Along for the Ride #180
On gondolas, AV shuttles, and chocolate chip cookies
Heya friends, happy Friday!
I have one quick favour to ask of you before we dive in this week friends! I am trying to gauge interest in this newsletter overall (do you like it? do you think I should be a better proof reader? do you want to chat IRL?). Most weeks I send this newsletter out into the abyss and my friends will reach out with a piece or two that they enjoyed, an egregious grammar mistake, or the like. I could make a survey but I am not too optimistic I will get a ton of feedback there, so trying this first!
I would love if this week you (yes you!) could like this edition (click the little heart at the top!) / leave a comment / email me with any feedback. Thank you in advance!
Read-ish of the Week
Contribute to this newsletter!
Organizing guest posts can take a wee bit of time and I haven’t really had many since last summer (). In an effort to get back on track with my intention to “share my platform with folks from across the industry who have a unique perspective to bring to the issues of transportation, technology, and urban planning. Particularly folks from more diverse backgrounds—race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, ability, and more.”
I am soliciting invitations for *paid* guest authors (typically on a monthly basis). Maybe that’s you! Maybe that’s a friend of yours! I am very easy-peasy about formats, content, and more. We’ve had people write about almost getting hit by a car (Maria Gheorghiu), research on Chennai’s public transit system (Megha Kaveri), over-crowding on public transport during Covid (Jyotsna Singh), and more!
Nothing makes my day better than getting people who reach out about contributing to the guest series. If you need a hype-woman, I promise you I am it!
Government and Policy
Utah wants to build the world’s longest gondola
Me to Utah: If you’re trying to improve traffic congestion you could consider changes to land-use zoning, invest in higher housing developments, street diets, investments in public transit, complete streets, and so many more solutions!!
Utah to the world: Let’s forego all known solutions and build a really expensive gondola!!
AVs need to Be 99.99982% crash-free to be safer than humans
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love human drivers, but despite all the marketing talking points, humans are pretty good at avoiding traffic crashes. For AVs to be an improvement over the status-quo today, they would need to be safer than the average driver, which means an AV needs to do better than 99.9-percent safe.
Readers here are already very well aware that SUVs are glorified death-machines due to their design (increased size and weight, in addition to height of the dashboard). In fact they are eight times more dangerous to kids walking and cycling (road.cc). New research shows that carbon emissions from global SUV fleet outweighs that of most countries (!).
“The 330m sport utility vehicles on the roads produced emissions equivalent to the combined national emissions of the UK and Germany last year. If SUVs were a country, they would rank as the sixth most polluting in the world.”
USDOT allocates $185m to reconnect communities
“Federal transportation officials on Tuesday announced dozens of cities and communities, from Anchorage to Tucson, selected for planning grants under the infrastructure law’s Reconnecting Communities program, a $1 billion effort meant to undo harm caused by decades-old transportation projects. Projects in New York, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and California that were closer to breaking ground are receiving the first construction grants under the five-year program.”
Singapore airport invests in AVs
The Changi Airport Group is working with Aurrigo to further test its driverless electric baggage vehicles to help meet the challenge of post-pandemic aviation. We love an applicable use of technology!
Ford patents design for AVs to repossess themselves
Filed under: late capitalism pinteresting.
Ford has designed “a vehicle system that punishes drivers directly if they fail to keep up with their payments.” Yuuup. I am actually almost speechless. I am surprising myself for thinking that this design is heartless.
Waymo releases crash test data
Somehow these silly little AVs have already clocked one million test miles, and they’re not even available for the vast majority of the general public. According to Waymo, over the course of one million miles their vehicles have experienced two crashes and 18 ‘minor contact events’.
“In general, these are crashes that were reported to the police and involved at least one vehicle being towed away. Of the two crashes that met the criteria, Waymo says its vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle whose driver was looking at their phone while approaching a red light.”
Via and May Mobility partner on AV shuttles
The microtransit (Via) and autonomous vehicle start-up (May) are partnering to deliver thousands of autonomous vehicles globally for public transit. They have been in partnership since 2021, and seem v excited to be expanding that partnership. “Over the next three years, May Mobility and Via will continue these strides, working together to incorporate more AVs into the public transit systems of cities around the globe.”
Research and Academia
How AV shuttles interact with cyclists and pedestrians in Norway
“The present paper reports results from field surveys about real-life interactions with AV shuttles among pedestrians and bicyclists in two Norwegian pilots, in Oslo and Kongsberg, where AV shuttles have been introduced in mixed traffic. This is one of several publications from the Norwegian research project “Autobus”. Results from video analyses of interactions based on data from the same pilot in Oslo have been presented by De Ceunynck et al. (2022).”
What consumer reports can tell us about road safety
Shout-out to AFTR reader, colleague, and friend Frank for this share!
Consumer Reports published a nationally representative multi-mode survey for January 2023 with the following insights, that tbh made me quite sad. The survey included 2,088 interviews, 1,906 by web mode and 182 by phone. Results:
48% of respondents worried about being hit by car;
14% of respondents or a close family member / friend experienced a near miss in past 12 months;
4% of respondents or a close family member / friend were hit by a car.
Extra Bits + Bobs
Cyclista Zine has an open call for contributions! The issue title is “Every Body”! For this issue Cyclista is celebrating stories through the lens of body liberation on bikes. “For people who hold marginalized bodies and minds on bikes, our visibility in spaces meant for thin, cis, male, white bodies is radical.”
Chocolate chip cookies: I made these chocolate chip cookies this week for a friend, and every time I bake them I am always amazed by the layers of flavours. They are some of the best cookies I’ve eaten, and I’m sharing them to you as well in case you too need a lil pick me up.
That’s all from me. Have a beautiful weekend friends.
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As an outsider of the industry, I think it's a great resource that challenges readers to consider new ideas and opinions! It's very neat that you take the time and research to curate a weekly newsletter about a topic you are so passionate about. I share it with anyone I come into contact with that is even remotely involved with transportation (or just likes newsletters).
Always a great read. The effort to send these out weekly is much appreciated!