December 2009 Archives
Of note: The Avenue an interesting new transportation oriented blog in The New Republic sponsored by Brookings.
New York Times expose on Highway Work Zone safer (for workers and travelers) - Efforts Lag at Making Highway Work Zones Safer
The Infrastructure Show is an interesting new podcast on infrastructure, mostly transportation, hosted by Northwestern University professor Joseph Schofer.
From Finance and Commerce Washington Avenue Bridge to receive $56 million re-decking to prepare it for Central Corridor LRT.
A major question remains unanswered. Why is it being kept open to traffic while construction is underway? Construction would be shorter, safer, and probably cheaper if the whole thing were closed. No traffic catastrophe would ensue, as the unexpected closure of the I-35W bridge and the planned closure of Mn36 showed, and it would be a good test of whether it could be permanently shut to auto traffic after Central Corridor opens on Washington Mall.
At least they are designing for 3 car trains, which the rest of the corridor seems not to be, lest the cost effectiveness index somehow slip.
A link from AD in the NYT: U.S. System for Tracking Traffic Flow Is Faulted. I am not familiar with the system, but obviously publicly paid for data should be free to the public. I suspect this is a problem of either bureaucratic incompetence or crony capitalism in the previous administration. The technology (at least the travel time parts) will soon be obviated by crowd-sourced travel time information from GPS equipped cell phones, assuming someone can get critical mass on the number of "probe" vehicles.
Waze is a mobile smart-phone application that lets you see real-time traffic information from other Waze users, and share it. Basically, it uses your smart-phone as a probe. It also lets you update the network (of course if the network is still incomplete, real-time traffic data is almost assuredly sparse). This really depends on critical mass, as I described in this paper:
- Levinson, David (2002) The Economics of Traveler Information from Probes. Public Works Management and Policy 6(4) pp 241-250 (April).
And lagged information may in some instances be worse than no (or historical average) information.
From AH, on MSNBC MSNBC
What U.S. city has the most intelligent citizens? According to Travel + Leisure's 2009 America's Favorite Cities Survey, the answer is simple: Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Cities along Northstar corridor wait for development by Ambar Espinoza, Minnesota Public Radio December 7, 2009
St. Cloud, Minn. -- Minnesota's first commuter rail line has been up and running for three weeks now, but it has yet to spur any development along the route of the train.
The article implies Northstar has failed because there is no development after 3 weeks. That is unreasonable. The better argument is that Northstar has been in the works (planning plus construction) for some 5 years, and no development has occurred yet. Certainly once construction started, it could be seen as a government commitment.
I suspect there will eventually be some development, but exurban development does not justify the enormous subsidy.
From a link on the messageboard of Ken Jennings' blog (from a debate about photocop): Eko stoplight by Damjan Stanković A red light with an implicit progress bar, just like on computers, so you know how long you have to wait. (one images similar for yellow and green lights). This might max dynamic/adaptive signal timings more difficult, but it could reduce driver frustration.