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Transport & Infrastructure News and Discussions

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#581
wjfox

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#582
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The company that makes AK-47s just built a working hoverbike

The Russian company that makes the iconic AK-47 machine gun is branching out into rideables — specifically flying rideables. (Is that a thing?) Kalashnikov Concern — part of the Russian defense giant Rostec, which is named after AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov — demonstrated its unnamed prototype on Monday, according to Popular Mechanics. It looks similar to a handful of drone-quadcopter-hoverbike hybrids that we’ve seen popping up around the internet with increasing frequency.
Kalashnikov is calling it a “flying car,” but that seems more aspirational than accurate. Without a wheel-base, it’s a hard to see how anyone could mistake this thing for a car. Of course, that hasn’t stopped a variety of companies from mislabeling their prototypes as flying cars.


Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#583
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Tesla wants to build special charging stations that sell food and coffee — and it could be a huge opportunity

Retail-and-lifestyle focused "Mega Supercharger locations."

As Tesla expands its Supercharger network, the automaker intends to up its game, building higher-end, retail-rich locations that CEO Elon Musk has called "Mega Superchargers" but that we'll call just Megachargers.
CEO Elon Musk has speculatively described them as "like really big supercharging locations with a bunch of amenities," complete with "great restrooms, great food, amenities" and an awesome place to "hang out for half an hour and then be on your way."
The move makes sense. Superchargers are currently located through the US and other countries, providing the fastest rate of recharging available to Tesla owners. The station can have varying numbers of charging stalls, however, and they aren't always located in the best areas for passing the time while a Tesla inhales new electrons, although Tesla typically tries to construct them near retail and dining options.


Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#584
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Paperless rail tickets across UK by 2019 - Chris Grayling

2 October 2017

 

Plans to replace paper tickets on UK trains are to be accelerated, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

Passengers will be able to use mobile phones and smartcards to travel across most of the network by the end of 2018, he told the Conservative conference.

People "want smart ticketing and we will deliver it"," he said.

Defending the government's rail investment plans, he said all trains in the north of England would either be revamped or replaced by 2020.

And he said the Conservatives - who have been accused of short-changing the north - had electrified four times more of the rail network in the north-west in seven years in power than Labour had done in 13 years.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...litics-41475478


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#585
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While this may not be a spectacular bit of news, it may be coming to a neighborhood near you.

 

Staying in Your Lane Just Got Easier

 

http://www.dot.ca.go...Q3-striping.pdf

 

Introduction:

 

Caltrans’ new, 6-inch-wide, highly reflective road striping was introduced on Interstate 80 through Sacramento as part of a statewide effort to restripe the 50,000-plus lane miles of state highway system in the next decade.

 

Motorists in many areas will notice the difference that the higher-profile striping makes on their driving experience. The new road demarcation lines, which consist of tape or thermal plastic embedded with glass beads, are replacing the longtime standard 4-inch-wide stripes.

 

Also disappearing, as the new striping is laid, are the raised, non-reflective pavement markers known as Botts Dots, named after the Caltrans scientist who invented them in 1953. With the advent of the new striping, the ubiquitous little bumps have outlived their usefulness as lane separators.

 

The wider, brighter striping debuted as part of the “Across the Top” I-80 project that made various improvements across a 10-mile section of heavily traveled interstate through the capital city. In the next few years, all of the state’s 27,000 lane miles that make up the freight corridors — Interstates 5, 10, 15 and 80 — will be restriped. It is expected that all of state highway system will be restriped within a decade, funded in part by revenues from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1).

 

Both the thermoplastic material and tape used in striping contain tiny glass beads that enhance reflectivity, particularly when illuminated by vehicle headlamps or in rainy conditions. The materials have proven very durable, and is expected to retain a minimum level of reflectivity despite constant heavy wear


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#586
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Budget Picture Much Brighter for Caltrans

 

http://www.dot.ca.go...7-Q3-budget.pdf

 

Introduction:

 

Last year, California’s transportation budget was the smallest in a decade, continuing a downward trend broken in dramatic fashion this year with the passage of a landmark transportation package that will provide a tremendous funding boost and allow Caltrans to catch up on a multibilliondollar backlog of deferred maintenance.

 

The funding provided by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1) comes from modest increases to gas and diesel taxes at the pump, and new road improvement fees assessed on vehicles at the time of registration. These new taxes and fees won’t start generating revenue until later in the fiscal year. Specifically, the gas taxes start on November 1, and the new Transportation Improvement Fee won’t go into effect until January 1, 2018. Because the revenue inflow from the new law won’t take full effect until early 2018, the new budget for 2017-18 is not as robust as future transportation budgets will be.

 

Importantly, fuel taxes and new fees will be indexed for inflation beyond 2021, and lawmakers eliminated a previous formula used to calculate fuel excise taxes that had caused unexpected fluctuations in transportation revenue. As a result, the Act stabilizes transportation funding, giving more certainty to project planning and budgeting.

 

The 2017-18 Budget Summary The 2017-18 budget signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in late June authorizes $11.9 billion and 19,021 positions for Caltrans. This represents an increase of approximately $2.2 billion and a decrease of 23 positions from the 2016-17 budget. Some of the increases come from traditional funding sources, but the vast majority of the new funding is made possible through SB 1.L


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#587
caltrek

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Back to the drawing board.

 

Engineers Recommend Tearing Down $12 Million Bridge

 

http://portlandtribu...ghway-97-bridge

 

Introduction:

 

SALEM — Engineers with the Oregon Department of Transportation plan to recommend tearing down a nearly completed $12 million overpass on Highway 97 in La Pine after a geotechnical investigation found the underlying soil is unstable.

 

The Oregon Transportation Commission is scheduled to hear and decide on the engineers' recommendation at a meeting in Silverton in late October.

 

 

Project managers ordered routine soil tests of the project area before construction of the Wickiup Junction overpass began, but the tests failed to detect rare diatoms in the subsurface of the soil, said Della Mosier, an engineer and interim area manager for ODOT projects in Central Oregon.

 

 

The diatoms are silica-based skeletons of algae that lived in an ancient lake in the area and sank, forming a thick bed on the bottom thousands of years ago. The lake had been identified in geological maps, but initial tests gave no indication the soil differed from other parts of Central Oregon, where ODOT has successfully built other bridges, Mosier said.

 

 

Furthermore, past surveys of the ancient lake had limited information about the characteristics of the soil in the area, said Chris Carpenter, senior associate engineer with Cornforth Consultants. ODOT contracted with Cornforth and used expertise from the Federal Highway Administration to conduct the subsurface soil analysis at the Wickiup Junction project, using boreholes and soil samples from as deep as 280 feet below ground.

 

00003589286771.jpg

Photo Credit: Portland Tribune


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#588
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Interactive crossing lights the way for pedestrian safety
 

 

A group of architects, designers, tactical urbanists and creative technologists collectively known as Umbrellium has developed a modern take on the familiar pedestrian crossing. The Starling Crossing is aimed at putting people first, using LEDs to paint the road with markings that guide pedestrians safely across the road while also telling drivers and cyclists when to slow down, stop and go.

 

http://newatlas.com/...crossing/51690/


To follow my work on tropical cyclones


#589
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Futuristic pedestrian crossing unveiled in London

11th October 2017

A prototype "smart crossing" has been demonstrated in London, which automatically differentiates between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists – adapting its markings and signals to their needs in real-time, ensuring a safer experience for all users.

Read more: http://www.futuretim.../2017/10/11.htm

 

 

991-futuristic-pedestrian-crossing-londo


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#590
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It'll be interesting to see if this could be implemented in areas outside of narrow city streets. At present it would require a bit of fettling as inner city areas have slower moving traffic and tend to have shorter roads between intersections. On longer wider roads I guess you'd need an earlier warning for drivers as well as what's seen here. The last thing you need when driving at 30-50mph is for a crossing to pop up out of nowhere right in front of you. 


“If the genius of invention were to reveal to-morrow the secret of immortality, of eternal beauty and youth, for which all humanity is aching, the same inexorable agents which prevent a mass from changing suddenly its velocity would likewise resist the force of the new knowledge until time gradually modifies human thought.” 

 

                                                                 Nikola Tesla - New York World, May 19th 1907 


#591
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3D printed reinforced concrete bridge opens in the Netherlands
Architecture
Michael Irving

 

A new bridge that was completely 3D printed has just opened in the Netherlands. Designed and built by engineers from the Technical University of Eindhoven and construction company BAM Infra, the cyclist bridge was printed in pieces from a concrete mixture, reinforced with steel cable, before being assembled and erected on-site.

 

https://newatlas.com...e-bridge/51796/


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#592
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California’s Bullet Train Board Delays Award of Key Contract

 

https://www.courthou...d-key-contract/

 

Introduction:

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – The California High-Speed Rail Authority punted one of the most important decisions during its monthly meeting Thursday, stoking concerns the entity is not moving quickly enough on the project.

 

Authority staffers had advised approving a $30 billion contract with DB Engineering & Consulting USA to operate the first segment of the rail line from Silicon Valley to Bakersfield.

 

While the authority was set to do so, a last-minute appeal from the Spanish-based high-speed rail operator Renfe caused the authority board to press pause on the entire process.

 

“I think we need to let this process play out a little in the interest of fairness,” authority board chairman Dan Richard said during Thursday’s meeting.

 

DB Engineering & Consulting is the U.S.-based arm of the German rail giant Deutsche Bahn and was widely seen as a quality pick to bring experience and technical acumen to the authority’s efforts to make the high-speed rail service safe, competent and profitable.

 The article also notes delays and cost overruns in the construction of Central Valley segment of the track, as well as progress in construction of the Fresno to Madera counties segment. 

 

 

CA-hsr.jpg?resize=300%2C169

An artist’s rendering of a bullet train gliding through a California city.

(Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#593
caltrek

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Now is the time to plan for the autonomous vehicle future

 

https://techcrunch.c...vehicle-future/

 

Introduction:

 

The arrival of autonomous vehicles bring the prospect of improved transportation systems without the capital costs, operating subsidies and construction delays of new highway lanes and fixed rail systems.  Cities, states, and the Federal Government,  need to revise their transportation planning accordingly.

 

Autonomous vehicles have gone from a Jetson-like dream to a clear reality in less than one decade. In 2010, when Google first started developing autonomous vehicles, people asked, “Why are they wasting money on this? That’s never going to work.”

 

Today, we have not only seen public pilots of autonomous vehicles from companies like Uber and recent announcement by automakers such as Audi that it plans to begin selling, in 2018, a production car with Level 3 autonomy (meaning it requires no human attention to the road at speeds under 37 miles  per hour), we have also begun to see striking data on the benefits of autonomous vehicles.

 

For example, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated a Tesla Autopilot crash, they found a 40% decrease in traffic accidents when Tesla’s Autopilot feature was enabled in cars. In addition to significant reductions in accidents, the benefits of autonomous vehicles will also include less congestion, reduced emissions, reclaimed productive time, fewer new roads, reclaimed parking space, lower transportation costs for all and improved mobility of the elderly and disabled.

gettyimages-660587164.jpg?w=738


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#594
Yuli Ban

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Google’s plan to revolutionise cities is a takeover in all but name

Parent company Alphabet would provide services in response to data harvested: “The cities themselves, the project insisted, would get a share of revenue from the data.”

Last June Volume, a leading magazine on architecture and design, published an article on the GoogleUrbanism project. Conceived at a renowned design institute in Moscow, the project charts a plausible urban future based on cities acting as important sites for “data extractivism” – the conversion of data harvested from individuals into artificial intelligence technologies, allowing companies such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company, to act as providers of sophisticated and comprehensive services. The cities themselves, the project insisted, would get a share of revenue from the data.
Cities surely wouldn’t mind but what about Alphabet? The company does take cities seriously. Its executives have floated the idea of taking some struggling city – Detroit? – and reinventing it around Alphabet services, with no annoying regulations blocking this march of progress.


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Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#595
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T-Charge: New London traffic charge comes into force

23 October 2017

 

Drivers of older, more polluting vehicles will have to pay almost twice as much to drive in central London.

Mayor Sadiq Khan's £10 T-Charge, which mainly applies to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006, has come into force.

It covers the same area as the existing congestion charge zone, bumping up the cost to £21.50 for those affected.

Opponents said the scheme would "disproportionately penalise London's poorest drivers".

The measure is the latest attempt by Mr Khan to improve air quality in the capital and according to the mayor's office, will impact 34,000 motorists a month.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...london-41695116


I want to go ahead of Father Time with a scythe of my own.

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#596
caltrek

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The following story reminds me of a conversation I once had with a traffic engineer.  I asked him a question concerning a particular project.  The question being that if the project solved the problem of a bottleneck at the site location, where would the next bottleneck occur?

 

Not "would there be another bottleneck?"

 

Not only did he not challenge the premise, that the project would move the bottlenecks around, but he admitted that he did not know where the next bottleneck would be.

 

I think a lot of projects are just about moving the bottlenecks around.  Speed up the flow of traffic form point A to point B, only to see a new bottleneck emerge between point B and point C.  Maybe the approach described below is a way around that conundrum: work on the quality of the destination rather than be overly concerned about the speed with which we can reach that destination.   

 

As Highways Age, Urban Planners Consider a Landscape Without Them

 

https://nonprofitqua...dscape-without/

 

Introduction:

 

Has the time come to radically revise how we think of cities? The fabric of urban and suburban life has been woven with thick strands of highways that connect and separate communities and neighborhoods. Some urban planners see this as the right moment to rip them out and rebuild cities with less of an eye toward their ability to move traffic and more emphasis on quality of life for their residents.

 

According to the Congress for the New Urbanism, these urban planners envision “the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions, the reconfiguration of sprawling suburbs into communities of real neighborhoods and diverse districts, the conservation of natural environments, and the preservation of our built legacy.”

Steven Kurtz, writing in the New York Times about the place of highways in this new urban landscape, says, “If it sounds counterintuitive, if not crazy, to tear down a highway that still carries thousands of cars and trucks each day, there are a number of case studies to point to.” Supporting the removal of freeways also has an economic rationale that is quite attractive with tight city, state, and national budgets:

 

Perhaps the greatest argument that removal advocates have is that so much of this infrastructure is nearing the end of its life span. In this era of tight budgets and political gridlock, it may be cheaper for local and state governments to remove a freeway rather than repair or build a new one.

 

By removing lanes of concrete, city planners hope to encourage the development of new and improved mixed-use communities that will attract new residents and spur economic growth. As an example, proponents point to the removal in 2002 of a length of highway leading into central Milwaukee that was once thought critical. John Norquist, Milwaukee’s mayor at the time and the spearhead for this effort, told the Times, “The bill to demolish the Park East and restore the street grid was around $30 million, significantly less than the $80 to $100 million estimated cost to rebuild the 40-year-old freeway.” Norquist pointed to “the rising land values and the slow-but-steady development along the 26-acre corridor in the years since—and the lack of a traffic apocalypse—as signs of success.”

highways.jpg

 

Columbia River Crossing over Hayden Island” by Michael Andersen


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#597
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Two potential but cost-effective solutions to the traffic congestion problem -

 

1. Passenger drones

 

Ehang-184-passenger-drone-CES-2016_dezee

 

 

2. Autonomous vehicles

 

volcosd.jpg

 

 

 

Doing away stop lights at traffic intersections...

 

intersection-5.png


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#598
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China makes Asia’s most powerful automated island maker
brian wang | November 5, 2017 |
Save

 

China has built a 140-meter-long, 28-meter-wide dregger, the Tian Kun Hao, which has described by some local media as “Asia’s most powerful island maker”.

Given Beijing’s earlier island-building activities in the South China Sea, such a description could easily cause alarm among regional neighbors, especially as the new vessel will replace the Tian Jing Hao – which was used extensively for such purposes – as Asia’s largest.

It is expected to go into service next summer.

 

https://www.nextbigf...land-maker.html


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#599
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Oroville Dam Spillway Repairs

 

http://www.latimes.c...-htmlstory.html

 

Introduction:

 

New images released by state water officials Thursday highlight the immensity of repairs made to the Oroville Dam spillway as seasonal rains begin to fall once again.

 

More than an inch of rain is expected in the area between Thursday and Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

 

In a series of photographs released by the California Department of Water Resources, workers contracted by the state are shown drilling, blasting, and smoothing out portions of the damaged spillway and the earthen pool below it.

 

The construction giant Kiewit Corp. is fully rebuilding an 870-foot section of the middle spillway and a 350-foot section at the bottom with high-strength concrete. It is using a fast-setting pavement, known as roller compacted concrete, along an additional 1,050-foot section in the middle that will be upgraded next year. The upper 730 feet also will be repaired next year.

 

The lower half of the spillway structure crumbled amid powerful storms in February, disabling the reservoir’s most important tool for controlling its water level, which endangered hundreds of thousands of residents downriver.

45EC2B5B00000578-0-image-a-1_15095848048


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#600
caltrek

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World's First 3D-Printed Concrete Bridge Opens in the Netherlands

 

https://www.dezeen.com/2017/10/27/worlds-first-3d-printed-concrete-bridge-bicycles-bam-infra-netherlands/

 

 

(Dezeen) The first 3D-printed concrete bridge has been completed in the Netherlands as a crossing for cyclists, but construction company BAM Infra claims it could take the weight of 40 lorries.

 

Made from pre-fabricated concrete blocks 3D-printed by robots, the 8-metre-long bridge forms part of a new ring-road being constructed around Gemert in the Dutch province of Brabant.

 

BAM Infra and Eindhoven University of Technology collaborated on the project, which they claim is the "world's first 3D printed reinforced, pre-stressed concrete bridge".

 

It took three months for robots to print the 800 layers of pre-stressed, reinforced concrete in sections in the university's laboratory.

 

The unique design uses less concrete than a traditional poured concrete bridge, making it a more sustainable construction process.

3d-printed-bridge-concrete-netherlands-h


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






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