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WQXR Blog

Video: Pianist Yundi Li and Taylor Swift Star in Chinese Car Commercial

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The phenomenon of American celebrities starring in commercials overseas is nothing new, but chances are, few have involved classical pianists.
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New Tech City

Toyota Gives Me a Personal Productivity Makeover

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Office workers pecking away at keyboards are like assembly line workers churning out product. But can a knowledge employee become as efficient as a finely-tuned factory?

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Transportation Nation

While Detroit Gains Ground, Japanese Automakers Stumble in China

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A Toyota dealership in Qingdao was burned by protestors in a dispute over an island chain claimed by both China and Japan.

(Paul Eisenstein - The Detroit Bureau) General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have ended 2012 with all-time sales records in China — but the news is nowhere near as good for Japanese makers.

Stung by a dispute between China and Japan over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, Toyota, Nissan and Honda have all suffered a sharp decline in sales in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.

While General Motors has yet to release its final figures for 2012, the maker already passed its previous peak by the end of November, the 2.59 million vehicles it sold for all of 2011. GM has set a goal of boosting sales in China to 5 million by mid-decade.

[Related story: GM Sets Another New Sales Record in China – And it’s Not Alone.]

Ford, meanwhile, has confirmed its sales in China rose 21% last year, to 626,616, also an all-time high. The maker was a relative latecomer to the Chinese market but has been aggressively expanding both its product portfolio and production capacity over the last several years.

“Record 2012 sales highlight the positive response our customers have for our full portfolio of high-quality, safe, fuel-efficient and smart vehicles,” John Lawler, chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China, said in a statement. “Their enthusiasm for Ford cars validates our aggressive plan to introduce 15 new vehicles, double production capacity and double our China dealership network — all by 2015.”

Chrysler has also been pushing into record territory, though its volumes have been much smaller than its cross-town rivals. That’s ironic because Chrysler was the first Western maker to build vehicles in China, or more precisely through its Jeep subsidiary. But its original operation was assumed by former partner Mercedes-Benz following the break-up of the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler AG.

[Related story: Chinese Reportedly Eyeing Stake in Daimler AG]

Under new partner Fiat SpA, Chrysler is again making an aggressive push to expand in China.

Japanese makers were also slow to enter the Chinese market, in part to long-standing enmity between the two nations dating back to Japan’s brutal occupation of its neighbor during World War II. That simmering disdain came back to a boil when the Japanese government decided to buy what it calls the Senkoku Island chain last September.

That set off rioting in China, the bigger nation also laying claim to what it calls the Daioyu Islands. A number of Japanese-owned vehicles were destroyed and a Toyota dealership was even torched in what many observers believe were government-tolerated, if not sanctioned, riots.

Japanese industry executives had previously telegraphed the likelihood of declining sales in China which, they also cautioned, would hurt their earnings for the rest of the 2012 fiscal year – which closes on March 31, 2013.

Nissan took the biggest hit, sales declining 5.3% for calendar-year 2012, to 1.2 million vehicles. Nissan has been the most aggressive of the Japanese makers operating in China, among other things setting up the new Venucia brand with its partner there, Donfeng Motors.

Toyota suffered a 4.9% drop in volume last year, to 840,000. Honda’s China sales slipped 3.1%, to 599,000. Prior to the dispute over the Senkoku/Daioyu Islands, Toyota had expected to see a 10% jump in sales in China, reaching 1 million for the first time.

The market for Japanese products has begun to improve, Toyota China spokesman Niu Yu telling the Wall Street Journal, “Sales are getting better day by day, but it’s still hard to say when we can get back to the pre-protest level,” said.

But it’s unclear how quickly there will be a full recovery. Nissan, for example, suffered a 41% drop in demand in October, shortly after the dispute began, but sales were still off 24%, year-over-year, in December.

Follow The Detroit Bureau on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

Toyota Reaches $1 Billion Deal in Runaway Cars Case

Thursday, December 27, 2012

(photo by danielctw via flickr)

(Paul Eisenstein - The Detroit Bureau) Toyota Motor Co. has reached a more than $1 billion settlement intended to put an end to hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the maker’s problems with unintended acceleration. But Toyota still faces a separate series of lawsuits from those who claim to have been injured by runaway vehicles.

The proposed settlement specifically covers lawsuits filed by owners who alleged that the value of their cars, trucks and crossovers had plummeted substantially as a result of the crisis triggered by a series of revelations and recalls that eventually involved more than 14 million Toyota products worldwide.

The maker said it also will launch an extended warranty program covering 16 million current owners while also installing additional safety technology on 3.2 million of its vehicles. But in light of other recent recalls that have involved millions more Toyota products it remains unclear if the settlement will be enough to repair the Japanese giant’s once shining image.

[Related Story: Toyota Furia Concept Could be New Corolla]

“This agreement marks a significant step forward for our company, one that will enable us to put more of our energy, time and resources into Toyota’s central focus: making the best vehicles we can for our customers and doing everything we can to meet their needs,” said Christopher P. Reynolds, Group Vice President and General Counsel, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, and Chief Legal Officer, Toyota Motor North America.

The deal must still receive the approval of U.S. District Judge James Selna, who has been overseeing hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed since late 2009 when the maker launched the first in a series of recalls related to unintended acceleration.

The first action involved loose carpets that could jam accelerator pedals making it difficult to slow a vehicle. A subsequent recall announced in early 2010 involved sticky accelerator assemblies. Toyota has since announced several other recalls related to unintended acceleration.

A pair of studies conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dismissed allegations that Toyota vehicles also suffered from defective engine control systems that could lead to unintended acceleration.  But the agency has nonetheless fined the Japanese maker repeatedly for failing to act upon a known safety defect in reasonable time, as required by law.

Earlier this month, Toyota agreed to pay a $17.35 million fine for delaying a recall involving loose floor carpets in its Lexus RX crossovers.  It paid $48.8 million in fines in 2010 for similar delays.

The maker has faced a variety of different lawsuits which were consolidated under the auspices of the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California.  The proposed settlement only involves those suits alleging that owners saw the value of their vehicles decline as a result of the unintended acceleration scare.

[Also at Detroit Bureau: After Decade-Long Decline, Highway Deaths Suddenly Surge]

A total of $250 million will be offered to those who sold or turned in a leased vehicle between September 2009 and December 2010, at the height of the scandal.

Another $250 million will be used to extend the warranty coverage on select vehicle components for owners and lessors of 16 million Toyota products and to retrofit 3.2 million vehicles with a brake override system.  That technology is intended to automatically reduce engine power when the brakes are touched, even if a driver inadvertently also applies the throttle.

The remaining funds will be used for safety research and driver education programs.

“We think (this) was a good settlement given the risks of this litigation,” Steve Berman, a lawyer representing Toyota owners, told the Associated Press.

It is not clear how much of the settlement, which Berman estimated at $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion, will go to plaintiffs attorneys. Toyota, meanwhile, said it would take a one-time charge against earnings of $1.1 billion.

[Also on Detroit Bureau: Car Thieves Offer a Reprieve on Xmas – But Watch Out New Year’s Eve]

As for those who claim to have been injured in unintended acceleration crashes – and those who are suing on behalf of deceased family members – that case is currently scheduled to see the first trial begin in February, barring any additional settlement.

Toyota appears to be hoping that it can defend itself by referring to findings of the two NHTSA studies, one conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, the other by NASA. Neither could find any proof that Toyota vehicles suffered from electronic gremlins – though the NASA study did leave open the possibility that such issues did exist but were difficult to trace.

During an emotional February 2010 hearing before Congress, Toyota President Akio Toyoda promised to step up efforts to ensure the safety of the company’s vehicles – and to increase the response time when problems are discovered.

The maker has pointed to its strong performance in recent quality and reliability surveys. But skeptics also note not only the latest fine for recall delays but the fact that Toyota has recalled millions more vehicles this year. That includes the maker’s largest recall ever due to faulty window switches that could catch fire.

But industry analysts say that the maker’s problems appear to have had relatively little impact on its sales.

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Transportation Nation

Big Three Automakers Post Double-Digit Sales Gains

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ford Focus Electric (CC) by Flickr user Kevin Krejci

The recovery has been very good to the U.S. auto industry.

General Motors said Tuesday its August sales were double the company's expectations and are up 10 percent over 2011 numbers. Ford reports its numbers were up 13 percent. And Chrysler had its best August in five years, posting gains of 14 percent.

These numbers come at a fortuitous time for President Obama, who is making the $85 billion bailout of the auto industry a key talking point of his re-election campaign. Speaking Monday at a United Auto Workers rally in Ohio, Obama told the crowd: "If we had turned our backs on you, if we had thrown in the towel like that, GM and Chrysler wouldn’t exist today."

Read more about auto sales at NPR.


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Transportation Nation

Here's Hoping This Car Doesn't Have To Make Too Many Bullpen Trips Today

Friday, April 06, 2012

(photo by Kate Hinds)

The Yankees officially kick off their season today -- reason enough to post this picture of a pinstriped Toyota hybrid, taken this week at the New York International Auto Show.

(game time 3:10pm, CC Sabathia on the mound.)

Did anyone say public relations?

Happy opening day!

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Transpo Legislation Stalled, Boston T Eyeing Fare Hike, FedEx Driver Saw Linsanity Coming

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Top stories on TN:
NYPD Defends Role in Investigating Traffic Deaths (Link)
NYPD Issued Almost 50,000 Bicycle Tickets in 2011 (Link)
Transit Tax Deduction Amendment Doesn’t Make Payroll Deal (Link)
Final Irene-Damaged Road in New York is Fixed (Link)
SF Ferries Prepare for Crunch From Bridge Closure (Link)
New York Wants $2 Billion From Feds for Tappan Zee Bridge (Link)
Report: Boehner is Delaying Transpo Vote (Link)

Boston T sign in Cambridge (photo by Kate Hinds)

Why is transportation legislation stalled in both the House and the Senate? TN's Todd Zwillich explains on The Takeaway.

Ray LaHood says President Obama's transportation spending plan is necessary, because "America is one big pothole right now." (Los Angeles Times)

BP's oil slick is spilling into a New Orleans courtroom: testimony in a lawsuit over the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is scheduled to begin at the end of the month. (NPR)

Boston's transit advisory board is proposing a 25 percent, across-the-board fare hike as an alternative to steep service cuts. (Boston Globe)

Detroit's mayor will propose ending bus service between 1 and 4 a.m. citywide and reducing service times and lengthen waits between buses on dozens of routes. (Detroit Free Press)

DC's Metro and three equipment makers have admitted liability in the deadliest train crash in the transit authority’s history, according to court filings. (Washington Post)

Toyota has revved up its sales to U.S. rental car agencies. (Marketplace)

West Virginia's House is mulling Complete Streets legislation. (AP via West Virginia Gazette)

If the global climate continues its warming trend, Manhattan could see a drastic uptick of so-called 100-year floods, or those with storm surges around 6.5 feet, according to a new MIT study. (Atlantic Cities)

How dreamy is Boeing's new Dreamliner? One passenger: "It's half-and-half. I half like it, and I'm half disappointed." (Wall Street Journal)

A FedEx driver -- and statistics hobbyist -- predicted the rise of Jeremy Lin two years ago. (Wall Street Journal)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: LIRR Pilots Quiet Cars, and Higher Hudson River Tolls = More People Riding Mass Transit

Monday, December 05, 2011

Top stories on TN:

The lost highways of Washington, DC. (Link)

The MTA wants transit apps, but it doesn't want to release key data. (Link)

Do higher CAFE standards create more jobs? (Link)

Andrea Bernstein, Brian Lehrer discuss transit systems and climate change. (Link)

The George Washington Bridge (photo by Kate Hinds)

Lots of New York news this week, as the legislature returns to Albany for a special session:

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to create an infrastructure fund that will finance the repair and development of highways, bridges and major construction projects--and promote innovative public-private partnerships with business and labor. (Capitol Confidential)

Lawmakers will meet to enact a compromise bill extending “taxi hail” service to the outer boroughs, among other issues... (NY Post, NY Times)

...including the MTA's payroll tax, which sources say they want to modify without financially hurting the strapped agency. (NY Daily News)

But: New York Daily News opinion: repealing the payroll tax is "a train wreck of a proposal that would cripple the subway...The idea that the MTA could provide anything remotely close to a safe and affordable service after such a financial pounding is fantasy.'"

In other news:

Higher Hudson River tolls have led to less traffic -- and more people riding public transit into New York City. (New York Times)

House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman John Mica said he's finished negotiating over some FAA funding issues until Congress resolves a dispute over a labor ruling. (Politico)

U.S. factory production is up--which means automakers are hiring. (The Takeaway)

Toyota begins selling "the world's smallest four-seater." (Detroit Free Press)

A blueprint for how Germany created a financially viable public transit system.  (Washington Post)

The Long Island Rail Road is piloting a quiet car program on one line. (Long Island Press)

The mayor of Ventura, California, is going blind -- so he's moving to Washington DC, where the transit system will enable him to lead a normal life without driving. (Los Angeles Times)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: DC Uses Decoys to Catch Bike Thieves, Toyota Plant Opens in Tupelo, Congress Approves Gateway Tunnel $

Friday, November 18, 2011

Top stories on TN:

For transit agencies, climate change could cost billions. (Link)

House Republicans marry domestic energy drilling to transportation funds. (Link)

Congress zeroes out high-speed rail funding. (Link)

Bike racks outside DC Metro (photo by Palmetto Cycling Coalition via Flickr)

Republicans hail "the end to President Obama’s misguided high speed rail program." (The Hill)

An East Side Access tunnel worker was killed by falling concrete under Grand Central Terminal. (New York Times)

Congress formally approved $15 million for the trans-Hudson Gateway Tunnel; engineering work will now begin. (The Star-Ledger)

DC's transit police are using decoys to catch bike thieves. (Washington Post)

Rethinking public transit, especially in rural areas, doesn't have to be expensive. (New York Times Opinionator)

"Secret" Port Authority bonuses are being investigated by the NY Comptroller's Office. (The Record)

A long-awaited Toyota plant is finally opening in Tupelo, Mississippi. (Atlantic Cities)

Staten Islanders will protest tolls tomorrow. (SILive.com)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: LA Increases Night Service on Trains, Chicago Area Buses To Drive on Highway Shoulders, Passenger Attacks on Transit Operators On the Rise

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Top stories on TN:

A new bridge across Lake Champlain opened years ahead of schedule. (Link)

Van driving "rebalancers" keep watch over Capital Bikeshare stations. (Link)

The mass transit commuter tax break is set to expire at the end of the year. (Link)

Image courtesy of Pace Bus

Los Angeles is increasing night service on three rail lines to boost ridership. (Los Angeles Times)

Some buses will be driving on the shoulder next week in the Chicago area, when the region pilots a program designed to speed commuting times. (Chicago Tribune)

San Francisco weighs bus rapid transit on Van Ness Avenue. (The Bay Citizen)

Nearly a third of all drivers said they've almost fallen asleep while driving at least once in the last month, and the problem gets worse when the clocks change. (Washington Post)

Toyota's hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, which will hit the market in 2015, is expected to retail for about $138,000. (Autopia)

Attacks by passengers on mass transit operators are on the rise, and some say rage over fare hikes is the cause. (Atlantic Cities)

Does Salt Lake City's commuter rail have a higher accident rate than average? Signs point to yes. (Deseret News)

NYC is moving forward with plans to use a San Francisco-like "smart parking" system. (Streetsblog)

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether police need a warrant to attach a GPS tracking device to a suspect's car. (NPR)

The Staten Island borough president says toll relief for NJ-bound drivers may be on the way. (Staten Island Live)

The long-delayed plan to overhaul the George Washington Bridge Bus Station in northern Manhattan is gaining traction with a flurry of leases for its expanded retail space. (Wall Street Journal)

Flood waters in Bangkok are inching closer to the subway. (CNN)

The architecture critic for the New York Times waxes poetic about bike lanes, writes that the city environment is "an urban glory best absorbed, I have come to realize, from a bike."

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Cuomo to Allow Hydrofracking, American Airlines Deep in Red, and Transit Agencies Want Tweets About Hot Subway Cars

Friday, July 01, 2011

Machine used for hydrofracking (NYS Department of Environmental Conservation)

New York Governor Cuomo announced a plan to allow -- and regulate -- the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking. (WNYC)

Ray LaHood is siding with Virginia's above-ground station idea for the Dulles Metrorail extension. (Washington Post)

Latinos, African-Americans and Asian-Americans buy more Toyotas than any other car brand. (NPR)

American Airlines has lost money eight out of the last ten years. (AP via St. Louis Today)

California is recycling roads to repair them. (Good)

Federal transportation officials shut down a Pennsylvania bus company involved in a fatal crash after finding the two drivers involved never took required drug tests and falsified records. (AP)

The transit agencies in Boston and Washington DC want customers to tweet them about subway cars with broken A/C. (Transit Wire)

The Port Authority of NY and NJ is studying traffic near the Port Newark/Elizabeth Marine Terminal to prepare to accommodate a 50 percent increase in shipping container traffic over the coming decade. (The Star-Ledger)

More on the opening of the Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed rail line in the Los Angeles Times.

Brookline wants to join Boston's bike share program. (Boston Globe)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Racial Profiling At Newark Liberty Airport -- Digital Displays Coming to More NYC Subway Cars

Friday, June 17, 2011

Newark Airport (photo by Masck/Flickr)

Racial profiling apparently became common practice at Newark Airport, and now lawmakers want to know why. (Star-Ledger)

The NYC MTA says East Side Select Bus Service increased ridership by 30%. (DNA Info)

Budget woes and high gas prices are causing Illinois to cut back school bus service. (Chicago Tribune)

New York may bring automated station announcements and digital displays to 1,700 more subway cars. (New York Times)

Toyota says full vehicle production will return to North America in September -- faster than expected. (Bloomberg)

Women in Saudi Arabia are agitating for the right to drive. (The Takeaway)

A New York Daily News op-ed says that NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan killed a City Council plan to put livery cab stands in outer boroughs.

Parking a pickup truck overnight in Coral Gables, Florida -- even in a driveway -- could cost residents a $100 ticket. (USA Today)

Taxi data could be mined to solve public transit problems. (The Urbanophile)

Plans for a High Line-style park are moving ahead in Chicago. (Red Eye Chicago)

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The Takeaway

Toyota Suspends US Production for One Week

Monday, May 30, 2011

Toyota announced that it would suspend U.S. production for one week beginning today. The car maker's decision in part due to problems with the Toyota supply chain, which was disrupted by March’s Sendai earthquake. However, it is unclear exactly what is causing the shutdown. To get to the bottom of the announcement, is Paul Eisenstein, publisher of website TheDetroitBureau.com.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Jump in Oil Prices Hits US Trade Deficit, DC Eyes SF-Style Parking, and Is US Surface Transportation Secure?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Just how vulnerable are America's railroads to a terrorist attack? The Wall Street Journal reports that "for every $50 the Transportation Security Administration spends on aviation security, the agency budgets $1 to protect surface transportation."

Will separated bike lanes come to Toronto? (NOW Toronto)

Bike parked outside of WNYC's Greene Space (photo by Kate Hinds)

The big jump in oil prices pushed the nation's trade deficit higher in March. (AP via NPR)

DC is trying out San Francisco's dynamic parking pricing. (WAMU/Kojo Nnamdi Show)

Boston cabbies and credit card companies try to reach a compromise. (WBUR/Radio Boston)

Tampa's taxpayers could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in shortfalls at the city's financially-strapped parking division. (Tampa Tribune)

NYC is exploring technology that would provide real-time traffic info via GPS -- as well as provide vehicle miles traveled information. (NY Daily News)

Toyota will launch a new set of sales incentives on many of its models. (Wall Street Journal)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--a new report shows how states spend their transpo dollars (link)

--Indiana bans texting (link)

--storefronts use bikes as sales draw (link)


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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Floodwaters Threaten Refineries, NYC Cabbies Extradited Over Fare Scheme, and DC Will Pay You To Live Near Work

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mississippi floodwaters are heading south to Louisiana -- home to more than 10% of the nation's oil refining capacity. (Marketplace)

NYC has extradited (from Kansas City and Miami) two former taxi drivers accused of intentionally overcharging passengers by illegally setting their meters to an out-of-town rate. (WNYC)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles Todd Long, the state’s powerful director of planning for transportation. AJC describes him as "an unelected bureaucrat (who) is the initial gatekeeper for the $8 billion referendum that many say will shape metro Atlanta’s future for decades to come."

NJ Transit unveils its first locomotive powered by an engine that can operate on both diesel and electric lines. (NJ Record)

Want to live near your office? Washington, D.C.'s Office of Planning is launching a pilot program to incentivize it. (Good)

The White House says "tough love" saved General Motors (The Hill). Meanwhile, the Big Three are hiring (Detroit Free Press) -- but Toyota's profit slipped 77% (NY Times).

Breaking: Ray LaHood doesn't know the meaning of the word 'hipster.' (The Atlantic )

Cruiser culture in Boise: "They have a blue house, they want a blue bike," says a bike shop owner. (Boise Weekly)

More on New York City's "Don't Be A Jerk" bike behavior campaign in the Wall Street Journal, the NY Post, and Streetsblog.

The NY Post says NYC's bike share program plan will "visit perpetual terror" on New Yorkers.

And bikers: is your morning commute less bumpy? One Brooklyn Bridge rider says it's smooth sailing.

From WNYC's Amy Pearl: "Nothing beats the feel of freshly laid blacktop against my bike tires. It looks like they finally repaved the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge!"

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--get ready for dueling petro-bills in Congress (link)

--NYC to cyclists: don't be jerks (link)

--Chicago's mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel releases transpo report (link)

--Texas wins $15 million for high-speed rail study (link)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Christie Says He Won't Repay ARC $, Taxi of Tomorrow Winner To Be Unveiled, and DC Bikers Battle Rough Roads

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Christie said he won't repay ARC money: the NJ gov said the $271 million in federal funds that had been designated for the ARC tunnel “is not money that should be paid back to the federal government.” His decision may cost the state $52,000 a week in interest. No word yet on his next move. (Bloomberg)

The winning automaker in New York's "Taxi of Tomorrow" contest will be unveiled soon. (WNYC)

Queens residents and politicians are fed up with New York's #7 subway line, which has had 106 service disruptions since January. (Queens Courier)

Rep. John Mica is worried that Osama bin Laden supporters might target America's transit systems. (The Hill)

The Netherlands has sent three experts on “cycling as transportation’’ to Miami to help figure out how to make that city more bike-friendly. (McClatchy; hat tip to Good)

DC-area bicyclists not only battle cars, but the design of the roads. (WAMU)

Why yes, I would like to build a bicycle that also doubles as a pencil. (Instructables)

Pencil Bike (photo courtesy of instructables.com)

Toyota has sparked a controversy in Brazil for attempting to legally bar a media outlet that published spy shots of a new Corolla from ever mentioning the Toyota brand name again. (Jalopnik)

What happens to the neighborhood when a Borders disappears? Chicago wants to encourage smaller businesses, but parking remains a perpetual concern. (WBEZ)

Honda is recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles over airbag concerns. (Detroit News)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--DC's bikeshare gets a boost from a rally held in the wake of bin Laden's death (link)

--as gas prices rise, so does bus ridership (link)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Japanese Automakers Release March Earnings, and NY's 'Taxi of Tomorrow' Could Be Built in Brooklyn

Monday, April 25, 2011

Japanese automakers release March numbers -- the first hard numbers since the earthquake and tsunami.  (The Takeaway)

Denver is pairing transit and development. (Denver Post)

A NYT op-ed piece compares the president's current plan for high-speed rail to the building of the transcontinental railroads in the 1800s; the writer says that both sacrificed public good for private gain. (NYT)

Not all of NYC's bicyclists are happy with the new bike lanes. (Wall Street Journal)

The St. Louis airport is operating at 85% after tornado damage.

A contender for New York's "Taxi of Tomorrow" says that if it wins the contract, it will build its vehicles in Brooklyn. (NY1)

After years of planning, Birmingham (MI) pulls out of a transit plan with neighboring Troy. (Detroit Free Press)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

- Membership in DC's Capital Bikeshare nearly doubles after an online coupon deal (Link)

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WNYC News

Japan Quake Anxieties Hang Over New York Auto Show

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fuel efficiency is the buzz phrase at the 2011 New York International Auto Show — but the specter of production slowdowns and supply chain disruptions looms large for Japan-based manufacturers struggle in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami last month.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: EV Sales Boost US Economy, NJ Highways "Deficient," and Amtrak Sets Ridership Record

Friday, April 08, 2011

Chevy Volt (Photo: GM)

Are sales of electric vehicles behind the growth in the US economy? (The Takeaway)

Toyota and Nissan restart production (Marketplace).

The nuclear disaster in Japan could undermine support for nuclear power here in the US -- and build support for natural gas. (NPR)

A new report says half of New Jersey's highways are deficient. (AP via the Star-Ledger)

More on New York's parking placards in the NY Daily News and NY Times.

Can smartphones -- with commuting apps -- get people out of cars and onto public transit? (Wired)

Amtrak says it's on track for record ridership. (The Hill)

Will a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons spur economic development -- or acres of empty parking lots? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Los Angeles Metro launched what it says is the nation's first major public transit agency's Spanish language blog (The Source). Called El Pasajero, the blog formally launches today.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: NY Gov. Cuomo tightens parking placard rules; Caltrain isn't slashing service...yet; traffic light timing is adjusted in Central Park's loop; Dulles's Metrorail link answers the question 'over or under?,' and: how much high-speed rail will $2.4 billion buy?

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Gas Prices A Political Problem for Obama, and Saab Stops Production--For Now

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

President Barack Obama inspects an AT&T all-electric vehicle on display during a tour of the UPS facility in Landover, Md., April 1, 2011. (Office White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Rising gas prices present a problem for President Obama's reelection hopes. (Los Angeles Times)

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania yesterday, he talked about electric vehicles, increasing fuel-efficiency standards, and alternative energy sources. (White House transcript)

Gothamist interviewed the bicyclist who was arrested on Manhattan's Upper West Side for either running a red light or resisting arrest.

Swedish automaker Saab has temporarily shut down production due to "limited liquidity," lack of supplies, and ongoing negotiations with suppliers who need to be paid (Wall Street Journal). Meanwhile, a slowdown in Toyota's production is causing ripple effects in Japan (NPR).

But it's not all bad news for Toyota, which just sold its one millionth Prius in the U.S. (Wired/Autopia)

New York's fire department is expanding a program that requires firefighters to follow traffic laws, operate at reduced speeds and turn off lights and sirens when responding to certain non-life threatening emergencies to Brooklyn and Staten Island after a successful pilot program in Queens. (WNYC)

Caltrain cuts may not be as bad as originally projected, but "there is still some pain." (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Citizens Budget Commission released a report that says New York's subways are among the most efficient in the country -- but the MTA's bus operations, and two commuter rail roads, are "relatively inefficient."  Download the report (pdf): Benchmarking Efficiency for the MTA's Efficiency Standards

Stanford University has founded a program for the cross-cultural study of the automobile. (New York Times)

The New York Yankees and the MTA agreed to return the B, D and 4 subway lines to the "Great New York Subway Race," the animated mid-game scoreboard segment. (NY Daily News)

Make mine a double: new double-decker buses roll out in Seattle. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: After Transportation Nation report,Governor Cuomo says he'll overhaul  the state system of handing out free parking placard as perks to state employees. A NY State Senator introduced a license plate bill that he'd benefit from.  The applications are in for Florida's rejected high-speed rail money.Congress floats new motorcoach safety bills. And labor leaders and transit advocates talk about equity with DOT officials.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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