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Archive for June 14th, 2010

The Market in Lucky License Plates

Via Vaughan Bell, a study from Travis Ng and colleagues examines the the economic effects of superstition on Hong Kong roads:

Controlling for visual factors that affect price (for example, plates with fewer digits are more sought-after) Ng’s team found that an ordinary 4-digit plate with one extra lucky ’8′ was sold 63.5 per cent higher on average. An extra unlucky ’4′ by contrast diminished the average 4-digit plate value by 11 per cent. These effects aren’t trivial. Replacing the ’7′ in a standard 4-digit plate with an ’8′ would boost its value by roughly $400.

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Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 10:25 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Texting While Flying

Australian officials investigating reports that pilot for ozzie budget airliner Jetstar was texting “just before his aircraft was forced to pull out of a landing at Changi Airport in Singapore.”

(thanks Kent)

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Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 9:37 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Slate’s ‘Nimble Cities’ Hive Mind Project

Dear readers, I’m currently overseeing, for the next month, Slate’s second ‘Hive Mind’ project. The first was about how to live a more efficient life, personally, in energy terms; this one’s about how to make transportation in and among cities more efficient (not to mention safer, more pleasant, etc.) in the 21st century.

Here’s a taste to get you started, but I urge you to submit your own ideas (and I know readers here have ‘em), and vote upon those you think most worthwhile.

You probably have a friend like Campbell Scott. Or, rather, the character Campbell Scott played in the 1992 film Singles. You remember: the idealistic transportation planner flummoxed by all the congestion generated by single people (caution: metaphor ahead!) driving alone. “If you had a supertrain,” he tells a friend, “you give people a reason to get out of their cars. Coffee, great music … they will park and ride. I know they will.” (To which his friend replies: “But I still love my car, though.”) This is the sort of person who waxes lyrical about things like modal splits and commutersheds; gets a wistful, thousand-yard stare as he reminisces about the 1970s personal-rapid-transit demonstration project in West Virginia (and can finger the culprits in its demise); and conspicuously vacations in places with active streetcar networks.

Or maybe you are Campbell Scott. Maybe you’re the one–sitting in a Mumbai traffic jam, waiting on a tube platform in London’s Elephant and Castle station, lost between connections at Tokyo’s Narita or cycling over the Willamette River–who, in a moment of pique or boredom or inspiration, suddenly envisions a better way of managing the commute. Perhaps it’s a sweeping, inefficiency-killing overhaul or maybe a minor design tweak that just makes the experience ineffably better: the “flash of genius” that does for traffic what the intermittent wiper did for windshields. And then you want to tell the world, or at least the taxi driver or pub companion who’s stuck listening to you, all about it.

Here is your chance. Welcome to “Nimble Cities,” the second in Slate’s Hive series, a project designed to harvest the world’s collective wisdom to solve the world’s most pressing problems. We are asking you, essentially, to become transportation hackers (and we’re talking not simply cars but the whole of urban and interurban movement). We are looking for your best ideas. They may be your own wild brainstorms, or they may be examples, whether grand or mundane, of things you’ve experienced in your own city or while traveling. But we want your best proposals for solving an increasingly relevant problem: how to move the most people around and between cities in the most efficient, safe, and perhaps even pleasurable manner. And then we want you to vote on which of those submissions you think are best.

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Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 8:23 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Mixed Media: Transportation

I’ve got a roundup, in the new issue of Sierra magazine, of the transpo related things that have caught my eye lately. NB: I was limited to 1000 words, so there were many other books, blogs, films, etc. I would have mentioned, and probably already have here.

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Posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 8:12 am by: Tom Vanderbilt
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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau: rhspeakers@randomhouse.com.

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

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U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from Amazon.co.uk.

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum
Toronto

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013
BoingBoing.com “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Communications.
Grand Rapids MI

 

 

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