Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – November 3, 2009

November 4, 2009 at 11:10 am

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 – ISSN 1529-1057

Register for IBTTA’s Toll Road Summit of the Americas — November 15-17, 2009 in São Paulo, Brazil

Join the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association at the Toll Road Summit of the Americas and examine an array of methods to design, finance, operate and maintain user financed surface transportation facilities. The second day of this meeting will be held in conjunction with TranspoQuip 2009, Latin America’s biggest event for the transportation infrastructure industries in Latin America. Featured speakers include Cesar Queiroz, Consultant, Roads and Transport Infrastructure, World Bank, and Roberto Lucas, Jr., Author and Urban Planning Consultant. Meeting hosted by ABCR and CCR. For registration, hotel, travel and visa information, or to view the preliminary agenda, visit


1) Lawmakers Seek Ban on Laptops in Airliner Cockpits

Link to AP article:

2) NextGen Panel Warns of Obstacles

Link to article in Aviation Week:

3) New Technology Could Revolutionize the Black Box

Link to article in The Globe and Mail:

4) Scared of Flying? Press the Fear iButton

Link to Reuters article:


5) Austin, Texas Installs ‘Sharrows’ as Part of Cycling, Driving Experiment

Link to story and video on KVUE-TV:


6) Red-Light Camera Cash Could Balance Budget, Louisiana Parish Considers

Link to article in The Times-Picayune:


7) Mystery of Argleton, the ‘Google’ Town that Only Exists Online

Link to article in The Telegraph:


8) US Navy to Increase Broadband Speed Tenfold

Link to article in Government Computer News:


9) Highlights from the Second International Field Operational Testing Workshop at the ITS World Congress

Link to article and presentations from ERTICO-ITS Europe:


10) Indianapolis has First Ambulance-Based Wireless Medical Records System

Link to article in Federal Computer Week:

11) When Texting Kills, Britain Offers Path to Prison

Link to article in The New York Times:

12) How Can We Promote Greater Awareness of Transportation Safety?

Link to comments on the National Journal’s Transportation Experts Blog:

13) Safety Maintenance and Surface Weather

Link to report from the Transportation Research Board:


14) T-Mobile Joins Cellular Carriers Providing Service in CTA Red, Blue Line Tunnels

Link to column in the Chicago Tribune:,0,7941765.column


15) Get Traffic Updates in Chennai Through FM Radios

Traffic police send SMS updates through thirteen FM stations.

Link to article on SiliconIndia:

News Releases

1) Clear Channel Radio’s Total Traffic Network Adds Direct-to-Vehicle Deals with Mazda, Cydle

2) Frost & Sullivan: Telematics for Electric Vehicles – The Key to Reducing Range Anxiety and Enhancing the Overall EV Ownership Experience

3) Constellation Software Inc. Completes Acquisition of Public Transit Solutions Segment from Continental AG

4) PrePass Expansion Continues: Michigan Becomes 29th State

Upcoming Events

TRB Webinar: Maintenance Practices for Traffic Sign Retroreflectivity – November 17

Today in Transportation History

1909 **100th anniversary** – Henry Farman sent an flight endurance record of four hours, 17 minutes and 53 seconds.


The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe send an e-mail to:

TCN archives:

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

© 2009 Bernie Wagenblast

Graduating to the Grandest Challenge! Fully Autonomous Audi TTS to Race at Mad Pikes Peak Rally Circuit

November 3, 2009 at 12:40 am

(Source: Gizmodo; Botjunkie)

Image Courtesy: Volkswagen Electronic Research Laboratory

Folks from the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL) are at it again.  In the race to develop autonomous vehicles, VAIL-ers at Stanford Engineering flexed some serious technology muscle to notch impressive wins in the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Urban Challenge Race.  This time around they built the fastest & fully automated Audi TTS—equipped with GPS, sensors, and guidance systems—and the team is all set to race on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a crazy 19.99-kilometer rally race circuit with 156 turns. The team that created it wants to see if they can really push performance in such a challenging environment. The modded Audi TTS—which is already the fastest autonomous car in the world, running at 130mph—will have to face gravel and paved dirty roads, with 7% grades that will take it from 4,721 ft to 9,390 ft high.

Botjunkie reports that the car’s name is Shelley, after Michèle Mouton, the most successful female rally driver ever and the first woman to win the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. She did it in an Audi, of course. In an artfully done, eye candy type of video, the team demonstrates where it wants to be in the days ahead – in the clouds atop the Pike’s Peek. Looking around, I see no serious competition for Volkswagen in this arena..

You may recall that Volkswagen was the first team to complete the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005 by having a fully autonomous Volkswagen Touareg SUV (his name was Stanley, btw) drive 132 miles through the Mojave Desert. Then for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, a VW Passat Wagon took second place behind Tartan Racing team from Carnegie Mellon University in a 60 mile urban course. But those two challenges are nothing compared to what’s on tap for next year: Pikes Peak in an autonomous Audi TT-S.

Click here to read more.

Forklift + Drunk driver @ Russian vodka warehouse = $100,000 loss for Warehouse owner

November 2, 2009 at 10:33 pm

(Source: Mashable)

This astonishing video of a Russian forklift driver who smashes until shelves of Cognac and Vodka, and subsequently destroys a huge portion of the Moscow warehouse.

The driver of the forklift lost control, slammed into stock shelves, and seconds later was covered in bottles of alcohol. The driver is said to be okay with a minor leg injury, but the warehouse is looking at over $100,000 in damages.

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – November 2, 2009

November 2, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Monday, November 2, 2009 – ISSN 1529-1057


1) Wi-Fi Creates Challenges as Well as Opportunities for Airlines

Link to article in Travel Weekly:


2) GPS Satellite Beset by Permanent Signal Problem

Link to article on Spaceflight Now:

3) NASA Space Map Uses Quasars to Guide GPS Satnavs

Link to article in The Telegraph:


4) States Scramble to Track Federal Stimulus Bucks

Link to article in Computerworld:

5) Maryland is Tops at Tracking Stimulus Spending

Link to article in Computerworld:

6) Track Those Stimulus Tax Dollars in an ‘Augmented Reality’

Link to story and audio report on NPR’s Morning Edition:


7) Many in the US Want Texting at the Wheel to be Illegal

Link to article in The New York Times:

8) US Army Show More than One Way to Look Under a Car

Link to article on CNET News:

9) US Department of Homeland Security Expands IdeaFactory

Link to article in Government Executive:


10) San Antonio Hopes Wi-Fi Lures Riders to Buses

Link to article in the San Antonio Express-News:

11) Boston MBTA Unveils Ads Warning About Pervs

Link to article in the Boston Herald:


12) Kansas DOT Warning Systems Put to Use

Link to article in The Hays Daily News:

13) Massachusetts Transportation Agency Merger Faces a Few Snarls

Link to article in The Boston Globe:

14) Massachusetts Offers One-Stop Shopping for Traffic Webcams

Link to article in The Boston Globe:

Link to webcams:

15) Spanish and Basque Departments of Transportation Agree to Share Traffic Information

Link to EITB article:

16) New Traveler Information Services Association Specifications

Link to article from ERTICO-ITS Europe:

News Releases

1) Garmin’s Touchscreen aera Series Takes Pilots from Runway to Roadway

2) TrafficLand Launches Live Traffic Video in Chicago and Boston; Announces New Jersey and Colorado Coming Soon

3) FCC to Hold Broadband Field Hearing on Improving Public Safety Communications and Emergency Response

4) Inrix Traffic Powers ALK’s CoPilot Live Smartphone Navigation in North America

Upcoming Events

Webinar: TIMTC (Trucking Industry Mobility and Technology Coalition) – November 16

Today in Transportation History

1959 **50th anniversary** – The first section of the M1 motorway, the first inter-urban motorway in the UK, opened.


The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe send an e-mail to:

TCN archives:

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

© 2009 Bernie Wagenblast