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Transportation Nation

LA's Famed Freeway Murals May Become Graffiti, Vinyl

Monday, August 09, 2010

Courtesy: Ruth Wallach, USC Libraries

The misery of driving on LA's freeways is well known.  At times, the traffic isn't even the worst part -- it's the smog, the scenery, the utter lack of anything else to look at, besides the bumper of the car in front of you.  Sadly, this is about to get worse.

After fighting an onslaught of graffiti for years, California's Department of Transportation says it can no longer restore and maintain LA's famous freeway murals.  Started with CalTrans' permission around the 1984 Olympics, the murals have been a point of artistic pride, Chicano identity and the cultural landscape of LA.  Now, at best, some will be turned into vinyl banners. -- Collin Campbell, TN

More from Southern California Public Radio.

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Transportation Nation

Yellowstone's July Attendance Through the Roof...Er, the Big Sky

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

(Billings, MT -- Jackie Yamanaka, Yellowstone Public Radio) Yellowstone National Park officials today announced July set a new record for visitation -- at more than 957-thousand people. That's the largest number to ever visit the park in any month and comes on the heels of a new visitation record for June.
It's also the first time in Yellowstone's history that the number of visitors for the first seven months of the year has topped the 2-million mark.

Yellowstone officials are struggling to cope with the record traffic -- the story here.

Photos here.

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The Takeaway

Time's Up for Chrysler's PT Cruiser

Thursday, July 08, 2010

On Friday, Chrysler will make its last PT Cruiser. Ten years ago, the Cruiser became a cultural phenonenon with buyers willing to wait in line for their chance to own one. Why did the Cruiser strike such a chord?

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Transportation Nation

Will Blind People Drive in 2011?

Monday, July 05, 2010

(The Takeaway)  Blind people and advocates for the blind liken it to walking on the moon: The National Federation of the Blind has joined forces with Virginia Tech to create a car that could be driven by passengers who do not have the use of their sight. The car, slated at this point for a 2011 release, uses hand sensors, speaking computer directives and other forms of cutting-edge technology to aid their visibility-challenged drivers.  Here's Mark Riccobono, executive director of the National Federation of The Blind Jernigan Institute explaining it to John Hockenberry on The Takeaway.

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The Takeaway

In the Works: Car for the Blind

Monday, July 05, 2010

Blind people and advocates for the blind liken it to walking on the moon: The National Federation of the Blind has joined forces with Virginia Tech to create a car that could be driven by passengers who do not have the use of their sight. The car, slated at this point for a 2011 release, uses hand sensors, speaking computer directives and other forms of cutting-edge technology to aid their visibility-challenged drivers.

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Transportation Nation

Senators Now Crossing the Aisle for Electric Car

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Lawmakers are hoping for a chance to give the electric car a jolt in the Senate’s upcoming energy bill.

A bipartisan group of senators are pushing a new round of incentives and cash designed to speed development of long-range batteries and plug-in stations that could finally start to push the US transportation fleet away from fossil fuels.

No one expects it to happen quickly. Most lawmakers and experts expect it will take decades before a significant proportion of Americans are driving plug-in hybrids or electric cars.

The Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 throws $1.5 billion in research and development grants to high-tech battery firms.

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The Takeaway

Detroit Carmakers Beat Imports for First Time Ever on Key List

Friday, June 18, 2010

Detroit got a dose of good news, yesterday. For the first time in the 24 year history of the JD Power and Associates Initial Quality Study American car makers beat out imports. Porsche still topped the list, but Ford was in the top five up there, along with luxury brands. That is the only time a mainstream American brand has been in that group. 

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Transportation Nation

NYC residents save $19B a year from driving less: report

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

(photo:Flickr.com)

(photo:Flickr.com)

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Just in time for Earth Week, New York City is releasing a slew of reports showing how well-off it is because of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's green initiatives. Today's report comes by way of CEOs for Cities, in town holding its annual "Strategies for Cities" conference. Economist Joe Cortright ran the numbers: because New Yorkers drive less, about 16 miles a day less than their counterparts in other urban areas, then spend $19 billion less a year than the "average" city dweller in the U.S. Sitting right on that average are Denver, Minneapolis, and Hartford, CN.

It's not exactly news that New Yorkers drive less, and save on transportation -- City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (introduced at the conference as a "goddess,") likes to say that everyone could immediate cut their carbon footprint by 2/3 simply by moving to New York.

But it's the first time the number has been aggregated this way.

By the way, Houston residents drive the most, an average of 38 miles a day. But in Houston, which has an oil economy, at least some of that money can be calculated to go back into the local area.

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The Takeaway

Transportation Sec. Levies Heavy Fine on Toyota Corp.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

In a statement released yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he intends to levy a $16.4 million fine, the largest allowed by law, against embattled, multinational Toyota Motor Company.  

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The Takeaway

New Investigation Into Toyota's Runaway Acceleration Problem

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A video of a Prius that lost control in a dramatic crash on a California highway has sparked a new investigation into Toyota's acceleration problems. Worse, the driver says he had already reported problems to the car dealer.

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The Takeaway

Toyota CEO to Testify on Capitol Hill

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, will testify before Congress today as part of a probe into his company's massive car recall. Toyoda's prepared remarks have already been released and the embattled CEO is expected to apologize to customers and to lawmakers ahead of his testimony.

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The Takeaway

Using Your Car to Forecast the Weather

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Inspired by the blizzards hitting much of the country, we’re dedicating this week's tech segment to a timely topic: the weather. Scientists are developing new and innovative ways to predict it... and one of the tools they’re enlisting is your car.

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The Takeaway

Toyota's Woes Reach a Kentucky Town

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

State Rep. Charlie Hoffman from Georgetown, Ky., is witnessing the affects of the Toyota recalls on the lives of his community, who rely on the company for jobs.

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The Takeaway

What Does the Toyota Recall Mean for Dealers?

Monday, February 01, 2010

Toyota has said that dealerships will be equipped with new parts later this week for customers whose cars have been recalled due to defective gas pedals. We speak with John McEleney, a Toyota dealer in Iowa and chairman of the National Association of Automobile Dealers, about how he's handling the recall.

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The Takeaway

Ford CEO Alan Mulally on the State of the Carmaker

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We spoke with Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, about the state of things for Ford (the only one of the "Big Three" not to take bailout money), carmakers in general, CEOs, and the nation.

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The Takeaway

Detroit Auto Show Features Greener, Cleaner Cars

Monday, January 11, 2010

The North American International Auto Show kicks off in Detroit today and big car companies will be featuring green vehicles and focusing on electrification.  We talk with Jim Motavelli, blogger for The New York Times and author of "Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean" Cars for the Future," about the supposed end of the V-6 era. Also joining us is Eddie Alterman, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver, to discuss changing times in the auto world.

Read Jim Motavelli's post in The New York Times, "Detroit Auto Show: A Green Preview."

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The Takeaway

Toyota Struggles With Recalls, Competition

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Toyota, as recently as a year ago, looked like it could escape the economic downturn unscathed and remain the auto giant it has been for decades. But recent bad press, including announcements of multiple recalls, may be hurting the Japanese auto maker and its times of dominance may soon be over. Paul Eisenstein is the publisher of The Detroit Bureau, and believes Toyota may be in big trouble. Steven Pecha thinks differently; he says the dealership he works at, Scott Clark's Toyota City in Matthews, N.C., has been doing well and all the bad news about recalls are a thing of the past.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: Chrysler Dealers, Football, Listeners on Loans

Friday, December 18, 2009

  • Business Takeout: Louise Story, finance reporter for our partner, The New York Times, explains why Chrysler is uneasy with government plans to force auto companies into arbitration with former car dealers.
  • Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin has the results of last night's football (the Colts squeaked out a victory over the Jaguars to keep their perfect record) and a look ahead to the weekend in sports.
  • Listener Takeout: We hear from you about student loans and the fine print that accompanies them.

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Transportation Nation

The Takeaway: 'This is Not Your Father's DOT': Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The federal government is on the verge of spending billions of dollars on highways and public transit projects, beginning in 2010. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood views this as a historic moment in American history, when federal money will back policy aimed at getting Americans off the highways, out of our cars and into public transit and high-speed rail. LaHood steps through the many areas of American life in which he's now shaping policy.

Listen to the full story.

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The Takeaway

Detroiters Tell their Car Stories at The Moth

Friday, December 04, 2009

Last night the storytellers at The Moth in Detroit took on the topic closest to Motor City's heart: cars. Alex Trajano, host of the event, shares the winning story with us and some observations on what happens when you make an open call to Detroiters to tell car stories in public. 

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