Live in SFO? Own a Bike too? This might be just for you – Classes help make own bicycle repairs

August 25, 2010 at 6:34 pm

It is always good to learn these things because you never know when and where you will be stuck.. Oh, and it saves a bag load of cash too.

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If you’ve ever paid to have your bicycle serviced or repaired, you know a bicycle is worth more than the sum of its parts. Over the eight years I had my last bicycle, I probably paid for it three times over in tune-ups, tires and, most recently, a new drive train and other service that set me back significantly, even after my discount for being a member of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

If you have ever felt inadequate when taking your bike in for repairs, you are not alone. Fortunately, San Francisco has a wealth of resources for people looking to learn bicycle maintenance skills. Between sporting goods stores and your neighborhood bike shop, it’s easy to find classes and seminars that fit your schedule – for free or on the cheap – including:

This nonprofit storefront provides employment and job training for at-risk youth and offers free in-store clinics – including a lecture and demonstration – geared to the experience and needs of the participants. Clinics cover basic topics such as flat repair, bike maintenance, bearing adjustment and wheel repair. 3085 21st St. (415) 641-1264,

The Bike Kitchen is a do-it-yourself bicycle resource run by volunteers. On the second and fourth Fridays each month from 6-9 p.m., the group offers classes for “women, trans/gender queer folks, femmes, or anybody else that has had gender be a barrier to learning mechanics.” No one is turned away. The Bike Kitchen also has basic and advanced classes for nominal fees. 650H Florida St., (415) 647-2453,


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Washed Away: 800,000 Pakistanis Cut Off From Road

August 25, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Geez.. This is getting worse by the day.. Given the plethora of problems already dogging the country, no one knows how long it will take for Pakistan to be in the clear and in a situation to effectively manage this growing crisis.

With the economy in tatters, it might be a long time before Pakistan could rebuild all the lost infrastructure, especially the roads that connected the tribal areas.. And the darn cross-border insurgency and military-related spending is not going help this situation in anyway.. This could very well become the defining moment in Pakistan’s relatively-short existence (formed in August 1947).

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On Tuesday, the United Nations said 800,000 people could be reached only by air, and it called for 40 more helicopters from the international community to help take aid to people isolated by the flooding.

“These unprecedented floods pose unprecedented logistical challenges, and this requires an extraordinary effort by the international community,” John Holmes, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, said in a prepared statement.

Reinforcing its call for more helicopters, the United Nations cited the destruction of access roads and bridges in Pakistan’s north, particularly the Swat Valley in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Gilgit-Baltistan region and the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir. The flooding has also isolated people in the country’s Punjab and Sindh Provinces, according to the World Food Program, a United Nations agency that specializes in delivering food aid to areas affected by crises.



Story of Potholes & Pay Scales — In India, Many Potholes and Not Enough Engineers

August 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

NYT’s wonderful analysis hits the nail by pointing out the underlying problem: salaries. Having studied Civil engineering and worked in that part of the world, I can perfectly relate to this situation. It was one of the reasons why I decided to leave the country to explore opportunities in the West.

India really should buck up and address the discrepancies in its salary structures across the industries or else it will be always playing catch up with the other economies around the world..

China has leaped technologically in just two decades and matched its economic growth by tremendously investing and improving its infrastructure, which is made possible by a steady stream of civil engineering graduates.. On the other hand, though India’s academic institutions churn out a good number of civil engineers, many of them are lured away from the profession by the riches and air-conditioned comfort of the software shops… Unless this situation changes, the country’s roads will continue to remain poor and eventually will drag down the economic progress..

Oh, Civil Engineering is not the only profession that has taken a hit from this software-industry propelled economic boom. Many other branches of engineering are also suffering the same fate.The situation is even worse for those with arts and science degrees…

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Despite this nation’s rise as a technology titan with some of the best engineering minds in the world, its full economic potential is stifled by potholed roads, collapsing bridges, rickety railroads and a power grid so unreliable that many modern office buildings run their own diesel generators to make sure the lights and computers stay on.

It is not for want of money. The Indian government aims to spend $500 billion on infrastructure by 2012 and twice that amount in the following five years.

The problem is a dearth of engineers — or at least of civil engineers with the skill and expertise to make sure those ambitious projects are done on time and to specification.

Civil engineering was once an elite occupation in India, not only during the British colonial era of carving roads and laying train tracks, but long after independence as part of the civil service. These days, though, India’s best and brightest know there is more money and prestige in writing software for foreign customers than in building roads for their nation.



Of all people, Brits have the most freedom to travel around without a visa

August 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Hmmm… Who knew Germany would improve its relationship so much with the rest of the world after what the country did during World War II. A report released on August 25th by Henley & Partners, a consultancy, shows that Britons have the fewest visa restrictions of the 190-odd countries (and territories) for which data are available.

China’s Explosive Growth In 20yrs Is Visible From This List Of World’s Largest Container Ports

August 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Interesting to see how things have changed in a short period of time. Twenty years ago more than half of the top 20 container ports were in America or Europe reflecting imports into both regions from around the globe. In a testament to China’s tremendous growth, the country now has 8 of the world’s largest ports compared to zero twenty years ago. On the other hand, the U.S. had 4 in the list during 1989 but that has now dramatically halved in 2009. WOW!

Job Alert: IT Specialist (Network Services) — U.S. Dept. of Transportation @ Volpe Center, MA

August 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) is looking for an IT Specialist (Network Services). RITA coordinates the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) research programs and is charged with advancing rigorous analysis and the deployment of cross-cutting technologies to improve our Nation’s transportation system.  This position is located at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), an innovative fee-for service organization which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT’s) Research and Innovative Technology Administration in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Volpe Center is an internationally recognized Federal center of transportation and logistics with a world-class, multidisciplinary technical team with expertise across all modes of transportation.

We have an exciting opportunity for a talented IT Specialist (Network Services) to serve as key member of the Safety Data, Collection, and Distribution Division. In this exciting role the ideal candidate must have demonstrated experience in providing technical support for technology systems by planning, designing, and managing network environments within or related to a transportation field.

This announcement is open to the general public and under merit promotion for current or former federal employees and people eligible under special hiring authorities. Please note that merit promotion announcements are the vehicle through which Federal employees generally apply for Federal positions.

The general public announcement can be found via the link below: Specialist_PUBLIC

The merit promotion announcement can be found via the link below: Specialist_MERIT PROMOTION

Please direct any questions to Tara Smallidge, Volpe Human Resources, at 617-494-2450.

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Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Tuesday, August 25, 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) FAA Set to Plumb Mid-Air Incidents

Agency plans to bring air traffic controllers and pilots together to share information.

Link to article in The Wall Street Journal:

2) Jetliner Crash Shows Dangers of Using Tainted USB Sticks

Link to article in USA Today:

Link to original article in El Pais: (in Spanish)

3) Fact Check: Malware Did Not Bring Down a Passenger Jet

Link to blog on ZDNet:


4) University of Maryland License Plate Scanning System Could Aid Police

Link to article on College Park Patch:


5) Utah’s Electronic Payment System Goes Live on I-15

Link to article in the Deseret News:

6) California Bill Would Protect Privacy of FasTrak Users

Link to AP article:


7) Mobile Handset Used for Pedestrian Collision Avoidance

Link to article in EE Times Europe:


8) Positive Train Control Implementation Signals Challenges Ahead

Link to article in Metro:


9) Traffic Data Quality Will Determine Telematics Winners

Link to blog from Strategy Analytics:


10) Technology Helps Paratransit Services Go Lean

Link to article in Metro:


11) Massachusetts State Police Seek Solution to Air Show Traffic Nightmare

Link to article in The Republican:


12) Prius Gets Sound Option to Protect Pedestrians

Link to AP article:

13) Report: Car Infotainment Systems to Put Consumers in Driver’s Seat

Link to article in USA Today:

14) HD Radio Shouldn’t be this Hard

The chief engineer of WOR Radio recounts his difficulty in getting an HD Radio for his new Ford Escape.

Link to article in Radioworld:

News Releases

1) Jacobs Helps Washington State DOT Achieve Smarter Highways

2) Trucking Coalition, ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council to Facilitate IntelliDrive Workshop for Commercial Vehicles

3) QNX and Freescale Team Up to Accelerate Design Cycles for Automotive Infotainment

4) Sensys Networks Awarded 6th Patent for Wireless Vehicular Sensor Network

Upcoming Events

Rail-Volution Conference – October 18-21 – Portland, Oregon

Today in Transportation History

1910 **100th anniversary** The schooner, Catherine M. Monohan, sank off the North Carolina coast.


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

Show me what you got – GOOD wants you to create a Doodle about “A Day with a Bicycle”

August 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm

For this month’s project, dubbed A Day with a Bicycle, GOOD is asking you to pick a day and avoid using any kind of carbon-burning vehicles (cars, buses, mopeds, etc.), and then draw a doodle that illustrates your experiences.

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Create a doodle that tells your story of a day with a bicycle.

The doodle can be as broad or as specific as you wish. Did you go somewhere unexpected? Did you feel lost? Did you save money? Did the experience bring up any interesting thoughts or observations? A day with a bike can certainly mean different things to different people. We’ll leave that to you.

Send us an e-mail at projects[at]goodinc[dot]com with your doodle and the subject line “September DOODLE.” It can be in any image format, but ideally it should be high enough resolution that it can be printed at 300 dpi. We prefer images that are taller versus wider (the above was a 6:8 ratio). There are numerous methods for creating visual notes whether through digital means (tablets, digital sketchpads, etc.) or tangible methods such as using a Moleskine. Regardless of your choice, please ensure the images are as clean as possible. Feel free to include a brief summary of your illustration. We’ll take submissions now through September 12th.



Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Monday, August 23, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057


1) Rebranding of Combined United and Continental Presents Communication Challenges

Link to article in the Chicago Tribune:–new-20100822,0,2640921.story

2) Technology Improves US Airways’ Customer Service

Link to article in the Phoenix Business Journal:

3) Photographer Combined His Love of Cameras and Aircraft

Link to article in the San Jose Mercury News:


4) His Maps of Pittsburgh Give Tips for Everyday Bicyclists

Link to article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:


5) Google Street View Cars Back Too Soon, Says French Watchdog

Link to article in Computerworld:


6) Indoor Positioning and Navigation – The Next LBS Frontier?

Link to article in Directions Magazine:


7) Canaveral Port Authority Weighs Options for Advertising Space

Link to article in Florida Today:


8) imaGinyze Augments Your Driving Experience with Augmented Reality iPhone App

Link to article on Gizmag:

Link to further information and screen shots: (in Japanese)

9) iPhone Apps; Top Gear for Motorists

Link to article in The Daily Mail:


10) Los Angeles Program Aims to Make Parking Easier

Link to article in the Los Angeles Times:,0,4725469.story


11) Signaling the Future of the UK Railways

Thames Valley Signalling Centre will control trains on a portion of the rail network using new technologies.

Link to article in the Oxford Mail:


12) Sponsor-a-Highway Signs Amount to Free Advertising on Philadelphia Roads While Program is Suspended

Link to article in The Philadelphia Inquirer:


13) Improve Driver Training, Rider Info: Toronto Transit Commission Report

Link to article in the Toronto Star:–improve-driver-training-rider-info-ttc-report?bn=1

Link to report:

14) Modify DC Metro Next Train Displays to Improve Communication

Link to commentary on Greater Greater Washington:


15) Nagpur, India Traffic Department Gets Net Savvy

Link to article in The Times of India:

16) Boston T Specific Apps a Real Time Saver

Link to article in the Boston Herald:


17) Boulder, Colorado to Use Car Colors to Discourage Driving

Link to story in the Daily Camera:

18) Tesco to Introduce Speed Monitoring to Compare Van Speeds with Actual Speed Limits

Link to article in article in Fleet News:

News Releases

1) Clear Channel Partners with Geodelic to Launch the Ultimate Mobile Guide for Smart Air Travelers

2) Distracted Driving Takes Center Stage in Drive Safely Work Week

3) CITE’s 2010 Fall Blended Course Offerings

4) 2010 Power IT Down Day Challenges Government to Save More Kilowatt Hours, Decrease Carbon Footprint

Bernie’s Notes

I like to welcome my first grandchild … James Harrison Luedecker.  He was born Friday evening, August 20 at 7:12 (conveniently waiting until Friday’s TCN was sent) and checked in at 8 lbs. 2 oz.  The baby, and the proud mom and dad, Kirsten and Russell, are all doing well.

Upcoming Events

Webinar: The Significance of Search Engines in the Auto Industry: How Search Engines Have Radically Changed the Way Consumers Shop for Cars – August 24

Today in Transportation History

2000 **10th anniversary** Gulf Air Flight 072 crashed in the Persian Gulf while attempting to land in Bahrain.  All 143 people onboard died.


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

You had a bad road trip? Not really. This Epic Chinese Traffic Jam Enters 9th Day; Expected To Last Another 20 Days

August 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm

(Source: CNN)

You thought you had a bad time on the road? Wait till you see this one and start thanking all the gods that are out there.  Here are some snippets about this epic, mother of all traffic jams that ever happened on Earth.

The gridlock, which started August 14, involves thousands of trucks between the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the Chinese capital of Beijing.

The back-up stretches over 62 miles on the Beijing-Tibet Expressway. What’s worse, officials are saying that the jam could continue for up to a month (Sept. 13, the projected completion project for some of the projects causing this delay).

Reason cited: “Insufficient traffic capacity on the National Expressway 110 caused by maintenance construction since August 19 is the major cause of the congestion,” a Beijing Traffic Management Bureau spokesman told the Beijing-based Global Times.

Other undesired outcomes borne from this mess: Bored drivers playing cards to pass time, and enterprising local vendors doling out instant noodles for as much as 4-times the actual cost.

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