News

USDOT moving forward with Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication technology

 

Yesterday USDOT and NHTSA announced plans to move forward with vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology (V2).  The Connected Vehicles program will eventually push research into production, establishing protocols and standards for manufacturers. Right now the aim is for 2017, so it's not going to happen overnight. Connected vehicles should increase road safety despite some security concerns. Malware for you car? The ITS-JPO has already held a public workshop to address different network security angles

Much of the research on V2 or Connected vehicles can be found in TRID. The Technological Innovations section highlights advanced technology across the board, but for just vehicles use "vehicle to vehicle communications" or "vehicle to roadside communications". 

Electric Vehicles: Coast to coast, but will they impact emissions?

This week was a milestone in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure in the US - a father-daughter team completed the first crosscountry roadtrip in a Tesla and it cost them $0 to recharge. What a bargain! Tesla Motors plans to expand their recharching network, so that future continental treks may take a more direct route.  

So as electric vehicles are slowly becoming more mainstream, the question is what impact will they have on greenhouse gas emissions? A paper recently presented at the TRB Annual Meeting looks at regional impacts in California.  Another recent study from NC State questions the impact electric vehicles have on emissions at all. Samaneh Babaee, Ajay S. Nagpure, and Joseph F. DeCarolis ask, "How Much Do Electric Drive Vehicles Matter to Future U.S. Emissions?". Their answer: probably not much given the emissions produced by electricity sources.

Who Pays for Parking?

My parking garage

That's the question asked by a new report from the Sightline Institute. "Who Pays for Parking?" analyses 23 recently completed Seattle-area multi-family housing develops. Some of the findings include: 

  • Apartment developers build more parking than is needed.
  • Many tenents don't own cars.
  • Car-free tenants still pay for parking.

The full report can be download here

Uber to expand into "urban logistics"?

Travis Kalanick, Co-Founder & CEO, Uber @ LeWeb Paris Day 1 2013-2555

Transportation Network Company, or as most people refer to them, rideshare company Uber is looking to expand its market. This week Chief Executive Travis Kalanick spoke a Le Web, where he described the Uber's plans to enter "urban logistics". He said, "Today, we are in the business of delivering cars in five minutes. Once you're in the business of delivering cars in five minutes, there are a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes."

Phase 2 will build upon notable promotions as delivering kittens, ice cream, and Christmas trees

Great California Shake Out! Are you ready?

Oct. 18 1989 Cypruss Overpass Collapse

Today is the Great California Shake Out, a statewide earthquake drill.  Do you know what to do when the Big One comes? 

Ever since the 1989 earthquake and its effects on transportation infrastructure, such as the collapse of the Cypress Freeway (which of course was replaced) or the structural failure of a portion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, there has been considerable research on seismic safety and stability. Are aerial BART stations safe? What are the optimal risk-based maintenance procedures to earthquake safety for bridges and highways?

Of course the Los Angeles region has its own concerns about the Big One, such as the disruption of freight logistics for the mega-region. How will the region's highways be affected? There were lots of lessons learned from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which help inform projections for future risks.

If you want more research about earthquakes and California transportation, of course turn to TRID. For today, think about what you'd do when the Big One hits and how you prepare for such an event. 

Stay safe. 

San Francisco Travel Quality Study

14L

A group of ITS Berkeley researchers need your help! The San Francisco Travel Quality Study is looking for participants right now. If you have an Android phone and use SF Muni, sign up!

What is the goal of the study? We want to understand how the quality of public transportation affects people’s choice of how to commute, and how Muni can best be improved to suit riders’ needs. This is an innovative study in which we want to get direct feedback from travelers. We are working with the SFMTA, so their voices will be heard! As a thank you, they receive a free Muni pass for a month!

Who can participate? Anybody who lives and works/goes to school in San Francisco; it doesn’t matter how they currently travel. Currently there is only an Android app available, but if resources permit, we might run an iPhone-based study early next year.

What does participation involve? The first round of the study runs from October 23 until December 7. Participants will be asked to install a survey app on their phones and use Muni on at least five days in November. They will then fill out the mobile mini-surveys (approx. 15 sec. each) for those days, plus three short online surveys (max. 10 min each) over the course of the six weeks of the study.

You can apply here.

CPUC Regulates Network Transportation Companies

big Lyft

Yesterday the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted to regulate network transportation companies. This means that companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar will still be able to operate in this state, while they are facing regulatory hurdles in other states (and class-action lawsuits). The San Francisco Cab Driver's Association has responded that the ruling is essentially de-regulation

On Marketplace, Juan Matute from ITS UCLA commented on the decision: “I think this is quite significant... It will be difficult for taxi cab drivers to continue doing exactly what they’ve been doing in the past.”

In the coming months and years, research on the issue will be published. An article in October's issues of the Journal of Transport Geography, "Puncturing automobility?," looks at the effects of carsharing on car ownership. Perhaps there will be similar discussions at the Shared Use Mobility Summit next month, which will cover carshare and bikeshare. Note these transportation network companies are not ridesharing, despite that being the most commonly used term. 

Goodbye old Bay Bridge, Hello new Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge Under Construction

Starting this evening, the Bay Bridge will close and reopen Tuesday September 3 at 5:00 am. Over the weekend the final touches will be put on the new Eastern Span and on Tuesday morning, you can have a new driving experience across that span. You will no longer have to contend with the S-Curve. There will be bicycle and pedestrian access! (Though only to Treasure Island... and even that isn't quite ready yet.) The old span will still be around for some time though, as it's going to take 3 years to dismantle

Of course traffic will be a mess. 511.org has been suggested to help with trip planning and BART will be running 24 hours over the weekend. Transit is usually regarded as an effective tool to mitigate the impact of these sorts of closures. Could this sort of disrpuption lead to policy and travel behavior change?

Oh and we can't forget the launch of Bay Area Bikeshare

If you were lucky enough to go on one of the bridge tours this weekend, have fun! Everybody else, hold tight. 

Rebalancing and Bikeshare

The mythical #DivvyRed

Is this the summer of Bikeshare? Divvy Bikes in Chicago launched last month. CitiBikes in New York City launched around Memorial Day. Any time now Bay Area Bike Share will be launching in San Francisco and on then Peninsula. 

The issue of having bikes where people want them is a perennial issue for bikeshare systems. "Rebalancing" is the act of moving inventory around to match demand and travel patterns. This map provides realtime visualizations of the demand of bikeshare systems around the world. Researchers are working on solving the rebalancing problem

A new article from EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics works to develop a model for rebalancing. "Static repositioning in a bike-sharing system: models and solution approaches" by Tal Raviv, Michal Tzur, and Iris A. Forma, looks at how rebalancing or repositioning can help bikeshare systems.

Bike-sharing systems allow people to rent a bicycle at one of many automatic rental stations scattered around the city, use them for a short journey and return them at any station in the city. A crucial factor for the success of a bike-sharing system is its ability to meet the fluctuating demand for bicycles and for vacant lockers at each station. This is achieved by means of a repositioning operation, which consists of removing bicycles from some stations and transferring them to other stations, using a dedicated fleet of trucks. Operating such a fleet in a large bike-sharing system is an intricate problem consisting of decisions regarding the routes that the vehicles should follow and the number of bicycles that should be removed or placed at each station on each visit of the vehicles. In this paper, we present our modeling approach to the problem that generalizes existing routing models in the literature. This is done by introducing a unique convex objective function as well as time-related considerations. We present two mixed integer linear program formulations, discuss the assumptions associated with each, strengthen them by several valid inequalities and dominance rules, and compare their performances through an extensive numerical study. The results indicate that one of the formulations is very effective in obtaining high quality solutions to real life instances of the problem consisting of up to 104 stations and two vehicles. Finally, we draw insights on the characteristics of good solutions.

The full paper can be found here

Metro ExpressLanes preliminary report

Harbor Freeway Transitway

Last week the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Autority, or LA Metro, released the preliminary data from the ExpressLanes program. ExpressLanes is a demonstration project with Metro and Caltrans that implemented toll lanes on I-10 and I-110 in conjunction with improved transit and carpool options along those corridors. 

While the demonstration period is not yet over, there have already been noticable increases in transit ridership and vanpools along the corridor. To explore more of the data and figures, the full report can be found here

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