Obama Administration Shoots Down LaHood Mileage Tax Idea

Shot dead before it was even born …
Via Techdirt, from Fox: Obama Administration Shoots Down LaHood Mileage Tax Idea
The Mileage tax, proposed in Oregon and some other states, and due to be proposed nationally, had the following debut for the US:
From the article:

“We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled,” the former Illinois Republican lawmaker said.
Asked about the claim, transportation department spokeswoman Lori Irving immediately shot it down.
“The policy of taxing motorists based on how many miles they have traveled is not and will not be Obama administration policy,” she said.

While I might think it a good idea from the point of view of managing traffic and replacing the gas tax as a source of funding, it will likely be more expensive to administer and politically unpopular, suggesting now is not the right time to pursue such a strategy.
The gas tax should be milked for all it is worth, until enough vehicles have switched away that it ceases to be viable. Scientific experiments on the technology underlying road pricing, and on the behavioral response are all worthy endeavors, but deployment is clearly premature.

Cloudy With a Chance of Satellite

From Memestreams Cloudy With a Chance of Satellite

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSON KY
1145 PM EST FRI FEB 13 2009
…POSSIBLE SATELLITE DEBRIS FALLING ACROSS THE REGION…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN JACKSON HAS RECEIVED CALLS THIS EVENING FROM THE PUBLIC CONCERNING POSSIBLE EXPLOSIONS AND…OR EARTHQUAKES ACROSS THE AREA. THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION HAS REPORTED TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT THESE EVENTS ARE BEING CAUSED BY FALLING SATELLITE DEBRIS. THESE PIECES OF DEBRIS HAVE BEEN CAUSING SONIC BOOMS…RESULTING IN THE VIBRATIONS BEING FELT BY SOME RESIDENTS…AS WELL AS FLASHES OF LIGHT ACROSS THE SKY. THE CLOUD OF DEBRIS IS LIKELY THE RESULT OF THE RECENT IN ORBIT COLLISION OF TWO SATELLITES ON TUESDAY…FEBRUARY 10TH WHEN KOSMOS 2251 CRASHED INTO IRIDIUM 33.
(h/t to CV)
From last week:
For decades, space experts have warned of orbits around the planet growing so crowded that two satellites might one day slam into one another, producing swarms of treacherous debris.
It happened Tuesday.

Post-Construction Evaluation of Forecast Accuracy

Nexus group (Pavithra Parthasarathi and David Levinson) recently completed a study for MnDOT on the
Post-Construction Evaluation of Forecast Accuracy. A version of this was recently presented at TRB.
The net is, in the Twin Cities, freeway traffic was underestimated while non-freeway traffic was overestimated. The reasons are many.
Abstract:
This research evaluates the accuracy of demand forecasts using a sample of recently-completed projects in Minnesota and identifies the factors influencing the inaccuracy in forecasts. The forecast traffic data for this study is drawn from Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Transportation Analysis Reports (TAR) and other forecast reports produced by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) with a horizon forecast year of 2010 or earlier. The actual traffic data is compiled from the database of traffic counts maintained by the Office of Transportation Data and Analysis at Mn/DOT. Based on recent research on forecast accuracy, the inaccuracy of traffic forecasts is estimated as a ratio of the forecast traffic to the actual traffic. The estimation of forecast inaccuracy also involves a comparison of the socioeconomic and demographic assumptions, the assumed networks to the actual in-place networks and other travel behavior assumptions that went into generating the traffic forecasts against actual conditions. The analysis indicates a general trend of underestimation in roadway traffic forecasts with factors such as highway type, functional classification and direction playing an influencing role. Roadways with higher volumes and higher functional classifications such as freeways are subject to underestimation compared to lower volume roadways and lower functional classifications. The comparison of demographic forecasts shows a trend of overestimation while the comparison of travel behavior characteristics indicates a lack of incorporation of fundamental shifts and societal changes.

Dubai Metro Lines and Stations Naming Rights Advertising Project

Dubai Metro Lines and Stations Naming Rights Advertising Project
I have not seen this elsewhere in transportation (though obviously with stadia, the University of Phoenix was brilliant in this regard, implying they are a real university whose stadium the Arizona Cardinal happen to play in). The Dubai Metro is an investment of 15.5 billion AED (=4.2 billion USD). Some stations are already taken.
I can just see budget strapped cities doing this. No more 3rd street and Washington Avenue, we can now have Denny Hecker ‘Nobody Walks’ Street at Washington Mutual Avenue. And when the Twin Cities marathon goes by, we can say there is a ‘run on WaMu.’, or maybe there will be a 3 vehicle crash on ‘Denny Hecker’.

China monthly auto sales overtake US for 1st time

From the AP China monthly auto sales overtake US for 1st time

SHANGHAI, China (AP) — China overtook the U.S. in monthly vehicle sales in January for the first time, figures from China’s auto industry association showed Tuesday, largely because of a plunge in American car sales.

China monthly auto sales overtake US for 1st time
2 hours ago
SHANGHAI, China (AP) — China overtook the U.S. in monthly vehicle sales in January for the first time, figures from China’s auto industry association showed Tuesday, largely because of a plunge in American car sales.