Safety is improving on roads around the world -- but mostly for drivers and passengers in wealthier countries. A study from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development's transportation arm finds that although 2012 was a record low year for traffic fatalities, safety for pedestrians isn't increasing as fast as it is car occupants. And the U.S. still ranks poorly compared to other well-off countries.
Verdant spirals, heroic domes, river views and, of course, speedy trains: these are some of the possibilities imagined, and visualized in a challenge to redesign Penn Station. Have a look at what four top architecture firms dreamed up.
[UPDATE: See below for Madison Square Garden's none-to-pleased response to the renderings.]
With bike share beginning in NYC, potentially thousands of people will be biking New York who haven't ever done so before. They need advice. Let's give them some. Listen to some tips -- and upload your own -- inside.
And for everything else you wanted to know, click here.
The bikes aren't even on the street yet, but New York businesses are planning for the launch of bike share later this month.
While some small storekeepers are bemoaning the big gray docking stations because they take up parking spaces for customers or limit delivery space, larger businesses are taking a rosy view of the city's new transit option.
A study from Norway sheds a little light on what kind of person is buying electric cars, and how they drive.
New York City hasn't even finished laying down the 330 docking stations for its impending bike share program, but anticipation is spanning oceans. A Belgian company has released the first "live" mobile app for NYC bike share users, before there are any users. Take it as a sign of what's to come when the largest bike sharing program in the nation launches later this month.
Amtrak is getting reimbursed for the $20 million it spent pumping water out of flooded train tunnels during Sandy and additional money to fix infrastructure damaged in the storm. The federal government will give $30 million to the publicly subsidized company, which has said it suffered $60 million in damages from Sandy and needs $250 million to adequately prepare for the next storm.
For comparison, the NY MTA, which runs the NYC subway and commuter rail lines was much harder hit in its miles of electrified underground tunnels. The MTA estimates $5 billion in losses with several billion more needed to prepare for future storms. That agency has received $2 billion in federal relief funds with another $6 billion on the way.
UPDATE 6:05 p.m. ET: Instead of a bike rack, a massive barricade of rock now sits in front of a tony apartment building in the West Village--a building that filed the first lawsuit against NYC's new bike share program. But it's not clear who put the rock there or why.
The former chair of the House Transportation Committee supports expanding the airport in his home district, but opposition is coming from an unexpected corner: airlines. Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.) speaks with WMFE's Matthew Peddie about an airport as an engine of regional growth.
President Barack Obama's choice as the next head of the U.S Department of Transportation is a young urban mayor with a short track record and a fondness for transit.
Changing the face of city sidewalks touches a visceral nerve for neighbors. So it's no surprise that as New York City prepares for the launch of a bike sharing program people are speaking out.
Among the Earth Day offerings for those looking to show support for Mother Earth there was: recycling old batteries in a three story tall recycling bin, or browsing guilt-assuaging consumer products made from pulped magazine paper, bamboo shoots or raw moral righteousness. There's also the more mundane act of riding transit.
Here are some stats that crossed the Transportation Nation email inbox this earth day.
North America is seeing a boom in bike sharing program launches. The number of cities planning to add bicycles as public transportation on the continent is expected to jump by 50 percent this year, bringing the total number to 53.
With a massive manhunt underway for the suspect in Monday's Boston marathon bombing, Boston's metropolitan area is experiencing near total transportation shutdown. And it's shocking in its scope.
Jobs are moving from city centers to the suburbs. Chicago is pushing its infrastructure trust plan to urban planners. Portland is breaking character, and drones are floated as an eco-friendly alternative to other aerial options. Today's transpo news roundup is here.
UPDATE: 4:45 p.m. ET -- American Airlines is flying airplanes again after hours of delays due to computer problems. "Our systems have been fully restored, however we expect continued flight delays and cancellations throughout the remainder of the day," the company posted on Facebook.
Rail ridership continues to grow in America.
March was the best single month ever in the history of Amtrak, and October, December and January each set records for their respective months, according to a company spokesperson. (UPDATE: Full release here.)
All of that is despite the damage and closures caused by Sandy.
It's also because Amtrak has been setting ridership records for just about every year for the past dozen years (chart), so any growth -- whatever size -- is also a new record. Amtrak set 11 consecutive monthly records last year. (PDF)
Amtrak reports ridership numbers by fiscal year. For the first six months of FY2013 (October 2012 to March 2013), Amtrak grew about one percent over the previous six months, putting the rail network on pace to break the 2012 yearly ridership record, despite Sandy. The damage from that storm shut down much of the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak's busiest route, for days.
Amtrak will release line-by-line ridership numbers later this morning. A statement from the company says 26 of 45 routes posted ridership increases and suggested its growth is evidence for more sustained capital funding for a passenger rail network.
Why passenger rail is on the rise
A recent Brookings Institution report found that on shorter trips, passengers are shifting to rail. That's partly because airlines are scaling back on short haul flights, which aren't as profitable for carriers.
All of that means Amtrak has been slowly but steadily gaining travelers who used to fly, especially on the Northeast corridor.
Consider this chart from an Amtrak presentation showing how, over time, passengers traveling between Washington, D.C. and New York City have shifted to rails from planes. Of the people who flew or rode a train between the two cities in 2000, 37 percent of them took Amtrak; but by 2012, 76 percent were riding Amtrak.
Amtrak's D.C-N.Y. route is beating the airlines. The chart excludes cars and buses, which themselves are increasing dramatically despite a crackdown on so-called Chinatown buses, and longer-route planes certainly carry more passengers, but it's the trend that is telling, and confirmed in the Brookings report.
Beyond the Northeast, Amtrak is doing better as well, with some local clamor for more service on state-subsidized routes, even where it has little chance of breaking even financially. We'll see how ridership is doing on those routes later this morning when Amtrak releases its full passenger counts.
When we think of the future of transportation now, it's cars that talk to each other, bullet trains and BRT. But 80 years ago, it was blimps. The centerpiece of New York City, the Empire State Building, even explored the idea of docking dirigibles atop it's soaring spire.
But then came the crashes. WABE in Atlanta took the 80th anniversary of the worst airship disaster in history to recall the fiery tragedy that helped end the dreams of blimps as mass transport. And as Jim Buress points out:
"The Hindenburg is easily the most recognized airship disaster. But it’s far from the worst. The USS Akron, seen here, crashed on April 4, 2013 off the coast of New Jersey. It's considered the world's worst airship disaster. That unfortunate distinction goes to the USS Akron, a navy airship... Seventy-three of the 76 crew members died."
WABE’s Jim Burress interviewed airship historian Dan Grossman of Airships.net.
Give a listen. The conversation starts with Grossman explaining what caused the crash off the coast of New Jersey.
If you're looking for a secure career in the digital age, it may be time to get your plumber's license or learn to code.
NYU Langone Medical Center surveyed more than 1,400 pedestrians and cyclists who were admitted to Bellevue Hospital between 2008 and 2011 and gleaned some insight into pedestrian crashes.
So rather than using police reports, the team at NYU surveyed the people who were injured and passed through this hospital to find out more circumstantial details of the crashes. (But it also means people who were hit but didn't go to the hospital, or people who were killed, aren't in the study.)
Here are some other findings:
So what are pedestrians to do? The study recommends separating traffic from bodies -- as in more bike lanes and more pedestrian plazas.
The study is behind a paywall, but you can read the abstract here.