Fare Jumpers, Meet Your Russian Nemesis – Moscow Subway Deploys Innovative Transit Turnstiles To Deter Farejumpers

December 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

(Source: Ridus)

Courtesy of Google Translate, I managed to learn from Ridus.ru this innovative design is deployed at “Tsarina” station on Moscow subway. As pointed out on Ridus, this triangular metal structure, apart from being effective in stopping fare jumpers, is a hassle for riders moving through the gates with luggage.  It will be nice to know the before vs. after comparisions to find out how effective these systems are in stopping the fare gate violations.

New turnstiles at metro station "Tsarina".  © Anton Belitsky / Ridus.ru

Image Courtesy: Ridus.ru


New turnstiles at metro station "Tsarina".  © Anton Belitsky / Ridus.ru

Image Courtesy: Ridus

Metro Swinging! Novel way to spice up your daily commute in Washington unveiled

December 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm

(Source: Warren Zhang via Reddit)

WMATA management should consider installing a couple of these swings in each rail car..  It definitely looks like a lot of fun (as long as it is not peak hours and the rail cars are not packed to the gills).

Metro Swing from Warren Zhang on Vimeo.

Syacmore St? Nah! – Virginia DOT Fails the Spelling Test at Exit 69

December 7, 2011 at 6:54 pm

(source: Fairfaxunderground.com)

Someone at Virginia Department of Transportation is in trouble for messing up the signage at Sycamore Street exit along I-66 above the newly opened auxiliary lane..It is going to cost a few thousand $$$ to fix this inadvertent error.  Interestingly,  the old signage (still visible on Google Maps), shows the correct spelling.

photo.JPGH/T Brian Schoeneman

“Honk If you Are Wearing a Thong” – Hacked Highway Sign Prompts Washington, DC Suburban Drivers To Disclose Choice of Underwear

December 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm

(Source: Jalopnik)

Aahh.. The highway hackers have struck again.  This time in a suburban Washington, DC neighborhood and they hit (a private sign and not one owned by the local government) with a funnier & slightly smutty message.  The hackers tweaked the portable VMS (for the uninitiated VMS = Variable Message Sign) signage and made it read: “Honk if you are wearing a thong”.   The local FOX news reporter covering the scene reported hearing a lot of honking.  Hmmm.. The not so enthused county officials have reportedly shut down the sign.  LOL. You can check out the signage for yourself in the video below  (H/T to Jalopnik for the awesome scoop).

 Hacked Road Sign Prompts Underwear Disclosure About Thongs: MyFoxDC.com

Thug Life! India’s Member of Parliament Publicly Kidnaps Toll Plaza Staff; Argues With Police; Goes Scott Free

December 7, 2011 at 1:21 am

(Source: Times of India)

If you crib about American politicians breaking the rule of law, you have to meet Mr. Najot Sidhu, a colorful politician in India and a current Member of Parliament. He was also one of the celebrated cricketers from a decade ago.  Though he has been involved in a series of egregious violations over his colorful career, he somehow managed to get away. Until now.  But what he did today deserves serious jail punishment.  Let’s see what he did.

Today, Mr. Sidhu kidnapped a security guard at a Toll Plaza! Yep.  You heard me right.  According to reports seen on leading Indian newspaper Times of India, it all began when the guard, Chenchu Ramaiah, allegedly hurled a stick at Sidhu’s car which whizzed past the Venkatachalam toll plaza at Tallampadu village in Doravarisatram mandal without showing any ID proof or payment of toll fee. This led to a crack in the windshield. An enraged Sidhu came back to the plaza, overpowered Ramaiah and another guard and bundled them into his vehicle.  If that is not enough, Mr. Sidhu and his entourage drove to a meeting with the two kidnapped toll plaza staff. Local police who were alerted about the situation, intervened and tried to pacify the politician. Click here to read the entire article.

Wait a minute!  Did I hear the word pacify? Is this how police in India are now expected to treat a kidnapper?  Isn’t the role of police to arrest such offenders and take them to court? I may be wrong here but I see the actions of Mr. Sidhu are plain breach of law and it can be summarized as a kidnapping and he should be dealt with accordingly.  Would the police be “pacifying” a kidnapper had the roles been reversed here – i.e., if the toll plaza guards kidnapped Sidhu and drove him away, and held him against his will for a couple of hours? Would the police be treating the Toll Plaza guards the same way they did with Mr. Sidhu?  Arrest his ass and throw him in JAIL! Let him stand in-front of a judge and explain his actions (oh, also don’t forget to prosecute the guards for damaging the vehicle too). If I’m a multinational firm interested in investing in India’s infrastructure such a situation would make me think twice. Incidents of this kind simply undermine investor confidence and erode any faith in the rule of law for citizens and foreigners alike.

For one, this is not what people expect from their elected leadership.  India’s Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and the opposition party leader (BJP party, to which Mr. Sidhu belongs), should come out strongly and condemn this action publicly If anything, reprimand Mr. Sidhu for his actions and set an example.  What’s more appalling are the actions of his party man, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, who is another prominent opposition politician.  Mr. Naidu, knowing all well what Sidhu did, intervened to broker peace between the police and Mr. Sidhu instead of letting the police carry out their duty.  Press reports say that Mr. Naidu requested the police not to register case against anyone, including Mr. Sidhu.  Whattt!  Mr. Naidu should apologize to the people of his state for his actions and offer all assistance to the police to investigate this case.  That is the least these politicians and government officials can do to show the citizens of India that the law is the same for everyone – be it a minister or a commoner on the street. Anyone who breaches the law should/will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.  Failure to prosecute Mr. Sidhu would only reinforce the current sentiment among the public – if an offender is powerful or a wealthy politician he can get away with anything.

Note to Sidhu: Mr. Sidhu, you are not definitely the type of leader that India deserves.  Your actions are shameful and your theatrics are even more offensive.  Stop behaving like a petulant child and behave like a political leader that people want.  After all, there are many young kids who grow up aspiring to be you and I hope you don’t lead them astray with such questionable behavior. Next time you approach a toll plaza, make sure to slow down and pay your toll. I’m positive the Indian taxpayers are paying you a handsome salary for your services as a Member of Parliament and you can definitely afford to pay a couple of hundred rupees for a service that everyone else pays.  If you do not like slowing down or paying tolls, try catching a bus or even better a train. Oh, and above all don’t forget to render an apology to the poor workers at the Toll Plaza who toil in the baking hot weather all day long just to make ends meet.

Note to the Toll Plaza operators: For crying out loud, install barricades or some other measures to prevent such toll booth violations. If anything, use electronic surveillance equipment to capture the offenders and collect the money electronically.  But don’t encourage your staff to throw a stick or a stone at a fast moving vehicle. It’s not only dangerous to the occupants of the vehicle but can also result in such situations where the offenders can get into a quarrel with the enforcers. Work with the police to resolve such violations and please do not encourage your staff to take matters in their own hands.

Webinar Alert: Systems Engineering for Adaptive Signal Control Technology – Dec 15, 2011

December 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Date:   December 15, 2011

Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET

Cost:  All T3 webinars are free of charge

PDH:  1.5   View PDH Policy

Register Now!

T3 Webinars are brought to you by the ITS Professional Capacity Building Program (ITS PCB) at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (US DOT) ITS Joint Program Office, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). Reference in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by U.S. Department of Transportation.


This webinar will provide an overview of Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) and the efforts of the FHWA Every Day Counts initiative to mainstream the implementation of this technology. Agency professionals will discuss their recent experiences with adaptive signal control projects and how systems engineering was used as a tool to inform decisions that affect technology selection, system operation, and procurement options. The webinar will also discuss how to apply the FHWA Model Systems Engineering Documents for ASCT to these types of projects.


The goal of the Every Day Counts ASCT initiative is to mainstream the use of adaptive control where traffic conditions and agency capability support its implementation. The Model Systems Engineering Documents for ASCT provide the agency practitioner already knowledgeable about traffic signal operation the means to develop systems engineering documents that comply with system engineering requirements (23CFR940.11) with a significantly reduced level of effort compared with traditional processes. In so doing, the risks of implementing systems inconsistent with an agency’s objectives and capabilities are greatly reduced.

These model documents and the associated guidance were developed by a team of traffic signal operations and systems engineering experts, with significant input from agency stakeholders, who have experience implementing ASCT in a variety of situations. Taken as a whole, this collection is the first of its kind, blending questions and potential responses to guide the reader through the selection of statements for a concept of operations and then linking requirements to those statements.

To engage in a national discussion about adaptive control or any aspect of traffic signal management, operation, or maintenance, join the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC) Traffic Signal Library and User Forum by visiting https://ntoctsl.groupsite.com/.

Target Audience

Agencies involved in the management and operation of traffic signal systems.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the FHWA Every Day Counts, Adaptive Signal Control Technology initiative, including its goals and resources.
  • Discuss the types of facilities and traffic conditions where adaptive signal control has potential to demonstrate benefits.
  • Highlight agency experiences with the use of the Model Systems Engineering Documents for ASCT to implement projects.
  • Describe the use of the Model Systems Engineering Documents for ASCT to inform the ASCT implementation process.

Additional ASCT Resources


  • Leo Almanzar & Hong Yuan, New Jersey Meadowlands Commission — Meadowlands Adaptive Signal System for Traffic Reduction (15 min)
  • Cindy Shell & James Fritz Brogdon, Volkert & Associates, Inc. — Chattanooga Regional ITS/Adaptive Signal Control Technology State Route 153 (15 min)
  • Richard Denney, FHWA Resource Center — FHWA Model Systems Engineering Documents for ASCT Systems (40 min)
  • Questions (20 min)


Paul Olson, P.E., PTOE, ITS Technology Specialist, FHWA Resource Center
With 30 years of experience, Mr. Olson is a widely known and respected expert on traffic signals and signal systems design and operation. In his current role with FHWA, he provides specialized technical support both to the FHWA headquarters and federal-aid field offices and partner state and local agencies, in addition to the ITS Joint Programs Office in the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

Paul began his career with the Washington State Department of Transportation designing and operating traffic signals in the Northwest Region that includes the King and Snohomish County Metroplex. Prior to joining FWHA, he served as a consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. During that engagement, Paul managed traffic signal timing optimization projects for the California jurisdictions of Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, and Caltrans.

Paul has had significant roles in the development of the Traffic Signal Timing Manual and the development of many National Highway Institute courses. He also had a significant role in the development of the Mobile Hands on Traffic Signal Timing Training. Paul is a Fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and has been active for many years on the Transportation Research Board’s standing committees on Traffic Signal Systems. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Washington State University and a Certificate in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley; a Professional Transportation Operations Engineer certification from the Institute of Transportation Engineers; and he holds registrations as a civil engineer in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and registrations as a traffic engineer in California and Oregon.


Leo Almanzar P.E., P.P., Senior Engineer, New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
Mr. Almanzar plays a critical role in transportation planning and traffic engineering initiatives for the Commission. He manages transportation reviews and calculation of transportation mitigation assessments for the Meadowlands Transportation Planning District. He is also design and construction project manager for multiple phases the Meadowlands Adaptive Signal System for Traffic Reduction (MASSTR) at 128 locations.

Leo’s career’s worth of experience in traffic engineering coupled with more than 3 years of adaptive signal control technology (ASCT) research and collaboration with adaptive system managers, communication, and detection providers have resulted in a comprehensive background in ATCS and related technologies. He recently designed the entire first phase of the project consisting of thirty traffic signals and prepared the Systems Engineering Analysis and Review Form for the project.

Leo is a graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he earned bachelor and master degrees in civil engineering. He is also an adjunct professor of computer aided design at Passaic County Community College.

Hong Yuan, P.E., P.T.O.E , Senior Transportation Engineer, New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
Mrs. Yuan plays a critical role in transportation planning and traffic engineering initiatives for the Commission. There she manages transportation reviews and calculation of transportation mitigation assessments for the Meadowlands Transportation Planning District. She is also a project manager of design and construction for multiple phases of the Meadowlands Adaptive Signal System for Traffic Reduction (MASSTR).

Hong developed the technical specifications and played a critical role in preparing the procurement packages and the Systems Engineering Analysis for MASSTR. Her experience in transportation planning and traffic engineering coupled with more than 3 years of adaptive signal control technology (ASCT) research and collaboration with adaptive, communication, and detection providers have resulted in a comprehensive background in ATCS and related technologies.

Hong earned her bachelor degrees in civil engineering as well as economics from Tsinghua University, China; and her master degree in civil engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a registered PE in New Jersey and Maryland, and a PTOE since 2008.

Cindy Shell, Designer, Volkert & Associates, Inc.

photograph of Cindy ShellMrs. Shell is currently a designer with Volkert & Associates, has been responsible for the design of numerous intersection and signal upgrade plans, signal timing plans, and traffic studies for both public and private sectors throughout the southeast. Her most recent experience includes the ITS project that will provide signal upgrades and transportation network improvements at 123 intersections located within the City of Chattanooga metropolitan area and will include the use of adaptive signal control technology (ASCT).

Prior to coming to Volkert, Mrs. Shell worked 12 years for the Alabama Department of Transportation in the areas of Construction, Maintenance, and Administration. She holds a bachelors degree in biology from Auburn University and a masters degree in Counseling and Human Development from Troy State University.

James Fritz Brogdon, P.E., Project Manager, Volkert & Associates, Inc.

photograph of James Fritz BrogdonMr. Brogdon is currently a Project Manager with Volkert & Associates, Inc. He has been with the firm since 1997. He is responsible for developing ITS, roadway, lighting and traffic signal plan sets including design criteria, horizontal and vertical geometry, signing/striping, equipment specification, and detailed construction quantity estimates. Mr. Brogdon has extensive experience working in conjunction with multiple state departments of transportation on numerous ITS, roadway, lighting and traffic signal, and roadway projects.

Mr. Brogdon earned his bachelor and master degree in Civil engineering from Tennessee Technological University. He is a registered PE in Tennessee, Arkansas and Illinois.

Richard W. Denney, Jr. P.E., Traffic Management Specialist, FHWA Resource Center
With 30 years of experience, Mr. Denney is a widely known and respected expert on traffic signals, ITS architecture and design, standards, and systems engineering for transportation management projects. Prior to joining the FHWA, Rick served as a consultant and led projects implementing systems engineering in the development of standards and also in the planning and development of a wide range of ITS projects. Rick also managed all types of ITS projects throughout the country, including signal systems, ITS systems engineering, communications plans, regional architectures, and dynamic message sign systems design and testing. He chairs the National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocol (NTCIP) Field Management Stations Working Group.

Rick began his career at the Texas Department of Transportation in the Freeway Operations Unit. He then served as the Traffic Signal Engineer for the City of Austin, and subsequently as the Traffic Management Engineer for the City of San Antonio, where he managed the planning, design, and operation of traffic signals and several large and small traffic signal system projects for a combined network of 1,100 traffic signals.

Rick holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, and a M.S. in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is widely published, and recently received the Transportation Research Board’s D. Grant Mickle Award for Outstanding Paper on Operations.


Frugality or E’galité? French President Nicolas Sarkozy Rides a Suburban Train

December 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

(Source: AFP/Getty Images via The Daily Beast)

Just an awesome photo of French President Nicolas Sarkozy riding a suburban train. That’s all. Photo reportedly taken after his visit to the New Technology and Industry Centre.

Riding with Sarkozy

Image Courtesy: AFP/Getty Images via The Daily Beast

The first thought that came into my mind : “Is he trying to show the way for rest of Europe that riding a subway is far cheaper than traveling in a huge convoy of cars?” The next thought: “Is it his election time stunt to show the voters that he is just like them, riding the rails to get around?”  Whatever it is, I’m a big fan of such simple things that go a long way in making personalities like Sarkozy look just like the rest of us.  It is more Presidential to ride a subway than in a crazy convoy of cars.

That said, I wonder if the Secret Service would ever allow the U.S. President to ride a transit system, let alone Washington’s WMATA during his time in Washington.  It will be nice to see Pres. Obama rubbing shoulders with daily commuters on the Red Line in DC one of these days. Maybe that will convince the POTUS that our nation’s transit systems are falling apart and they do need some additional funding to serve the citizens who ride them everyday.  That would be one good way to relate to the plight of commoners and no better way to make a statement to the voting public that you are indeed serious about cutting costs.  Are you up for it Mr. President?  Oh wait, his doesn’t really have a commute . It is just walking a flight of stairs down from his home to the Oval office in the White House and it definitely does not require a train.

Beautiful Chaos – Time lapse video captures the chaotic traffic in Ho Chi Minh City

December 5, 2011 at 7:38 pm

(Source: Reddit)

Here is a really beautiful time-lapse video capture of the crazy traffic in  Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).  The creator, Rob Whitworth,  this video says  is a culmination of 10,000 RAW images and multiple shoots capturing some of the cities relentless energy and pace of change.  check it out. Like in many Asian cities, the chaos of traffic continues to move without much disruption despite the lack of the usual traffic management infrastructure (i.e., traffic lights at intersections).  Of course, it goes without saying – traffic accidents are a leading cause of death and injuries in Country.   According to the World Health Organization,  Vietnam’s National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) reported more than 12,800 deaths and a further 10,546 injuries from road traffic crashes in 2007 which represents more than 35 deaths per day and a mortality rate of more than 15 per 100,000 population.

Unsuck the Saudi obsession with female virginity? Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council says no more virginity in Saudi if women drive

December 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

(Source: Telegraph, UK via Reddit)

Allowing women drivers in Saudi Arabia will tempt them into sex, promote pornography and create more homosexuals, according to some conservative Muslim scholars.

Image Courtesy: mlibysvensson.com via Google Images

Saudi women will have to languish little longer in their plush,& palatial homes and continue their wait for tasting the freedom of driving that so many women around the world take it for granted.  The following appeared in today’s Telegraph (and in many news sites on the web): “Academics at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, which is Saudi Arabia‘s highest religious council, said the relaxation of the rules would inevitably lead to “no more virgins”.   The academics, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the conservative King Fahd University, produced the conclusions in a report for the country’s legislative assembly, the Shura Council.”  Click here to read the full story.

Editor’s note:  So, how is the world reacting to this news? As always, the brilliant global hive of Redditors made quite a few interesting comments/remarks on this women-no-drive policy shoved down the throats of Saudi women.  Jokes apart, it brings up many serious questions.  Many Islamic nations across the globe, such as Malaysia & Bahrain, are as staunchly religious as Saudi Arabia but have understood the value of freedom and enabled their women to drive.  No Malaysian cleric will ever step up and utter such non-sense statements and get away with it easily.  Heck, at this point one can go on the limb and say even the most oppressive of regimes such as Myanmar and North Korea don’t treat their women like some 2nd class citizens.  What is up with the Saudi’s and their obsession with female virgins?

I pity the plight of the Saudi head of state. His situation is like someone caught between the devil and the deep sea.  On one side, he must be nervously watching the revolutions sweeping across the Middle East and on the other side, he has to deal with these religious zealots stoking anti-regime sentiments with such recommendations, and ordering how others should live based on their own interpretation of a religious manual.  If anything, Saudi monarchs have an ultimate decision to make here and determine if they will side with the rest of the world and treat their women as equals and not second class citizens. Let’s us sincerely hope that the women will ultimately win their freedom.

Here are a couple of related articles published over a period on Transportgooru.com:

Webinar Alert: ITS JPO Seeks Feedback on Certificate Management Entity Organizational Analysis; Public Meeting December 9, 2011

December 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), Research and Innovative Technology Administration will be hosting a free public webinar on December 9, 2011 to discuss plans for a certificate management entity (CME) to support a trusted and secure connected vehicle environment.  During the webinar U.S. DOT will be seeking input on a set of high-level, alternative organizational structures for the CME.

Webinar Details:

The webinar will take place December 9, 2011 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. During the call the U.S. DOT will present results from an early analysis of organizational models. This analysis will describe the functions that need to be performed by a CME; identify key constraints as well as institutional and policy requirements; model how those functions may be organized; and present a high level assessment of these organizational models against a set of evaluation criteria.

Draft documentation of the analysis will be posted for comment at the following location on or before December 9, 2011 at www.its.dot.gov. Interested stakeholders are asked to submit comments about the analysis by the end of the day on December 14, 2011. Written comments may be submitted to:  itscme@dot.gov. This is not an official docket. Stakeholders will have additional opportunities to provide input in to this project at later stages, including via a public meeting planned for March 2012.


Through 2014, the primary focus of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Joint Program Office is a research initiative focused on developing rapid and secure wireless communications and trusted data exchanges among vehicles, roadside infrastructure, and passengers’ personal communications devices.  This innovative use of wireless communications provides the  foundation for a connected environment for transportation that is intended to enable a multitude of applications to enhance surface transportation safety, mobility, and environmental performance.

In the end state, users need to have assurance that the system offers trusted and secure communications. That is the fundamental purpose of the Certificate Management System (or Certificate Management Entities): to ensure that participants and their vehicles receive digital certificates that allow them to be trusted actors within the system and to access meaningful and trusted data that is generated by others. If trust in the communications breaks down, then trust in the overall connected environment erodes and users become reluctant to use it or rely on it. Trust can be violated in several ways:

  • Security of communications: If communications are not considered secure, users will be less likely to trust the data that is generated by or accessible through the system.
  • Private data is compromised: If technical and policy solutions are not in place to protect private data or users perceive that their private data could be made available to unauthorized third parties without their awareness and consent, they will not participate.
  • Corrupt or inaccurate data: If the data  can be altered or corrupted through malicious misbehavior by hackers, it may cause more safety problems than fixes.

The current study aims to analyze alternative operational models that describe potential organizational designs, institutional capabilities, and policies of a Certificate Management System. It also assesses the needs for operation, maintenance, and system enhancements over time. (This study is an institutional analysis only, not a technical analysis, and it is not intended to develop a system design.)

Persons planning to attend the webinar should use the following link:  http://www.itsa.org/policywebinarregistration  by December 5, 2011.  For additional questions, please contact Adam Hopps at (202) 680-0091.