I was at a transportation forum tonight that will be broadcast Wednesday (2/13/08) on Minnesota Public Radio’s Midmorning program.
The forum had 8 experts (1 of whom was me) and an audience of about 75 people. The audience got the most airtime and there was a disproportionate discussion of monorails and PRT. But there was some sensible discussion as well. My words constituted possibly 60 seconds of the whole event. Ah, Democracy.
Another study on Using GPS Mobile Phones as Traffic Sensors, this from Berkeley. See earlier Transportationist post for some discussion of this. Also see Evaluation of Cell Phone Traffic Data, a study underway by my colleague Henry Liu.
1. WiFi trial comes to San Francisco’s BART trains
Wireless internet connectivity could give transit a major boost over driving (surfing and driving don’t mix). Especially on transit systems geared to the upper middle classes like commuter rail. Wifi on bus might not have the same appeal.
2. Contactless payment trial goes live on San Francisco’s BART
Of course other cities have had this for years in Japan, and this improves upon contact-based systems like Octopus in Hong Kong, Oyster in London, by using cell phones. Unfortunately there are no standards for using cell phones for contactless payment in the US, so while it is technologically feasible, it might not be adopted due to a lack of standardization.
Apparently, a number of important internet backbone cables serving India and Iran have been severed recently: It’s 2008 — Do You Know Where Your Internet Cables Are?.
This is similar in structure to highway network links being severed, except imagine there were only 3 links into the country, and they all failed in one week. Might this be Non-random?
Londonist: 3D London Tube Map (using Google maps and a geographically accurate map).
Via diamond geezer: Legible London is an attempt to create a standardized pedestrian navigation system for central London, replacing and improving upon the 33! existing systems. It is an interesting read (pdf) and I think would be valuable in places not quite as complicated as London (i.e. almost everywhere except Tokyo, and may be there too).
By making walking easier, the planners hope to reduce reliance on public transport, which is excessively congested, in part due to the schematic tube map which distorts distances.
If they are successful, they may create a system as iconic as the Underground maps and logo.
Of course the trick with any of these things is not just first installation, but keeping the system live, rather than just a decaying artifact from 2007. But it would seem quite valuable, it just has no source of income for support. (advertising or sponsorship would be a natural, but would be potentially be an ugly blight).
From the Evening Standard: Camera that can catch lone drivers in car-sharing lanes.
This has always been a difficult problem for authorities, as enforcement has in the past required human eyeballs. Researchers have experiment with infra-red to determine the heat profile inside the car, but that was apparently problematic. But in the home of the panopticon, cameras (with appropriate recognition systems) will be able to identify the number (and apparently race) of passengers in the vehicle.