Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Monday, August 30, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057

Countdown to IBTTA’s 78th Annual Meeting & Exhibition — September 12-15th in San Diego, CA – Register Today!

Join your colleagues in 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! Register and make your hotel reservations today! Visit IBTTA’s website for details.


1) British Airways Flight Scares Passengers After Emergency Crash Message Plays By Mistake

Link to story and video on ABC News’ World News Tonight:

2) Transport Canada Bans Coverage of Float Plane Safety Workshop

Link to article in The Vancouver Sun:


3) More Traffic Cameras for Pennsylvania’s Highways

Link to story on KYW Radio:


4) Stylish Maps that are Chatty

Link to article in The New York Times:


5) For New I-85 Toll Lane in Georgia, Signs Might Not Help Much

Link to article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:


6) Newest in Construction Technology: GPS on Earthmovers

Link to article in the Deseret News:

7) GPS Vehicle Tracking Systems Help Drivers Go Green

Link to blog on Eco Institution:


8) More US Travelers are Using Smartphones

Link to article in USA Today:

9) New System to Simplify Traffic Fine Collection in Turkey

Link to Anatolia News Agency article:

10) The Inconvenient Truth About Traffic Math: Progress is Slow

Link to article in The Wall Street Journal:

11) ITS Turbo Architecture Version 5.0 is Now Available

Link to further information from the Research and Innovative Technology Administration:


12) New Electronic Signs Will Help Find Parking in Seattle

Link to article on


13) Highway Poles Listen to Glean Traffic Data from Road Noise

Link to article in The Journal News:


14) Metra Conductors Bar Riders Who Ignore Gates, Lights

Hand commuters cards warning of dangers and possibility of fine.

Link to article in the Chicago Sun-Times:,CST-NWS-rideside30.article


15) GM: OnStar Upgrade Bypassed Dealers

Link to CNET blog:


16) Virginia Tech Teams with Transit to Launch VT Bus Tracker

Link to article in Metro:

Link to VT Bus Tracker:

17) Do You Have an App for That?

Link to column in Metro:


18) Highway Police Web Site Launched in India

Link to Express News Service article:

19) 511 Traffic Advisory Service Proposed for Santa Cruz, California Region

Link to article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

20) Washington State DOT Launches Traffic App

Link to blog in The Stranger:

21) Smarter Commuting Starts with Analytics, Visualization

Link to blog on SmartData Collective:


22) Dude, Where’s My Apple iCar?

While Apple is wasting its time on TV, Microsoft drives away with the automobile market.

Link to commentary in Computerworld:

23) Crash-Proof Cars?

Link to article in Fleet Owner:

24) Sweet Talking Your Computer

How should computers in vehicles interact with drivers?

Link to article in The Wall Street Journal:

25) Untangling the Wireless Car

Link to article on cellular-news:

News Releases

1) Spells Relief for Holiday Travelers on the East Coast

2) DC Metro Transit Police Use Tag Readers to Identify Stolen Cars and Car Thieves

3) OnStar Celebrates Patents During National Inventor’s Month

4) Shuttle GPS Devices Aid Mississippi State University Student Commuters

5) IEEE Members Globally Work on the Development of Intelligent, Vehicular Transport Systems for Smarter, Safer Travel

6) Winning Transportation Projects Saving Lives, Time, and Money

Upcoming Events

Webinar: Biodiesel Policies and Mandates: What’s Really Involved? – September 16

Today in Transportation History

1985 **25th anniversary** President Reagan signed an executive order to create an emergency board to investigate a dispute between the United Transportation Union and various railroads.


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) – August 27, 2010

August 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Friday, August 27, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057

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

Join your colleagues in 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 technicalprogram 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! Breaking News! The Hilton San Diego Bayfront has reduced the contracted room rate from $241/night to $219/night. The new rate applies to all existing confirmed reservations and any new reservations. Customized sponsorship and exhibitor packages are available. Visit IBTTA’s website for details.


1) US DOT Fines Non-profit Mercy Flights $30,000 Over Personal Pronoun

Link to article in the Mail Tribune:


2) The Government’s New Right to Track Your Every Move with GPS

Link to article in Time:,8599,2013150,00.html


3) Antitexting Campaign is Getting the Star Treatment

Link to article and video in The Boston Globe:


4) Judge Orders EPA Not to Destroy Records Union Pacific Wants

Link to AP article:

5) Kentucky Puts Locations of Coal Infrastructure, Including Railroads and River Terminals, Online

Link to AP article:

Link to map:


6) Visit FHWA’s Online Work Zone Training Compendium

Link to article in Focus:

Link to site:


7) US DOT to Unveil Database Standards to Improve Highway Safety

Link to article on Nextgov:

8) Do Some Traffic Hazards Get Too Much Attention?

Link to article in The Wall Street Journal:


9) Long Island Rail Road Information Screens Have Been Virtually Useless in Wake of Fire

Link to article in The Wall Street Journal:

10) In Long Island Rail Road Mess, Local TV Had a Chance to be Relevant, but Failed Even to be Useful

Link to article in the Daily News:

11) New Cameras to Catch DC Metrobus Drivers’ Mistakes

Link to article in The Washington Post:


12) New Traffic Center Opens in Cobb County, Georgia

Link to story and video on WXIA-TV:

13) Adelaide on a Road to Nowhere

Adelaide Traffic Management Centre helps manage traffic in South Australia.

Link to article in The Advertiser:

14) Driving IT Right

Traffic is a web of connections and solutions will look at those relationships.

Link to commentary in Express Computer:

News Releases

1) Global Number of Consumer Telematics Users Will Reach 211 Million by 2015, Says ABI Research

Upcoming Events

Talking Freight Seminar on Freight and Carbon Footprint: Efforts to Enhance Supply Chain Sustainability – September 15

Friday Bonus

Catch the humorous end to the call of this horse race at Monmouth Park.

Today in Transportation History

1910 **100th anniversary** What is recognized as the first official radio transmission from an airplane took place at Sheepshead Bay in New York City.


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

Naval Dominance – Study says China now has more warships than U.S.A

August 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm

THE International Institute for Strategic Studies (better known as the IISS), reckons China now has more warships than America, which long possessed the biggest fleet. Strangely enough, India is the only nation in this list which is already not a member of the U.N. Security Council. Given the amount of threats India has to deal with along its lengthy coasts and the national security needs might propel the country into this race for the biggest fleet.

Wash. Post: FAA review team finds more than 45 close calls in D.C.-area skies this year

August 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm

This is quite unsettling for many of us fliers who live in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) region. What’s more alarming is this part of the article: “The number of errors by air traffic controllers has risen dramatically nationwide this year. FAA records are compiled on a fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The total by TRACONS during the last fiscal year was 754. With a month left in the current fiscal year, the error total has reached 1,257.”

Amplify’d from

On-board systems intended to keep airliners from colliding in midair have been triggered more than 45 times this year in the skies over the Washington as the air traffic controllers who guide planes to and from the region’s airports have made dangerous mistakes at a record-setting pace.

Two of the closest calls this month involved four airplanes carrying a total of 589 people, including one in which a Delta 737 was turned into the potentially deadly turbulent wake of a United 757 as the two planes flew along the Potomac on final approach to Reagan National Airport.

The team found that “more than 45 such events have been documented this calendar year” in which the avoidance systems have been triggered in Washington airspace, according to an internal FAA summary. The systems, required on all planes carrying 19 or more passengers, kick in and order pilots to take evasive action when their sensors indicate a potential midair collision.



Navy loses control of UAV near Washington, DC; “software issues” cited for loss of control:

August 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm

This is very unsettling and scary as hell for many reasons and I’ll list just the top two concerns: (1) Personally, I work in Washington, DC. (2). It was flying around for almost half-hour without any supervision.

The situation could get really worse if someone hacked into the system and took control over the craft (in real life when this beast comes armed with some missiles) while it is in flight.. Technology is good until it starts malfunctioning!

Amplify’d from
Navy Lost Control of Drone Over D.C. Due To

The charmingly named, 31-foot-long MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing unmanned aerial vehicle was flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet on August 2 when the Navy completely lost control of the craft due to, they say, a “software issue.” It continued, guided only by its own probably-evil robot brain, for about half an hour, flying 23 miles into restricted airspace. The Navy re-established control when the drone was just 40 miles from the nation’s capital.



Another Jalopnik Gem – Man Jumps In Hay Tractor, Emerges as a Human Bale

August 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

It is amazing what all you get to see on the internet.. Oh, this is NSFW! Man drives a hay tractor, suddenly jumps out of the driver seat while the machine is still moving..Strips down to nothing and jumps into the machine, come out of the machine bundled up in hay..

I’m not sure what would drive someone to do something like this but this man clearly needs only one reason to do anything – a rolling video camera. That’s all it took for someone to make him do this!

I like the smell of seared meat when I drive.. World’s First Grill Wearing Motorcycle Rider

August 27, 2010 at 11:40 am

I was out of words when I saw this.. So were many of us on the internet, which lead to this man quickly earning his 15-minutes of fame.. He accepted a $700 fine and a one-month license suspension after the police caught him..

Amplify’d from

How The Internet Tracked Down A Grill-Wearing MotorcyclistAll this poor 29-year-old from Melbourne, Australia wanted was to recycle a barbecue he’d seen wasting away on the side of the road. Sadly, you can’t do something this ridiculous and not become an internet sensation and police target.

Kiwi Michael Wiles saw the discarded BBQ on the side of the road and decided it would make a nice addition to his home. Driving only a motorcycle, he had to fit the BBQ over his body by actually wearing it. Putting his body through the lower storage area sort of makes sense, but wearing the grill itself on his helmet seems to have sparked the most trouble.



You Paid What for That Flight? Decoding Airline Ticket Prices – WSJ analyzes

August 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

It Can Cost More to Fly to Hartford Than Barcelona. What Airlines Consider in Setting Prices.  I have always wondered about this issue.  And am glad that someone is trying to answer this.


Image Courtesy:

Airline ticket prices often seem like a brain-teaser with little logic. From Chicago, a flight to Miami is more than twice as far as a flight to Memphis, but the shorter Memphis flight costs 25% more on average. Fly to Washington, D.C., from Hartford, Conn., and the average fare is nearly three times as high as if you flew to nearby Baltimore from Hartford, according to government data for the first quarter of this year.

The fares travelers pay typically have little relation to how far you fly, even though airline costs are largely dependent on the length of a flight. Long trips often cost less than short trips. Flights of the same time and distance can have radically different prices.
The price you pay for a ticket is driven by a number of variables: competition, types of passengers, the route and operating costs. But the biggest factor, by far, is whether discount airlines fly in a market. Low-cost carriers often set the price in markets because competitors feel compelled to match that price or risk losing customers and flying empty seats. And when they aren’t there, big airlines behave radically differently when setting prices.
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Surfing while riding the rails – #NYC subway gets Wi-Fi

August 26, 2010 at 10:54 am

If the centuries old New York City Subway can do this, why not in DC’s relatively new and modern subway system? That would make many commutes productive and possibly serve as an incentive for region’s drivers to shed the cars and take the trains to work. I can’t imagine a better town than DC for adopting this technology, because on any given day we have more folks commuting with their Laptops, iPods, iPads, e-readers, etc. It is a shame that we still can’t get the cellphones to work inside the tunnels for more than one carrier.

With the days of paid Wi-Fi clearly numbered, what business models are there for transit agencies and wireless service provider partners to consider? In the first part of several installments, this week we’ll look at Transit Wireless LLC, which is rolling out wireless networks in New York’s extensive subway system.

Amplify’d from

In 2007, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) awarded a 10-year communication infrastructure contract to Transit Wireless LLC — a conglomerate of construction and wireless companies — that would bring mobile phone and Wi-Fi service to the 277 stations within the city’s subway system. NYCTA’s parent, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, approved the contract in September 2007 but did not give the official notice to proceed until July this year. The project stalled due to lack of sufficient funding, but was restarted after financing was provided by Broadcast Australia, a Sydney-based multinational that also installed wireless in Hong Kong’s subway. Broadcast Australia, in turn, is controlled by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a convoluted chain of ownership. Under the terms of the original 2007 deal, the NYCTA would earn in excess of $45 million from an estate lease over the 10-year term; Transit Wireless will cover all network construction costs and generate revenue from mobile carriers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, who would provide cellular service over the Transit Wireless network.

The whole roll-out is expected to cost around $250 million including the payments to the NYCTA; work will commence on the first six stations in Manhattan by September, with live service expected in all six within two years. The remaining 271 stations will be completed within the next six years, although a spokesman for Transit Wireless stated that up to 15 stations a month could be outfitted during the rolling program. Phone and Wi-Fi coverage will be available only in the stations, on platforms and part-way into adjacent tunnels; the contract does not stipulate contiguous coverage throughout the subway system. In addition to consumer services, the Transit Wireless solution will serve public safety organizations by providing the source of a cell phone’s signal within a station, improving incident response times.



Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – August 25, 2010

August 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057

Get involved in the TRB sponsored 2011 International Transportation Economic Development Conference. Submit an abstract!  Subjects and perspectives will include public and private sectors; academic, practitioner and policy issues; theory, concepts and operational tools; and all transportation modes and their relationship to economic development. All abstracts must be received by Wednesday, September 15, 2010. Authors should take care to ensure that abstracts submitted follow the guidelines shown (see

Questions can be directed to conference planning staff at Meetings Northwest (866-633-8110).


1) Introduction to Road Data – Part One

Link to article in Directions Magazine:


2) Satnav Put to Traffic Test in South Africa

Link to article on ITWeb:


3) Advanced Communications Support US Department of Defense in Pakistan Flood Relief

Link to article on Nextgov:

4) UK Launches ERTOC Project to Improve Transport Efficiency and Sustainability; Track the Carbon Costs of Transport at the Consignment Level

Link to article from Green Car Congress:


5) Amtrak Power and Communication Lines Falter

Railroad says notifying the media is its first priority rather than its Web site or Twitter updates.

Link to story on WTOP Radio:


6) Victoria to Institute Stricter Rules on Signage in Work Zones

Link to article in The Courier:


7) California to Deploy Nation’s First Mass Mobile Alert System

Link to article in Government Technology:

8) Transportation Security Laboratory Looks for Ways to Improve Threat Detection

Link to article and video in The Star-Ledger:


9) Webcams Show Progress of Light Rail Construction in Seattle

Link to blog on


10) TV Traffic Feeds Available to Gwinnett County, Georgia Commuters

Link to article in the Gwinnett Daily Post:

11) Nine Secrets to Surviving Summer Traffic Jams

Pre-trip information one key to avoiding tie-ups.

Link to ABC News story:

News Releases

1) Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems are Gaining Momentum Worldwide Despite Challenges, Says Frost & Sullivan

2) SEPTA and Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management Join Forces for Public Notification Alerts

3) Frost & Sullivan: Healthy Competition Between Vehicle Manufacturers to Drive Development of Active Safety Systems in Japan

Job Posting

–  IT Specialist (Network Services) – Research and Innovative Technology Administration – Cambridge, Massachusetts

Upcoming Events

Transport Systems Telematics 10th International Conference – October 20-23 – Katowice-Ustron, Poland

Today in Transportation History

1950 **60th anniversary** President Truman ordered the US Army to take control of the nation’s railroads in anticipation of a strike.


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