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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Gas Prices Spur Increase In Driving on Empty, China's HSR System Under Scrutiny, And Will NYkers Hail a Yellow Mercedes?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ford had its most profitable quarter in 13 years. (Detroit Free Press)

AAA says the rise in gas prices has led to a rise in people running out of fuel on the roads. (KHOU)

The Crow Reservation in Montana has launched a transit program. (Billings Gazette)

George Michael song or vehicle name? Sweden is testing the "Arctic Whisper," which is "the world’s first fast-charging serial hybrid bus." (Autopia)

China's high-speed rail system is under scrutiny amid concerns that builders ignored safety in order to build ever-faster trains. (Washington Post)

Marketplace launched an "Oil Through the Ages" map.

NYC's Taxi and Limousine commission has approved a Mercedes for use as a yellow cab. (NY Daily News)

If you see a scary video, share a scary video: NY's MTA launched a Department of Homeland Security-funded ad campaign (video below).

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- Illinois will now track "dooring" collisions. (Link)

-- Will transportation apps revolutionize transit? (Link)

-- The Taxi of Tomorrow might be built in Brooklyn. (Link)

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WNYC News

Wannabe Taxi-Maker Vows to Build Cabs in Brooklyn

Monday, April 25, 2011

WNYC

One of the three automakers in the running to provide the city's yellow cabs for the next decade is vowing to build the cars in Brooklyn.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: New Trans-Hudson Tunnel To Be Announced Today; Disabled DC Residents To See Fare Hike; Congestion Pricing Opponents Fret About Its Comeback,

Monday, February 07, 2011

Amtrak and NJ Senators Lautenberg and Menendez are set to announce the next iteration of a planned trans-Hudson tunnel: The "Gateway" tunnel, which would largely follow the same footprint as ARC from Secaucus to New York City, but connect to new tracks in an expanded New York Penn Station instead of dead-ending deep under West 34th Street. (TN)

Traffic deaths are up slightly in NYC -- but the city’s traffic fatality rate remains among the lowest in the country, holding steady around a quarter of the national rate. (New York Times)

A NY Daily News editorial accused NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan of being too secretive about where her office plans to install future bike lanes. "Trying to pry information about bike lanes out of Sadik-Khan's shop is this city's version of phoning North Korea to ask about atomic weaponry."

More cheer for JSK: Potholes wreak havoc upon New York's roads. "Mother Nature has thrown everything at us this winter, and we're striking back,"says the NYC DOT commissioner. (NY Daily News)

South Africa's transport minister turned over ownership of Johannesburg's bus rapid transit company --which had been opposed by taxi drivers -- to taxi industry shareholders. (Times Live)

Disabled Washington area residents are facing significantly higher fares starting this month on MetroAccess. Officials say the price of travel on the para-transit service will nearly double. (WAMU)

Ford will boost vehicle production for US market while trimming Lincoln dealerships. (Wall Street Journal)

The Obama administration has decided to allow limited collective bargaining rights for transportation security officers. (Washington Post)

A Charleston (SC) paper comes out in support of a bike/pedestrian walkway over a bridge, says: "It is time to recognize that transportation should include driving, biking and walking."

Opponents of congestion pricing in NYC are moving swiftly. "We'd like to prevent that proposal from seeing the day of light of day," said Queens Assemblyman David Weprin. (WNYC)

New York's MTA says the tunnel boring machine that has been making its way down Second Avenue is about to complete its first run.

Snakes on a train! Boston transit officials say a 3-foot-long boa constrictor that slithered away from its owner on a Red Line subway car a month ago has been found on an adjoining car. (Boston Globe) (And nope, there was NO WAY that headline could be avoided.)

And speaking of ARC: NJ's state Ethics Commission has dismissed allegations the state’s transportation commissioner might have violated ethics policies through his involvement with the ARC train tunnel to New York City. (The Star-Ledger)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: A new trans-Hudson tunnel will be announced today. Meanwhile, NYC has hired an engineering firm to study the feasibility of extending the #7 train to NJ.  Opponents of the Prospect Park bike lane have lawyered up, while adjustments are in the works for the Columbus Avenue bike lane. And Metro North has slashed service on the New Haven line by 10%.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: New York Pols Line Up for High-Speed Rail, Ford Posts Profit, and First Electric Smart Car Arrives In U.S.

Friday, January 28, 2011

At least the bike will be easier to dig out than the car behind it (Kate Hinds)

Dozens of passengers spent the night huddled in subway cars after the snowstorm that blanketed the northeast stranded their train in Brooklyn's Coney Island station.  But hey, that's better than the time when trains were stuck on the tracks for hours on end with no means of egress! (AP via Wall Street Journal)

Meanwhile, the MTA's web site was inaccessible to many Thursday morning as 500,000 users tried to log on at once to find out about storm-related mass transit disruptions but were unable to load the site. (WNYC)

A federal judge in St. Paul ruled Thursday that Central Corridor light-rail planners failed to analyze how construction of the 11-mile transit line would affect businesses in the corridor. (Minnesota Public RadioNote: For more on Rondo, check out TN's documentary Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality

The first electric Smart car has arrived in the U.S. (Wired/Autopia)

New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, a self-described "aggressive" supporter of high-speed rail, talks about Thursday's congressional hearing--and why he's so optimistic. "This was major. Think about it -- you have a chairman of a House committee, he's a Republican from Florida, who already has high-speed rail moving in his state, here, having his first hearing of the year, in New York City, to talk about how important high-speed rail is to the Northeast Corridor...it's a major happening for this initiative." Watch the video below, or go to Capital Tonight.

Toll-takers on the Golden Gate Bridge would be eliminated in September 2012 under a plan approved Thursday by the district's finance committee. (Marin Independent Journal)

Following six fatal bicycle/car collisions in six months, Tampa is deciding whether to adopt a Bicycle Safety Plan. (ABC News)

Tweets of the day, via WNYC's Azi Paybarah, who's listening in to Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio show: "everyone was in favor of this" @mikebloomberg says of congestion pricing." and "Shelly [Silver]'s plan was to toll all the bridges" says @mikebloomberg of the Assembly Speaker." 

Metro officially names a new director. (WAMU)

Ford says it earned $6.6 billion in 2010, its highest profit in more than a decade. (AP via NPR)

Top Transportation Nation stories that we're following: The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing on high-speed rail in the Northeast yesterday; chair John Mica said 70% of all chronically delayed flights originate in New York's airspace. The takeaway: paring down short-hop flights in the Northeast will have a positive ripple effect nationally. Meanwhile, planners want NYC's airports to expand, saying that more capacity to handle more flights is desperately needed. Also: the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey explained why doing big things in America has become so difficult, and Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel released his transportation plan--which, as it turns out, is a transit plan.

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Transportation Nation

Ford Plans To Add 7,000 Jobs To Its U.S. Workforce

Monday, January 10, 2011

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET) Ford Motor Company says it is adding 7,000 jobs to its workforce by the end of 2012. Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields made the announcement during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

“This year alone, Ford is adding nearly four thousand jobs at our U.S. plants. And we plan to add another 750 salaried jobs.” Fields says the Dearborn automaker plans to add another 2,500 additional manufacturing jobs in the U.S. next year.

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Transportation Nation

Detroit Automakers See Sales Gains In 2010

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Detroit - Jerome Vaughn, WDET) Detroit’s automakers say their sales began to rebound in 2010.

Industry analysts say consumers who have been waiting for the national economy to improve felt confident enough to make vehicle purchases in the last month of the year.

General Motors sold more than 2.2 million cars and trucks last year. That’s a six percent improvement over 2009 -- the year GM emerged from federal bankruptcy protection.

Ford sold just under two million vehicles in 2010 -- a 15 percent jump in year-over-year figures. The automaker’s F-150 pick-up truck saw sales grow by nearly a third, making it the country’s best selling vehicle. The F-150 has held that title for 34 straight years.

Annual sales at Chrysler rose 17 percent. Company officials say the figures match the goals they set out late in 2009. Demand for the company’s trucks in December showed double digit growth.

Of the major automakers, only Toyota posted lower sales for 2010. They were down about a third of a percent. Throughout the year, the automaker dealt with the negative effects of safety recalls

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Miami-Dade Transit Tries To Figure Out Fed $ Freeze, and Queensboro Bridge To Be Renamed for Koch

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Why did the federal government freeze funding to Miami-Dade Transit? Bad accounting practices--or fraud? (Miami Herald)

Two major New York transportation structures are to be renamed. So: to get from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, take the Carey Tunnel; from Manhattan to Queens, take the Koch Bridge. The former mayor is delighted by the renaming of the Queensboro. “It’s not soaring, beautiful, handsome, like the George Washington or the Verrazano,” he said. “It’s rugged, it’s hard working — and that’s me.” (New York Times)

Ford begins shipping the Transit Connect, the first all-electric commercial van. (Detroit News)

Does Toronto Mayor Ford need the approval of city council to scrap Transit City? He says no; the council says not so fast. (Toronto Star)

Fed up by the lack of live transit data from the NYC MTA? Someone put together a crowdsourcing app that live-tracks trains. (Wired)

Public transportation workers strike in Athens to protest the Greek government's austerity measures. (MarketWatch)

What transit options are on the table for Staten Islanders, who suffer some of the longest commutes in the country?  Possibly resurrecting the North Shore Rail Line. (NY1)

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Transportation Nation

November Auto Sales: Boy, 2010 Beats 2009

Thursday, December 02, 2010

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET)  Remember the auto bailout? The closing of the dealerships? The miasma of doubt and fear surrounding the future of the American auto manufacturer?

That was then, this is now. Most of the major U.S. automakers are posting double-digit sales gains for the month of November. And some analysts believe the car sales could be even higher next month.

Industry watchers say demand for new vehicles --which had bottled up for months as potential buyers nervously eyed the economy--pushed more consumers into dealer showrooms. General Motors sold more than 168,000 cars and trucks last month--up 11.4% compared to November 2009.

The report comes just days after the Detroit automaker issued its initial public offering of stock, amid international fanfare.

Ford sales jumped 20% compared to year-ago figures.  The automaker saw double-digit increases in demand for both its cars and its trucks. Chrysler sales rose 17%, and demand for the Jeep Grand Cherokee more than tripled from November 2009. November was the eighth consecutive month of sales improvement for the automaker.

Of the major automakers, only Toyota posted lower sales figures for the month, down more than three percent.

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Transportation Nation

Ford Announces Launch Cities For Focus Electric--And Houston Makes the Cut

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ford Focus Electric (CC) by Flickr user Kevin Krejci

(Houston -- Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) Houston will be one of 19 U.S. cities to debut Ford’s first all-electric vehicle (EV) next year. The automaker says it chose the initial launch markets based on how amenable they were to the electric shift.

Other cities on the list include Austin, San Francisco, New York, Tuscon, and Washington D.C. Ford is jumping into the electric car market slightly later than two of its competitors, Nissan and Chevy, which are rolling out a small supply of their electric models in the coming months. Ford's Focus Electric won't be hitting the streets untill late next year.

Whereas the Chevy Volt is powered by both electricity and gas (a matter of great contention among EV purists), the Focus Electric will be more like Nissan's Leaf -- 100 percent battery-powered. That means the passenger car will go around 100 miles before it needs to recharge. It's still unknown what the price tag will be for a Focus Electric, though there is some speculation it will be a cheaper EV option for budget-conscious consumers.

Carl Chudy, fleet manager with Lone Star Ford, a dealership north of downtown is excited to be getting the electrified version of Ford's Focus.  “With all the green advocates living here," he says,  "it should be a big seller."  Chudy sees Houston as being a good market for electric cars because people here still largely depend on the automobile to get around. "We don’t have great mass-transportation here," he points out,  "so everybody needs a car to get from pretty much one side of town to the other.” And he says electric guzzlers like the Focus Electric give drivers a cleaner alternative to gas engines.

Hear the rest of the story over at KUHF News.

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Transportation Nation

New York City Picks Finalists for Taxis of Tomorrow -- You Can Vote!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Here's one-- there are three other "Taxi of Tomorrow Finalists:  Click here for the others --

From the Press Release: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Taxi and Limousine Commissioner/Chairman David S. Yassky today unveiled the three finalists to be the new, exclusive New York City taxicab. The competition, called the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” will introduce the first-ever custom-built taxicab specifically designed for New York City. The Taxi of Tomorrow project includes a public input campaign where New Yorkers can vote of the features they want to see in the next New York City taxicab. The winning vehicle will be the exclusive New York City taxicab for a minimum of ten years and will be chosen from among several competitive proposals. The three designs selected as the finalists to be the Taxi of Tomorrow are submissions from Ford Motor Company, Karsan USA and Nissan North America, Inc.

Love 'em? Hate 'em?  Vote here

And send us your comments!

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: DC Metro Blogs Booming, MTA Restores Some Bus Service, and Paladino on the MTA

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A cut too far: the NYC MTA restores some express bus service that it had cut earlier in the summer. (WNYC)

The DC Metro may be struggling, but blogs and twitter feeds about it are booming. (WAMU)

Excerpts from the New York Times' interview with Carl Paladino:  On waste in the MTA, he says: "It’s a very complex function, but we’ve compounded its problems by letting it become so political. It’s the political aspect of it that’s really defeating it."

The Ford posts 6th straight profitable quarter--"the highest in the automaker’s 107- year history." (Bloomberg)

New bus transit center unveiled in Las Vegas amid much Vegas-style ceremony. "I've done a number of these things, never with pythons and roller girls," said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

San Francisco Examiner op-ed says that "the Bay Area is reeling from a continuing series of really bad transportation decisions. The region tends to evolve through single-purpose 'fixes' that fail to address the Bay Area’s real transportation needs."

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Transportation Fatalities Down, Poverty On the Rise, and State of the Subways Report Out

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The National Transportation Safety Board says that transportation fatalities dropped 9% from 2008 to 2009. But on the rise: marine deaths and pipeline fatalities.  (Washington Post)

Poverty is on the rise across the country, but it's worse in the suburbs, where (since 2000) there's a 37.4% increase.  Rise in cities: 16.7%.  "Future poverty increases will be partly determined by...government policy decisions promoting job growth, affordable housing and transportation." (AP via New York Times)

The new Straphangers Campaign State of the Subways report says that overall, New York's subways have improved (New York Daily News). Especially compared to 25 years ago, when "17 percent of trains were mislabeled with the wrong line number or letter." All aboard the mystery train!  (WNYC)

The implementation of New York's "bikes in buildings" law is proving...challenging for some. (AM NY)

Ford is working with the New York Power Authority to prepare New Yorkers for electric vehicles. (Automotive World)

U.S., Japanese airlines win antitrust immunity for cooperating on pricing and routes (Bloomberg). Meanwhile, in other antitrust news, a company that provides ferryboat service to Mackinac Island (MI) is suing the local government and another ferry provider, saying that the latter two have conspired to create a monopoly. (Detroit Free Press)

The Seat Not Taken: John Edgar Wideman's op-ed on race and seating on the Acela. "Unless the car is nearly full, color will determine, even if it doesn’t exactly clarify, why 9 times out of 10 people will shun a free seat if it means sitting beside me." (New York Times)

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Transportation Nation

Ford Recalls 463,000 Minivans in U.S.

Friday, August 27, 2010

(Detroit, MI - Jerome Vaughn, WDET)  Ford is recalling more than half a million Windstar minivans for possible axle problems.  The action affects vehicles in cold weather states.

The recall affects Ford Windstar minivans from the 1998 through 2003 model years.  About 463-thousand vehicles are affected in the U-S.  Another 113-thousand have been recalled in Canada.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says corrosion from road salt can weaken the rear axle in cold weather states.  The issue could lead to cracks and in some cases a complete fracture of the axle could occur increasing the risk of a crash.

Dealers will inspect the rear axle…and make necessary repairs at no costs to consumers.  Affected owners will be notified by Ford beginning next month.

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The Takeaway

Big Three Automakers Fight for Police Car Market

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ford has been open about its plans to phase out the massively popular Crown Victoria line in 2011, but is inviting stiff competition from both Chrysler and General Motors, who are unveiling vehicles aimed squarely at police fleets. Will Ford be able to keep the 75 percent market-share of the police cruiser market, that the Crown Victoria managed?

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Transportation Nation

Ford Markets Low Emissions over Toughness

Monday, July 26, 2010

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) With some fanfare, Ford CEO Alan Mulally traveled to New York City’s Rockefeller Center to unveil a new a more fuel efficient version of its popular Explorer SUV in 2011. The Explorer was the top selling vehicle in the US for much of the 1990’s. But fuel efficiency, it turns out, can be a relative term, and the new, fuel-efficient Ford is well below the Obama Administration's standards for light trucks to achieve 2016.

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Transportation Nation

June Car Sales Up From a Year Ago, Down from Last Month

Thursday, July 01, 2010

(Charlie Herman, WNYC)  Auto sales increased solidly in June from a year ago when the economy was mired in a deep recession, but fell from the previous month as worries about the economy led to car buyers to put the brakes on purchasing a new car.

Total sales increased by more than 14 percent compared to a year ago but fell nearly 11 percent from May to June.  At the current sales rate, more than 11 million cars will be sold in 2010.  A year ago, the sales rate was 9.7 million.  Sales declined in part because automakers offered few incentives to buyers.  Incentives were down over 1 percent from May to June.  With few automakers offering deals going into the July 4 holiday weekend, analysts believe sales could be off to a slow start in July as consumers continue to worry about the economy and their own finances.

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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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Soundcheck

A Car Born From Music?

Friday, June 04, 2010

It just looks like another car to me...

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The Takeaway

Ford Sells Volvo to Chinese Conglomerate

Monday, March 29, 2010

Volvo is becoming a Chinese car company. Ford announced that it sold the Swedish car brand that it bought 11 years ago. Chinese conglomerate, Zhejiang Geely, is paying a third of what Ford originally paid for Volvo. Keith Bradsher, New York Times Hong Kong bureau chief, explains more about the buyer, the price and the future of Volvo.

UPDATE: On air (although not in the printed article), Bradsher said that Saab assets had been sold to Chinese car manufacturers and the rest of the company was being shut down. In fact, GM originally agreed to sell old Saab tooling to Beijing Automotive, but after starting to shut down Saab's ongoing operations, GM reversed itself and sold the company to Dutch car maker Spyker earlier this year.

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The Takeaway

Ford's US Sales Surge as Toyota's Drop

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

February wasn’t a bad month for everyone in the auto industry. In the midst of recalls and Congressional hearings, Toyota’s sales dropped 9 percent, while Ford's sales were up a whopping 43 percent in the same month, which makes Ford the country’s top-selling automaker. We continue our conversation about the state of the auto industry and the health of some of its major players. 

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