Transport & Infrastructure News and Discussions

weatheriscool
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Study: New reusable shock absorber shows promise in lab tests
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-07-reu ... r-lab.html
by Cory Nealon, University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo engineers are reporting a new energy dissipation device that they say could have far-reaching applications in transportation safety.

Described in the International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, the device utilizes low-cost metallic materials and a simple design. Unlike conventional sacrificial structural components like car bumpers, it's designed to be reused after impact.

"Most energy absorbers carrying high stiffness work by crushing or collapsing upon impact. This reduces physical damage to the vehicle, or whatever the absorbers are protecting, but it requires the replacement of internal and external parts following the collision," says the study's senior author, Jongmin Shim, Ph.D., associate professor of structural engineering in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
weatheriscool
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Bipartisan infrastructure pact clears key Senate vote after breakthrough in talks
Source: Washington Post

Senate Democrats and Republicans banded together on Wednesday to advance a roughly $1 trillion proposal to improve the country’s aging infrastructure, overcoming months of political deadlock on one of President Biden’s signature economic policy priorities. The day of breakthroughs began with news of a deal, as a bipartisan bloc of 10 negotiators coalesced around a package to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections. The announcement from some of the group’s leaders, including Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), capped off a series of frenetic talks that nearly collapsed amid behind-the-scenes battles about the new spending and how to pay for it.

With that once-elusive agreement finally in hand, the Senate hours later then took its first formal legislative step. Lawmakers voted 67-32 to put themselves on track to begin debating infrastructure reform this week, clearing the first of many hurdles toward adopting a proposal that the White House has described as historic.The twin developments marked an early victory for lawmakers who have struggled for years to turn their shared enthusiasm for infrastructure into actual investments in the country’s inner-workings. Several past presidents had called for robust, new public-works spending to replace old pipes and fix cracked bridges, yet only on Wednesday did the Senate actually move toward delivering on those promises.

The news sparked jubilation at the White House, where Biden this spring put forward a roughly $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan funded largely through tax increases that Republicans swiftly rejected. But the administration’s top aides ultimately proved willing to be flexible in the months that followed in how they pursued some of the president’s priorities. Asked about the deal while traveling in Pennsylvania, Biden sounded a hopeful note, telling reporters: “I feel confident about it.”

Yet the progress still threatened to prove politically fragile in a debate that is only just beginning. Lawmakers must still draft their legislation, which had not been written by Wednesday evening, and calibrate it in a way to survive the narrowly divided Senate. The absence of actual legislative text troubled some Republicans, including Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), who said in a speech on the chamber floor he could not vote to forge ahead Wednesday because the bill is “not ready.”
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... ture-deal/
caltrek
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Under Pressure From UNESCO, Venice Boots Out Cruise Ships
by Cain Burdeau
July 28, 2021

https://www.courthousenews.com/under-pr ... ise-ships/

Introduction:
(Courthouse News) (CN) — Venice, the magnificent floating city of art and architecture, is getting back to normal this summer as vaccinated tourists from outside Italy once again glide along its waterways, browse its art galleries and get lost in its labyrinth of pathways and bridges.
But starting on Sunday one big thing is changing: Mammoth cruise ships will no longer be allowed into the historic city.

After years of protests from locals and warnings from preservationists, the Italian government earlier this month passed a decree banning cruise ships from docking in the old city.

UNESCO, the United Nations culture agency, warned Italy that unless it banned cruise ships it might put the famed city on its list of world heritage sites that are in danger of being lost for good.

Besides being overrun with mass tourism and losing its local populations as outsiders buy up many Venetian buildings, Venice is at risk from higher sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps. Another problem is the lagoon's busy ship traffic, including cruise liners, which is blamed for dangerous wave action undermining the city. Venice was built atop 118 islands
Image
A cruise ship passes by the tourist-filled St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy, in June 2019.
AP Photo/Luca Bruno

caltrek's comment: The lesson here should be that bigger isn't always better.
weatheriscool
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FAA head seeks more prosecution of unruly airline passengers
Source: AP

By DAVID KOENIG
The nation’s top aviation regulator is suggesting that local police around the country should file charges more often against unruly airline passengers and that airports should clamp down on alcohol sales.

Federal Aviation Administration chief Stephen Dickson said that every week, police are asked to be there when a flight lands after an incident involving passengers, including cases in which they assault flight attendants.

“Nevertheless, many of these passengers were interviewed by local police and released without criminal charges of any kind,” Dickson said in letters to airport officials. “When this occurs, we miss a key opportunity to hold unruly passengers accountable for their unacceptable and dangerous behavior.”

Dickson noted in the letters dated Wednesday that the FAA has proposed civil fines against dozens of passengers in recent months, but the agency has no authority to file criminal charges.


Read more: https://apnews.com/article/business-air ... 7806925119
weatheriscool
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FAA calls for more than $500,000 in fines against dozens of disruptive airline passengers
Source: Washington Post

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that it is proposing $532,000 in fines against 34 airline passengers accused of disrupting flights, including a person who threw a carry-on bag at other passengers, another who snorted what appeared to be cocaine and another who hid a flight attendant’s jacket. The FAA summaries of the cases portray passengers determined not to wear masks, intent on drinking their own alcohol or vaping, and behaving abusively to other travelers and airline crews.

The proposed fines bring the total that the agency has sought to impose this year to more than $1 million. It’s the latest enforcement effort seeking to maintain order in the skies, as the FAA turns to what previously had been little-used powers to punish passengers who break federal rules governing conduct on planes. The agency says it has received 3,889 reports of unruly passengers this year — 2,867 of them related to a mask mandate intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Twenty-two of the 34 new cases with proposed fines involve passengers accused of not complying with the mask rule, which this week was extended into January 2022. The FAA launched the crackdown on misbehavior in the air at the beginning of the year amid conflicts over masks and concerns about people traveling to and from Washington during the week of the Capitol riot. The agency has asked airports to work closely with police to help bring criminal charges in the most egregious cases.

But the vast number of cases the FAA is pursuing has strained the ability of federal authorities to hold people accountable. A passenger has 30 days to respond when the agency proposes a fine, and in mid-July the FAA told The Post it had resolved seven cases. Some could take years to play out. The new cases point to now-familiar sources of problems in the air, particularly disputes over masks. Eight of the new cases involve passengers accused of drinking alcohol not served by airlines, coming days after the FAA asked airports to try to stop passengers from bringing to-go drinks aboard planes. A handful of cases involving vaping, which, like smoking, isn’t allowed on planes.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/transpor ... assengers/
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The traffic light gets a dazzling, 21st century makeover

07-16-21

The stop light was a design inevitability. As cars grew in popularity around the turn of the 20th century, several inventors developed a glowing box filled with round, incandescent lights to tell people when to stop and go. Which is why, since the traffic signal was first installed in Cleveland in 1914, the design has gone largely unchanged.

Yet, maybe it’s worth asking: Has that design gone unchanged because these traffic signals are a timeless design? Or have we just not thought of anything better yet?

Now, more than 100 years later, the Moscow-based design firm Art. Lebedev Studio believes that they’ve created a better alternative to the classic stop light—with a flexible design that could be expanded to metal stop signs and yield signs, too.

Their new stop light has already garnered attention from two cities in Russia, which have requested to test it in a limited capacity.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90655753/th ... y-makeover
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