Who was Adriana Gianturco?

Today is Is the name Adriana Gianturco familiar to you? She was the director of Caltrans from 1976 to 1983, the first woman to serve in that role. (Just this month Laurie Berman started her tenure as the director of Caltrans.)

An urban planner by trade, known for her affinity for using ice-plants as ground cover along highways, Gianturco advocated for policies that were controversial for their time - prioritizing transit and carpool lanes - which are more widely accepted today. Much of her time at Caltrans was shaped by the fiscal crises of the 1970s, advocating for maintenance rather than new construction. Another one of her legacies could be the halt of new freeway construction in California, but that is probably also more likely a result of the state's financial situtation than anything else. 

If you want to learn more about Gianturco, you can read this oral history interview with her. It's quite long though, so it might take some time. 

Imagine a California that banned the internal combustion engine by 1975

Newport Ave. at First St., Tustin, April 1966 flickr photo by Orange County Archives shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Can you picture a world where California banned the internal combustion engine by 1975? In 1967 California State Senator Nichoals C. Petris introduced SB 1291 which proposed just that:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, on or after January 1, 1975, no motor vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine shall be operated on the highways of the state. 

It's simple and bold language was a response to California's statewide smog problem, as reflected by the creation of the California Air Resources Board in 1967 to tackle the issue.  SB 1291 didn't make it out of the assembly, though it did scare auto makers into action. Petris continued to confront the role of personal automobiles and the internal combustion engine in the state's air pollution, working with groups like Stamp-Out-Smog, and enlisting the support of "consumer crusader" Ralph Nader

California began leading the way on pressuring the car companies in cleaning up tailpipe emissions which culminated in the Clean Air Act of 1970. 50 years later California is still setting an aggressive agenda in combatting air pollution, most recently with SB32: California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

I-580 Variable Toll Lanes One Year On

I580 Monday night lights flickr photo by Images by John 'K' shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

It's been a year since the variable toll express lanes on I-580 through the Tri-Valley region were rolled out, and initial results are in. As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle

Since the combination express and carpool lanes opened in February 2016 on I-580, along the main route between the Bay Area and the Central Valley, more than 7.6 million drivers have taken advantage of them, according to a report released Thursday by the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which operates the lanes.

You can read the report here

As toll roads are used more often as a tool in transportation demand management, there is more data available for comprehensive evaluations of road pricing systems. As transportation funding evolves with a greater reliance on public-private partnerships that will often rely on tolls for cost recovery, it is important to understand how they will affect travel demand.  In the case of 580, they look to be a hit.

Electric vehicles are a drain on the UK electricity grid

ev charging point, Merchant City 02 flickr photo by byronv2 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Today, British Transport Minister John Hayes issued a statement that electric vehicles in the UK are taxing the electicty grid but trails of demand responsive smart grid technology should help ease the demand for power. He remarked, "We know the demand for electric vehicles places the national grid under pressure. It’s critically important – we are working on this. It’s particularly important that we charge smart, so we flex demand and take advantage of spare capacity."

In order to estimate demand, you need models for electric vehicle charging behavior which take into account facotrs like range anxeity and trip patterns. Using game theory, it might be possible to predict how different factors might affect behavior. Human behavior is only one side of the equation, energy storage and transmission technology is the other. Work in this area focuses on optimization with smart grids through cooperation. Others are developing genetic algorithms to manage the load. 


New issue of ACCESS out now!


ACCESS Magazine issue 48 (Spring 2016) is out now! 

Articles in the issue cover a range of topics from airport capactiy to balancing transportation investment and fragile environments.  You can read the whole issue online or wait a week, and we'll have hard copies in the library.

ACCESS is sponsored by UCCONNECT

Uber and Lyft Leave Austin After Voters Reject Less Regulations on Ride-Hailing Apps.

flickr photo shared by nrkbeta under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

This weekend Austin voters went to the polls vote on Prop 1, which if passed would have eased the regulation on finger prints and background checks for rideshare drivers in the city. The proposition failed, only garnering 44% of the Yes vote. Uber and Lyft spent $8million campaigning for Prop 1, but that may have left a bad impression on voters. If Prop 1 failed, both Uber and Lyft said they would leave Austin in a kind prisoners dilemma. True to their word, on Monday both companies announced they were halting service in the city. 

What does this mean for ride-sharing? Will more cities push for more fingerprinting and background checks for ridesharing drivers in the name of public safety? Does fingerprinting actually make riders safer

Research in this area suggests that rideshare companies don't need more safety regulation than taxis, but that they fit awkwardly into the existing regulatory framework.  Though how different is ridesharing to taxis? And can the industry be regulated to benefit consumers and drivers? Time will tell. 

Bay Area Bike Share Rolling Into The East Bay

flickr photo shared by CarbonNYC [in SF!] under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Bay Area Bike Share is expanding with new stations in San Francisco and San Jose, but also its first deployment in the East Bay with 34 stations. The Phase 1 expansion sites are clustered around the UC Berkeley campus and down Telegraph towards 12th Street BART. What impact will these new stations have on mode choice in the East Bay? In the last 5 years bikeshare systems in the U.S. have greatly matured, and have come a long way from early implementations.  The current literature is very robust. 

Alaska Airlines buys Virgin America

flickr photo shared by tearbringer under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

After some brief speculation, it was announced this morning that Alaskan Airlines' parent organization bought Virgin America for $2.6 billion in cash. This acquisition will bolster Alaskan's presence on the West Coast and particularly in California. Virgin's chairman Richard Branson wrote about the brand's history and his thoughts on the future

It's expected this deal won't experience regulatory hurdles that faced the American Airlines and US Airways deal because their market shares are much less. Given the geographic idiosyncrasies of airline mergers, it will be interesting to see how this deal plays out. What will be the implication for consumers? Initial impressions have been kind of negative

FHWA Announces new Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Performance Measures

flickr photo shared by /\/\ichael Patric|{ under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

Today FHWA issued a press release announcing new safety performance measures, including for the first time new measures for bicycle and pedestrian safety. The final rules will be published on FHWA's Highway Safety Improvement Program website soon, but can be found here in the Federal Register.  

SafeTREC researchers have worked with Caltrans to develop data collection systems for California to make it possible to monitor system performance for bicycles and pedestrians. This data will be critical to implementation of these new performance measures. 

Stay tuned. 

New TRB Special Report on Technology-Enabled Transportation Services

flickr photo shared by noeltock under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

Last week TRB Special Report 319: TRB Special Report 319: Between Public and Private Mobility: Examining the Rise of Technology-Enabled Transportation Services was released. The report looks at how transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Uber or Lyft, have disrupted mobility. The report, its appendices, and a video presentation of the findings can be found here

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