Doing the Math on Obama’s Detroit Bailout

July 31, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Business Week’s David Welch throws a lot of interesting arguments about the Government’s decision when things looked ominous for the auto industry a year ago.

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President Obama served up red meat for his hard-core supporters in Detroit yesterday, proclaiming that the government’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler to be a success. Had he not intervened and invested in the two companies, Obama said, they would have fallen into liquidation and 1.1 million jobs would have evaporated. In the past year, the auto industry has regained 55,000 of the 334,000 jobs lost, he went on. “The fact that we’re standing in this magnificent factory today is a testament to the decisions we made,” Obama said while visiting Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee plant in Detroit. His comments were aimed clearly at the critics on the other side of the political aisle who opposed the bailout 18 months ago and who still criticize government ownership of GM and Chrysler to this day.

So far, it is tough to argue that the bailout hasn’t worked. GM is in the black, having reported an $865 million profit in the first quarter with black ink looking likely for the rest of the year. GM’s results are strong enough that the company is preparing for an initial public offering that should start selling stock in November. Chrysler is at least making an operating profit, which puts the company in much better shape than most analysts thought it would be a year ago. With much lower costs, both companies should be able to make money going forward. Let’s not forget that GM, Chrysler and cross-town rival Ford cut out 2.9 million cars worth of production capacity during the crisis, according to the Center for Automotive Research. That was a quarter of capacity in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Cutting out the fat has allowed them to post profits even though sales are slow.



Another one for the record book — Rowing crew smashes 114-yr old transatlantic record

July 31, 2010 at 6:28 pm

One challenge, four rowers, 43 days, 21 hours and 26 minutes, a whole lot of “guts” and little food gets us a New Transatlantic Rowing Record.

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Four rowers have smashed a 114-year-old record by crossing the Atlantic in 43 days, 21 hours and 26 minutes.

The Artemis North Atlantic Rowing Challenge crew left New York on 17 June and touched the quayside at St Mary’s, in the Isles of Scilly, just before 1500 BST on Saturday.

In 1896 Norwegians George Harbo and Frank Samuelson had set the record at 55 days and 13 hours.

Two years ago, an attempt by a crew called The Scilly Boys nearly ended in disaster when their vessel capsized, 13 days after leaving New York.

It is the Artemis crew’s second attempt after a broken rudder at the beginning of June forced them to retire.

For the past two weeks the crew had been surviving on powdered supplements after running out of food, so all four said they were looking forward to “solid food”.

Team Artemis leaving New York

See more at


London combats gridlock renting one bike at a time

July 31, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Good job, Boris.. You will now have yet another feather on your cap (after congestion charging, electric vehicle charging stations, etc.).

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LONDON — The city is launching a bicycle rental program in hopes of easing congestion in a European capital once known for its gridlock.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, an avid cycling enthusiast, put 4,700 out of a planned 6,000 bikes on the road Friday. Under the program, cyclists will be able to borrow bikes from 400 docking stations throughout the city.

At the start, only those who sign up for membership in advance will be eligible to take part. Membership costs 45 pounds a year, or about $70. Tourists or other casual users will not be eligible for at least a month.



Test your mountain-biking skills in this downtown Seattle park

July 31, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I enjoy mountain biking for the escapism it provides: Disappear into woods, race down single-track paths, lean through turns, crank uphill, all to the audio of an adjacent rushing stream. In one session, I can commune with nature, jack up my adrenaline and check off my daily exercise obligation.


So I never expected to find myself straddling a mountain bike beneath a roaring interstate overpass in Seattle, a city with enviable proximity to miles of legitimate bike trails.

But here – beneath 12 lanes of Interstate 5, at Exit 168A – a Seattle area cycling club has turned a former hangout for vagrants and junkies into an urban mountain bike park, complete with short trails, jumps, drops, teeter-totters and other so-called “features” designed to satisfy a range of biking abilities.

The I-5 Colonnade is what mountain bikers call a “skills park,” which means that you’re never more than a few feet away from a balance-beam-like log formation or a foot-wide ladder bridge or a “staircase” with 18-inch steps – all features that mountain bikers use to hone balance, jumping and control maneuvers.

via Test your mountain-biking skills in this downtown Seattle park.

Meeting of the great minds – Tesla’s Elon Musk gets audience with Stephen Colbert

July 31, 2010 at 2:48 pm

All controversies aside, Elon knows how to make loads of money and mastered the art of having a ton of fun while raking cash.. Colbert, one of the best modern day comedic talk show host, gets to grill Musk..The result is captured in the video below..

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Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and electric car company Tesla Motors, sat down with Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert to talk about his latest venture, SpaceX.

Colbert listed Musk’s many accomplishments, then asked him: “Where do you find time for your secret identity as Batman? Because you’re either a superhero or a supervillain.”

“I’m mostly an engineer,” Musk said. “Oh yeah, engineer,” Colbert scoffed. “Bruce Wayne’s a banker.”

Colbert told Musk later, “You’re the future, man.”

Musk told Colbert that he hopes SpaceX, which successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket into orbit this past June, will be ready in the next few years to take NASA astronauts into space.

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Los Angeles Pushing To Become Nation’s Mass Transit Leader

July 31, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Seismic shift in the attitudes reflect changing times…

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LOS ANGELES — The region famous for jilting the street car to take up a love affair with the automobile is trying to rekindle its long ago romance with commuter rail.

Los Angeles County voters agreed two years ago to pay a half-cent sales tax over the next 30 years to extend train and rapid bus lines, projects that would routinely require federal assistance.

If successful, the novel plan to borrow billions from the federal government, led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, would result in the largest transit expansion project in the nation.

But the mayor, who sits on a county transportation board, wants a loan instead of Washington handouts to get the projects built in a decade rather than 30 years. He contends it would save money in the long run, result in more construction jobs and less traffic and pollution.

Under the so-called 30/10 initiative, the sales tax would generate about $5.8 billion over the next 10 years to pay for a dozen projects.

Local transportation officials said another $8.8 billion is needed to pay for the estimated $14.6 billion total cost. By using the future sales tax revenue as collateral for long-term bonds and a low-interest federal loan, the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority could put these projects on the fast track. The county would repay the federal loan over 20 years with proceeds from the sales tax.

The projects include a long-awaited subway extension to the economically vibrant west side of Los Angeles (a plan often called the Subway to the Sea), a regional connector linking three rail lines in the downtown core, plus light rail extensions reaching Los Angeles International Airport and communities to the south and east. In all, completion of these projects would add 78 miles of rail and bus-only lanes to the current, 102-mile system and 77 million annual transit boardings to the MTA’s current 445 million.



Event Alert – TRB ITS Committee Mid-Year Meeting and ITS JPO Evaluation Workshop — September 22, 2010 @Irvine, CA

July 30, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Image via TRB - Beckman Center -- Click here to register and for additional event details.

This year’s ITS Committee mid-year workshop will focus on IntelliDrive(SM) and is planned for September 21-22 at the Beckman Center in Irvine, California. Visit the link above to register and reserve your hotel room. The deadline for reduced hotel rates is August 13.

The goal of the mid-year workshop is to consider the potential impact of IntelliDrive, and the data it will generate, on the various components of the transportation enterprise, including agency organization, finances, and staffing, in addition to planning, operations, safety, and maintenance.  The workshop will bring together public and private sector transportation thought leaders and practitioners to develop research statements that explore how IntelliDrive will affect the work of infrastructure owners and operators.

In addition to the ITS Committee workshop, the ITS Joint Program Office will convene a one-day workshop on Monday September 20, (preceding the TRB meeting) to explore the impact of emerging trends and innovations, shifting priorities and changing requirements on the evaluation of ITS.  The release in early 2010 of the U.S. DOT ITS Strategic Research Plan lays out new goals and initiatives in the ITS Program that impact national and local ITS projects.

The ITS Evaluation Program managers are keenly interested in the input from the transportation community on advancing the practice and increasing the value of ITS evaluation, and identifying the evaluation needs of the transportation community.  The workshop will give participants the opportunity to provide feedback on the Evaluation Program, share innovative evaluation practices, and identify evaluation needs.This intense and engaging two-part event promises workshop participants a great opportunity to learn and to contribute to the continuing evolution of the ITS program.

Click here to access the TRB ITS Committee website.

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Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – July 29, 2010

July 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Thursday, July 29, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057


1) Radar System Crashes at Delhi‘s Indira Gandhi Airport

Link to Oneindia News article:

2) To Tackle Congestion, Indian Government Wants High-Tech System Sooner

Link to article in The Times of India:

3) Watchdog: FAA Lacks Metrics for Rollout of Air Traffic Upgrade

Link to article on Nextgov:

4) Top Airports on Twitter: List Grows to 143 Airports

Link to blog in Forbes:

5) West Virginia‘s Yeager Airport Gains Attention for Its Social Media Efforts

Link to article in the Charleston Daily Mail:


6) Motorists May be Winning Against Big Brother’s Speed Cameras

Link to Fox News story:


7) Microsoft’s ‘Street Slide’ Takes Aim at StreetView

Link to CNET News blog:


8) IBM Invests in Infrastructure Sensing and Analysis Tech

Link to article in Bloomberg Businessweek:


9) Smart Parking Meters Spark Debate

Link to audio report on KQED Radio’s The California Report:


10) Radio Over IP Gives Washington State Responders a Common Platform

Link to article in Government Computer News:

11) Smartphones Bring Safety Systems to Cars

Link to blog from Strategy Analytics:


12) Navigating Europe in the Digital Age

GPS, ebooks and other technologies changing the way we travel.

Link to Tribune News Services article:


13) Myki is Watching You: Smartcard Operator Gives Police Access to Customer Info

Link to article and video in The Age:

14) New York MTA Axes Station Agents; Promises New Intercoms

Link to article in amNew York:


15) New Road Technology Hopes to Ease Minnesota Congestion

Link to story on WCCO-TV:

16) Broadcaster Traffic Consortium Senses Renewed Interest in Radio

Link to article in Radio World:

News Releases

1) Operation Lifesaver Films New Safety PSA with New Orleans Saints Kicker

2) Minnesota’s Smart Lanes Go Live

3) 2010 National Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems Conference Coming Soon in Huntington, West Virginia

4) AASHTO Honors State DOT Photographers for Their ‘Faces of Transportation’

5) Strategy Analytics: Connected Cars Emerge as Business Models Diverge

6) SuperGeo Develops Taipei Bus Information and Transit System by SuperWebGIS

Upcoming Events

2nd Middle East Parking Symposium – October 10-12 – Abu Dhabi

Today in Transportation History

1910 **100th anniversary** Jan Hilgers became the first Dutch pilot to fly over Holland.


The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe (for free) or unsubscribe, please contact me at

TCN archives:

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

© 2010 Bernie Wagenblast

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – July 28, 2010

July 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057


1) iPhone Flight Tracker Maps – Photos

Link to photos on ZDNet:;content

2) NextGen Air Transportation System: FAA’s Metrics Can Be Used to Report on Status of Individual Programs, but Not of Overall NextGen Implementation or Outcomes

Link to GAO report:

3) Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Deployment for Airport Obstruction Surveys

Link to report from the Transportation Research Board:


4) Seattle DOT Tries Bike Boxes to Protect Cyclists

Link to article on

5) Cyclists Up Against Shock-Jock Ravings

Sydney radio host’s ‘war on cyclists’ inspires listeners to harass riders.

Link to column in The Sydney Morning Herald:


6) Tiburon, California’s Security Cameras Set to Go Live Soon

License plates of every vehicle entering town will be photographed.

Link to article in the Marin Independent Journal:


7) South Carolina State University Blocks Access to Transport Center Records

Link to article in The Post and Courier:

8) NASA Could Get Funds to Warn About Solar Storms

Link to article in Government Computer News:

9) IEEE ITS Society Newsletter – July 2010

Link to newsletter:


10) Seattle’s High-Tech Crackdown on Parking Violators Hits Snag

Link to story and video report on KING-TV:


11) Israelis Develop Warning System to Prevent Train Wrecks

Link to article on Arutz Sheva:

12) Picture This, and Risk Arrest

Amtrak photo contest leads to an image problem.

Link to article in The New York Times:


13) US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Asked About Stimulus Road Signs: Pork or Pride?

Link to column and C-SPAN video in The Washington Post:

Link to full interview on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal:


14) FCC Plan to Support Emergency Communications Relies on Unproven Technology

Link to article on Nextgov:

15) Global Airline Pilots Not Happy About Israeli Security Program

Link to article in The New York Times:

16) Pennsylvania DOT to Beef Up Reporting on Bus Drivers

Link to article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

17) His Constants Complaints Make Dubai Roads Safer

Link to article in The National:


18) eCall Finally Has Arrived … Or Has It?

Link to article on GPS Business News:


19) Suspended TriMet Driver Plans to End Popular Blog After ‘Kill this Bicyclist’ Post

Link to article in The Oregonian:

20) ‘Anti-Islamic’ Bus Ads Appear in Major Cities

Link to article in The Christian Science Monitor:

21) MBTA Bus Routes Real-Time Data Major Expansion

Link to article on Commonwealth Conversations:


22) Web Site of the Week: Traffic England

Link to review in The Daily Mail:

22) Smart Nav for Irish Phone Users

First smartphone-enabled navigation product with real-time traffic data in Ireland.

Link to article on

News Releases

1) ERTICO – ITS Europe Welcomes New EU Road Safety Plan for 2011-2020

2) Inrix Expands the Largest Traffic Network in Europe

3) Inrix TPEG Connec Optimizes Delivery and Reduces Costs of Providing Dynamic Traffic Info to Connected Vehicles and Devices

4) Virgin America Upgrade In-Flight Entertainment Platform: Flyers Can Ad Mapping, Shopping and Open Tab Bar Hopping to Their Flight Plan

Upcoming Events

Conference on International Port Security Communication, Cooperation & Coordination –September 29-30 – Barcelona

Today in Transportation History

1720 **290th anniversary** The Swedish and Russian navies began the Battle of Grengam.


The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe (for free) or unsubscribe, please contact me at

TCN archives:

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

© 2010 Bernie Wagenblast

Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – July 27, 2010

July 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Tuesday, July 27, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057

IBTTA 78th Annual Meeting & Exhibition — Register Today! Early Bird Discount Ends August 22, 2010

Come to San Diego, September 12-15, 2010, for IBTTA’s 78th Annual Meeting & Exhibition, the year’s most highly-anticipated learning and networking event — attracting more than 700 toll industry experts and decision makers from across the globe. Under the theme, Sustainable Transportation, the technical program offers tracks focused on innovation, policy, the economy, and the California tolling experience. Hosted by the California Toll Operators Committee (CTOC), this event features interactive seminars, influential speakers, technical tours and special events, informative exhibits and more! Customized sponsorship and exhibitor packages are available. Visit IBTTA’s website for details.


1) Close Calls on the Rise

Link to story on WFOR-TV:

Link to video report:

2) Continental Tests ‘Self-Boarding’ at Houston Airport

Link to article in USA Today:


3) Who’s Watching You Behind the Wheel?

If cameras come to Pennsylvania’s roads to catch insurance scofflaws, state would have to keep tabs on your data, experts warn.

Link to article in The Morning Call:

4) Do Speed Cameras Really Cut Accidents?

Link to BBC News story:


5) GeoWeb Conference to Address Social Media, Including Twitter

Link to article in The Vancouver Sun:


6) Pakistan Communications Secretary to Take Action Against National Highway Authority Secretary

Meeting information and working papers not available; may annul selection of ETTM companies.

Link to article in the Daily Times:


7) July Edition of IBEC Newsletter Online

Link to newsletter:


8) Delphi Moves Forward on Telematics

With pilots underway, Delphi hopes to develop aftermarket business model for telematics.

Link to article in Aftermarket Business:


9) NTSB: DC Transit System had Wide Problems Before Crash

Link to AP article:

10) Now Everyone Can Tell Where SEPTA Trains are Going

Link to article in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

11) 95% of Trains are on Time? Riders Beg to Differ

New York area commuter railroads’ official figures often contrast with the experience of rush hour riders.

Link to article in The New York Times:


12) Revolutionary New Traffic System in Washington State to ‘Cut Injury Accidents 30%’

Link to story and audio report on KIRO Radio:

13) A Look at Traffic Management in Bangalore

Link to interview with Traffic Police Commissioner Praveen Sood in Citizen Matters:


14) Program Launches in Nevada to Increase Vehicle Registration

Hotline set up to report drivers who haven’t registered.

Link to article in the Las Vegas Sun:

15) Deal May Hit at Denso Move to Open Systems

Link to CNET blog:

16) Smart Phone + Car = Stupid?

Link to blog in EE Times:

News Releases

1) American Airlines Launches New iPhone Application

2) US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Second National Distracted Driving Summit

3) Frost & Sullivan: Internet Radio is the Most Popular Brought-in App Being Developed by Automotive OEMs

4) TravelCenters of America LLC Announces Web Mapping Enhancements

5) DeviceGuru Launches New Web Site to Advance the Awareness of ITS Technologies and Applications

Upcoming Events

Digital Video Expo – September 28-30 – Pasadena, California

Today in Transportation History

1720 **290th anniversary** The Swedish and Russian navies began the Battle of Grengam.


The Transportation Communications Newsletter is published electronically Monday through Friday.

To subscribe (for free) or unsubscribe, please contact me at

TCN archives:

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

© 2010 Bernie Wagenblast