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Thursday, December 20, 2012

If you read this post (or our daily email) each day, you value Transportation Nation.

Throughout this eventful year, Transportation Nation (and our parent station WNYC) has kept you informed about transportation and infrastructure, from real-time updates on Sandy damage with our Transit Tracker, to monitoring the future of high-speed rail, and deep looks at the track records of presidential candidates. Please include Transportation Nation in your year-end giving plans and help pay for another year of independent journalism. Your financial contribution will strengthen TN and WNYC in 2013. It keeps us going. Visit to make your tax deductible gift now.

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We know times are tough right now, but every little bit helps. Thanks for your support. (Link)

Back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Top links on TN:
MTA Approves Fare Hike — and Lhota Officially to Resign This Month (link)
Montana Ranchers Worry Proposed New Rail Line Route Will Expedite Export of Coal to Asia (link)
How to Build a Better Bike Lock — U.K. Foundation Offers Prize (link)
As NY MTA Chair, Lhota Exhorted: Be A Man! (link)
As PATH Resumes after Sandy, Questions Remain about Agency, Flood Plans (link)
Northern Virginia Planning Big ‘Outer Beltway’ Road Expansion (link)
New MARTA GM: First We Economize, Then We Ask the State for Money (link)
TSA to Commission Independent Study of X-Ray Body Scanners (link)
Washington Governor Proposes New Fuel Tax For Education (link)

Today's stories:
On today's Brian Lehrer Show: TN reporters talk MTA fare hikes, Columbus Avenue bike lanes, and Lhota for mayor. (WNYC)

Canadian auto workers are furious over G.M.'s decision to move Camaro production south of the border (to Lansing). (Windsor Star)

How loud is the horn of Amtrak's Downeaster train? According to locals, "it's absolutely, positively horrible." (Bangor Daily News)

It's baa-aack: the lawsuit over Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane will be back in court. (NY Observer)

Signing ceremony: Hawaii's rail project received a long-awaited $1.55 billion check from the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

List: the 12 best things to happen to L.A. pedestrians this year. (Los Angeles Walks)

How will Cuomo pay for the Tappan Zee Bridge? "Expect the financial engineering on the bridge to be far more complicated than the actual engineering." (New York Post)

Michigan's governor signed into law a bill creating a regional transit authority for Detroit. (Detroit Free Press)

Drought alert: efforts are underway to blast away rock in some parts of Mississippi River in an attempt to make it deeper. (Marketplace)
Meanwhile: despite low water levels, it's business as usual at the Port of New Orleans. (WWNO)

Let my people e-read: as the holiday travel season approaches, the Federal Aviation Administration is under pressure to allow more widespread use of e-readers on commercial flights. (NPR)

Showdown: Santa tracker controversy as NORAD dumps Google maps for Bing. (Fast Company)

Vincent Urban's envy-inducing video traces a journey through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Southern Brazil. "Watch it full screen and you'll be itching to look up flights to South America." (Atlantic Cities)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Treasury Announces G.M. Exit Strategy, Port Strikes Loom from Maine to Texas, A Rover You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top stories on TN:
NY MTA Chief To Step Down And Run For Mayor (link)
VIDEO: Transportation Nation’s Mug. It Can Be Yours. (link)
DC’s Capital Bikeshare Expanding by 30 Percent (link)
PATH Service To Hoboken To Resume Wednesday (link)
Shale Drillers Eager to Move Wastewater on Barges (link)
D.C. Airports Board Spent $1.5 Million Defending Former Board Member (link)

The other Mars Curiosity rover, made of gingerbread and on display on the Caltech campus. (Brian Bell/courtesy California Institute of Technology)

The Treasury Department said it planned to sell off its entire stake in General Motors within 15 months. (New York Times)

The threat of a longshoremen's strike this year once again looms over ports from Maine to Texas, after contract talks that had already been extended 90 days broke down once again. (The Star-Ledger)

Traffic deaths are on the rise in California, and in 2011, it had more traffic fatalities than any state except Texas. (Los Angeles Times)

Meanwhile: Los Angeles city officials launched an effort to give 53 intersections a makeover to combat higher-than-average rates of traffic accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists -- but are they focused on the right spots? (KPCC)

New York's MTA is getting ready to ditch the bright flashing blue lights on top of the city's Select Bus Service vehicles, to prevent drivers from mistaking them for emergency vehicles. (DNA Info)

Early plans for what could be the Twin Cities' fourth light-rail transit spoke are moving ahead: Golden Valley -- once the lone rail holdout -- has approved the Bottineau route. (Minnesota Public Radio)

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JFK Airport security workers nixed plans to strike during Christmas. (New York Post)

The private company behind the proposed All Aboard Florida rail service got the green light to move forward on its passenger rail plans between Orlando and Miami. (WMFE)

Florida voters have selected their next license plate -- and yes, there's an orange. (Miami Herald)

New Jersey Senate panel has advanced a bill that would increase penalties for drivers who cause the death of a pedestrian by failing to yield at a crosswalk. (Jersey Journal)

NY Gov. Cuomo plans to make Department of Motor Vehicles offices friendlier places, complete with customer-service reps to greet and assist motorists and self-serve kiosks. (New York Post)

Next month Las Vegas will unveil a bike-share program targeting Zappos employees who work downtown. (Las Vegas Sun)

The head chef at Caltech made a gingerbread replica of the Mars Rover. "There's Yoda, Darth Vader, Buzz Lightyear and a three-eyed Martian nearby. At least I think it's a Martian. We'll have to wait for one of NASA's rovers to take a picture of a Martian to be sure." (NPR)

If it's Christmas, it must be time for Tony Lepore, Providence's dancing traffic cop, to bust a move.  (AP video)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Car Sales Booming, Transpo Agenda for 113th Congress, Goldman Sachs Loaned $ to NYC Bike Share

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Post-Sandy Gaps In The NYC Subway Map Remain Stubbornly Unrepaired (link)
NY Thruway Cancels 45% Toll Hike (link)
New York Chooses Builder for $3.1 Billion Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement (link)
Orlando MagLev Plan Gets Tentative Approval (link)

(photo by Kate Hinds)

Goldman Sachs has quietly loaned $41 million to help finance the start of New York City’s much anticipated, and long-delayed, bike-sharing program. "While Citigroup is paying $41m over five years to sponsor the project and has thousands of rental bicycles branded with its name, Goldman’s role in the programme has until now remained behind the scenes. The bank’s $41m loan is being used as the seed financing needed to get the project off the ground." (Financial Times; sub. req.)

On the agenda for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee next year: rail legislation, Amtrak privatization, and -- oh yeah -- how to fund transportation. (Politico)

The CEO of Houston's Metro resigned abruptly. (KUHF)

Study: transit apps make us happier commuters. (FastCoDesign)

Never before have annual car sales surpassed 80 million vehicles around the world, but they're on track to reach that milepost by year's end. (Marketplace)

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Plans to build a light rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport are advancing with the unveiling of four potential station sites that would link to a people mover serving passenger terminals. (Los Angeles Times)

Oakland's year-old pilot permit program for mobile food trucks comes under review today as city council considers renewing the policy. (KQED)

The federal government fined Toyota over $17 million for failing to report safety defects to regulators in a timely fashion. (Wall Street Journal)

Want Siri to use Google maps instead of Apple's program? The magic word is "transit." (Lifehacker)

Poland is one of Europe's most dangerous places to drive. How to make it better? Better roads -- and stronger legislation. (video from BBC)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Tappan Zee Bridge Design to be Picked Today, Lack of PATH Service Starting to Grate on Hoboken

Monday, December 17, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Bike Share Coming to Portland — When Alta Finds a Sponsor (link)
D.C. to Start Testing Streetcars Next Spring (link)

PATH train (photo by Kate Hinds)

The New York State Thruway will pick a Tappan Zee Bridge design at a meeting today. (Newsday)

The lack of PATH train service is really starting to grate upon Hoboken's financial nerves. (New York Times, Marketplace)

As Greeks reel from the financial crisis, they're leaving the cars at home and rediscovering transit. "Rail traffic between Greece's two biggest cities - Athens and Thessaloniki - surged by 33 percent in the first 11 months of 2012." (Reuters)

Go inside the lab where D.C.'s Metro troubleshoots its plentiful escalator problems. (Washington Post)

Bus ridership is surging in St. Louis. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Auto makers are adding features for older drivers -- and they go way beyond push-button ignition switches. "The Ford Focus Park Assist can basically park itself. New Infinitis can alert drivers to vehicles located in the blind spot area. And Mercedes-Benz's Lane Keeping Assist technology sends a warning before drivers drift out of their lane." (NPR)

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The MTA's FASTRACK program will expand to the outer boroughs next year. (New York Daily News)

India's love affair with public-private partnerships is facing a test: Chennai’s new airport terminal is due to open in 2013. Work started in 2008. (Economist)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced a bill that would require the Treasury Department to study the viability of raising new federal highway funds by taxing cars for each mile they drive. (The Hill)

How pedestrians navigate crowded sidewalks: 1. Avoid bumping into people. 2. Follow the person in front of you. 3. Keep up with those next to you. (New York Times)
But if you must enter Midtown during the holiday season, none of the above will protect you from Fifth Avenue. (DNA Info)

Could a train based on a theme park ride solve Japan's post-tsunami transpo problems? (New Scientist)

Sri Lanka is color-coding passenger transport vehicles. "Private passenger transport buses will be painted light blue- Pantone colour code 2707C while public passenger transport buses of the Sri Lanka Transport Board will be painted red- Pantone colour code 185C." (Sri Lanka Daily News)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Low Water Levels Could Shut Down Shipping on the Mississippi River, Amtrak to Buy New Acelas, MTA Lobbyist-Free in D.C.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Top stories on TN:
NY MTA Head Formally Backs Fare Hike (link)
Taking Uber for a Test Drive in San Francisco (link)
LOOK: Gold Line Rail Bridge is California History “With Some Artistry” (link)
Taxi E-Hail App Approved in NYC (link)
How Sandy Might Tweak Today’s High-Speed Rail Privatization Hearing (link)

The Acela (photo by Gary Pancavage, Amtrak)

New York's MTA fired its D.C. lobbyists earlier this year as part of cost-cutting efforts -- and now it has to win $5 billion in federal aid without them. (Bloomberg)

Without rain, water levels on the Mississippi are projected to reach historic lows this month -- which could bring shipping along the waterway to a halt. (Guardian)

Amtrak is buying an entirely new set of Acela cars; the railroad hopes to have the first new trains within five to seven years.  (CNN Money)

Democrats are hammering Congressman John Mica for his "unhealthy obsession with privatizing" Amtrak. (The Hill)

New York City's comptroller may try to block the city's contract for "the taxi of tomorrow." (Capital NY). Mayor Bloomberg's response: "It isn't worth spending a lot of time trying to decipher why some of these things are done." (tweet via @DanaRubinstein)

Google maps returns to iPhones --but the map wars are far from over. (Marketplace)

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Los Angeles is allocating almost $7 million for safety improvements along its busy Blue Line light rail, which has seen eight deaths so far this year. (Los Angeles Times)

Bike-share in the Bay Area will now arrive no sooner than the summer of 2013, roughly a year and a half after the original launch date. (SF Streetsblog)

Commuters got their chance to tell NJ Transit's board how they felt about its post-Sandy customer relations. (Star-Ledger)

The air traffic controllers union is warning of layoffs unless the "fiscal cliff" is avoided. (Washington Post)

BEEEEEEEEEP! This bike horn sounds like a car horn. (Atlantic Cities)

Opening today: two-way protected bike lanes -- outfitted with bike signals -- in the heart of Chicago's business district. (Chicago Tribune)

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TN MOVING STORIES: NJ Cars Accidentally Fill Up with Jet Fuel, N.H. Wants Commuter Rail, Infrastructure's "New Normal"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Top stories on TN:
CHARTS: Whites Ride Transit Less Often Than Everyone Else (link)
Manhattan Community Board Rejects Bike Lane Extension, But “We’re Not Done With This” (link)
Report: National Weather Service Says NJ Transit Didn’t Ask About Flooding (link)

A giant rubber duck floating down the Thames (photo by worldoflard via flickr)

United, Delta, and American Airlines are within weeks of having their first international flights with Internet service. (AP via Seattle Times)

New York's post-Sandy decision: how to spend limited funds to defend themselves from what climate experts call "the new normal." (NPR)

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has named 10 new Republican members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  (The Hill)

A Houston nonprofit is providing free bikes and helmets to children from low-income communities who earned them by doing well in school. (KUHF)

New Jersey confirmed that jet fuel was accidentally sold at gas stations across the state...(The Trentonian)
...which, by the way, makes cars stall -- not explode or fly. (Gizmodo)

New Hampshire politicians want to establish a commuter rail system for the state. (Nashua Telegraph)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg hit the brakes Wednesday on a proposal to keep tourist-toting pedicabs from charging confusing, sometimes exorbitant rates. (AP via Crain's New York)

And Politifact's "Lie of the Year" goes to...a Mitt Romney campaign ad that claimed Barack Obama "sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China."(Link)

State officials overseeing construction of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge agreed this year to pay a public relations company nearly $10 million for services the Brown administration says it knew nothing about, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct tours and to produce a video and commemorative book. Yes, the contract has been rescinded. (Sacramento Bee)

San Francisco's Muni turned 100. Listen to a conversation about the city's transit history -- and future -- at KQED.

Phoenix transit riders will likely face fare hikes in March, service changes in January and may have to navigate a light-rail strike as early as New Year's Day. (Arizona Republic)

A Houston neighborhood is getting parking regulations designed to help the bustling corridor's bars, restaurants and residential streets mix better. (Houston Chronicle)

A cardboard-lined bike helmet -- inspired by the corrugated cartilage of woodpeckers -- will go on sale in the U.S. next year. (NPR)

German bicycle designer Didi Senft, known during the Tour de France as "El Diabolo", created a Santa bicycle. (Click the Boston Globe link for a photo.)

A marketing campaign floated a giant rubber duck down the Thames River in London. (Laughing Squid)

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TN MOVING STORIES: NJ Transit Rolling Out Real-Time Bus Info, JFK Security Workers Threaten Strike, Scranton Wants a Commuter Tax

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top stories on TN:
D.C. Unveils Four New Taxicab Colors (link)
Could NYC’s ‘Bike Lane to Nowhere’ Get A Boost? (link)
Confusion at the Gas Pump: Which Grade is Best? (link)
As Connecticut’s Transit Funds Shrink, the Call for Tolls Grows Louder (link)

Earth at Night 2012 (google maps)

After Hurricane Sandy, would you bury a rail yard under a neighborhood of skyscrapers? That's New York's plan for the Hudson Yards on the far west side of Manhattan. (WNYC)

NJ Transit keeps insisting it made Sandy-based decisions on the weather information it had available. But the National Weather Service says it never heard from the agency. "If they had called we would have helped them," said the region's meteorologist. "On Sunday morning, when it looks like they pulled the trigger, we would have told them it was highly likely to a near certainty that this yard was going to take on water." (Star-Ledger)

The NTSB wants every state to require convicted drunk drivers to use devices that prevent them from starting a car's engine if their breath tests positive for alcohol. (Detroit Free Press)

A Texas judge has issued a temporary restraining order to halt work on the Keystone XL pipeline. (Houston Chronicle)

NJ Transit is rolling out real-time bus arrival information for buses in the Princeton/Trenton area; the transit agency says it should be state-wide by spring. (Star-Ledger)

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Google maps now has an earth at night layer. Check it out here. (Atlantic Cities)

The much-awaited groundbreaking for the Boston region's Green Line extension took place yesterday, as the state plans to begin work renovating bridges and underpasses to bring the trolley through Somerville to Medford. (WBUR)

Security workers at JFK airport are threatening to strike next week. (Crain's New York)

Zambia is looking for partners to help run its rail network and national airline. (Bloomberg)

Opinion: California's bullet train project is headed for some kind of political collision. (Sacramento Bee)

A panel of Lackawanna County Court judges is hearing arguments on Scranton's request for a one percent commuter tax. (Times-Tribune)

Polar express: a picture of a frozen bathroom on a train in Poland has gone viral -- and serves as a reminder that some of that country's rolling stock dates back well into the communist era. (Telegraph)

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TN MOVING STORIES: Bike, Pedestrian Deaths Up, Massachusetts to Go All-Electronic When It Comes to Tolls

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Amtrak Breaks Holiday Travel Record, Readies for Contentious Congressional Hearing (link)
NY Conflicted on Hiking Tolls for Trucks (link)
NJ Transit Chief: We Thought We Had 20 Years to Respond to Climate Change (link)
VIDEO: See What 25,000 LED Lights on the Bay Bridge Will Look Like (link)
NY MTA Enters 21st Century–You Can Now Claim a Lost or Stolen Metrocard Online (link)

A NYC ghost bike (photo by Kate Hinds)

Even as deaths behind the wheel of an automobile fell last year to the lowest level since the Truman administration, there was an increase in fatalities among bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcycle riders and big-rig truck drivers. (Washington Post)

What's on tap for New York's upcoming transit fare hike? Tune into the Brian Lehrer Show at 10am to hear a discussion. (WNYC)

Government officials are quietly installing sophisticated audio surveillance systems on public buses across the country to eavesdrop on passengers, according to documents obtained by The Daily.

Massachusetts plans to eliminate toll collectors and switch to an entirely electronic system. (Boston Globe)

During the Twin Cities' recent snowstorm, ridership on mass transit jumped 25%. (KTSP)

Disney cruises won't be sailing from Galveston anymore -- leaving the port scrambling to make up for that lost revenue. (Houston Chronicle)

The cast of Downton Abbey! In a New York City subway station! Which looks to be Columbus Circle! (Entertainment Weekly)

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With the state budget in the red and federal aid at risk of plunging in two years, how will Connecticut maintain its highways and expand its mass transit network? Three words: transit-oriented development. (Hartford Courant)
Or maybe just one: tolls. (CT Mirror)

Ladies and gentlemen: meet the members of the Tappan Zee Bridge Mass Transit Task Force.

All aboard the walking school bus in the East Bay. (KALW)

A federal judge has permanently blocked North Carolina from issuing an anti-abortion specialty license plate. (Reuters via Yahoo)

Video: 13 minutes of "road behavior I've never imagined, find hard to explain, which raises all kinds of questions." Because in Russia, every driver has a dashboard camera. (NPR)

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TN MOVING STORIES: LIRR Back to Pre-Sandy Normal, Uptick in Metal Recycling Due to Scrapped Cars, the Decline of American Driving

Monday, December 10, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Critics: Christie Deep-Sixed Climate Change Prep (link)
Census Data Show Public Transit Gender Gap (link)
What Does Acquittal of Chinatown Bus Driver Mean for Safety? (link)
NYC Vintage Buses Called into Service — For Holiday Spirit (link)
NYC Bike Share Delayed Again — Until May, Sandy Flooding Cited (link)

Happy holidays, LIRR riders: your trains are back to normal. (Photo of Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn by Kate Hinds)

The Long Island Rail Road is running on a normal rush hour schedule for the first time since Superstorm Sandy forced it to trim service. (AP via Newsday)

Another look at what New York City's coming fare hike could look like: base fare up 25 cents; monthly passes up $8. (New York Daily News)

California's high-speed rail project now has a policy of hiring disadvantaged people. (Modesto Bee)

A private company wants to start operating two-person lunar missions by the end of the decade. (Los Angeles Times)

The New Jersey Assembly will hold a hearing today on the damage Hurricane Sandy did to roads and transit in that state. (NJ Legislature)

The great decline of American driving: miles driven in September 2012 are 8.60% below the 2005 peak. (Business Insider; graph)

BART is looking at raising parking prices. (San Francisco Chronicle)

After rescuing several people who were trapped in the wilderness after using Apple's map app, police in Victoria, Australia, issued a warning discouraging iPhone users from relying on it. (cnet)

Stockton (CA) thieves are targeting truck catalytic converters. (Recordnet)

Metal recyclers are reporting an uptick in business due to cars scrapped post-Sandy. (WNYC)

Traffic congestion is costing the U.K. economy more than £4.3bn a year, or £491 per car-commuting household. (Telegraph)

Having Alaska license plates is a great way to meet the neighbors, when you're new to suburban Chicago. (WBEZ)

Today in transportation history: On December 10, 1868, the first traffic lights were installed outside the British Houses of Parliament in London, by a railway engineer. (ASCE)

Wait, how do those newfangled lights work? Check out a 1937 film from Chevrolet that takes you "inside the electrochemical 'brain' of the traffic light."

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TN MOVING STORIES: Air Pollution Worse in Asian Cities, London Overground Gets New Branch, DC Metro to Study Worker Sleep Habits

Friday, December 07, 2012

Top stories on TN:
So You’ve Landed On A New York City Subway Track: 5 Bad Options To Consider (link)
NJ Transit Chief: NJ Transit Trains, Equipment, Suffered $100 Million In Sandy Damage (link)
Bloomberg: In Reponse to Climate Change, NYC Needs Levees (link)
Virginia Governor Promises Action on State’s Transportation Funding Woes (link)
California County Cancels Transportation Tax Recount (link)

London's Overground (photo by Hectate1 via flickr)

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is opening the door to serving in President Obama's cabinet for a second term. (The Hill)

A new branch of the London Overground -- the city's orbital railway - opens this weekend. (Atlantic Cities)

The Port Authority approved a $3.5 billion preliminary 2013 operating budget. Two notes: of that $3.5 billion total, $2.57 billion is the operating budget and the remainder is for debt repayment. And: the agency is still totaling Sandy damage. (Asbury Park Press)

The oil boom in Montana and North Dakota is boosting ridership on that region's Amtrak line. (NPR)

DC's Metro will have some employees log their work and sleep habits as part of a study into how fatigue affects their performance. (AP via Washington Post)

Taiwan's bike share program was languishing -- until the city made it possible to rent bikes with a mobile phone. BOOM. (CNet)

Air pollution has worsened markedly in Asian cities in recent years and presents a growing threat to human health. (New York Times)

Because "incomes are now at that sweet spot of just passing $4,000 per capita" in parts of Southeast Asia, General Motors sees the possibility of a new market. (Marketplace)

The head of the Federal Communications Commission called on the FAA to allow "enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices" during flights. (The Hill)

A rash of pedestrian fatalities and injuries in the past week has Metro Vancouver municipalities searching for ways to improve safety. (Vancouver Sun)

Apartments are sprouting at a rapid clip along Charlotte’s Lynx Blue Line in South End, as developers look to cash in on a booming rental market and cater to young professionals who want to live near uptown. (WCNC)

A note for the transit chief: beware the endorsement from Giuliani. But even if Joe Lhota "dodged the Giuliani curse, he would be running right after having presided over an increase in the subway and bus fare. That ought to make him really popular." (New York Times)

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TN MOVING STORIES: House, Senate Hold Transpo Hearings, U.S. Cities Embrace Bike Traffic Signals, Should NYC Rebuild South Ferry Station?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Uber Now Legal in D.C. (link)
New Tappan Zee Bridge Designs Released (link)
Hey, I’m Parking Here (link)
Senate Hearing Will Detail Hurricane Sandy’s Transit Damage (link)
Homeowners Group Notches Up Fight Against Billion Dollar Highway Expansion (link)

A toy train barrels down the track at 11th annual Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

The $600 million dilemma: should NYC rebuild the South Ferry subway station -- located squarely in a flood zone -- or should riders walk six minutes to the next station? (Bloomberg)

California's high-speed rail brawl hits the House floor today -- with added fiscal cliff pressure. And yes, the Secretary of Transportation will testify. “Ray’s very agitated," reports one source. (Politico)

The Trans-Texas Corridor: the failed infrastructure plan that keeps on giving. "Along with the approach to financing the project, the toll road’s 85 mph speed limit, the fastest in the country, also has roots in Perry’s corridor plan." (Texas Tribune)

Pay-per-mile car insurance launches in Portland. (The Oregonian)

The official portrait of John Mica -- the outgoing House Transportation and Infrastructure committee chair -- was unveiled Wednesday at the Capitol. (The Hill)

Human Rights Watch decried Singapore's prosecution of mainland Chinese bus drivers who went on strike, calling for the charges to be dropped and discrimination to be ended. (Reuters)

At least 16 cities across the U.S. have installed bicycle traffic signals. (USA Today video)

Washington State is now a right-to-toke state. But that may be at odds with another new law: the state recently set a legal DUI impairment level for THC, the psychoactive composite in marijuana. "Activists worry that medical pot users could be forced to give up their freedom to get around –or incur the costs of taking taxis." (Oregonian)

A perilous stretch of one Northern California road -- where the state was found liable in 2010 for endangering pedestrians -- continues to claim victims as people try to cross the busy six-lane thoroughfare. (The Bay Citizen)

It will cost more for commuters to ride Go Transit in the Toronto area, but parking will still be free. (Buffalo Business First, Toronto Star)

A New York Post editorial begs MTA head Joe Lhota to run for NYC mayor.

A long-planned movable median barrier could have prevented a fatal crash on the Golden Gate Bridge -- but the earliest it will be in place is 2014. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Reminder: we'll be live-tweeting the Senate hearing on the impact Hurricane Sandy had upon transportation. Read up on it here. And watch @TransportNation starting at 10:30!

Traffic thought experiment, courtesy of The Onion: "The U.S. Department of Transportation announced plans Wednesday to stage Traffic Jam 2013, a brand-new highway concert series that will feature popular musical acts performing for passing motorists on America’s shoulder lanes, median dividers, and overpasses." As always, come for the story, stay for the photoshopping. (link)

Tribute: Dave Brubeck Quartet:"Take the A Train" (1966)

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TN MOVING STORIES: San Francisco to Pilot Free Fares for Low Income Kids, Chicago Mayor Defends Bike Lanes

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Capital Bikeshare Expansion Halted By Parts Problems (link)
LA Mayor: Parties Agree to Federal Mediator to Resolve Los Angeles Port Strike (link)
H is for Hoodie: Rockaways Shuttle Swag Will Benefit Hard-Hit Queens Neighborhood (link)

Boarding a Muni bus in San Francisco (photo by Lulu Vision via flickr)

San Francisco's MTA voted unanimously to spend an estimated $1.6 million in federal funds on a 16-month program offering free Fast Passes to low-income San Franciscans under 18. (San Francisco Chronicle)

On the table in fiscal cliff talks: raising the federal gas tax. (Politico)

NY MTA chair Joe Lhota met on Monday with Mayor Bloomberg to discuss running for mayor. (New York Times)

One side benefit of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel flooding during Hurricane Sandy: it acted as a drainage ditch. (Capital NY)

Downtown L.A.'s streetcar is the missing transit link. (Los Angeles Times)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is defending his decision to constrict traffic on a popular street that runs through the heart of Chicago’s congested downtown area — by installing 12 blocks of protected bike lanes. (Chicago Sun Times)

A former head of NJ Transit takes to the opinion page to defend his former agency's handling of Sandy. "Rather than sit back and play Monday-morning quarterback, we should commend NJ Transit and its staff for restoring the system quickly." (Times of Trenton)

The city of Greenville, South Carolina, is getting a six-station, 28-bike bike share program. (Greenville Online)

Once a funeral procession hits DC's streets, respect for the dead falls by the wayside. (Washington Post)

Do Bloomberg's waterfront redevelopment efforts make sense in a post-Sandy New York? (WNYC)

Houstonians are now ready to embrace public transit, says the head of that city's Metro. (KUHF)

New Hampshire will consider selling naming rights to roads and bridges. (Union Leader)

A stern letter from lawyers representing Greyhound Canada nixed plans for a student-run, low-cost bus service from London, Ontario, to Toronto during the holidays. (The Star)

Months of gridlock, power outages and business interruption: Afghans hope paving roads in Kabul will be worth it. (NPR)

Discuss: does The Mindy Project accurately portray the NYC subway? Judging from the height of the subway car pictured, the answer would seem to be 'no.' (Gothamist)

Take a trip back in time to 1963 and see what it took to build British Columbia's George Massey Tunnel.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Capital Bikeshare Expansion Hits a Snag, Downtown LA Passes Streetcar

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Top stories on TN:
PHOTOS: One of World’s Great Toy Train Collections Chugs Into NY Museum (link)
New Yorkers Believe Climate Change Caused Hurricane Sandy: Poll (link)

(photo by Kevin Kovaleski/DDOTDC via flickr)

How did New York City's coastline become a place to put the poor and vulnerable? "Largely because Robert Moses wanted it there." (New York Times)

In Rajasthan, there were 9,232 accident deaths reported in the state in 2011. Of that number, 895 were pedestrians. And of that number, pedestrians were at fault in 27 cases. (Times of India)

After the post-Sandy success of the 'bus bridge from Brooklyn,' New York's MTA is talking about express bus service from Brooklyn to LaGuardia Airport. (Capital NY)

D.C.’s long-planned expansion of Capital Bikeshare this fall has hit a snag because the city has been unable to get all of the needed equipment from its supplier. (Washington Post)

A special tax district to fund a streetcar in downtown L.A. has won, with voters approving $62.5 million in local funding. (KCET)

Thick fog, a chain-reaction of crashes and speed led to a 95-car Thanksgiving Day pileup on a Texas highway. (Houston Chronicle)

U.S. consumers bought new cars and trucks at the fastest pace in nearly five years in November as low interest rates and the need to replace Sandy-damaged cars drew people into showrooms. (Detroit Free Press)

NYC's DOT issued its first intercity bus permit in Chinatown to YO!, a bus line owned jointly by Peter Pan and Greyhound, for curbside pick-ups. (Crain's New York)

A day after the Port Authority hiked cash tolls at its bridges and tunnels to $13, a watchdog group says its most senior cops are paid an average of $83.99 an hour — "dwarfing the $58.86 earned by their counterparts at the NYPD." (New York Daily News)

Opinion: More than a month after superstorm Sandy damaged more than 300 NJ Transit coach cars and locomotives, New Jerseyans still don't have answers as to why the agency put its rolling stock in a flood zone. (The Record)

Three motorists who incurred $50 red-light camera tickets are filing a class-action suit against New York City. (New York Post)

The U.N. is holding its first climate change meeting in the Persian Gulf, and "the oil-rich location is bound to spur discussion on fossil fuels." (Marketplace)

Seven facts about cycling, including this one: a bicycle can stay upright without a rider as long as it's moving at about 8 mph or faster. (Popular Mechanics)

Listen to this 1904 song about riding the subway, which was viewed as quite the romantic escape. "If married and home is unhappy, you can now hide away from your wife." (Gothamist)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Boston Bike Share Considers Year-Round Schedule, MUNI Eyes Income-Based Fares

Monday, December 03, 2012

Top stories on TN:
R Train To Go Further South in Manhattan, But Not Crossing To Brooklyn — Yet (link)
Lights Out for NYC Taxi “Off Duty” Lights (link)
Tolls Going Up Again On NY-NJ Port Authority Crossings Despite AAA Lawsuit (link)
How Much to Fine? D.C. Wrestles with Cash Cow of Red Light Cameras (link)
NY/NJ Port Official: We Never Thought We’d See 13-Foot Storm Surge (link)
Taxi Documentary Delivers Cabbie Grit and Wisdom (VIDEO) (link)

Metro escalator (photo by Jonathan Wilson/WAMU)

San Francisco's transit agency, Muni, is considering basing some transit fares on a customer's ability to pay. (San Francisco Examiner)

Nine people were killed in Japan when concrete ceiling slabs fell from the roof of a highway tunnel onto moving vehicles below. (AP via USA Today)

Talks to end the six-day strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have yet to be fruitful. (Los Angeles Times)

The new escalators installed this fall at DC's Dupont Circle Metro station have experienced 20 outages in their first 40 days. (Washington Examiner)

Hearing alert: Lawmakers in the House and Senate will review Hurricane Sandy's impact on northeast U.S. transportation systems this week. (The Hill)

Maryland transportation officials are setting less ambitious goals after failing to significantly reduce pedestrian deaths in the state. (AP via Washington Post)

In Britain, women drivers are about to outstrip men for the first time. (Telegraph)

Delta may be bidding for a stake in Virgin Atlantic. (Marketplace)

Introducing: the Lincoln Motor Co. (Detroit Free Press)

Berlin's yet-to-open new airport is plagued by delays, cost overruns, and now a lawsuit from one airline. (NPR)

The battle between taxi hail app Uber and city governments underscores the tension between lawmakers and technology companies at a time when Web sites and mobile apps can outmaneuver old rules. (New York Times)

Opinion: New York should put its tech-friendly money where its mouth is and embrace e-hail apps. (New York Daily News)

Boston's bike share program has performed 50% better than expected, and may remain open for winter next year. (Boston Globe)


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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Massive Sinkhole Opens in Ohio, Miami Residents Spend Big Money on Housing, Transportation

Friday, November 30, 2012

Top stories on TN:
At L.A. Auto Show, a Big Star Is a Gas-Powered Engine (AUDIO) (link)
Hurricane Sandy was “Largest Mass Transit Disaster in our Nation’s History,” Says Senator (link)
Lights Out for NYC Taxi “Off Duty” Lights (link)
Prediction: D.C. Area Highway and Transit Crowding Will Get Worse (link)

NYC subway car, 1973 (photo by Erik Calonius/EPA/Documerica via flickr)

In Miami, residents spend 72% of their income on housing and transportation. In New York, it's 56%. (Atlantic Cities)

To fund transportation, Minnesota's governor wants to raise taxes by $20 billion over 20 years. (Star Tribune)

Michigan took its first step towards creating a regional transit authority -- which, if successful, could open the door to federal transit funding. (Mlive)

A transportation ballot measure in Northern California -- initially thought to have failed -- is getting a recount. (KQED)

Two Green Line trolley cars either collided (Boston Globe) or bumped (WBUR) in Boston, causing minor injuries in three dozen people.

NJ Transit was enjoying its second-best summer of ridership and was on pace to shatter its annual rail on-time performance record...and then Hurricane Sandy happened. (Star Ledger)

A commission ordered by Gov. Cuomo to investigate power companies after Sandy wants to know if the utilities responded fast enough to outages that affected public transportation. (NY Post)

Metro may have to spend millions more than anticipated to operate the new Silver Line because trains will have to travel farther east than planned. (Washington Post)

How bad is traffic in Brazil? In one city, it's $20 billion worth of bad: "Wasted time and fuel consumed in traffic congestion cost the economy of São Paulo nearly US $20bn in 2008, about 10% of its GDP." (Economist Intelligence Unit)

Profile: Joe Lhota, the New York MTA's wartime chairman. (Capital NY) (Note: we know from personal experience that the chairman loves him some Godfather.)

VIDEO: an Ohio sinkhole so big that the BBC covered it.

In 1971, the EPA hired photographers as part of "Documerica" -- an effort to "provide a comprehensive visual record of the country’s turbulent landscape during the 1970s." These are their NYC subway stories. (Narratively)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: BP Banned From U.S. Contracts, Crenshaw Line Could Bypass Minority L.A. Neighborhood, Chicago's Oldest Sidewalk

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Top stories on TN:
PATH Officials: Several More Weeks Before Hoboken Service Is Back (link)
NY MTA Takes On Major Debt Rather Than Raise Tolls & Fares To Pay For Sandy (link)
NJ Transit to Begin Testing Gladstone Line on Friday (link)
Data Art: NY Transit System as a Lite-Brite City Map (link)
Chicago Wants to Pay Diesel Truckers to Swap for Electric Vehicles (link)
D.C.: Car U-Turns Through a Bike Lane Are, In Fact, Illegal (link)

Toy trains (image from New York Historical Society's FB page)

BP won't be able to enter into new contracts with the federal government due to its "lack of business integrity." (Marketplace, KUHF)

The Crenshaw rail line promised to right historical wrongs by connecting South Los Angeles to the city’s business hubs: downtown, the airport and Hollywood. Instead, it may bypass the a low-income, minority neighborhood entirely. (New York Times) (For more on this issue, listen to TN's documentary Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Class)

United's merger with Continental hasn't exactly been smooth -- the airline is losing money and has the worst operational record among the nation’s top 15 airlines. And we haven't even mentioned the computer malfunctions yet. (New York Times)

Democrats and Amtrak officials pushed back against House Republican efforts to eliminate federal subsidies for the national passenger rail service. (The Hill)

And: Amtrak says it is committed to restoring full Long Island Rail Road service "by the Christmas holiday" with repairs to two storm-damaged East River tunnels. (AP via WSJ)

Smith Electric's third American factory will be in Chicago -- a city that just announced a voucher program for truck drivers to make the switch. (NYT)

American motorists are on pace to spend more on gasoline this year ($483 billion, or $1.32 billion a day) than they ever have before. (Los Angeles Times)

After months of publicly defending the work and secretive process of a panel investigating the testing and safety of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the California Department of Transportation agreed to allow greater public scrutiny. (SacBee)

Arlington (VA) is doubling down on Capital Bikeshare (DCist).  And it might get an all-electric taxi fleet. (Washington Post)

Boston's transit agency unveiled an app allowing customers to purchase tickets for commuter boats and rail lines. (WBUR)

Propeller planes -- which use less fuel than jets -- are making a comeback. "And with new technology that cancels most noise and vibration, they won't be your grandfather's turboprop." (NPR)

The people have spoken: America's Transportation Award goes to... Los Angeles's Mulholland Drive Bridge demolition (aka Carmageddon). (FastLane)

A portion of the prized Jerni Collection — vintage toys and trains valued at more than $80 million — is on display at a New York museum for the first time ever. (DNA Info)

Where is the oldest sidewalk in Chicago, and how old is it? Watch and learn. (WBEZ Curious City)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Apple Fires Maps Manager, MTA Eyes Inflatable Bladders for NYC Subway Tunnels, FAA Taking Back Stimulus $ from SFO

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Build Highways or Increase Transit? Planners Tackle Fort Meade Traffic (link)
Totaling Sandy Losses: How New York’s MTA Got to $5 Billion (link)
How Prop 39 Works: Closing a Tax Loophole To Bring Clean Energy Funds to California (link)

NJ Turnpike, October 28, 2012 (photo by accarrino via flickr)

New York's MTA is exploring using inflatable and expandable devices to seal subway tunnels and prevent the type of flooding that crippled the system during Sandy. (New York Daily News)

Apple fired the manager of its (transitless) Maps application. (New York Times)

Hurricane Sandy has cost the New Jersey Turnpike Authority at least $15.4 million in labor and fuel costs and lost tolls - more than any weather event in the history of the Turnpike and Parkway, officials said. (Star-Ledger)

Congressman John Mica (R-FL) has dropped his bid to remain on as chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, clearing the way for Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA). (Politico)
Meanwhile, the Committee will hold a hearing on Amtrak's "structural reorganization" this morning at 9am; watch it live here.

Who will take over as the Transit Mayor when Michael Bloomberg leaves office in NYC? "It's a role that, for now, remains up for grabs." (Capital NY)

The Federal Aviation Administration will take back $2.1 million in stimulus funds that it gave to San Francisco International Airport because the money was used improperly. (Bay Citizen)

Workers are preparing the Bay Bridge in advance of a storm heading toward California. "Water is the corrosive enemy of the critical single main cable. Much of it has already been wrapped in layers of zinc paste and interlocking S-wire. The rest is now wrapped in plastic." (KGO-TV)

An end to pedicab price gouging? New York's City Council unanimously passed new legislation that will force pedicab drivers to install publicly visible timers and charge by-the-minute fees, instead of by-the-block fares. (DNA Info)

A bus strike by Chinese workers in Singapore is bringing up racial tensions. Like: "These (Chinese) drivers don't deserve the same salary and benefits...many Singaporeans would agree with me that Malaysians drivers are safer drivers." (Reuters)

Officials are looking at how to make Hyderabad's Tank Bund road -- a "virtual death trap" for pedestrians -- safer. (The Hindu)

Direct costs from deaths and injuries due to motorcycle crashes were $16 billion in 2010. (AP via WRAL)

PODCAST: How our brains know how to steer without really knowing how to steer -- and what that means for steering wheel design. (99% Invisible)

San Diego is considering installing protected bike lanes on streets that have bad track records of bicyclist safety. (KPBS)

The long national nightmare of not being able to watch in-flight films from start to finish is finally over for British Airways passengers. (Telegraph)

A Swedish energy company is equipping bus shelters in the town of Umeaa with light therapy panels to help riders fight off winter depression. (Yahoo via Transit Wire)

The Frugal Traveler sings the praises of local transit: "For me, the public transportation system of a new city is a mystery that always brings a surge of feeling of triumph once you figure it out; add to that the peephole on local life that public buses and trams and subways and cable cars can provide in places as diverse as Beirut, Oslo, St. Petersburg and Medellín, and you know why I have a no-taxi policy." (New York Times)

Cab roulette: a recurring series in which a comedian interviews cab drivers about their experiences on the job. (Animal New York)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: The Port Authority's Debt-Laden Future, the Ten Busiest DC Metro Stations, Europe's Car Industry in Trouble

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Sandy Data Shows NYC Commuters Are Transpo-Adaptable: Report (link)
NY Gov. Cuomo: It’s Going to Cost $5 Billion To Repair the MTA, Post-Sandy (link)
PHOTOS: Bay Area Artist Yarn Bombs Bike Racks, BART Seats (link)
Restoring Last Parts Of NYC Subway Is The Hardest (link)
Data Dive: Pittsburgh Struggling to Fill Potholes (link)

(Photo by Fringehog/Flickr)

New Jersey's controversial red-light cameras have actually seen an increase in collisions, according to a new state report. (Star-Ledger)

San Jose will allow airport bird shooting. (Mercury News)

Time was, the only thing keeping Chrysler afloat was Fiat. Twist! (Marketplace)

DC is reserving thousands of parking spaces for residents in an effort to prevent visitors from driving in. (Washington Post)

The Port Authority's cloudy, debt-laden future entails spending billions of dollars on transportation assets. "But again, these projects don’t make life better for residents; they just keep things from falling apart." (City Journal)

Amtrak has begun running trains at 110 miles per hour on part of its Chicago-to-St. Louis route. (The Hill)

Some California cities are on board with high-speed rail, but others are taking a wait-and-see approach. (Los Angeles Times)

Community leaders from Chicago's South Side are urging the mayor to move forward on the Red Line extension. (Chicago Tribune)

Meanwhile: Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel says when it comes to transit fare increases, the choice is yours. "You can either drive to work or you can take public transportation." (Chicago Tribune)

A study of more than 500 children said those exposed to high levels of pollution were three times more likely to have autism than children who grew up with cleaner air. (BBC)

For the third time this fall, the Charlotte City Council tried -- and failed -- to reach consensus on how to pay for a streetcar extension. (Charlotte Observer)

Fired car wash workers in the Bronx have been picketing over a labor dispute. (New York Daily News)

Idaho's transportation department makes more than $5.4 million a year selling motor vehicle records and other personal information to companies that use it to research car buying patterns, send out recall notices and even track down scofflaws who don't pay parking tickets given out by private companies. (AP via CBS)

The ten busiest DC Metro stations. (GGW)

How stuff works: a look at the giant underground machinery that pulls San Francisco's cable cars. (Atlantic Cities)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Racial Gap Exists in Speed of Boston Commute, PATH Service to Lower Manhattan Restored

Monday, November 26, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Fed Study Warned Transit Agencies of Flooding Potential (link)
Rental Cars Moved to New York Post Sandy — But It’s Not Enough (link)
Virginia to Study Traffic over Potomac River (link)

Boston bus (photo by nathanpachal via flickr)

Transit racial disparity in Boston: black workers face longer commutes to work than whites -- especially when traveling by bus. (Boston Globe)

After years of Bloomberg-era declines, the number of traffic-related fatalities in New York has suddenly spiked. Why? (New York Magazine)

Weekday PATH service to Lower Manhattan along the World Trade Center line resumed today. (New York Daily News)

And the Queens Midtown Tunnel is back to its normal traffic pattern (WNYC), while the Long Island Rail Road is running near normal service on all all of its 11 branches for the first time since Superstorm Sandy hit the region. (MTA)

Cold? What cold? The committed bike commuter laughs at winter -- and preaches the gospel of layering: "I wear a merino wool base layer. I wear ski sweaters, usually. I have a variety of weights, and then either a cycling jersey or a fleece vest or a wool vest. And then I wear a wind-breaking layer on top. And I have tights that I wear, too.” (Washington Post)

After almost a decade of debate -- and one mayoral recall election -- the groundbreaking for Troy's transit center is happening Tuesday. (Detroit Free Press)

Wyoming's DOT is looking for volunteers to report real-time traffic conditions. (KOTA/ABC)

Inside BART's expansion plans: more service, delivered more efficiently. (San Jose Mercury News)

Workers in Osaka, Japan, are almost done assembling the world-record, 57.5-foot diameter drill that will churn beneath downtown Seattle next year, to form the Highway 99 tunnel. (Seattle Times)

Why is there no safety in numbers for London's cyclists? (Guardian)

How IBM is using big data to ease your commute. (Wired)

The Lincoln Tunnel helix is getting a massive rehab -- and not a moment too soon. "There are so many craters, Buzz Aldrin would feel at home on it. The concrete median barrier is crumbling like a chocolate chip cookie." (Star-Ledger)

A post-Sandy survey ranks commuters' misery, and Staten Islanders fared the worst. Moreover: "The MTA performed brilliantly, and NJ Transit is still paying for its mistakes." (Wall Street Journal)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Oil Companies Drilling on College Campuses, Why NYC Has a "Second-Tier" Bus System, Strike Shuts Down Oakland Port

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Top stories on TN:
As Thanksgiving Approaches, Rental Car Companies Shift Fleets to Ease Post-Sandy Shortage (link)
Poll Captures Storm Surge Of Positive Feelings For NY MTA, Gas Rationing (link)
Staten Island To Get A Second Ferry…Briefly (link)

A seismic shaker truck rolls through Indiana State University's campus. (Tony Campbell/Courtesy of Indiana State University)

The executive director of NJ Transit is defending the agency's decision to leave trains in rail yards that ended up under water during Hurricane Sandy. (Star-Ledger)

Why New York City has a "second-tier" bus system: opposition from drivers and local businesses to street redesign.  (Capital NY)

A strike shut down the Port of Oakland on Tuesday. (Oakland Tribune)

Chevron wants to install new pipes at a California refinery, but federal experts say the metal the company has chosen failed at another refinery this year. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Advocates are trying to get traction for a large-scale bike share system in Atlanta. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels inaugurated a new stretch of I-69 by driving 40 mph over the speed limit on his motorcycle. (Indy Star)

Drivers in Republican-leaning states are more likely to die in traffic accidents, according to a new study. (The Hill)

Texas's 85-mph toll road suffered its first fatality. (MySanAntonio)

Oil and gas companies are setting up drill sites on college campuses. (NPR)

A new world sailing speed record has been set: the Vestas Sailrocket team reached more than 60 knots (about 70 miles per hour) at Walvis Bay in Namibia. (New Scientist)

Behold: sculptures made from recycled tires. (Fine Print NYC)

An elk made out of recycled tires (photo courtesy of Yong Ho Ji)

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