Job Alert: Economist (Entry-Level) – U.S. Department of Transportation @ Washington, DC

March 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm
The Office of Transportation Policy at U.S. DOT seeks an entry-level transportation economist to join a fast-paced, high-profile office to conduct cutting-edge transportation economic and policy analysis, research, and outreach in priority areas for USDOT, including transportation finance, surface transportation program design, high-speed rail, safety, environment, livability, and freight policy.
This position requires economic research and analysis of current and proposed transportation policies, programs, and regulatory actions and development of recommendations for changes in those policies based upon that analysis.  The position also requires drafting testimony, talking points, and speeches, helping to develop budget and legislative proposals, meeting with key transportation stakeholders, and representing the Department at transportation meetings and forums.
Particular areas of focus include analysis of benefits and costs of transportation regulations, infrastructure investments, and programs, analysis of how to achieve the Department’s strategic goals most efficiently, and analysis of economic impacts of DOT policies and programs.  Candidates should have strong writing, research, analysis, and communication skills, independent judgment, and the ability to apply economic theory and analysis to developing efficient and practical solutions to policy problems.
 
These positions are at the GS-9 to GS-12 level ($51,630 – $97,333) with excellent benefits.  U.S. citizenship is required.
U.S. DOT is an equal opportunity employer.  CONTACT:  Interested individuals should send a resume to Eric Buchanan via email at eric.buchanan@dot.gov to receive additional information on the application process.

Mother of All Road Rage Incidents Comes from Brazil and it involves a motorcycle

March 25, 2012 at 11:31 am

(Source: LiveLeak.com)

Moral of the story is clear as a crystal: Never mess with folks on Brazilian roads. These are some crazy drivers who will go to any extent to prove a point..Scary stuff! Glad neither party did not have a lorry or a freight truck (for that matter a gun) else this could have turned into a nightmare for many involved. Interestingly, the driver of the car is a woman, a fact that I did not even realize until I started reading the comments below the video. Drivers of Brazil, spare the poor motorcyclists.

Friday Fun: Extreme Motorcycle Snow Drifting by Jorian Ponomareff

March 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Doing some of these stunts in the video on a warm sunny day on a concrete pavement is difficult enough.. But this crazy stunt ace, Jorian Ponomareff, does it on ice.. At times its hard to control clutching my hands when I saw him drift so damn dangerously .. Anyways, yet another cool video from Jorian’s stable..  Enjoy!

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=610_4hLEBuk&hd=1′]

Today in Transportation History: March 22, 1919 – World’s first international airline service was launched.

March 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm
The world’s first international airline service was launched. The service, which was run by Lignes Aeriennes Farman (which later transformed into what is today’s Air France), flew on a weekly basis between Brussels, Belgium, and Paris, France. Farman F60 Goliath biplanes were used to transport passengers, and the total flying time one way was two hours and 50 minutes. (Hat tip: AASHTO)
File:Farman-goliath.jpg

Canadian Distracted Driving Enforcement – Hello. If You Are On Your Cell Phone Right Now, You Are About To Get A Ticket

March 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

(Source: via Reddit)

Interesting to know how Chilliwack, Canada enforces its no-cell-phone-use-behind the wheels law.  True story! Redditor mlane201 shared this picture and reading through the comments he shared, I came to know how it is done – Constable Martell will be on the watch holding this sign by a roadside, looking for drivers using their cellphones while operating the vehicle.  Once Constable Martell spots an offender, he will radio in his colleagues who are sitting a little father up the road and they will comfortably pull over the offending driver and issue the tickets. Pretty nifty strategy there, right?

Image Courtesy: Imgur.com via Reddit

TSA loves getting in hot water; invasive security checks on terrified 3 year old toddler in wheel chair on his way to Disney

March 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm

(Source: Daily Mail, UK)

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNO-AzPxS4U’]

Seriously, TSA should exercise some discretion when it comes to these pat downs.  Interestingly, the video shows it was filmed during Spring 2010 at O’Hare in Chicago, and let’s hope TSA has changed  some of its invasive procedures at least when it comes to kids. The look on the little boy’s face is really disheartening and the parent is doing all he can to assure the kid that it is all okay.   Not sure what prompted the swabbing for explosive residues but it seems a bit too excessive given the age of the toddler.  One may argue that TSA is simply doing their job and is just ensuring the safety of the flying public by subjecting everyone through the same batter of tests.  But I think the swabs for a 3 years old is still a bit too much. The only saving grace here is that the TSA officer was as nice as he can be to the little kid and was not rushing or doing things that will spook the kid more upset/terrified than he already is.

Dear WMATA, I’d never complain if you offered this during Red Line Delays! The Sleeper Car by Improv Everywhere Comforts NYC Subway Riders

March 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

(Source: via Laughing Squid)

What an awesome stunt!  Improv Everywhere converted a late night New York City subway car into an unauthorized sleeper car, complete with three beds (video). Pajamas, sleep masks, and earplugs were also provided as part of this unauthorized free service. The Improv Everywhere website says the project took place on the above-ground N train in Astoria, Queens around midnight on a Sunday evening.  The Sleeper Car was produced by Improv Everywhere as part of the Guggenheim Museum exhibition stillspotting nyc.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAoHHq8YWPs&hd=1′]

Someone please bring this to Washington, DC and offer a bit of comfort during the endless Redline delays!

Here is a fine feedback for an awful parking job. It comes in business card style!

March 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Image Courtesy: Imgur.com via Reddit

Seriously, I did not know people went to this extent – printing cards and carrying them around to stick them on windshields of those bad parking jobs.  Funny, yet on point!

Publication Alert: An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-In Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid

March 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm

(Source: AASHTO)

Recently found this nice 62-page report on vehicle electrification via an AASHTO e-mail and felt compelled to share.  Here are some excerpts from the AASHTO Journal:

Plug-in electric vehicles can lessen U.S. dependence on imported oil, address rising gas prices, enhance air quality, and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, but their full potential will only be realized through a broad-based group of stakeholders working together, concludes a report released Tuesday by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and co-sponsored by AASHTO’s Center for Environmental Excellence.

The report presents several recommendations from a coalition that includes automakers, electrical utilities, environmental groups, and state officials. Coordinated public and private actions at the state and local levels can help ensure that plug-in owners are able to more readily charge their vehicles without overburdening the electric grid, the report states.

Recommendations include encouraging state public utility commissions and other policymakers to set up a consistent regulatory framework across the nation to better synchronize technical standards; streamlining the establishment of changing stations in both home and commercial settings; leveraging electricity rate structures to promote charging at off-peak times; helping local policymakers and other stakeholders in the appraisal of needs in their jurisidictions; strategically targeting public and private investments in related infrastructure; and providing credible information on the costs, benefits, and choices involving plug-ins.

Rising Gas Prices Vs. American Drivers – How high do gas prices have to get to trigger behavior change?

March 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Image Courtesy: AAA via Grist.com

Found this interesting graphic on Grist in an article titled “How high do gas prices have to get to trigger behavior change? “.  So, do Americans really change their driving habits when the gas prices rise? According to the graph, the answer is an emphatic yes.  The article quotes AAA saying, ” AAA survey conducted at the beginning of the month found 84 percent of respondents saying they have changed their driving habits or lifestyle in some way in response to recent gas-price increases, and 87 percent would change driving habits further if prices remain this high for long. The most common change adopted so far is combining trips and errands, which 60 percent of respondents say they’ve done. And 16 percent say they’ve purchased or leased a more fuel-efficient vehicle.Read the entire article here.

Note:  If the gas prices continue to rise with the drum beats of war getting louder and louder by the day, we can expect to see many drivers ditching their cars and opt to taking transit to work and to other places.  I hope the transit agencies do everything in their power to demonstrate the conveniences of riding a bus/train and entice these flocking masses to continue using transit as a primary option for getting around.  Oh, the big question I have in mind – Are the American transit agencies equipped to handle this sudden spike in ridership? Many transit agencies are hobbled by poor funding patterns over the years and it will be hard to meet this new segment of ridership arrives to what is an already exploding demand.  Let’s see what happens.  (Oh, no matter what the scenario is, one can expect to see a decline in VMT numbers again).