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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Tracking Truckers, First Lady Flight Scare, Conspicuous Conservation

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another day of scrutiny for the FAA yesterday. An apparent air traffic control mistake caused a scare when it forced a plane carrying the first lady to abort a landing. (Washington Post) That was just hours after another air traffic controller was suspended for watching a movie on the job. His open microphone broadcast parts of of the film. (Washington Post)

To fight drowsy driving, the DOT has proposed a rule that forces truckers to install electronic monitors that track how many hours they drive a day. Independent drivers call it an intrusion, but the big companies are for it. (NPR)

North Carolina legislators narrowly rejected a plan that could have killed high-speed rail plans there. (The Republic)

Washington, D.C. is launching a city-wide plan to let parkers pay by phone at parking meters. You'll still be able to pay with loose change. (Washington Examiner)

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user KDavidClark)

Police are hoarding Crown-Victorias before Ford discontinues the classic cop car. (Jalopnik)

An LA transit line inches closer to the sea and residents have a unique way to influence its direction. (GOOD)

Informal "dollar vans" are moving in on public bus territory in New York. (PLOG)

Guess who got a pulled over by police this time for riding on the sidewalk in NYC. Robin Williams! He said once the police recognized him, they decided to let him off with a warning. (NY Post)

Newark Liberty airport gets a new TSA chief after a year of lapses that included allowing a poorly screened passenger in a secure area, and loading a dead dog on a plane without checking it. (AP)

The Freakonomics team examines "conspicuous conservation": the act of buying something—like an electric car—that's good for the environment so all your neighbors know you care about the planet, and become your friend. (Marketplace)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

- Rahm Emanuel taps Gabe Klein as Chicago transportation Chief, signaling bike- and transit-friendly polices to come. (Link)

- Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is talking tough with Gov. Rick Scott. We may see tit for tat transportation funding. (Link)

- Get ready for SFpark, the dynamic pricing plan to solve San Francisco's parking problems, maybe. (Link)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: FAA Resignation, 2,500 m.p.g. Buggy, Rail Freight Up

Friday, April 15, 2011

The official in charge of air traffic control at the FAA resigned yesterday, following a second controller falling asleep on the job. (Politico) An overhaul to the whole system is coming. (Marketplace)

Can mayors save the planet? We published our first Portuguese language post ever yesterday on this topic, but if you want a related post in English asking the same question, well, that's OK too. NYC Mayor Bloomberg teams up with Bill Clinton to take the C-40 cleaner cities initiative global. (WNYC)

The struggling commuter rail line in Minnesota's Twin Cities, the North Star Line, is doing a little better at meeting ridership expectations. Part of the reason is higher gas prices. (Pioneer Press)

Motor Trend tested out the Chevy Volt. After 818.3 miles, the team testing it say they used 6.6 gallons of gas. That's worse than expected. But Motor Trend concludes, it's worth buying. (Motor Trend)

A tougher test for one hybrid vehicle is coming up. A team plans to enter the most punishing race on four wheels, the Dakar Rally, with a hybrid-electric truck. Can the delicate electronics survive the sandy trek? (Autoblog)

Look how shiny and new. San Francisco gets a new airport terminal. (SF Gate)

"The good news is the dam is still there and it's holding steady..." A North Dakota dam is in danger of collapse, which would flood 30 homes. (AP, via Infrastructurist)

Yesterday in this post, we linked to a report that trucking freight was down 1.5 percent in February. So here's some cargo data that points in the opposite economic direction. Rail freight was up 7.9 percent in the last quarter of 2010. (Bloomberg)

The tightly watched ticketing of cyclists in New York City for road offenses continues, now handbags are a hot button issue. The dean of students at an elite prep school was ticketed for riding with a handbag on her handlebars. (NY Post) And apparently, you can blame all the bike beef on Paris. NYC Mayor Bloomberg was smitten with the bike network there after a visit and came back with the idea to replicate it in NYC. (NYT)

Next month, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will deliver the commencement address at Boston College. Chances he tells the graduates not to text and drive? Very high. (Boston Globe) Or maybe he'll tout the good work students can do. Like this impressive bunch form California in a contest to build a vehicle that uses the least fuel possible. Last year's winners got almost 2,500 m.p.g. Yes. 2,500. (Wired)

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TN Moving Stories: China's (Less) High-Speed Rail, Sleeping Controllers, Carsharing Meets Stock Market

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If you're wondering how all these contentious budget deals are affecting plans -- and money -- for high-speed rail, Transportation Nation's Andrea Bernstein combed through the reports to find out. (The Takeaway)

China is also putting the brakes on high-speed, but for another reason. China slows down its bullet train over safety concerns. (WSJ)

After a second air traffic controller fell asleep working the lonely night shift, the FAA has announced it will add a second controller overnights at 26 airports, including D.C.'s Reagan National. (WAMU) But are air traffic controllers just plain overworked? (The Takeaway)

ZipCar, the country's largest carsharing company, has gone public, raising more than 31 percent above the expected offering price. (Bloomberg) That's all without the company actually making a profit. Marketplace explains that's not because the model doesn't work, but because buying all those cars to expand to new cities keeps the company in the red.

If it still ruffles your feathers to pay to check a bag while flying, consider that you don't get a refund on that fee when the airlines loose your luggage. Well the DOT wants to change that. (AP) Security pat-downs are also under review. After a You Tube video showed a six-year-old enduring a security pat-down, the TSA is considering changes to the policy. (Denver Post)

IBM and U.C. Berkeley are teaming up, and using smart phones, to tackle traffic jams. (Wired)

If freight trucking is an economic indicator, this isn't the best news. Road freight shipments fell 1.5 percent in February. (TruckingInfo)

(Photo: Asian Development Bank)

The city of Mandaluyong in the Philippines just launched a plan to use electric tricycles as public transportation. It's part of a wider effort to reduce air pollution. (TheCityFix)

The Texas Rangers are suing a former team owner for planning to price gouge fans for parking at the ballpark this season. (Dallas Morning News)

Like many transit systems facing budget cutbacks, D.C. area Metro is considering cutting bus routes, increasing weekend wait times, and eliminating subsidies. It is not considering fare hikes... now. (WAMU)

Maryland has voted down a gas tax increase. They did, however, raised taxes on alcohol. But, the booze surcharge won't go to transportation projects. (WAMU)

And on NYC bike lane usage, Streetsblog takes the same data as the NY Post, but draws the opposite conclusions. People use the bike lanes a lot, they find. (Streetsblog)

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