Along for the Ride #148
Heya friends, happy Friday.
Every week I really just want to orient you to the _really_ _cool_ transit news, and it seems that now most weeks don’t go by without a brief acknowledge of recent tragedy. The school shooting in Uvalde, Texas devastated me. I don’t have many words to express this week here, writing about transportation just feels so futile when children and teachers are forced to fight for their lives in elementary schools of all places.
If you’d like to donate, here is a gofundme with verified ties to the Uvalde community and families impacted by the shooting. Organizations like Everytown are also essential for this work. I’d also recommend following Parkland survivor and activists David Hogg on Twitter for updates on his work and campaigns.
Be well friends, and know I’m always here if you’re ever looking to shed a tear with somebody.
Read of the Week
“Segregation by Design, which takes the form of a blog-style website, various social media pages, and a forthcoming book helps long-time residents and the urban-curious alike visualize the legacy of racist urbanism. The project shows neighborhoods impacted by redlining (a term for race-based exclusionary tactics in real estate), federally funded “urban renewal” projects, and environmental racism. It joins a larger conversation about the ways in which supposedly neutral public planning has disproportionately affected low-income communities of color.”
Government and Policy
The UK launches a £40m competition for AVs
The competition is to help smooth entry for commercial AVs in UK. Out of the total funding, £1.5m will be used by the government to research the feasibility of self-driving vehicles as public transport.
The US sees another spike in annual traffic fatalities
Filed under: also devastating. This past week in San Francisco saw six pedestrian fatalities at known high collision corridors. Preventable deaths appear to be all around us, and yet somehow political will falters.
“Data released this week from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2021, there was a 10.5 percent increase in traffic deaths over the year before, for a total of nearly 43,000 deaths last year.”
The more you know:
An AV shuttle survives its first winter in Minnesota (Star Tribune)
Why we shouldn’t let AV design “hide in plain sight” (MIT Tech Review)
AV tests show cars hitting cyclists five times (Road.cc)
Why AV buses still need human drivers (Smart Cities Dive)
Metro Vancouver has published a climate literacy guide that is just fantastic (Metro Vancouver)
When AVs crash who is responsible? (The Conversation)
The UK start-up has been stirring interesting partnerships for the past year, and now are working with Microsoft to build “the supercomputing infrastructure" needed to support the development of AI-based models” for AVs.
The more you know:
ArgoAI to launch in Miami and Austin (CNBC)
Waymo expands AV program in Pheonix (TechCrunch)
Tesla says _actually_ driverless cars are coming next year (Electrek)
Inside the design of Zoox’s most recent AV (FastCompany)
Cruise and BrightDrop partner on electric, autonomous vans (Bloomberg)
Research and Academia
Street design during the pandemic
“This paper examines street design as an emergency response for physical distancing in public space during the coronavirus pandemic. We assess how design ideas for streets were discussed and promoted through news media from February through October of 2020 … the initial impacts of the pandemic on streets are noteworthy. From our nine-month 2020 media analysis, we highlight a typology of emerging coronavirus-driven street interventions and assess how urban design ideas were discussed as a pandemic response. This is a clear break in the conventional management of urban streets, and the long-term impacts will continue to unfold in the years ahead.”
“[Cars] are big, loud, smelly and basically the most inefficient form of transportation someone could imagine. They’re the most expensive thing a person owns after their home, but they don’t create value. It’s not an asset that anybody wants to own, it’s an asset that people have to own. It’s a regressive tax that destroys the planet and subsidizes the highways that blight our cities. It’s an expensive, dangerous hunk of metal that sits unused in an expensive garage nearly 100% of the time.”
Extra Bits + Bobs
Jobs you should apply to: Friends over at Token Transit are hiring for a Software Engineer. Can confirm their leadership team is great and is very known for riding bikes and catching waves. They recently had a team social to go ride the Van Ness BRT, so you know they’re cool. You can read more about the role here!
Newsletter you should subscribe to: Huge thank you to David Levinson for recommending AFTR to his subscribers last month. I’d highly recommend his newsletter to all my transit-loving friends (that’s you!).
That’s all from me, have a beautiful weekend friends.