Streams

Columbia Study: Americans Have Little Idea How to Save Energy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein-Transportation Nation) Quick! Which saves more energy: line-drying your clothes or setting your washer to cold water wash? Drinking from a can with new aluminum or a bottle with recycled glass? How much more energy does it take to run central air than to run a room air conditioner? Do trucks consume twice as much energy to transport goods as trains -- or more? (Answers at the bottom)

If you're not sure, you're in the mainstream, according to a new Columbia University Survey. The survey found people tend to believe small actions -- like turning off lights, save more energy than they actually do. And that only a tiny fraction -- 11.7 percent -- cited insulating their homes or replacing inefficient appliances as the "most effective thing they could do to conserve energy." In fact these energy-saving measure are the most effective thing they can do.

When it comes to transportation, respondents similarly got it wrong.  They tended to overestimate the energy savings in driving more slowly, but significantly underestimate the gas saved by tuning up their cars twice a year.

When it came to transporting goods, respondents knew airplanes use more fuel than gas, but had no idea trucks use ten times as much gasoline as trains.  Most people said trucks and trains were about the same.

There's  a problem with the survey - it's not a randomized group, but a survey taken of Craigslist respondents, who were paid $10 for their efforts.   Study author  Shahzeen Z. Attari acknowledges that was a budget decision (truly randomized polls are costly to perform)  but maintains the group was sufficiently heterogeneous to produce meaningful responses.

Answers:  Cold water wash, aluminum, three and a half times as much energy, and ten times as much.

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What's a Connection to the 'Chunnel' Worth?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Even before the election of David Cameron, the UK has been bracing the austerity measures it must undertake to save the nation's economy.  One of the moves already made is to put Britain's only high-speed rail route -- the railroad connecting London to the tunnel under the English Channel -- up for sale.  As many as six firms have bid on it, reports the Wall Street Journal.  It's everyone from Goldman Sachs to a group of Canadian pension funds.  The price to run it for 30 years?  Could be more than $3 billion. -- Collin Campbell

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TN Moving Stories: Seat Belts, TSA Lifting Luggage, Texas high-speed

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New train service could go from London to Frankfurt in four hours, in time for Olympics (Telegraph)

UK rail fares could go up 10 percent off inflation fear (Guardian)

Bus seat belt rule proposed by Obama administration‎ (Dallas Morning News)

Former TSA supervisor stole from luggage at Sea-Tac Airport (Seattle Times)

Texas takes first step toward high-speed-rail funds‎ (Fort Worth Star Telegram)

GAO finds states getting fair share, even in transportation funding vacuum. How? (New Republic/Brookings)

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Men, Not Taxis, Are Most Likely to Hit NYC Pedestrians

Monday, August 16, 2010

(New York, NY - Collin Campbell)  Five years of data and 7,000 crash records are showing a rich picture of collisions between pedestrians and cars in New York City.  They're at the lowest point in recorded history, the Bloomberg Administration says, and the analysis released today may inform policy decisions to push them lower.

Among the findings from the mayor's announcement today:

•    Male drivers are involved in 80% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians.  They're only 57% of registered drivers in New York City.
•    Private vehicles – not taxis, trucks or buses – are involved in 79% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians.
•    Pedestrian fatalities in 2009 were down nearly 20 percent from 2001.

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Driving the Wrong Way? Houston Technology Will Find You

Monday, August 16, 2010

(Houston -- Wendy Siegle,  KUHF) "Wrong way Driver Detected! Wrong Way Driver Detected."   That's what Houston-area highway dispatchers hear when a motorist enters the Westpark Tollway going in the wrong direction, enabling patrols to quickly get to the scene. The technology was installed after a triple fatality in 2006 resulting from a wrong way driver. But the devices are costly, putting them out of reach of many transportation agencies, Full story,  here.

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'Leandra's Law,' and Ignition Locks for all DUIs in New York

Monday, August 16, 2010

The crash was fit for a rallying cry.  On October 11, 2009, Carmen Huertas was driving six children to her house for a slumber party.  She had been drinking, and, one of the kids in the car said, asked her young passengers to raise their hands if they thought "we're gonna get into an accident."

Huertas did crash the car, and the result was the death of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado.  As he grieved, her father started a campaign to make New York state's laws the toughest in the nation.  A month later, a new law was unanimously passed in Albany, and signed by the governor.

"Leandra's Law" as its now called, makes it a felony to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs while carrying passengers age 15 and under.  It went into effect statewide on Sunday.  UCLA transportation scholar Eric A. Morris says it does something even more important, however.

It requires any driver convicted of DWI to install an ignition interlock system on any car they drive.

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TN Moving Stories: Obama energy spending doubts, one cent for transit? Turkish flight attendants can't be fat

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dept of Energy not spending stimulus smartly, even as more money comes it way (The Hill)

Chicago Transit Authority averages one bus collision per day‎ (Chicago Tribune)

Why don't women run automakers?  (Automotive News)

CA high-speed rail opponents on the Peninsula ready lawsuits, ballot measures (SJ Mercury News)

Fight brewing over one-cent transportation sales tax in GA (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Do rule-obiding casual carpoolers chip in for new Bay Bridge toll?  (SF Chronicle)

Flight attendants at Turkish Airlines told to lose weight or lose their jobs (Economist)

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Autoline Daily Editor to WDET: Auto Industry Will Rock

Saturday, August 14, 2010

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET).   Detroit is buzzing about word of a leadership change at GM -- it's almost as big news as the Flint serial killer.   The Editor of Autoline Daily John McElroy says GM's new CEO,  Dan Akerson "fits the bill perfectly for what the[U.S] treasury wanted."  But, he adds "if GM is  going to have only finance people running the company-- we saw the trouble that it got into in the last decade by having those kind of officers in charge."

McElroy also notes that the company's 1.3 billion profit this quarter  "is not a surprising number" and that " what everybody seems to forget is that  the Obama administration came into town a year ago, waved a magic wand, and made all of GM's and Chrysler's legacy costs disappear, pouf, they're gone...that was not done by the people who are running GM right now."

McElroy's prediction for the future of the industry: "Three, four years from now the auto industry in Detroit is going to be rocking like we haven't seen in a long, long time."

More on Detroit from today's New York Times "Detroit Goes from Gloom to Economic Bright Spot."

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The Highway Trust Fund: Big Wheel, Keep on Turning

Friday, August 13, 2010

Perpetual Motion by Norman Rockwell(Matt Dellinger, Transportation Nation)  Stephen B. Goddard, in his (very excellent) book Getting There, aptly compared the Highway Trust Fund to a perpetual motion machine. Devised in 1956 to pay for the Interstate Highway System, the HTF, as it’s often abbreviated, pooled gas taxes and other automobile-related revenues and spit them right back out as construction money for more highways, the presence of which encouraged more driving and therefore more revenue, and so on.  As Goddard tells it, the HTF was more of an engineering marvel than the roads it built: “It satisfied those who wanted spending linked to revenues, those opposed to diversion [of gas tax monies to non-highway purposes], and congressmen, who would now have one less vote to justify at election time.”

The magical self-feeding road beast did its thing for fifty years, but now, as transportation writer Yonah Freemark laid out last week, it’s become a much more complicated mechanism.

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Boats, Inner Tubes Cause Jams in Montana

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

(Billings, MT -- Jackie Yamanaka, Yellowstone Public Radio)
"When the temperature gets above 85 degrees everybody comes out." So says Tim Finger, of the Bureau of Land Management of river access sites in rural Montana. Popular fishing and boating sites cause jams, but Finger says building more parking isn't in the cards

"I just did that last year. No matter how big of a site we construct we're not going to be able to deal with that real large spike. I can't keep building new parking lots and expanding them. " Finger says shuttles to and from the river access sites are a better idea.

Full story, here.

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WSJ Finds Gas Mileage for Airlines. Will it Change Your Choice?

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's was a wonderful piece of reporting this week in the Middle Seat column of the Wall Street Journal: a review of DOT data, yielding what amounts to an MPG rating for the airlines.  Alaska came out on top, with a bit of luck (like being West Coast-based) and some good practices (like shutting down engines quickly at the gate).  The worst guzzlers turn out to the three biggest U.S. carriers.

But here's the big question: would information like this -- that getting you from LAX to JFK sucks around 10 gallons more fuel on Delta than it does on JetBlue on average -- cause you to change who you buy your ticket from?  Let us know in the comments.

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5000 Fewer Riders Using Bay Bridge as Congestion Pricing Takes Hold

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/gohsuket/2550771432/

(Oakland, CA -- Casey Miner, KALW) CalTrans raised tolls on the Bay Bridge July 1 during peak hours, from $4.00 to $6.00 -- and for carpools, to $2.50, from nothing. What happened?

Five thousand fewer cars are using the Bay Bridge each day, and BART, the cross-bay commuter train, saw 4500 more riders. The full story here.

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San Francisco Breaks Ground on New Transbay Terminal

Friday, August 13, 2010

Only 25 percent of San Francisco Bay Area residents use mass transit -- but local planners are serious about trying to get that number up. As KALW reports, local political glitterati are getting behind a new bus terminal, which they one day hope will be a hub for rail, buses, and BRT.

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TN Moving Stories: Doubts about JetBlue flight attendant, runaway UK tube train, Ford's new Mustang

Friday, August 13, 2010

Runaway London tube train goes four miles without driver‎ (BBC News)

Investigators begin to doubt JetBlue flight attendant's story of provocation (WSJ)

Holocaust ties come up in CA high-speed rail, may hurt French bidder (AP)

First look at overhauled Ford Mustang.  Can good gas mileage come with a supercharged V-8?  (Chicago Tribune)

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If a Ticket-Happy Traffic Cam Doesn't Know What Time It Is ...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What better place than tech-savvy and traffic-choked San Francisco to work up a way to automatically ticket poorly-parked cars?  Cameras mounted on MUNI buses capture vehicles parked in transit lanes, loading zones and double parked cars, then generate citations.  Mayor Gavin Newsom pumped it up as a way to ease traffic and speed up transit.  But the plan seems to have failed in the most basic way. -- Collin Campbell

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NYC: Eating More Important than Parking

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photo: Michael Drury


(
Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) New York City continues to give less space to cars, more to...um...other pursuits. Lower Manhattan's street grid is the only part of New York that still looks like Amsterdam, and businesses there have been pining for outdoor cafe space. Now, the city has converted five parking spots to a "pop-up cafe," where residents can dine and chat.

The spaces contain wooden platforms that support steel planters with with herbs and 15 folding tables with two chairs apiece. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said the experiment was about creating "high performing streets that work for all user" -- and that this location works out, the City will expand the program next summer.

The platform is located directly in front of two restaurants Fika, a cafe featuring Swedish cuisine and Bombay, an Indian bistro. The two businesses paid for the modular platform that will be stored over the winter when the five parking spaces will be restored. The DOT stresses that the seating will be open to everyone not just restaurant patrons.
-- With reporting by Michael Drury
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GM Profits Followed by Questions

Thursday, August 12, 2010

GM announced its strongest quarter since 2004 this morning on a conference call.  It was the automaker's big moment, to affirm a comeback from bankruptcy and a loss of almost $13 billion, on year ago.  After analysts and reporters tried to pick apart those numbers, Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. had one more big announcement: he was stepping down.  Replacing him is Dan Akerson, a G.M. board member put in by the Treasury Department, with a background in finance and telecom.

David Shepardson of the Detroit News was the first to cast doubts, perhaps only as a Motor City man can: "Why did the board choose Dan as opposed to looking outside or picking someone else with auto experience?"  The answer failed to satisfy us, and Shepardson's follow-up catches some silence on the other end of the line.  -- Collin Campbell

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Billings Gets New Pedestrian and Bike Network -- Officials Hope to Build Social Connections, As Well

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photo: Jackie Yamanaka

(Billings, MT -- Jackie Yamanaka) Billings, Montana has had some pretty scary streets for bikes and pedestrians, but officials there are hoping to change that. The Billings Chamber of Commerce is launching a new bike and pedestrian trail system, and held a ribbon-cutting this week at what will be a bike/pedestrian trail under Montana's busiest highway. The City of Billings Alternate Transportation Modes Coordinator, Darlene Tussing, says safety is important for cyclists, but it's not the only reason to build trails.

"When we're in a car with our windshield in front of us and our metal around us we fell like we're hunkered in in this little -- when you're out on the trail and on your bicycle there's no barriers. It really does make a very strong social networking opportunity for the community."

Audio here.



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TN Moving Stories: GM Profit soars, High Speed Rail gets a Groundbreaking

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One year after losing almost $13 billion and going bankrupt, GM reports $1.3 billion in profit (WSJ)

Early probe results show no cause for sticking gas pedals; Toyota lawsuits to be a challenge‎ (Detroit Free Press)

Pelosi, LaHood attend high-speed rail groundbreaking in San Francisco, (SF Chronicle)

NTSB urges Coast Guard to fight distracted boating, especially among its officers (USA Today)

CA budget impasse threatens $3 billion in transportation projects, DOT warns (SF Chronicle)

How do you spell "school" outside such a building in North Carolina? PIC (Yahoo)

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NY's New Deputy Mayor Likes BRT and Congestion Charging -- But Does He Like Bike Lanes?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There have been some interesting political alliances in the transportation world -- former Charlotte Mayor Pat McGrory, a conservative Republican, has been one of the nation's biggest backers of transit. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,  also a Republican, who has also run on the Republican line, has found himself lauded by scrappy environmentalists who would probably otherwise hang with the far left. But when Bloomberg last spring appointed a former Republican Mayor of Indianapolis -- and adviser to George W. Bush -- to oversee Parks, Environmental Protection, and Transportation, a bit of a frisson shuddered through the transit world. Turns out Goldsmith is a huge supporter of congestion pricing, which he's called "terrific" and "imperative." He loves BRT and has seen it in operation in Curitiba, Brazil. He's studied bike share and thinks it's compatible with the short distances New Yorkers travel. But does he love bike lanes as much as Janette Sadik-Khan? Here's a bit of his exchange with me --

BERNSTEIN: There was some thought -- the commissioner wanted to have bike lanes all the way up First and Second Avenues. And then that plan was pulled back and that was around the time that you were coming and there was some speculation that was because you were concerned about that. Is there any truth to that?

GOLDSMITH: No. Not exactly. The mayor and I are concerned about getting the balance right. How to make the city more livable in a way that doesn’t create ancillary byproduct problems. And how extensive the bike lanes should be and where they should be is a legitimate question. I had a conversation about this with the mayor this morning. You know, he is interested in getting the balance right. He asked me a lot of questions and asked Janette a lot of questions about it, as he should, and I’ll continue to work on it.

BERNSTEIN: That was a very evocative ‘not exactly’. Can you expand on that?

GOLDSMITH: No.

Audio, and full transcript, after the jump.

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