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A Venn Diagram of the Murky Driverless Taxi Ecosystem

August 22, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Not a day passes without us seeing some major headline about global automakers and shared mobility providers working to revolutionize the mobility landscape. Last week Uber dominated the headlines when the company announced that its autonomous cars (souped up Volvo XC90 SUVs) will be available for its ride-hailing customers in Pittsburgh. And in this process, the company announced that it bought the truck automation company Otto, founded by a couple of former Google Car research engineers.  This was followed by Ford’s major announcement that it intends to deliver high-volume, fully autonomous vehicles for ride sharing in 2021. In addition, the company announced that it is investing in or collaborating with four startups on autonomous vehicle development and doubling its Silicon Valley team.

This torrid pace of acquisitions, expansions, and investments has created a confusing picture for the consumers about who owns what and who is doing what across the domain. I found this Business Insider graph (seen below), part of a big research report (cost $495) very useful in understanding the ecosystem that covers the auto OEMs, suppliers, startups, shared-mobility service providers, etc.  Though it doesn’t capture all the entities, particularly the start-ups, engaged in automated vehicle research/development, it makes a decent attempt to organize them into “bins.”

With heavy influx of venture capital money competing alongside deep pocketed organizations like Ford, GM, Tesla, Google, Uber etc, the race to build the unmanned taxis is now reaching breakneck pace. The traditional OEMs are on a buying spree or making deals with innovative start-ups, in and outside the Silicon Valley.   It is safe to say that pretty much all the automotive heavyweights in Detroit and Silicon Valley are vying for a slice of the lucrative yet untapped “autonomous shared-mobility” space. What I’d like to see someone take a stab at capturing/mapping all those entities involved (incl. those in finance, data warehousing, etc) and present that in an infographic. All I can comfortably say today is buckle up for the ride! It will be a while before this ecosystem stabilizes and be assured that there will be a steady stream of headline grabbing news is coming your way.

Publication Alert: Exploring the Opportunity for Mobility as a Service (Maas) in the UK

August 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

Just spotted this awesome report from Transport Systems Catapult in the United Kingdom that explores the opportunities offered by Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept and highlights how transportation policy might support MaaS growth. For the uninformed, the Transport Systems Catapult is one of ten elite technology and innovation centres established and overseen by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Mobility-as-a-Service_Exploring-the-Opportunity-for-MaaS-in-the-UK-Web

2017 Traffic Control Device Challenge (Submissions Due October 1, 2016)

August 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm

TRB is co-sponsoring the Traffic Control Device Challenge (TCDC), which aims to promote innovation and stimulate ideas in the traffic control devices area with a goal of improving operations and safety. The focus of this year’s TCDC is supporting advanced vehicle technologies, connected vehicles, or autonomous vehicles. In order to focus the submissions, priorities will be given to those that include pavement markings, traffic signing, and/or work zone devices. Submissions are due October 1, 2016, and guidelines for participation are available online.

If selected as a finalist, submitters should either plan to attend or have a representative attend the TRB Annual Meeting, January 8-12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The judging for the top three submissions will take place during the TRB Annual Meeting. The first, second and third place winners will be expected to attend the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) Convention and Traffic Expo, February 12-14, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.

trafficcontroldevicechallenge

Job Alert: Transportation Planner (13) District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Street Car Project

August 12, 2016 at 4:29 pm
English: District of Columbia Department of Tr...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

This Transportation Planner position is located in the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Policy, Planning Sustainability Administration (PPSA). The incumbent is responsible for formulating transportation and transit planning documents for the District of Columbia’s (District) transportation network which advance the safe and efficient movement of people, goods and information along the public rights-of-way to improve the District’s environmental quality, economic competitiveness and quality of life for its citizens.

Streetcar_Term

Job Alert – City of Pittsburgh, Assistant Director, Transportation and Engineering

August 10, 2016 at 4:54 pm
Under the general administrative and policy direction of the Director of Public Works, the Assistant Director for Transportation and Engineering will guide the City’s efforts in multi-modal infrastructure planning, programming, design and construction including traffic engineering and operations.  The incumbent assists the Director in implementing the City’s transportation priorities, provides operational and tactical guidance, facilitates communication and cooperation within the department, across City departments, and with a variety of external stakeholders. Responsibilities are broad in scope, allow for a high degree of program and administrative discretion, and are evaluated in terms of overall program and cost effectiveness.
For more information & to apply:

Job Alert: Purple Line Implementation Manager @ Montgomery County, Maryland (Application deadline August 18, 2016)

August 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Glad to share this announcement – Purple Line Implementation Manager @ Montgomery County, Maryland. What an interesting project! This is a very exciting opportunity for someone with transit experience. Please note that the application deadline is Aug 18, 2016. Good luck!

Purple-Line-Implementation-Manager-Listing

Chart of the Day – Exposing the intersection of obesity and poor infrastructure design/spending in the U.S.

August 8, 2016 at 6:36 pm

This chart, via Jennifer Keesmaat, shows the important nexus between the infrastructure design and public health.. As evident from the chart, when it comes to building healthy communities the United States has a long way to go in catching up with their counterparts and the huge (no pun intended) disparity in % of obese people shows how unhealthy we are as a nation.

Health implications of city design: more walking, cycling and transit means less obesity + chronic disease (via @jen_keesmaat on Twitter)

Spurred by this tweet, I went looking for data on healthcare spending in the US vs. other OECD countries. Sigh! The chart below shows how much we spend on health compared to other countries (slightly older data).  If we spent a few billion dollars on building more walking/biking/transit infrastructure instead of building more highways and encouraged more people to walk/bike/ride transit, may be we don’t have to incur such an expensive medical bills after all.  Despite all the evidence, our lawmakers seems to be favoring the highway lobbies (and the optics of ribbon cutting for new highways) but talk endlessly about healthcare spending every election cycle!

U.S health spending vs. other countries

Here is a snapshot of the US health spending, according to the OECD:

  • Health expenditure per capita: $8,713
  • Expenditure as a pct. of GDP: 16.4%
  •  Obesity rate: 35.3%
  • Life expectancy: 78.8 yrs

“Health spending in the United States (excluding investment expenditure in the health sector) was 16.4% of GDP in 2013, well above the OECD average of 8.9% and the next highest spenders – the Netherlands (11.1%), Switzerland (11.1%) and Sweden (11.0%). The share of GDP spent on healthcare has remained unchanged since 2009 and health spending growth has matched economic growth. The share of government spending in the United States as a share of total spending on health has increased from around 44% in 2000 to above 48% by 2013. Over this period there has been an increase in health coverage for the population – in 2006, Medicare Part D, a voluntary drug benefit programme for seniors and certain disabled persons was introduced.

New TRB Report “Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit” Looks at Shared Mobility in Seven Cities

August 8, 2016 at 11:24 am

A new TRB report, Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit examines the relationship of public transportation—including paratransit and demand responsive services—to shared modes, including bikesharing, carsharing, microtransit, and ridesourcing services. The research included participation by seven cities: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. The report’s conclusion sets out actions that departments, and other local and regional agencies—can take to promote useful cooperation between public and private mobility providers. It also suggests regulatory enhancements, institutional realignments, and forms of public-private engagement that would allow innovation to flourish while still providing mobility as safely, broadly, and equitably as possible (via FHWA)

New TRB report, Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit

Job Opportunity: Research and Demonstration Program Manager @ USDOT’s ITS Joint Program Office

August 4, 2016 at 7:08 pm
Seal of the United States Department of Transp...

Seal of the United States Department of Transportation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Intelligent Transportation System Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) is pleased to announce the following opportunity:  Research and Demonstration Program Manager. Applications for this position must be in by Monday, August 15, 2016.

The successful candidate will be responsible for developing, in close coordination with the ITS JPO staff, the research direction for the ITS program. This includes recommending research initiatives, monitoring relevant research, coordinating ITS research with other modes through venues such as Research Planning and Investment Coordination (RPIC) and may include University Transportation Centers (UTC), representing the ITS JPO in research forums, and coordinating with other ITS JPO staff to ensure seamless execution of projects from research, testing, technology transfer, and evaluation.

The Program Manager is also responsible for leading specific research projects within the ITS JPO. The incumbent is a recognized ITS expert who often represents the Department on ITS technical program issues. You will also participate in a range of other ITS program technical and research activities involving other DOT and Federal organizations and other agencies, such as the Transportation Research Board (TRB), Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, and Department of Energy.

This is an exciting opportunity if you are experienced in analyzing and reviewing ITS research and deployments and adept at collaborating with public and private transportation stakeholders on the implementation, commercialization, and communication of ITS technologies.  Come join the ITS JPO team if you are passionate about advancing tomorrow’s transportation technologies today to create a safer, smarter, more efficient transportation system!

For additional information and to apply for this position, please use the links below:

Transportation Specialist, GS-2101-14/15 (Open to Status & VEOA Applicants)

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/446638200

Transportation Specialist, GS-2101-14/15 (Open to All U.S. Citizens)

https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/446638600

To learn about applying for careers at U.S. DOT please visit this link

Apply Now: Emerging Leaders Fellowship – NYU Rudin Center for Transportation

August 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm

 

Emerging Leaders in Transportation fellowship – Image courtesy: NYU Rudin

The Emerging Leaders in Transportation fellowship program aims to enhance the toolkit of early-career employees to make transportation more efficient, effective and people-oriented.

In this competitive fellowship program, participants will learn from top transportation and management professionals to enhance leadership skills, communication techniques and policy work to bring innovative ideas into practice.

The 2016 program will take place on December 1 and 2. The agenda includes:

December 1:

  • A half-day leadership session, where emerging leaders will collaborate on long-term leadership goals
  • A behind-the-scenes visit to a major transportation facility for hands-on learning about industry goals and challenges
  • A networking reception with 2014 and 2015 Emerging Leaders cohorts

December 2:

  • A half-day leadership session focused on developing innovative projects and ideas within an organization
  • Lunchtime networking opportunities 

Discussion topics will include: leadership, innovation, communications, building support for innovation, and practical applications. Sessions will include talks from and with esteemed professionals and group discussions and exercises. Participants will develop plans to introduce innovative solutions or concepts within their workplaces.

View a recap of last year’s fellowship program here.

Apply using the form below or by clicking here.

Application Timeline:
  • August 3: Application period opens
  • September 15: Applications due
  • October 13: Fellowship class selection announcement
  • December 1-2: Fellowship program
Details:
  • The Emerging Fellows program is open to transportation professionals with up to 10 years of experience.
  • There is no cost for participating in the program.
  • Applicants are welcome from any location; however, we are unable to subsidize travel or lodging for participants.
  • No AICP or other continuing education credit is available for this program.
  • Previous applicants are welcome to re-apply. Past participants are ineligible.

If you have questions about this program, please email rudin.center@nyu.edu.

This program is supported by a grant from the University Transportation Research Center.