train rests on the new track built from the border of Uzbekistan to just beyond Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. The new track is more than 75 kms long and provides Afghan traders the means of importing and exporting goods. (Photo by Army Sgt. Michael Reinsch, IJC Public Affairs)

CENTCOM's belief is that stimulating economic activity is crucial to creating stability and relative piece in Afghanistan, according to Colonel Hodgson. The Silk Road Initiative, he says, is very much in keeping with the doctrine of Counterinsurgency and has been encouraged by General David Petraeus. But the American military isn't going to do the building, Hodgson says. He came to New York to present the rail plan (and a map of mineral resources) to representatives of international banks, construction companies, and governmental transportation agencies at a conference sponsored by the global infrustructure consultancy CG/LA.

Here is a full transcript of our conversation:

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Houston METRO Slashes Fare to Airport, Hopes to Lure More People On-Board

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Houston - Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) If you need a ride to Bush Intercontinental from downtown Houston,  consider this: For four dollars and fifty cents METRO will drive you there. The new price tag for the 45 minute shuttle ride is 70 percent less than the old price of $15. METRO’s Airport Direct was criticized in the past for its lack of ridership. The 52-seat coach rarely saw more than a handful of passengers per trip. Kimberley Slaughter, vice president of service, design, and development at METRO, says the cost of the service probably deterred some would-be riders. “For our everyday customers,I think, especially with this economy, $15 may have been a little more expensive for them," she said.  "$4.50 makes it more affordable.”

Hear the story over at KUHF News.

The shuttle will also stop at more downtown locations - five in total. Slaughter says the majority of people who use the service are out-of-towners, here on business. But she says with the changes, it’s now a viable option for everyone. The agency is also working to make more people aware that the Airport Direct line exists. “We are looking to do a lot more marketing,” said Slaughter. There are signs and pamphlets at the airport, but Slaughter says they may install permanent monitors advertising the service as well.

But even though METRO expects the changes will increase ridership,  it will cost METRO about the same, some $1.9 million dollars a year. “We’re not reaping any cost savings here," she said. "What we are trying to do is to make it more appealing, add more customer service to it, and make sure that we’re providing the service that the customer wants.”

The revamped service started Sunday and will still run every thirty minutes, seven days a week.

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TN Moving Stories: Cuomo Talks MTA Payroll Tax, and Pregnancy May Have Its (Parking) Privileges

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Miami, a parking garage so beautiful, people get married there.  What can THIS mean for the future of driving?   And of public space? (NY Times)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has unkind words for the MTA payroll tax. "It is a very onerous tax. Not just in this area." Meanwhile: "MTA CEO Jay Walder revealed that he'd yet to talk to the new governor about transit issues -- saying he'd been speaking with the governor's aides, instead." (New York Post)

But: Cuomo is keeping both Walder and Port Authority head Chris Ward on. (Crain's NY)

A NYC Councilman has proposed free parking for pregnant women. (NY Daily News)

Meantime, bobcats and lynx now have a new design for a crossing over I-70 in the Rockies (Denver Post)

The Twin Cities public transit system is "fraught with distrust" as feuding bureaucracies fail to set priorities in the best interests of the public. "People are interested in how decisions get made," said one suburban legislator. "I've asked, and I get a different answer from nearly everyone I ask."(Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

The Washington Post takes a look at the methodology behind the Texas Transportation Institute's recent report.

A summit to save debt-ridden Caltrain yielded ideas ranging from better coffee at stations, free Wi-Fi and business-class seating to toll lanes on Highway 101, tax increases and consolidating the Bay Area's multitude of transit agencies. (San Francisco Chronicle)

First Chicago, then DC...now Boston is considering selling naming rights to everything from the lines and stations of its subway, bus and commuter systems to its Web site, smart phone apps and Charlie Cards. “We want to do it tastefully and not over-commercialize the MBTA,” said general manager Richard Davey. “I would probably be reluctant to rename Park Street the Anheuser-Busch Park Street Station. But, at the same time ... we’re very open to hearing proposals.” (Boston Heral

Some of the Transportation Nation team is in DC this week at the Transportation Research Board conference. If you see people with microphones, emanating that public radio aura, say hello!

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following: Not all transportation projects create jobs equally. The Mayor of Tehran can't attend the ITDP awards. And: New York City taxi rides, visualized  in full color.

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Recognition of Iranian Mayor's Role in Sustainable Transport Becomes International Incident

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reuters is reporting that Tehran Mayor Mohammed-Baqer Qualibaf, a political rival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been denied Iranian government permission to attend an awards ceremony in Washington, DC honoring cities around the world that have invested in public transportation.

The ceremony is sponsored by the Institute for Transportation Development Policy, a group that works with global cities offering technical advice and other support for setting up mass transit -- in particular bus rapid transit systems. The other cities being recognized are: Guangzhou, China; Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico; Lima, Peru; and Nantes, France.

Previous winners include Ahmedebad, India; Bogota, Colombia; and New York City -- Transportation Nation

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From Midtown to Harlem: NYC Taxi Trips in Color

Friday, January 21, 2011

Taxi Data WheelDetail from a data visualization of NYC taxi trips by Zoe Fraade-Blanar. Click for full image.

(New York City -- John Keefe, WNYC) -- Take me to Midtown!

That's what most New York City taxi riders were saying one Tuesday afternoon,  a new data visualization by Zoe Fraade-Blanar shows in vivid colors.

Fraade-Blanar mapped pick-up and drop-off locations  by NYC neighborhood, based on taxi-trip data from the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The graphic represents one hour of rides -- the 4 p.m. hour, well known to New Yorkers as the most difficult time to catch cabs.

The colorful wheel shows the neighborhoods where riders managed to nab taxis that day in March 2009, and where they went. Look at it closely, and follow the neighborhood's color to the cab's destination neighborhood. White bands along the neighborhood arcs indicate the destinations; so the turquoise line crossing the circle are trips from Midtown to Gramercy.

You can see how most of the late afternoon fares in the West Village and TriBeCa are leaving the neighborhood, while in the Financial District and East Village most of them are arriving. While almost all of the rides to and from Chelsea at that hour are to Chelsea. Even the few riders who hailed a cab from the Chelsea were dropped off in the same neighborhood.

Fraade-Blanar started crunching the data with a small team of programmers -- and this journalist -- at marathon meetup of Hacks/Hackers NYC, which brings together programmers, data experts and media folks. That event also led to another Fraade-Blanar graphic showing 24-hours of taxi trips.

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Montana Considers Tactics To Deal With Refusals From DUI Suspects For Breath Tests

Friday, January 21, 2011

(Helena, MT – Jackie Yamanaka, YPR) – Montana lawmakers are considering a pair of bills to deal with the rising numbers of suspected drunk drivers refusing breath tests.

Montana has the highest number of drunk driving cases per capita in the nation.

The bills seek to give law enforcement authorities easier access to a judge to issue a search warrant to get a breath or blood test if they receive a refusal.

The Montana Department of Justice reports that last year 2,859 drivers refused to submit to breath or blood tests after having been stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of DUI.

“This number represents a trend of more than 2,800 refusals annually during 2008, 2009, and 2010,” says Assistant Attorney General Ali Bovingdon.

She says 2010 had the highest number of refusals recorded over a three year period.

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