Planning for a driverless car future – Univ. of Michigan @ Ann Arbor ramps up infrastructure for testing driverless cars

December 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm

University of Michigan is building/billing itself as the “go-to” place for testing autonomous vehicles (i.e., driverless cars). .. Check it out.

Photo: Beast of an intersection in Tel Aviv shows what global cities struggle with

December 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm


Image Courtesy: Victor Bezrukov @

A beautiful capture of a busy intersection in TelAviv, Israel by photographer Victor Bezrukov that came to light when it got shared via National Geographic.  His commentary “one of the most loaded but the most beautiful junctions in TelAviv. Taken from the balcony located on the floor 45 of Electra building.”  A friend on Facebook had this much to say when he shared this: “Trying to solve traffic jams by widening roads is like trying to fight obesity adding holes to the belt”. There is so much truth to that profound statement.  Good thing is that in the middle of this monstrous interchange you can spot a dedicated transit infrastructure (my tired eyes tell me that it is a transit rail line; or a BRT?). And the next question that popped up in my mind is how many more cars would be there in that intersection if that transit infrastructure doesn’t exist?  Let’s not forget that this is just one intersection in one metropolitan city and there are many such cities with many mega intersections and now you can imagine the challenges we face from a mobility and environmental perspective.

VIDEO: (Making Fun of) The TSA’s 12 Banned Items of Christmas

December 24, 2013 at 11:06 pm

via Reason.TV

Reason.TV has compiled this funny video (with a subtle jab at the Transportation Security Administration) in time for the holiday travel season. As you board planes this holiday, please be aware of 12 actual banned items from the TSA. :)

Happy Holidays! Travel Safe and Celebrate Responsibly! Take the Buzzed Driving Pledge

December 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm

We have added one more successful year  serving the community at large. Thanks to the regular readers and occasional visitors, who kept me blogging, despite the occasional lull resulting from an overwhelming workload at my day job.  Now that we are all getting ready take some much needed time off to celebrate the holidays, it is time for me to wish you all a wonderful time with your friends and families.


Take the Buzzed Driving Pledge – Image Courtesy: AdCouncil

Did you know that 137 people died in 2011 during the New Year’s holiday period in drunk driving crashes? So, before you get to open the Christmas gifts that others bought for you, you can give the best gift to yourself. Right now. Take the pledge not to drive while buzzed because you don’t want to ring in the new year with a jail sentence and a $10,000 in legal fees and fines (and not to ignore the guilt of hurting yourself and someone else on the road). Join the 14507 people who have already taken the pledge.  Travel safe and celebrate responsibly.

Costs of Driving Driving - Image Courtesy:  AdCouncil

Costs of Driving Driving – Image Courtesy: AdCouncil

Oh, don’t forget to share this with that friend of yours who likes have that one extra beer before leaving for dinner. Or that crazy uncle who like to go hard on the spiked Egg nog.  Help spread the word and help us build a safer community!

Are we robbing the American children of a chance to live a healthy and productive life?

December 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

If you are one of the last minute shoppers who is yet to buy a holiday present for your children (or for someone you dearly love), I’d recommend getting them a bicycle. Why? A bike not only helps them stay active and lead a healthy life but also helps them learn to be independent (and not depend on you to get around to and from school) and stay focused in their studies.  Besides the provocative title for this post (and the fact that I’m writing this even though I’m a parent, at least yet), there must be some truth to the fact that we might be transporting our children, all caged up in automobiles all the time instead of setting them free on a bicycle (or walking).  Well, at least that’s what these children in Netherlands,  Belgium, France and Britain are hinting at in this video produced by Sustrans, a UK based non-profit organization that promotes pedestrian, bike and public transportation options.

Watching this video promoted me to do a quick comparison of  the academic performance (Mean score in PISA 2012) of children from these countries (I know it is a crude measure but still worthy of pointing out that).  Not to be surprised, they all fared well above our good ol’ USA (and before you ask we are far behind the chart-topping Asian giants China, Japan and Korea): 

Country  Mathematics   Reading Science 
Netherlands 523 511 522
 Belgium  515  509  505
 France  495  505  499
 Britain  494  499  514
 USA  481  498  497


Of course, I didn’t get enough time on hand to compare the health indices of these countries but I have no doubt that we might be in for some shocking results, given the ungodly levels of childhood obesity rates we currently have in the United States. I’ll reserve that angle for exploring on another rainy/snowy day. If every school district in the U.S. spent a tiny fraction of its budget on providing/building bike lanes and bike infrastructure, we may soon see a tremendous change in the way our kids learn/live. It may be the perfect antidote for a nation that has ungodly levels of childhood obesity.  Mind you, the US tops every country on Earth when it comes to educational spending (roughly $68.1Billion in 2012, (over 7 % of GDP), which is ~$15,171 on every young person in the system) Here are some alarming data nuggets from the Center for Disease Control:

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

More here.  Encouraging more children to take up cycling requires that we provide good infrastructure support, which is sorely lacking in many towns and cities across America.  We have to work, as a community and nudge our decision-makers to spend on these low-cost measures (i.e.,bike lanes) and make our cities bike and pedestrian friendly. At least it is worth exploring, from a scientific perspective, how biking (and walking) helps improve the quality of life for our children (in academic and otherwise).

Meet Johnnie “Spider” Footman: Celebrating the Life of New York City’s Oldest Cab Driver

December 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm

via NY Times

Awesome story of a man who spent an awful long time roaming the streets of New York City, driving a cab.. More here

Job Alert: Junior Project Manager – IBI Group @ New York, NY

December 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm

via Young Professionals in Transportation

At IBI Group, our transport professionals thrive on solving problems by combining logic and creativity. They are able to invent, explore, and question to enhance the areas around us. As a member of our team, you will have the opportunity to work on unique and leading-edge projects with a local focus to make a global difference.

IBI Group’s New York office is searching for Junior Project Manager to join its growing team. This is a unique 12 to 24 month contract secondment position to work with our client to provide technical support on an as-needed basis to the Program Manager in charge of a $3 billion systems capital program.

The role will require the successful candidate to relocate to the New York City area for the duration of the project.

Connect with Phillip Farinha ( to learn more about this opportunity or refer a professional colleague.

PSA: Don’t be one of them! Plan ahead this holiday season – Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving!

December 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Dear Readers and Subscribers,

I’d like to take a leaf from the AdCouncil’s buzzed driving campaign and reiterate a key safety message, just in time as the holiday season is kicking up into a higher notch. The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family. But it’s also a time to make sure you are keeping safe the ones you love. Whether you’re at a family holiday gathering, a New Year’s Eve bash, or driving around with your little ones, many of our social plans will involve driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the winter holiday season (December 26th to New Year’s Eve) has one of the highest incidences of drunk driving fatalities.

A few alarming stats:

  • During last year’s holiday season alone, 830 lives were lost in drunk driving crashes.
  • Last year, deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent, taking 10,322 lives compared to 9,865 in 2011.
  • Buzzed driving can cost around $10,000 in fines, legal fees and increased insurance rates.

Ring in the New Year safely and plan ahead and designating a sober driver before they go out this year.

Be safe out on the roads.  Encourage your friends and family to avoid driving buzzed.


Job(s) Alert: Community Planners (entry-level, mid-level & Senior-level) – USDOT Volpe Center @ Cambridge, MA

December 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm

USDOT seeks to fill a number of fulltime permanent Community Planners at entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level (grades GS-07, GS-09, GS-11, and GS-12). Selectees would be assigned to one of the following divisions: Organizational Performance Division (RVT-22), Transportation Planning Division (RVT-23), or other divisions within the Volpe Center. This position is located in the Kendall Square area in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The ideal candidates should have an interest in joining our consulting teams to develop, plan, and implement guidance, tools, strategies, policies, plans, and programs related to transportation planning, environmental stewardship, realty, and transportation research. As part of our teams, you will help increase the level of expertise of transportation professionals within our clients’ organizations; support better-prepared transportation plans that serve national, state, regional, and local needs; and advance professional capacity building initiatives across federal and state agencies. You will work with several teams contributing to major projects, and lead other smaller projects. This is a great opportunity for professionals with varying levels of experience in transportation planning, professional capacity building, and strategic and community and stakeholder involvement.

You must have superb analytical, communications, and problem-solving skills, and be able to excel in an entrepreneurial, fast-paced environment. Transcripts are required. You will be required to submit writing samples if you are invited to interview.

If you or someone you know is interested in this position with relevant experience and a demonstrable record of proven results, I encourage you or them to apply. We are looking for a diverse pool of qualified candidates.

The announcement is posted to Merit Promotion eligible applicants on Please know that Merit Promotion announcements are the vehicle through which Federal employees generally apply for Federal positions.

The open period is: 12/17/2013 to 12/27/2013

Application deadline: Friday, December 27, 2013

Merit Promotion Announcement:  RITA.VOLPE-2014-0027

Public Announcement: RITA.VOLPE-2014-0026

Jaguar’s Awesome Response to Mercedes

December 18, 2013 at 1:07 am

See on Scoop.itTransportation Today

Magic Body Control? We prefer cat-like reflexes, don’t you? Visit to learn more.

Andy Palanisamy‘s insight:

Communications done with aggression…

See on