Headline News

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  • ...Santiago Calatrava's PATH Hub looms physically and metaphorically over transit planning in New York City. The stark white design of Calatrava's rafters hulk over the streets even as the visible joints and rust coloring give it a rundown urban chic look. From above, the building appears downright ionic. Inside, the white marble hallways designed to accommodate 200,000 pedestrians glisten, with light bouncing off in every direction.One day, this underground passage will host a high-end mall from the Cortlandt Street 1 train station to Brookfield Plaza, and the mall will offset the expense. It was supposed to be a subway station.

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    HAVING spent 38 hours last week traveling the 2,400 miles between Binghamton, N.Y., and my home in Tucson, much of that time in airports, I couldn’t help but think how we arrived at this point. Delays are now running at six-year highs, yet we have allowed a strained air travel system to develop in this country while airlines pile up tidy profits, raise fares, cut routes and add fees.

    New York Times
  • The Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC's) Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority (BAIFA) has selected TransCore to develop, integrate, and maintain a network of express lanes providing Bay Area motorists with lower congestion alternatives.The competitively procured $54.6 million project will convert 90 miles of existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes into express lanes on I-680 from Dublin to Walnut Creek; I-880 from the Santa Clara County line to San Leandro; and I-80 in Fairfield. The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

    Broadway World
  •  Just because you can talk to your car doesn't mean you should. Two new studies have found that voice-activated smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems may be making the distracted-driving problem worse instead of better. The systems let drivers do things like tune the radio, send a text message, or make a phone call while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, but many of these systems are so error-prone or complex that they require more concentration from drivers rather than less, according to studies released Tuesday by the AAA Foundation.

    AP/Contra Costa Times
  • It’s hard to miss the EV Arc, an electric-vehicle charging station soon to appear on San Francisco streets. The Arc, short for autonomous renewable charger, doesn’t need to be connected to the power grid. It generates all its own electricity through a solar panel that tracks the sun, storing the energy in a battery pack until an electric car plugs in.

    SF Chronicle
  • Last week, Amtrak announced that because of damage suffered during Hurricane Sandy, its infrastructure connecting New Jersey and New York City below the Hudson River will have to be repaired. Each of its two tubes will have to be closed, in turn, for a year or more, which would reduce capacity by around 75 percenton a rail link that carries some 400,000 passengers a day...Amtrak’s Gateway project could be the solution — one without some of the shortcomings of ARC, which would have dead-ended deep underground – but it’s still the type of infrastructure that America’s political system rarely musters the will to build...

    Streetsblog LA
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    The United States could be on the cusp of a great leap forward in automotive safety. All that’s required is for the auto industry to rally behind the scientists and engineers who have spent the past decade developing a wireless technology called V2X. This catch-all term refers to two closely related systems: vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

    Washington Post
  • ..."Airplanes are configured for rage," says Margaret King, director for The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, a consumer-research organization based in Philadelphia. "Designers just didn't do the math on the personal space as part of the human factors involved on board." So let's run a few numbers. There are two that could stop the madness: 34 and 18.

    USA Today
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    ...The risk of cancer from airborne pollutants has dropped by more than 50 percent on average since 2005, according to a study released Thursday by the region's air quality regulators. Concerted efforts to reduce emissions from diesel trucks and other vehicles account for much of the drop....Still, risks persist from toxic pollutants such as diesel particulate matter and benzene.

    AP/SF Chronicle
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    States and counties believe that winder lanes are safer. And in this belief, they are dead wrong...They are wrong because of a fundamental error that underlies the practice of traffic engineering—and many other disciplines—an outright refusal to acknowledge that human behavior is impacted by its environment. This error applies to traffic planning, as state DOTs widen highways to reduce congestion, in compete ignorance of all the data proving that new lanes will be clogged by the new drivers that they invite. And it applies to safety planning, as traffic engineers, designing for the drunk who's texting at midnight, widen our city streets so that the things that drivers might hit are further away.