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Kate Hinds

Kate Hinds appears in the following:

Snapshot | Street Signs on the UWS

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A truck hauling street signs is spotted on West 82nd Street on Tuesday morning.

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Picture: Street Signs In Transport

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

(photo by Kate Hinds)

No, it wasn't piloted by an irate New Yorker fed up with having to following the city's often-confusing parking regulations.  It's a NYC Department of Transportation -operated truck that repairs street lights and puts up signs.  And it was parked on the Upper West Side earlier today.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Senate Approves Pipeline Safety Bill, London Bus Stops All Have Real-Time Info, and Did The BlackBerry Outage Lower Traffic Crashes?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The US DOT handed out nearly $1 billion in transit grants. (Link)

Rep. Mica on FAA shutdown: been there, done that, don't want to do it again. (Link)

Orbitz was fined for deceptive ad practices. (Link)

(photo by Graeme Lawton via Flickr)

Last week's BlackBerry outage might be linked to a drop in traffic crashes. (Streetsblog)

The Senate approved a pipeline safety bill after a hold was dropped. (Los Angeles Times)

Could the Tappan Zee Bridge be High Lined? Probably not, but fun to imagine. (NY Times)

Electric cars are so popular with business travelers that Hertz is adding more to its fleet. (Marketplace)

How will Seattle replace its aging bridges? Not through a proposed $60 hike in car fees. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Real-time info is now available for every London bus stop. (Transit Wire)

A proposal to provide free transit service for San Francisco’s youth has some serious roadblocks -- namely a $13.2 million price tag and Clipper card incompatibility. (San Francisco Examiner)

NYC tries to coordinate street construction work via website. (NY Observer)

One plug to rule them all: automakers sign on to a single charging protocol. (Autopia)

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TN MOVING STORIES: East River Ferry Service Exceeds Expectations, Calgary Transit Booming, Looking Back at PATCO Strike

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top stories on TN:

As car sharing grows, auto makers see an opportunity. (Link)

The Florida DOT may be thinking about alternatives to driving for the state’s aging population. (Link)

Chris Ward confirms he's leaving the Port Authority; lays out plan for Brooklyn waterfront. (Link)

East River ferry (photo by synergii1 via Flickr)

New York's new East River ferry service exceeds expectations, has double the riders originally projected. (New York Times)

Half of Calgary's downtown commuters take transit -- a city goal that was reached 13 years ahead of schedule. (Calgary Herald)

More on Joe Lhota, the potential next head of New York's MTA. (New York Daily News)

Looking back at the PATCO strike and how it changed labor relations in America. (The Takeaway)

Electric vehicle owners celebrated the first National Plug In Day. (Good)

Op-ed about Tappan Zee Bridge replacement: "Leaving out mass transit repeats past sins of omission."  (LoHud)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Atlanta Sets Transpo Project List; Metro Officially Anoints the Silver Line; NYC Sued Over Taxi Accessibility

Friday, October 14, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Ray LaHood said he's a one-term transportation secretary. (Link)

GM will make a mini all-electric car. (Link)

Houston is getting a free downtown shuttle. (Link)

Atlanta (photo by J.C. Burns via Flickr)

Atlanta politicians overcame decades of distrust to finalize a massive, 10-county transportation project list. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The US attorney's office in Manhattan filed suit against NYC, saying the city's isn't complying with ADA requirements in the new taxi design. (NY Daily News)

Metro officially named the Dulles rail extension the Silver Line. And it will cost $107 million to operate in its first three years. (Washington Post)

A new bill would give local transit agencies flexibility -- specifically, the ability to use federal funding for operating costs, not just capital. (The Hill)

NY's MTA is renovating two subway stations in upper Manhattan. (DNA Info)

Trucking companies are struggling to find drivers. (NPR)

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Have Lunch with DOT Head Ray LaHood Today

Thursday, October 13, 2011

US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood

Well, electronically. The U.S. Department of Transportation secretary will be making the case for the American Jobs Act at the National Press Club today at 1pm (ET), and the Press Club will be webcasting his speech.

According to the NPC's website: "LaHood will also discuss Congress's struggles over the 2012 federal budget and how it has affected transportation programs such as the Federal Aviation Administration, which was partially shut down this summer. Congress averted another possible shutdown of the FAA in a last-minute deal to avert another round of furloughs by approving funding until January. Spending for federal highway programs was approved through the end of March. LaHood had warned that a lapse in funding for programs that fund roads, bridges, and transit projects would cost nearly a million workers their jobs over the next year and almost $1 billion in highway funding after the first 10 days alone. The Obama administration’s view is that transportation investments create jobs and lay the foundation for future economic growth."

You can watch the lunch here, starting at 12:50.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Detroit Slashes More Bus Service, Alexandria To Join Capital Bikeshare, NJ Transit Customers Unhappy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top stories on TN:

NY's governor is zeroing in on a "surprising" choice to run the MTA. (Link)

A new website maps crashes at NYC intersections. (Link)

An infrastructure bank will likely return as a political weapon. (Link)

GM to bicyclists: We're sorry we offended you. (Link)

Detroit bus (photo by Matt Picio via Flickr)

Detroit has cut a third of its bus service over the last five years; now suburban bus lines are facing "colossal cuts." (Detroit Free Press)

Alexandria's City Council voted unanimously to join Capital Bikeshare. (Washington Post)

NJ Transit customers gave the agency the lowest rating ever for "handling of service disruptions." (The Star-Ledger)

An Amtrak train blew a red signal and crashed into another train in Oakland, injuring 16. (AP via San Francisco Chronicle)

Today's Brian Lehrer Show: car sharing and rental cars. Discuss. (WNYC)

 

 

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GM To Bicyclists: We're Sorry We Offended You

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(image courtesy of Bike Portland)

General Motors is pulling an ad campaign that urged college students to "stop pedaling...start driving."

The car company probably thought it would spend the day talking about its first all-electric vehicle. Instead, it's spending the day apologizing.

The ad, which appeared in college newspapers across the country, shows an embarrassed guy on a bicycle next to a good-looking woman in a car -- the inference being that bicyclists should grow up already and buy a car. Bike Portland wrote about it Tuesday after being tipped off by a UCLA professor, who was outraged to see the ad in the school newspaper. It quickly went viral.

“The content of the ad was developed with college students and was meant to be a bit cheeky and humorous and not meant to offend anybody,”  Tom Henderson, a GM spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times, which reported Wednesday that the company would kill the ad.

GM's Twitter feed and Facebook page were inundated with complaints, and the company has spent much of the day apologizing via social media:

A screen shot of GM's Twitter feed

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Rosy Data on Columbus Avenue Bike Lane Can't Quite Quell Qualms

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Columbus Avenue bike lane (photo by Kate Hinds)

Bicycling has increased by 56% since a protected bike lane was installed on Columbus Avenue a year ago. And car crashes have dropped by 34%.

But that didn't stop members of Manhattan's Community Board 7 from hammering the New York City Department of Transportation, which was on hand to present preliminary data about the mile-long Upper West Side lane at a transportation committee meeting.

A screen shot of the NYC DOT's Columbus Avenue six-month bike lane data (photo by Kate Hinds)

The year-old bike lane  was approved last June by the full community board despite failing in committee. It's the only protected on-street lane on the Upper West Side.

The DOT attended the meeting at the committee's request, but it was clear that it wasn't the agency's idea. Ryan Russo, a deputy DOT commissioner, said "this is a preliminary analysis. Six months of data is generally too soon. The board asked us to come here, the board asked us to say what the data is saying, but it really takes a full year from when the project's completed -- a minimum of a full year -- to say how are things truly going."

As soon as the DOT was done presenting its data, Ulma Jones, a member of CB7's transportation committee, offered up a "laundry list" of issues, including complaints about new configurations for metered parking on sidestreets, traffic congestion, and bike riders going the wrong way in the lane. Others expressed incredulity that the numbers of bicyclists had increased -- especially in a lane that doesn't connect with the rest of the city's biking network.

But others were delighted with the redesign. CB7 committee member and cycling advocate Tila Duhaime hailed the lower incidence of speeding cars on the redesigned street. "It's fewer than one in ten?" she asked. "That's phenomenal." George Beane, an area resident and a member of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, said the DOT had worked to make loading zones more accessible to local businesses. "I think it's so much safer, it's economical, and it's healthy, and I think the DOT has should be commended. They've done a wonderful job. I appreciate it."

The DOT is preparing to implement a large bike share system, and a number of the city's community boards have recently voted to build or extend protected bike lanes.  So when one committee member last night asked the DOT if the Columbus Avenue lane might be extended north and south, the response was basically 'get in line.'

"We would be thrilled if the board would ask us to extend it, but again, we actually have a full plate," said the DOT''s Naomi Iwasaki. She said the DOT is working on bike lanes on First, Second, Eighth and Ninth Avenues, as well as lanes in other boroughs.

New York City Council Member Gale Brewer -- who said the bike lane is now "part of our DNA" -- presented results of a local survey that showed bikers felt the lane was a huge safety improvement. But pedestrians who took part in the anecdotal survey were split, and motorists felt the lane did not enhance their safety at all.

CB7 chair Mel Wymore offered some perspective on the phone the day after the meeting. “Bike lanes, dog runs, food trucks, all go to the same topic: sharing of public space," he said. "No matter how you slice it there’s a lot of opinions.” But Wymore said that moving forward, he'd be looking to extend the Columbus Avenue lane -- especially since neighboring Community Board 4 voted to extend their protected bike lanes  north to 59th Street. "We’re hopeful that we can have this connect to the whole network.”

 

 

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Bisons Jam Montana Traffic

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(photo by Jackie Yamanaka/Yellowstone Public Radio)

Traffic: it's different in Montana than in other parts of the country. TN correspondent Jackie Yamanaka reported that she experienced a "small bison jam" this weekend while visiting Yellowstone National Park.

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TN MOVING STORIES: FAA Allows NYC Helicopters Into Off-Limits Airspace, NYC Taxis May Get New Roof Lights, Michigan Town Loses Streetlights

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New York's Tappan Zee Bridge got expedited approval from the feds, but construction is years away. (Link)

(photo by Dino Abatzidis via Flickr)

A House committee will hold a hearing on President Obama's infrastructure bank proposal today. (The Hill)

The UAW reached a tentative deal with Chrysler. (Detroit Free Press)

New York is considering a new roof light system for taxis. (DNA Info, New York Times)

The Federal Aviation Administration said it's allowing some NYC sightseeing helicopters to use airspace that's supposed to be off-limits to local air traffic. (WNYC)

DC's Metro is trying to figure out ways to make parking easier for for riders -- and is also encouraging riders to bike to stations by building bike corrals. (Washington Examiner)

A Michigan town is losing more than half its streetlights as part of a settlement over an unpaid electric bill. (Detroit Free Press, Michigan Messenger)

Transportation Alternatives has compiled a list of NYC's most dangerous intersections for pedestrians and bikers. (New York Daily News)

Reimagining urban flight: an environmental designer creates 'urban fly lines.' (The Takeaway)

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Tappan Zee Bridge Gets Expedited Approval, But Construction May Not Start for Years

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Tappan Zee Bridge (photo by Joseph A. via Flickr)

UPDATED The White House announced Tuesday that it will expedite permitting and environmental reviews for a new Tappan Zee Bridge, potentially the largest infrastructure job-creator in the U.S.

The White House also expedited the permitting and review processes for 13 other infrastructure projects, including new rail lines in Baltimore and Los Angeles, a housing project in Denver, and a wind power facility in Vermont.

The Tappan Zee Bridge connects New York's Rockland and Westchester Counties, and 135,000 vehicles cross it each weekday. It's over 55 years old and is in constant need of major and costly repairs.

An expedited federal review is supposed to move construction along faster by coordinating the permitting process. But the final bridge design has yet to be announced, and the White House says "the project is an ambitious one and construction will not begin for several years."

The Tappan Zee Bridge currently has no special transit capacity.  Initial plans included rail lines and bus rapid transit, but the future of transit on the bridge is unclear.

Five options for a new span are currently under review, including a "no build" alternative. Several of the options include bus rapid transit. Rail capacity looks unlikely, although it could be added later.

The Tappan Zee redesign started out as a joint project between the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York State Thruway, but is now being  The MTA's name was absent from the press release issued by Governor Cuomo today, and no MTA officials attended his two publicly stated meetings about the bridge (8/4/11, 5/20/11).

According to DOT officials, the project has been scaled back from its initial vision. Initially part of  30-mile long transportation corridor with costs potentially exceeding $21 billion, sources say the project has been re-scoped to focus solely on the bridge.  It's currently estimated to cost $5.2 billion.

The cost of running a rail line over a new Tappan Zee Bridge had been estimated to cost $6.7 billion.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo heralded the White House announcement in a press release today, saying "the Tappan Zee project has the potential to generate more jobs than any other infrastructure project in the nation."

The DOT said the bridge "will deliver at least 33,000 job years through the duration of construction activities." But just when hiring will begin is unknown. There is no timeline for construction available yet, but the DOT said New York hopes to begin bidding the project out in August of 2012.

The governor said the bridge has an accident rate double the rest of the New York Thruway system, and also has serious vulnerabilities to extreme events such as severe storms, ship collision and earthquakes. And keeping it in good condition is both costly and unending: according to a February 2011 Wall Street Journal article, the state spent $146.8 million over the last five years on repairs, and has budgeted $148.8 million between 2010 and 2012 just to fix the Tappan Zee's deck.

The DOT said the state has indicated financing for the new bridge will primarily comes from issuing bonds secured through toll revenues. A detailed funding plan was not available. Calls to Governor Cuomo's office today were not returned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Snapshot | Autumn on Columbus Avenue

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

PHOTO. Autumn comes to a bike lane pedestrian island at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and 82nd Street. 

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TN MOVING STORIES: Senate Dems Tweak Infrastructure Proposal; Cuomo Wants Speedy Federal Approval for New Tappan Zee Bridge

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top stores on TN:

The ARC tunnel dispute fueled rancor between NJ Governor Christie and the Obama Administration. (Link)

GM signs car share agreement. (Link)

LIRR train (photo by Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons)

One New York politician wants the Long Island Rail Road to institute a bill of rights for passengers. (WNYC)

Jobs bill update: a procedural vote will come tonight. (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are working on a Plan B: merge a corporate repatriation tax holiday to an infrastructure bank proposal. (Politico)

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo wants speedy federal approval for a new Tappan Zee bridge. (Capitol Confidential)

Maryland leaders debate applying sales tax to gas purchases to boost funds for that state's infrastructure. (AP via Washington Post)

The future of Ann Arbor's transit system could include streetcars or monorail. (AnnArbor.com)

The NYC subway map did away with Charlton Street. (New York Times)

A project aimed at untangling an Amtrak, Metra, and freight train logjam broke ground yesterday on Chicago’s South Side. (WBEZ)

Should California allow hybrids with no passengers back into the carpool lane? Research says yes. (KQED)

Outgoing NY MTA head Jay Walder toured the top of the Verrazano Bridge. (NY Post)

How to store your bike in your apartment? Turn it into a bookshelf. (Apartment Therapy)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Purple Line Gets Green Light, Manhattan Gas Stations on the Wane, and Paul McCartney Marries MTA Board Member Nancy Shevell

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Accident investigations: what happens during Houston highway shutdowns. (Link)

Montana rolls out a statewide program to crack down on drunk drivers. (Link)

A Manhattan gas station (photo by Kate Hinds)

 

Maryland gets the green light to continue planning for the Purple Line --  a 16-mile light rail line that would link two Metro lines, connect all three MARC commuter rail lines, and link to Amtrak and local bus services. (WAMU)

NY's MTA will run less trains on "minor holidays," which it says will save the agency $200,000 a year. (New York Post)

There are 17 fewer gas stations in Manhattan today than there were two years ago. (Crain's New York)

NY MTA board member Nancy Shevell married Paul McCartney. (ABC News)

Bus ridership in Sioux Falls is up -- and the mayor says it's due, in part, to big city transplants. "They are used to using public transit. It is the wave of the future. We are still a city and state that loves our trucks and cars, but reality is setting in," he said. "Public transportation is going to be a central need for our future." (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

Los Angeles traffic policy turns some side streets into pedestrian nightmares. (Los Angeles Times)

Chicago Tribune op-ed: absenteeism is the reason your buses are late.

This week in the New York Times Complaint Box: electric delivery bikes.

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TN MOVING STORIES: Delays And Funding Issues Could Hurt FAA's NextGen System; Atlanta Rail Line Scaled Back -- For Roads

Friday, October 07, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Obama touts his jobs bill, lifts up infrastructure repair: "Why would you vote against that?" (Link)

NY and NJ drivers are both terrible, a car expert asserts. In fact, most states are full of bad drivers. (Link)

Boise launched a car sharing program. (Link)

Maryland schools seek to improve pedestrian safety. (Link)

A bicycle paramedic in London (photo via Firegeezer)

Delays -- and budget cutbacks -- may plague implementation of the FAA's NextGen system. (Washington Post)

China says human error was behind last week's subway crash in Shanghai. (Los Angeles Times)

A project that could have built a county-crossing rail line in Atlanta may be scaled back--with the money going to road construction projects instead. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on President Obama's infrastructure bank proposal. (The Hill)

The chairwoman of the Texas Transportation Committee resigned so she could devote herself to Rick Perry's presidential campaign. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

An I.M. Pei-designed terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport is being demolished. (New York Times)

Car talk: the near-collapse of the American auto industry in 2008 will be discussed on this morning's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)

Cambridge, U.K., is piloting a bicycle paramedic program. (BBC)

An Australian dance company is in Minneapolis to perform "Structure and Sadness," a work inspired by a bridge disaster 40 years ago in Melbourne. (MPR)

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Obama on Infrastructure Repair: "Why Would You Vote Against That?"

Thursday, October 06, 2011

 President Barack Obama during a news conference in the East Room of the White House (photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Obama, who's trying to line up support for his jobs bill, used his press conference today to once again invoke crumbling infrastructure and unemployed construction workers.

His remarks were in the same vein as the speech he delivered last month in front of an "obsolete" bridge. Here are some highlights:

"In Maine, there is a bridge that is in such bad shape that pieces of it were literally falling off the other day.  And, meanwhile, we’ve got millions of laid-off construction workers who could right now be busy rebuilding roads, rebuilding bridges, rebluiding schools.  This jobs bill gives them a chance to get back to work rebuilding America.  Why wouldn’t we want that to happen?  Why would you vote against that?"

He went on to chastise Republicans: "My understanding is that for the last decade, they’ve been saying we need to lower taxes for folks.  Well, why wouldn’t we want to do that through this jobs bill?  We know that we’ve got roads and bridges and schools that need to be rebuilt.  And historically, Republicans haven’t been opposed to rebuilding roads and bridges.  Why would you be opposed now?"

But he admitted that the challenges facing the country and its aging infrastructure won't be solved overnight, even if the Senate passes the American Jobs Act.

"I mean, what’s contained in the American jobs bill doesn’t cover all the roads and bridges and infrastructure that needs to be improved around the country.

You can read the full transcript of the president's remarks here.

 

 

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NY: NJ Drivers Are Terrible; NJ: No, You Are; Expert: You're Both Bad

Thursday, October 06, 2011

(photo by Elizabeth Thomsen via Flickr)

The Brian Lehrer Show kicked off their month-long series about driving today. This week's installment: the differences between New York and New Jersey drivers--and which flavor is worse. But the guest, Michelle Krebs of Edmunds and AutoObserver.com, debunked the premise right away.

"Most states are full of really bad drivers," she said.  "Part of it is because we never go back and take driving lessons again, (and) it's really important because the technology changes."

Some callers wanted to expand the conversation beyond the two states. For example, Jordan in Mamaroneck "learned to drive a stick shift on Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn." He continued: "I can tell you from regular experience...the scariest license plate on the road is not New York or New Jersey, it's Connecticut."

To hear how local drivers are stymied by highway turning lanes called jughandles, making a right turn on red, and undertaking a maneuver known as "the Jersey Left," listen to the segment below.

 

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TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Closer to Completing Manhattan Greenway, Buffalo's Main Street Wants Cars Back

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The outgoing head of the Port Authority says "I was burned by politics." (Link)

GM warms to car sharing; will adapt its OnStar anti-theft technology to facilitate personal car rentals. (Link)

When it comes to car colors, white is the new silver. (Link)

(photo courtesy of East River Greenway Initiative)

Virginia begins a year-long study looking at current and projected commuting patterns, the goal being to reduce the number of Northern Virginians who commute by car. (Fairfax Times)

NYC announced a deal that could give the city the money it needs to complete a greenway around Manhattan. (WNYC)

Buffalo wants to bring cars back to Main Street -- undoing the half-billion dollar project from the 1980's to remove cars from the area. (WIVB)

Michigan got a grant to bring speedier rail service between Kalamazoo and Detroit; the Detroit-Chicago corridor also got some good news. (Detroit Free Press)

Virginia's power company is incentivizing nighttime charging for electric car owners. (WAMU)

Montana landowners are suing ExxonMobil's pipeline company over this summer's spill in the Yellowstone River. (KUHF)

A Norwegian energy company has installed 'bicycle care stations' at select gas stations in Copenhagen. (Good)

The Brian Lehrer Show looks at driving in NY and NJ today. (WNYC)

The community board for Manhattan's Upper East Side wants bicyclists to be licensed. (DNA Info)

The MTA is trying to deal with a rat problem at 25 NYC subway stations. (NY1)

Tweet of the day, by MSNBC's Christopher Hayes: "Pro-tip: the best way to cover a mass protest or street action is on your bike."

 

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Car Colors: White is the New Silver

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A 2011 Porsche in...white. (Photo by BeverlyHillsPorsches via Flickr)

When it comes to car colors, North Americans now prefer white.

According to data released Wednesday by paint maker PPG Industries, white has edged out silver and black as the most popular color of choice for 2011 model vehicles. Silver had been the favorite of North American car buyers for a decade.

In North America, 20 percent of cars were white. Silver came in second, at 19 percent, with black  and gray close behind (18 percent and 15 percent, respectively). Colors such as red, blue, green, yellow, and brown all came in at less than 10 percent.

Other color facts revealed by PPG, which held its Automotive Color Trend Show today: Europeans prefer black cars, Asians prefer silver, and green seems roundly disliked by all three regions, accounting for only 2 percent of car color choices.

But white is the global winner, accounting for 21 percent of 2011 model year cars.

(image courtesy of PPG)

The company said their surveys indicated 77 percent of car buyers said that exterior color was a factor in their purchase, and 31 percent said they’d be willing to pay extra for a color that "expresses their personality."

White will have new competition for the top spot in the future. PPG unveiled 70 shades for the 2014-2015 model years including: "Goldeluxe, a silver with an influence of a gold; White Nougat, a soft creamy white with a highlight sparkle; Muddy Waters, a tone of brown with a pearl luster effect; Grape Spritz, a blue fused with a purple highlight; and Pot O’Gold, a light green with a hint of gold."

 

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