Cramped! SkyRider airline seats pack fliers into 23 inches of space

September 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Stop complaining about leg room, will ya? The manufacturer of Skyline seats says the following about the new product which sports all but 23 inches of space for you to ride/move/wiggle: “For flights anywhere from one to possibly even up to three hours… this would be comfortable seating. The seat … is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.” Come on, son! Are you for real?

The good news is that the FAA is not ready to act on approving this madness. It seem the agency is yet to hear anything about this “flying jail” concept!

Amplify’d from
AvioInteriors' seats, which haven't been approved yet, are designed for shorter flights.
Think your seat in coach is cramped? Take a look at the SkyRider.

The new airplane seat, to be unveiled next week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas conference in Long Beach, would give passengers an experience akin to riding horseback.

They’d sit at an angle with no more than 23 inches between their perch and the seat in front of them — a design that could appeal to low-cost airlines that have floated the idea of offering passengers standing-room tickets on short flights.



Counting the kills! California’s roadkill data crowdsourced from citizen observers

September 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Sometimes people ask me what I do at work.. I wish I can say something like this: “I’m Doctor Roadkill. I collect and upload roadkill data to the California Roadkill Observation System, a mapping Web site built by researchers at the University of California, Davis, to better understand where and why cars strike animals.”

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Begun a year ago, the Web site — — is the first statewide effort to map roadkill using citizen observers. Volunteers comb the state’s highways and country roads for dead animals, collecting GPS coordinates, photographs and species information and uploading it to a database and Google map populated with dots representing the kills. The site’s gruesome gallery includes photos of flattened squirrels or squashed skunks.

The site’s founders hope to soon hire a software engineer to design a smartphone app. They think one would attract new and younger volunteers, speed up the process, and, with built-in GPS function, assure more accurate location information.

About 73 million GPS-enabled cellphones and 23 million automotive GPS units will be shipped in the United States and Canada this year, according to IMS Research, a market research firm. “GPS is very pervasive,” said Bill Morelli, an analyst with the firm.

The roadkill maps give researchers a better understanding of the environmental impacts of roads. They intend to use the data to build statistical and Geographic Information Systems models to predict roadkill hot spots and to determine where animal road crossings, culverts and warning signs may be most effective on current and future roadways.



Dread this! Saudi ARAMCO CEO Predicts World Is Likely to Rely Mostly on Fossil Fuel for Decades

September 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Spoken like a true businessman: “Nobody is contending that we should not encourage, should not invest, should not allow renewable energy to grow,” he said. “We are investing in solar energy and are looking at wind and believe it will gradually take an increasing share, but it will take time.” This is somewhat true as many nations are looking at bleak economic prospects and scrambling for resources to invest in alternative energy research! What scares me is the fact that our political leaders (in certain Party) are turning a blind eyes to what’s happening and refusing to invest in progressive economic ideas! Can we, please, prioritize this issue and get working on moving away from oil for good? Our money is fast vaporizing – as fast as the petrol itself and soon we will be left with nothing!

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Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Chief
Executive Officer Khalid al-Falih said the world probably will
rely for decades to come on fossil fuels, mainly oil, natural
gas and coal.

“Even though the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix
may decline over the longer term, the absolute quantities of
energy from these sources will continue to rise simply because
total energy demand is set to expand so significantly,” he said
in a speech today at the World Energy Congress in Montreal.

Coal, oil and natural gas are forecast to account for four
out of every five units of energy consumption “for the
foreseeable future,” he said. Alternative fuels will grow
gradually, with their use for power-generation growing faster
than for transportation, he said.

Saudi Aramco, as his company is known, maintains spare
capacity near 4 million barrels a day, a level that has “helped
assure market stability,” al-Falih said. Aramco is the world’s
biggest crude-oil producer.



Nissan Nails a Home Run! “All Electric” Leaf’s Advertisement Features “Emotionally Charged” Polar Bear

September 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm

(Source: via HuffingtonPost)

Brilliant idea and clever execution!  In today’s world, where scary climatic changes are threatening the planet – rising seas, melting glaciers, swirling wild fires, furious hurricanes, etc, etc – this advertisement sends a subtle  yet powerful message, which should go a long way in convincing the general public about buying a Nissan Leaf.  No doubt in my mind the consumers will for a moment think about Nissan Leaf in a positive light when they set out  the find an Electric Vehicle or a Hybrid Electric Vehicle! Not even Lance Armstrong can make such a compelling case!
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General Motors CEO to Make $9 Million a Year

September 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Is this a sign of bad things to return? The chief executive of General Motors, Daniel F. Akerson, will receive up to $9 million in annual compensation, including $1.7 million in cash. The cost of concessions for the average auto worker $7,000 to $30,000 in annual pay, according to the United Auto Workers so that some of these Armani wearing fat cats can get the high $$$.

Autoblog reports that Dan’s colleague at Ford – CEO, Alan Mulally – makes substantially more. He netted $17.9 million in cash and bonuses in 2009. GM and Chrysler had to offer less because of they received Govt. bailout funds.

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Mr. Akerson’s pay package, which G.M. disclosed Friday in a regulatory filing, is structured the same as that of his predecessor, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., who stepped down as chief on Sept. 1 but will remain chairman until the end of the year. The compensation was approved by Kenneth R. Feinberg, the government’s special master for executive compensation under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which lent about $50 billion to G.M., the company said in the regulatory filing.

Mr. Akerson, the fourth chief at G.M. since March 2009, will receive $5.3 million a year in stock, paid over three years starting Sept. 30, 2011, and $2 million a year in restricted stock under a long-term incentive plan, G.M. said. Mr. Whitacre is scheduled to begin receiving his stock in 2012.



Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – September 10, 2010

September 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Friday, September 10, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057


1) New Daytona Center Unveils Future Air Traffic Control Technology

Link to article in the Orlando Sentinel:

2) Air Traffic Upgrade to Boost Jobs

Link to article on Nextgov:


3) Port Richey, Florida’s Police Chief Needs a Crash Course on Public Records

Link to editorial in the St. Petersburg Times:


4) Kansas DOT’s Computers Infected by Virus Through E-mail

Link to AP article:–kdot-computervirus,0,6497511.story

5) How Mobile Devices Could Lead to More City Living

Link to article in The Atlantic:


6) New Signs Tell Which Seattle Parking Garages Have Space

Link to article in The Seattle Times:


7) Research in Motion Tries to Patent Billboards that Adjust to Roadside Traffic

Link to blog on Engadget:


8) Snooki Gets Scolded by US Secretary of Transportation, Newark Mayor for Tweeting in Traffic

Link to story on MTV:


9) Roadside Telematics Brings Profitable Reverse Retailing to Telematics

Link to blog from Strategy Analytics:

10) Vehicle-Monitoring Devices Could Reduce Crashes, and Price of Insurance

Link to blog in the Hartford Courant:


11) Ontario’s Smart Transit Card Dumb Idea, Toronto Transit Commission Says

Link to article in the Toronto Sun:

12) Los Angeles Metro’s First Offering Isn’t Great, but there are Transit Apps for LA

Link to blog on blogdowntown:


13) Winter Haven, Florida Traffic Tracked with New System

Link to article in The Ledger:


14) Why Ford is Like Apple

Link to article on The Motley Fool:

News Releases

1) Entrepreneurs in Smart Transportation and Healthcare Win SmartCamp Silicon Valley and Backing from IBM

2) Smart Phones Impact Automotive Infotainment

3) Free DC Metro Screen-Savers Added to Metro’s Online Store


–  Request for Information – Traffic Data Monitoring Procurement – California Center for Innovative Transportation

Upcoming Events

International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference – October 23-27 – Orlando, Florida

Friday Bonus


Today in Transportation History

1960 **50th anniversary** The first mass grounding of all civilian flights in the US and Canada took place as part of Operation Skyshield.


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

Job(s) Alert: Transportation Planners & Project Managers – Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning @ Rockville, MD

September 10, 2010 at 10:59 am

Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning (Foursquare ITP) is in the process of gathering resumes of qualified individuals for job openings over the next few months. Foursquare ITP is looking for qualified Transportation planners and Project managers to assist and lead project teams on a variety ofprojects for state and local governments.

Education and Work Experience Requirements:

Foursquare ITP is looking for Transportation Planners with a Bachelor’s degree in planning,transportation engineering or similar and five or more years of experience, or with a Master’s degree inone of these fields and two or more years of experience. The selected transportation planner(s) willwork as part of a team and will be responsible for research, analysis, report development, field work and meeting participation on a wide variety of transportation projects, mainly for state and localgovernments.

Foursquare ITP is also looking for senior transportation planners who can serve as Project Managers. In addition to the requirements for the Transportation Planner position, the SeniorTransportation Planner/Project Manager must have experience in project management, includingmanaging staff. He or she should an additional five years of experience beyond the requirements of theTransportation Planner position.

Technical Experience:

Both the Transportation Planner and Project Manager position applicants should have experience in avariety of the following areas: FTA grants administration; ArcGIS mapping; corridor-level planning,regional transportation planning; transit development plans; long and short rage transportation plans;transportation demand management (TDM); Environmental Impact Statements/EnvironmentalAssessments; Land Use and Economic Development; and Strategic Planning. Excellent oral and writtencommunication skills are essential, as is proficiency in Microsoft Office 2007.

Because Foursquare ITP is a small, young business, the successful applicant will be a motivated self-starter who can work well in a virtual environment. He or she must also be flexible to meet client demands and a dynamic workflow. While the selected employees will be able to work out of their homes at least in the short-term, due to internal and external meeting requirements all qualified applicants must live in or be willing to move to the Washington DC metropolitan area.

About the Firm

Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning is a boutique transportation planning, design and policy analysis firm based in Rockville, Maryland. As a small firm, we are able to give our clients thepersonalized focus that they seek and deserve. Foursquare ITP focuses on projects that relate tosustainable transportation, mainly focused on public transit. We offer our clients expertise in regional transportation planning and coordination, public transit planning, strategic planning, and transportationdemand management. Foursquare ITP’s focus areas include stakeholder, inter- and intra-agencycoordination; transportation needs assessment; transit development plans; transit operations; strategicplanning, and short- and long-range transportation plan development.

Please send resumes or questions about the positions to Lora Byala at

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Bernie’s Transportation Communications Newsletter (TCN) – September 9, 2010

September 9, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Thursday, September 9, 2010 – ISSN 1529-1057

Register Now for IBTTA’s Operating and Maintaining Your Toll Facility Meeting — October 3-5, 2010 in Raleigh, NC

Join IBTTA Delegates for the final meeting of IBTTA’s 2010 Education Series: “Operating and Maintaining Your Toll Facility – Where the Rubber Meets the Road,” October 3-5 in Raleigh, North Carolina. We’ll explore how engineering, design, maintenance, operations, and security roles have come together to address the challenges of operating modern, sustainable, technologically advanced and economically viable toll facilities. Hotel cut-off is September 10, 2010. View the preliminary agenda, make your hotel reservations at the Raleigh Marriott City Center and register today!


1) Google, Bing Out of Race as China Grants Map Service Licenses

Link to PTI article:


2) Ford MirrorNavi: Satnav in Your Rear-View Mirror

Link to blog on CNET UK:


3) Tacoma, Washington Pays PR Firm JayRay $50,000 to Promote Downtown Parking Meters

Link to article in The News Tribune:


4) Strategy Analytics: ‘Device Integration is the Big Story’

An interview with Richard Robinson, automotive service director at Strategy Analytics.

Link to interview in Telematics Update:


5) New York MTA to Unveil Clearer Signs Steering Passengers Through Subway Service Changes

Link to article in the Daily News:

6) MBTA Makes Real-Time Bus Data Available

Link to story on NECN:


7) Better Traffic Management, the Dutch Way?

Link to article in Today:,-the-Dutch-way

8) Optus Mobile Launches Traffic Information Service

Link to article on iTWire:

9) With ‘Smart Signs’ and Real-Time Data, a Way for Police to Monitor, Enforce Traffic

Link to blog on SmartPlanet:

News Releases

1) Daimler AG Starts a Further Pilot Project in Ulm – ‘Ride Sharing 2.0’ with car2gether

2) New CCTV Technology from VTT Technical Research Centre Helps Prevent Terror Attacks

3) New University Study Reveals Significant Safety Benefits from Advanced ‘Detect, Alert and Respond’ Technologies in Commercial Trucks

4) Video Reinforces Importance of School Zone Safety

5) As NFL Season Starts, Operation Lifesaver Football PSA with Saints Kicker Premiers Online

6) Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council and Canadian Trucking Alliance Team Up to Produce TV Profile of Trucking Industry

7) Unique, Tech-Savvy Campaign Launches 2011 Ford Edge

8) Cross Country Automotive Services Advocates Benefits of Real-Time Claims Adjustment for Insurers, Automakers

9) Qualcomm Launches Pay-as-You-Drive and Pay-How-You-Drive Telematic Services

Upcoming Events

Smart Freight Transport in Urban Areas – October 13-14 – Trondheim, Norway

Today in Transportation History

1910 **100th anniversary** The SS Pere Marquette 18 sank in Lake Michigan with the loss of 29 lives.  The disaster is also notable because it was an early example of using wireless to call for help.


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

True Spirit! CBS Interviews Jessica Watson, The Youngest Person to Sail Solo Around the World

September 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

(Source: Washington Post & Kidzworld)

True Spirit

On May 15, 2010, after 210 days at sea and more than 22,000 nautical miles, 16-year-old Jessica Watson sailed her 33-foot boat back to land.   The courageous teenager from Queensland, Australia is now entered the record books as the youngest person to sail solo, unassisted, and nonstop around the world.  Ever since her return she was busy dealing withe media frenzy and somehow managed to find time to write a book, True Spirit, sharing her experiences from this journey around the globe.   Recently, she was in New York to promote her book and sat down for an interview with CBS’ Early Show (shown below).  Listening to her not only makes you feel proud of her achievement but also appreciate the daring sense of exploration that many of us won’t even have at our 20s and 30s.   Here is her interview with  Early Show’s Harry Smith:

Read more:

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One for the record books! Dramatic Drop in U.S. Highway Fatalities in 2009; Lowest Since 1950

September 9, 2010 at 12:28 am

(Source: AP via Yahoo News )

The number of people dying on the nation’s roads has fallen to its lowest level in six decades, helped by a combination of seat belts, safer cars and tougher enforcement of drunken driving laws.

The Transportation Department said late Wednesday that traffic deaths fell 9.7 percent in 2009 to 33,808, the lowest number since 1950. In 2008, an estimated 37,423 people died on the highways.

Forty-one states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico saw reductions in highway fatalities, led by Florida with 422 fewer deaths and Texas, down 405.

The motor vehicle fatality rate — the number of deaths per 100 million miles traveled — is the lowest ever: 1.13 deaths in 2009, down from 1.26 in 2008, DOT says, even as Americans were driving 0.2% more than in 2008.

The annual highway safety report also reported the following stats:

  • _ Motorcycle fatalities broke 11 years of annual increases, falling by 16 percent, from 5,312 in 2008 to 4,462 in 2009.
  • _ The number of people injured in motor vehicle crashes fell for a 10th consecutive year.
  • _ Alcohol-impaired driving deaths declined 7.4 percent in 2009 to 10,839 deaths, compared with 11,711 in 2008.

Note:  I commend the efforts of the USDOT’s leadership (Secretary, the Administrators, staff, etc) in ensuring that our nation’s roads are safe for the citizens.   The multi-pronged approach taken by various administrations within the Department, including targeted campaigns towards drunk driving, texting while driving, etc., are paying big dividends, as evidenced by these dramatic reduction in fatalities.  Also, we have to recognize the efforts of the vehicle manufacturers for making their vehicles a lot safer than what they were in the decades before. Many vehicles in today’s market sport great active and passive systems compared to the cars of yesteryears, which help greatly in reducing the risk of fatal injuries to the occupants during an accident.  The role of local enforcement agencies should also be appreciated in this remarkable effort.  Apart from the obvious safety benefits, there are many other associated benefits at the societal and personal level – reduction in associated costs such as repair costs, travel time savings, insurance costs, etc.  In all, as a society we are progressing well but we still have a long way to go.  Let’s not forget that we are still losing thousands of people on our roads and that only means one thing – we cannot slow down our efforts!

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