Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 – ISSN 1529-1057

Register Now for IBTTA’s Workshop — Incident Management, Safety and Security, July 19-21, 2009, Denver, CO

Join the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association in Denver, CO to learn about best practices from around the world in Incident Management and Emergency Response. Gain valuable knowledge on the most effective tools and communication methods available to promote toll facility safety and security, maintain operations in the face of disruption, and effectively communicate with customers during all phases of an incident – from prevention to recovery. Meeting highlights include a technical tour of E-470 Public Highway’s Tools and Technology followed by Northwest Parkway’s 5.9GHz DSRC Multi-Application Demonstration, a networking event at INVESCO Field at Mile High, and a fundraising golf tournament to support the IBTTA Foundation. Hotel cut-off extended until July 1st. To register or view the preliminary agenda, visit IBTTA’s website today!


1) Simulator Helps Train Air Traffic Controllers

Link to story and video on WCVB-TV:

2) Delta to Install Wi-Fi on First Wide-Body Jet

Link to story in USA Today:


3) ‘Bungled’ E-Toll System Delayed in Queensland

Link to Australian Broadcasting Corp. story:


4) GPS Mapping Team Takes a Ride

A ride-along with a crew from Navteq as they map roadways.

Link to video in The Birmingham News:


5) New York Mayor Releasing City Data Online in Hopes Developers Will Create New and Better Mobile Apps

Link to story in the Daily News:

Link to news release from the City of New York:

6) Latest Issue of Transport Business Online

Link to magazine:


7) Considerations for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane Conversions Guidebook Now Available

Link to guidebook from the Federal Highway Administration:


8) New York MTA Employee Sues City for $1 Million After Being Arrested for Taking Pictures

Link to story in the Daily News:

9) Ex-National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Chief Fears New Safety Technologies Will Take Backseat to New MPG Rule

Link to story in USA Today:


10) Insurance Companies Embrace Technology – Again

Link to story in Telematics Weekly:


11) SEPTA: Now You Can Use Google to Plan Trips

Link to story in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

12) Automated Bus Route Scheme to Start July 25 in Metro Manila

Link to story in The Philippine Star:


13) Caltrans Hotline Fails to Deliver

Link to column in the San Jose Mercury News:

14) Navteq Offers Free Traffic Updates on Your Phone

Link to CNET News story:


15) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Looking to Mandate Rear Turn-Signal Color

Link to story on Cars .com:

News Releases

1) DC Metro Taking Additional Actions After Collision

**CORRECTION**: The wrong link was included for story #8 in yesterday’s issue.  Here’s the correct link to the story:

Upcoming Events

East Coast Maritime Conference – October 5-6 – Jersey City, New Jersey

Today in Transportation History

2004 **5th anniversary** – The Cassini -Huygens spacecraft arrived at Saturn.


The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe send an e-mail to:

To unsubscribe send an e-mail to:

TCN archives:

Questions, comments about the TCN?  Please write the editor, Bernie Wagenblast at

© 2009 Bernie Wagenblast

Hyundai’s Innovative Marketers Pop a New Sales Pitch – Hyundai Assurance Gas Lock promises gas at $1.49/gal for one year

June 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm

(Sources: Autobloggreen, Autotropolis)

Hyundai is doing very well in both the automotive quality and marketing arenas. Hyundai recently scored high in the latest 2009 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. Many analysts were surprised that Hyundai finished fourth behind a stellar cast consisting of Lexus, Porsche and Cadillac.

On the marketing side, Hyundai Assurance struck a cord with the American consumers when it offered payment protection in the event of job loss. Now Hyundai is looking to give consumers increased peace of mind over of the volatility of gas prices, which have swung from under $2 a gallon a few months ago to nearly $3 at the beginning of summer.

Many consumers are sitting on the fence waiting to see which direction the price of gasoline will take. After a period of relatively cheap fuel, over the last several months the price of a gallon has started to climb significantly once again.

The newest promotion, Gas Lock, fixes the price of regular unleaded at $1.49 per gallon for the next year. The program runs July 1 through August 31, and eligible vehicles include the Accent, Sonata, Tiburon, Elantra, Elantra Touring, Entourage, Azera, Santa Fe, Tucson and Veracruz. Customers choosing to utilize Gas Lock will forgo $1,000 in available rebates, making the incentive a gamble that gas prices will remain high.

Hyundai is able to finance its Assurance Gas Lock through a partnership with a commodities company named Pricelock. Without having to dust off your MBA to figure this one out it appears that Pricelock purchases call options in the commodity markets to lock in future gasoline prices. Hyundai will make up the difference.

Shown below is the Press Release from Hyundai:

GAO Report on Pentagon’s Defense Travel System Says Implementation Challenges Still Remain

June 30, 2009 at 1:52 pm

(Source: U.S. Government Acocuntability Office)

Why GAO Did this Study

In 1995, the Department of Defense (DOD) began an effort to implement a standard departmentwide travel system—the Defense Travel System (DTS). GAO has made numerous recommendations aimed at improving DOD management, oversight, and implementation of DTS.

Image Courtesy: Apture

GAO was asked to:

  • Assess the actions DOD has taken to implement GAO’s prior recommendations;
  • Determine the actions DOD has taken to standardize and streamline its travel rules and processes;
  • Determine if DOD has identified its legacy travel systems, their operating costs, and which of these systems will be eliminated; and
  • Report on DOD’s costs to process travel vouchers manually and electronically.

To address these objectives, GAO (1) obtained and analyzed relevant travel policies and procedures, and documents related to the operation of DTS and (2) interviewed appropriate DOD and contractor personnel.

What GAO Found

While the department has made progress in improving the efficiency of its travel operations by implementing DTS and revising its processes and policies, unresolved operational issues continue to exist. DOD has taken sufficient action to satisfactorily address 6 of the 14 recommendations GAO made in 2006 pertaining to unused airline tickets, restricted airfares, testing of system interfaces, and streamlining of certain travel processes. More effort is needed to address the remaining 8 related to requirements management and system testing, utilization, premium-class travel, and developing an automated approach to reduce the need for hard-copy receipts to substantiate travel expenses. For example, in the area of requirements management and testing, GAO’s analysis found that the display of flight information by DTS is complicated and confusing. This problem continues because DOD has yet to establish DTS flight display requirements that minimize the number of screens DOD travelers must view in selecting a flight.

The 1995 DOD Travel Reengineering Report made 22 recommendations to streamline DOD’s travel rules and processes. GAO found that DOD had satisfactorily addressed all 22 recommendations. For example, DOD has mandated the use of commercial travel offices (CTO), established a single entity within DOD—the Defense Travel Management Office—to contract with CTOs for travel services, and has begun modifying CTO contracts as they become subject to renewal to standardize the level of services provided.

According to DOD officials, except for locations where DTS has not yet been deployed, DTS is used by the military services and all 44 defense agencies and joint commands to process temporary duty (TDY) travel vouchers. The department uses two legacy systems to process:

  • TDY travel vouchers at locations where DTS is not yet deployed and
  • Civilian and military permanent duty travel vouchers since DTS currently lacks the functionality to process these vouchers.

DOD provided us with fiscal year 2008 expenditure data for one system and budget data for the other system. The expenditure/budget data provided by DOD were comparable to the amounts budgeted for these systems for fiscal year 2008. According to DOD officials, these legacy systems will not be eliminated because they provide the capability to process military and civilian permanent duty travel vouchers. Although DTS is expected to provide the capability to process military permanent duty travel vouchers in fiscal year 2010, DOD has not yet decided if civilian permanent duty travel voucher processing will be added to DTS.

DOD cost data indicate that it is about 15 times more expensive to process a travel voucher manually—$36.52 manually versus $2.47 electronically. DOD officials acknowledged that the department continues to lack the data needed to ascertain the complete universe of travel vouchers that should be processed through DTS.

What GAO Recommends

Because GAO has existing recommendations regarding the actions needed to address the weaknesses discussed in this report, GAO reiterates 8 of its 14 prior recommendations. DOD commented that it has taken sufficient action to address 12 of the 14 recommendations, including 6 of the 8 GAO is reiterating, and described actions under way or planned to address the other 2. GAO disagrees. GAO received technical comments, which were incorporated as appropriate.

Click here to read/download the entire report.

AIAA Combined Conferences on Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC), Atmospheric Flight Mechanics (AFM), and Modeling and Simulation Technologies (MST) – August 10 thru 13, 2009 @ Chicago, Illinois

June 30, 2009 at 10:43 am

10 – 13 Aug 2009

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
Chicago, Illinois

Early Bird Registration Deadline: 13 July 2009

The AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC), Atmospheric Flight Mechanics (AFM), and Modeling and Simulation Technologies (MST) Conferences will be held 10-13 August 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. These combined conferences represent one of the world’s premier forums for the presentation, discussion, and collaboration of science and technology in these highly related fields. The organizers of these conferences welcome attendees to this combined event covering a broad spectrum of the study of flight mechanics, modeling, simulation, and the guidance and control of aerospace vehicles.

  • Who Should Attend?
    Engineers and scientists in industry, government and academia in the related fields of aerospace guidance, navigation, control, mechanics, modeling and simulation.
  • Why Should You Attend?
    GNC/AFM/MST showcases state of the art research as well as current progress in important on-going programs throughout the world. Over a thousand people attend this conference, including promising young professionals as well as renowned engineers and scientists.

To learn more about the event(s) pertaining to each of the three conferences and to register, please follow:

7th International Energy Conversion and Engineering Conference (IECEC) and the 45th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit

June 30, 2009 at 10:24 am

7th International Energy Conversion and Engineering Conference (IECEC)

2 – 5 Aug 2009
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, Colorado

The 7th IECEC will explore the future of clean energy systems through a series of panel discussions and technical paper presentations. This year’s hot topics include:

Alternative power systems – such as fuel cell technology and solar system technology

Biofuels, including biodiesel fuels and fuels created from food-waste

Electric power systems which would replace traditional fossil fuel based propulsion systems

Nanotechnlology applications for solar power systems, among many others. There will also be a discussion of future energy policy needs to answer the demand for “green” energy systems.

Featured Sessions:

  • Apollo Anniversary Panel (Joint Session with JPC): Gerry Griffin, Glynn Lunney, Frank Van Rensselaer, J.R. Thompson, Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, and Bob Sieck
  • Joint IECEC/JPC Session: Electrical Power Extraction from Propulsion Systems, Meeting Increasing Demands: Features experts in propulsion and electrical power generation to discuss the issues and effects of supplying large dynamic electrical loads from air-breathing propulsion systems
  • Energy Policies for a Green Future: An overview of the current and upcoming policies and activities in government, industry and academia that will lead to more efficient, less polluting energy systems
  • Impact of the USAF/SMC Lithium Ion Battery Standard on Future Spacecraft Batteries: A discussion on the issues and implication of the new lithium ion battery standard
  • Joint IECEC/JPC Session: Biofuels for Propulsion and Terrestrial Power Generation: A look into biofuel development as it relates to both propulsion and power generation applications

And Much More!

This event will be co-located with the 45th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit


Registering in advance can save conference attendees up to $100. A check made payable to AIAA or credit card information must be included with your registration form. Advance registration forms must be received by 06-Jul-2009. Preregistrants may pick up their materials at the advance registration desk.

Click here to learn more about the conference and to register.


45th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit

2 – 5 Aug 2009
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, Colorado

Early Bird Registration Deadline: 6 July 2009

AIAA, ASME, SAE, ASEE, and their industry partners, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, proudly invite you to Denver, Colorado, the Mile High City and Gateway to the Rockies, for the 45th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 2–5 August 2009.

The 45th JPC will field a strong lineup of keynote addresses, panel discussions, and technical sessions, examining the future of propulsion systems and their ability to meet the demand for “clean aerospace” technology. Highlights of the conference include a panel on the X-51 “Waverider” scramjet aircraft as it prepares for its maiden flight, a review of recent progress in the field of constant volume combustion, an analysis of the future of gas turbine technology, a critical examination of the history of liquid propulsion flight, and a look at the future of hypersonic propulsion systems. Keynote addresses will explore recent innovations in aeronautical and exo-atmospheric propulsion, the future of the Constellation program, and recent innovations in space launch and space propulsion systems.

The design of our next generation flight and space systems will be dependent more than ever on high performance, increasingly efficient, reliable and affordable propulsion systems. Our ability to incorporate new technologies into aircraft and spacecraft will have far reaching impacts to the evolutionary roles these complex systems play in our everyday lives. Our ability to incorporate new technologies into aircraft and spacecraft will have far reaching impacts to the evolutionary roles these complex systems play in our everyday lives. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control invite you to Denver and be a part of the exciting future of the aerospace propulsion industry.

Featured Speakers for 2009

Apollo Anniversary Panel:

  • Gerry Griffin – Lead flight director in Mission Control for three lunar landings during the Apollo program, and was an integral part of the team that helped the astronauts of Apollo 13 safely return to Earth after their oxygen tank exploded on their journey to the moon.
  • Glynn Lunney – An employee of NASA since its foundation in 1958, Lunney was a flight director during the Gemini and Apollo programs, and was on duty during historic events such as the Apollo 11 lunar ascent and the pivotal hours of the Apollo 13 crisis.
  • Frank Van Rensselaer – Has held various management positions with NASA during a 20-year period culminating at NASA headquarters where he was a charter member of Senior Executive Service, earning two of the three highest NASA awards.
  • J.R. Thompson – Was the fifth Director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center located in Huntsville, Alabama. He served as Director from September 29, 1986 to July 6, 1989. Thompson also served as NASA’s deputy director from July 6, 1989 to November 8, 1991.
  • Harrison “Jack” Schmitt – Played a key role in training Apollo crews to be geologic observers when they were in lunar orbit and competent geologic field workers when they were on the lunar surface. After each of the landing missions, he participated in the examination and evaluation of the returned lunar samples and helped the crews with the scientific aspects of their mission reports.
  • Bob Sieck – Joined NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in 1964 as a Gemini Spacecraft Systems engineer. He served as an Apollo Spacecraft test team project engineer, Shuttle Orbiter test team project engineer, and in 1976 was named the Engineering Manager for the Shuttle Approach and Landing tests at Dryden Flight Research Facility in California.

Keynote:Innovation in Aeronautical and Exo-Atmospheric Propulsion :

  • Dr. Werner Dahm, USAF Chief Scientist

Keynote:Innovation’s Future-Constellation Initiatives

  • Brian Duffy, Lockheed Martin, Vice President Altair Program Manager

Award’s Luncheon Keynote: Innovation in Launch and Space System Propulsion

  • Gen. Bob Kehler, USAF Space Command

Why Should You Attend?

Identify and highlight how innovative aerospace propulsion technologies get inserted into both new and evolving systems.

Attend special panel sessions with a focus on advanced system applications that can be used to showcase the propulsion systems, components and technologies that enable them.


Registering in advance can save conference attendees up to $100. A check made payable to AIAA or credit card information must be included with your registration form. Advance registration forms must be received by 06-Jul-2009. Preregistrants may pick up their materials at the advance registration desk.

Press Release for JPC:

Note seen below is applicable for both conferences:

NASA Conference Restrictions Lifted
NASA participation at technical conferences has been cleared per an April 10 NASA Interim Directive 9312.2. You are invited to read the Acting Administrator’s letter to AIAA. To read the letter, click HERE.

Smart Growth America reviews the state of stimulus spending on transportation 120 days since rollout

June 30, 2009 at 12:27 am

(Source: Streetsblog,, Smart Growth America)

Image Courtesy: Smart Growth America

Within the $787 billion stimulus bill that became law in February, Congress provided states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) with $26.6 billion in flexible funds for transportation projects. Today marks 120 days from the apportionment of the funds to the states.

Smart Growth America released a report today examining how well states have been spending these billions. As they say on the Smart Growth America blog today, not only did the money arrive in a time of economic recession, but “at a time of embarrassingly large backlogs of road and bridge repairs, inadequate and underfunded public transportation systems, and too-few convenient, affordable transportation options.”

So after 120 days, how have states done in addressing these pressing needs and investing in progress for their communities?

After analyzing project descriptions provided by states and MPOs, Smart Growth America found forward looking states and communities that used the stimulus money as flexibly as possible, repairing roads and bridges and making the kinds of smart, 21st century transportation investments that their communities need to support strong economic growth.

While some states proved excellent at investing wisely and making progress, most states failed to fulfill pressing transportation needs. Nearly one-third of the money, $6.6 billion, went towards building new road capacity. Only 2.8% was spent on public transportation, and 0.9% percent on non-motorized projects.

The Secretary of Transportation, Ray Lahood, in his daily blog noted that ARRA is working successfully across America. Some folks in the transportation community are not totally happy about how the money had been spent. Streetsblog points out that $6.6B in Stimulus Cash is spent on New Roads, Not Repair. It says:

Distressingly — but unsurprisingly — quite a lot is going to new roads rather than repair of existing ones. Of the $26.6 billion sent to states under a flexible transportation mandate, SGA found that $6.6 billion has gone towards building new highway capacity.

Only $185 million of the flexible stimulus aid has been used on transit and non-motorized transportation, which was given about $8 billionin separate funding as well.

One culprit behind this questionable use of taxpayer money, as SGA reports, is a theme at risk of repeating itself during the upcoming debate over broad transportation reform: the lack of accountability.

Most states and localities reported the projects they selected for stimulus aid only after the fact, allowing a privately run website to monitor the process much faster than the Obama administration.

But inconsistent reporting is just the beginning of the problem, as SGA points out in its report:

Most states failed to educate, engage, and seek input from the public before making decisions. … There is not a clear articulation of what project portfolios should accomplish, no methods identified for evaluating projects against these goals or against one another, and few repercussions for achieving or failing to achieve these goals.

SGA mined the stimulus itself, as well as comments by administration officials, to produce a list of nine goals that can be used to evaluate its transportation spending. But the lack of tangible consequences for not meeting those goals has left states free to spend at will, often focusing more on the report’s No. 1 objective (“create and save jobs”) than Nos. 5 (“improve public transportation”), 7 (“cut greenhouse gas emissions”), and 8 (“not contribute to additional sprawl”).

Interestingly enough, Senior White House adviser David Axelrod says the economic stimulus package has not yet “broken the back of the recession” but set aside calls for a second massive spending bill. Republicans, meanwhile, have called the spending under way a failure.

Some economists and business leaders have called for a second spending bill designed to help guide the economy through a downturn that has left millions without jobs. Axelrod said it’s too early to know if more spending would be needed or if the administration would seek more money from Congress.

“Most of the stimulus money – the economic recovery money – is yet to be spent. Let’s see what impact that has,” Axelrod said. “I’m not going to make any judgment as to whether we need more. We have confidence that the things we’re doing are going to help, but we’ve said repeatedly, it’s going to take time, and it will take time. It took years to get into the mess we’re in. It’s not going to take months to get out of it.”

Click here to download Smart Growth for America’s report:  The States and the Stimulus – Are they using it to create jobs and 21st century transportation?

Car-crazy Jakarta fast descends towards total gridlock; Now disabled pedestrians should wear traffic signs

June 29, 2009 at 11:51 pm

(Source: AFP via Google, ITDP & Jakarta Post)

New laws requiring disabled pedestrians to wear traffic signs have met with frustration and derision in Indonesia, where in the eyes of the law cars have taken priority over people.

The laws will do nothing to improve road safety or ease the traffic that is choking the life out of the capital city of some 12 million people, and serve only to highlight official incompetence, analysts said.

Within five years, if nothing changes, experts predict Jakarta will reach total gridlock, with every main road and backstreet clogged with barely moving, pollution-spewing cars.

That’s too late for the long-awaited urban rail link known as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), which has only just entered the design stage and won’t be operational until 2016 at the earliest.

“Just like a big flood, Jakarta could be paralysed. The city’s mobility will die,” University of Indonesia researcher Nyoman Teguh Prasidha said.

Instead of requiring level footpaths and ramps, lawmakers voted unanimously this month to demand disabled people wear signs announcing their condition so motorists won’t run them down as they cross the street.

Experts say the new traffic law is sadly typical of a country which for decades has allowed cars and an obsession with car ownership to run rampant over basic imperatives of urban planning.

“It is strange when handicapped people are asked to carry extra burdens and obligations,” Institute of Transportation Studies (Instran) chairman Darmaningtyas said.

A 2004 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency found that traffic jams cost Jakarta some 8.3 trillion rupiah (822 million dollars) a year in extra fuel consumption, lost productivity and health impact.

Paralyzing traffic jams and severe air pollution are the most frequent answers when people are asked what they know about Jakarta. Motorized vehicle ownerships increase in line with a rise in income per capita.

An Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) study notes that motorized vehicle ownership is growing at 9 percent every year, with more than 1,500 new registrations being filed a day for motorcycles and 500 a day for cars.  The study discusses various options including BRT, incentives for biking, etc to manage the growing congestion problem that is now threatening to cripple the growth of the country’s economy and adversely affect the quality of life of its citizens.

Now, growth of the vehicle population is not the only problem.  The drivers behind the wheel are adding to the chaos on the roads.  An article that recently appeared in the online edition of Jakarta Post, says the following: Driving in Jakarta is nothing short of chaotic, thanks to the huge quantity of people using the roads, the often terrible condition of the roads and the vast variety of vehicles there are. All of this chaos is only made worse by drivers who are reckless and dismissive of other road users.

There are drivers that seem utterly oblivious to there being anybody else on the roads except themselves. Perhaps they are too comfortable in the enclosed air-conditioned capsule that is their vehicle, as they listen to pumped-up stereophonic music or even watch small video screens, to pay any attention or care about anyone else on the roads.

Click here to read the entire article.

National lab wants to save seven billions gallons of gasoline/year spent on running A/C in American cars

June 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm

(Source: Wired)

Image Courtesy: Apture

Seven billion gallons of gasoline. That’s how much fuel America consumes each year just running the air conditioning in their cars. And don’t think riding with the windows down is the answer; the Mythbusters have long since debunked that solution.

That’s 5.5 percent of the country’s fuel use, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says auto air conditioning contributes more than 58 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Factor in a 50 million additional tons of CO2 due to refrigerant leakage and you have a environmentally unhealthy result that no American would be proud of.

In the age of gaining independence from oil and seeking responsible consumption, the Department of Energy (DOE) has funded the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to seek solutions to make air conditioning and other similar ancillary systems more efficient. The findings of this research can help automakers hit President Obama’s target for increased average fuel efficiency and put a dent in the carbon footprint of American cars. Research on cabin cooling efficiency is aimed at three areas:

  • System View: A full system analysis and redesign of the vehicle cabin thermodynamics using UV glass coatings, insulation and electrically driven compressors vs. traditional belt driven units
  • Efficient Delivery: Using more direct delivery methods such as low-mass seats, ventilated, and thermo-electrically cooled seats. The approach – Why make the whole cabin comfortable when your aims are only to make the passengers comfortable?
  • High Risk Research: Investigating ways to turn waste heat and ambient noise, generated by an engine, into usable energy. Thermal acoustics, for instance, uses sound waves to transform heat into usable electricity.

What’s in it for the OEMs and to us – the consumers? Here are some of the reasons:

  • The Obama Administration plans to increase the average fuel efficiency of America’s cars from 27.5 mpg to 35.5 mpg within seven years. It also requires automakers to curb tailpipe emissions by 40 percent. Given the impact air conditioning and other ancillary systems has on fuel consumption, any improvements in that area will be embraced by automakers.
  • Air conditioning systems have a big impact on hybrid and electric vehicles. In a typical gasoline vehicle, the air conditioning will cut your fuel efficiency 15 to 20 percent. But in a hybrid, it can cut the effective fuel efficiency and range by 15 to 35 percent. Increasing the efficiency of the cooling system could boost fuel economy and range.
  • The UK’s ban of hydrofluorocarbon-134a (HFC-134a) gas, more commonly known as the stuff that makes your A/C work. Because HFC-134a is a known greenhouse gas, the ban could lead to the use of less-efficient alternatives as was the case when the U.S. banned CFCs. The UK ban was adopted in 2004 and takes effect early next year.

The National Renewable Energy laboratory says its work, if it is implemented by the auto industry, could save us 3 billion gallons of gas a year.

Click here to read the entire article.

TransportGooru Musings:  The OEMs are already cranking up their own research and the market is seeing a glimpse of what’s been cooking in the labs thus far.  The Energy Department in December awarded $4.2 million to Ford and $2.3 million to General Motors to help them develop thermoelectric climate control systems. From the Japanese stable, the latest model of Toyota Prius features an solar electric panel on the roof that powers the air-conditioning, saving on gallons of gasoline that most cars use to power the A/C.   The solar panels on the roof of the new Prius model will provide 2 to 5 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power the A/C fan, making it a wonderful option for folks living in hot climate zones.  Wanna know what’s even more fun?  You can activate the A/C  from inside your house (actually, anywhere within 30 ft radius) remotely using your key fob, making the car cool and comfortable when are ready to climb into it for your saturday afternoon shopping trip.  You don’t have to dread getting into your car anymore after leading it outside in your drive baked under the sun.  Not forget, Toyota made an awesome commercial showing off this new feature, which you can check it out here.

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Monday, June 29, 2009 – ISSN 1529-1057


1) Computer Failures are Probed in Air France Crash

Link to story in The Wall Street Journal:

2) FAA Chief Backs NextGen Users

Link to story in Aviation Week:

3) Soon, Fliers Can ‘Voice’ Their Complaints at Mumbai Airport

Link to story in The Times of India:

4) Marketers See Fliers Waiting to Claim Bags as Captive Audience

Link to story in USA Today:


5) Some Still Slow to Make the Move to Fast Lane

Link to story in The Boston Globe:


6) Garmin Issues Fix for Widespread GPS Glitch

Link to story in PC Magazine:,2817,2349317,00.asp


7) Iowa DOT Blocks Tweeter, Facebook, Other Online Social Media Over Security Concerns

Link to story in The Des Moines Register:

8) Toyota Technology has Brain Waves Move Wheelchair

Link to AP story:

9) Besides Rail, We Need Smart Transportation Technology

Link to commentary in the San Jose Mercury News:


10) Bellingham, Washington Still Fighting to Keep Amtrak Records Private in Death Case

Link to story in The Bellingham Herald:


11) June Issue of Florida DOT’s Smart Moves Newsletter Online

Link to newsletter:


12) Metrorail Crash May Exemplify Paradox of Human-Machine Interaction

Link to story in The Washington Post:

13) America‘s Fortress: Cheyenne Mountain, NORAD Live On

Link to column on CNET News:


14) UK Commuters Could Use Phone to Pay for Travel

Link to story in the Telegraph:

15) Who Owns San Francisco Muni’s Arrival and Departure Times? That Depends on Who You Ask

Link to story in the SF Weekly:

16) Sound Transit Releases Powerful PSA Aimed at Youth and Light Rail Safety

Link to video via the Rainer Valley Post:


17) Taiwan Traffic Radio Station Can’t Meet Target

Link to story from the Taipei Times:

18) Coming Soon: Maps That Give You a More Complete Seattle-Area Traffic Picture

Link to column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

News Releases

1) Nissan Gets ‘Intelligent’ Over Saving Fuel – Project will use communications technology to teach drivers how to improve fuel economy

2) Washington, DC Launches New Circulator Bus Mobile Application

3) Inrix Wins Contract with GeoDecisions to Aid Government Logistics Using Real-Time Traffic Data

4) Navteq Upgrades Mobile Web Site for Real-Time Traffic Delays

Upcoming Events

12th IFAC Symposium on Control in Transportation Systems – September 2-4 – Redondo Beach, California

Today in Transportation History

1909 **100th anniversary** – The first flight of a US military airplane took place took place at Fort Myer, Virginia.


The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe send an e-mail to:

To unsubscribe send an e-mail to:

TCN archives:

Questions, comments about the TCN?  Please write the editor, Bernie Wagenblast at

Navigation Device Gone Wild! American tourist in Germany follows outdated GPS into oncoming traffic

June 29, 2009 at 10:39 am

(Source: The Local, Germany)

Image Courtesy: Apture

An American tourist caused an accident near Karlsfeld over the weekend, banging up some €45,000 in damages when he followed an outdated navigation system prompt in the wrong direction, daily TZ reported on Monday.

According to the paper, the man’s Mercedes Vito rental car system had not been updated with the new exit from the B471 motorway near Karlsfeld, 20 minutes north of Munich.

The oversight caused him to drive himself and seven passengers into oncoming traffic, where they came face to face with a Peugeot. Both cars wound up veering off the road and into a ditch, the paper said.

The Vito landed on the roof, but all eight passengers in the Mercedes escaped injuries. The Peugeot driver suffered a whiplash injury.

Click here to read the entire article.