Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category

Car sharing in Japan grows as vehicle sales continue to fall

January 19, 2009

According to a recent article in Japan Today, car sharing is catching on in Japan as well as here in the U.S.. The article claims that, “car sharing is shifting into a higher gear in Japan as people try to save on car maintenance costs and be more environmentally friendly at the same time,”.

While car sharing is growing, car sales are down. Vehicle sales in Japan hit a 28-year low in 2008, according to the figures released by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association (JADA). Annual sales are expected to fall again in 2009. “We never imagined sales would fall this badly,” said JADA Director, Takeshi Fushimi. “This is a bleak situation.”

What is a bleak situation for auto dealers is great news for Japanese car sharing organizations. According to a survey done by the Eco-Mo Foundation, there were 19 car sharing organizations in Japan, with a total of 522 cars being shared by 3,875 members, as of August 2008. The numbers of cars and car stations more than doubled and the number of registered car sharing members increased by half since the same survey was done in January of 2007. Below is a photo of a car sharing site at a condominium in Japan.

Take a bike lane with you

January 16, 2009

This is pretty sweet – this gadget lets you take a bike lane with you.

The lasers help drivers see you and give them a clear boundary to avoid you, making biking safer at night.

Do you have any tips for safe biking, running, or walking at night?

(via GOOD)

Forget your Hummer – I need the Aeolus Airship

January 16, 2009

Oh man. Want.

Some images like this leaked of the Aeolus Airship – a sleek, people-powered blimp that can fly up to two weeks. It was designed by someone named Christopher Ottersbach. I can’t find much of anything about him or where to find out more about this vehicle, so it might be some hoaxy thing or a movie promo. I don’t care if it is imaginary – I want to pedal through the sky:

So when is Chicago finally gonna get a blimp-sharing service?

(via Treehugger)

Chicago expands red light ticketing program

January 6, 2009

As some of you may already be painfully aware, traffic surveillance cameras have been popping up around Chicago at intersections in recent years. Getting caught running a red light on one of these cameras will cost you a hefty $100 ticket in the mail. Already, the City has installed 248 cameras at 123 accident-prone intersections and it looks like there are many more to come.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has given the City of Chicago the go-ahead to continue installing red light camera at intersections throughout Chicago. Rejecting the so-called “innocent owner’s defense”, the ruling states:

“Is it rational to fine the owner, rather than the driver? Certainly so. A camera can show reliably which cars and trucks go through red lights, but is less likely to show who was driving. That would make it easy for owners to point the finger at friends or children- and essentially impossible for the city to prove otherwise”

The City will now move ahead with a major expansion program, installing cameras at more than 330 intersections by 2012. Thus far, these cameras have raised $94.5 million in revenue for the city. However, City Hall insists that it’s more about safety than money, claiming a 59 percent drop in red-light running since installing the cameras in 2003. What do you think? Is this a fare form of traffic enforcement, or is Big Brother going too far?

World’s 1st plug-in hybrid fuel cell bus unveiled in Burbank, CA

December 28, 2008

Burbank Bus announced that they will be the first to put a plug-in hybrid fuel cell bus, the Proterra HFC35, into service. The Proterra can fully recharge in only 6 minutes (!) and can travel up to 250 miles before needing to be recharged. The bus has double the fuel economy of a diesel bus and releases nothing but water from the fuel exhaust. Moreover, the Proterra was created in this country (designed by Colorado-based Proterra) and uses power that is 100% derived from U.S. sources- meaning more energy independence for us. Burbank Bus plans to have the Proterra in operation within various routes by spring. Check out the full press release here. Wouldn’t it be cool to see these type of buses come to Chicago?

I-GO Breaking News: Congressman Ray LaHood Named Transportation Secretary

December 18, 2008

This just in. President-elect Obama will name Illinois Congressman (and Republican) Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary.

What does this mean for those of those who are interested in transportation issues, especially those related to the environment?

Well, no one really knows. While LaHood’s environmental record has been both scrutinized and criticized, he wins high points for his ability to work across the aisle to get things done.

Let us know what you think of Obama’s recent appointment and what issues you think LaHood should focus on first?

How green will Obama be?

December 14, 2008

No doubt Obama will do more to advance a sustainable/green agenda than the current administration has- but just how “green” will the next administration be? Carol Browner is said to be Obama’s top choice for “Climate Czar”- dealing with environmental, energy and climate related matters. She previously served as Administrator of the EPA during the Clinton Administration. Check out these short clips to get an idea of where she’s coming from…

Will Obama help grow an electric car bumper crop in Hawaii?

December 5, 2008

Will Barack Obama’s childhood island state become the first in the nation to fully support a transition to electric vehicles? The President-Elect has made it clear he plans to make sustainability and green-collar jobs top priorities during his administration. Now, Hawaii is attempting to lead the country in adopting use of all-electric vehicles. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the greed and lack of vision we’ve been witnessing on Capitol Hill as the Big Three automakers beg for a bail-out.

This past Tuesday, Hawaii announced plans to become the first state in the U.S. to create a statewide electric recharging network for electric cars. The Hawaiian state government has joined forces with Better Place, an ambitious start-up that I posted about earlier this year, in an effort to make all-electric vehicles a reality by building car charging and battery swapping stations around the islands and purchasing renewable energy from Hawaiian Electric Co., the state’s largest utility.

They plan to have the recharging stations up and running by 2011, and to have built 50,000 to 100,000 charging spots across the state by early 2012. Shai Agassi, Better Place’s founder and CEO, claims the electric cars will cost the same as gas powered cars — at first. However, over time, electric cars will be less expensive to make because they use far less parts than cars with internal combustion engines.

In late November, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area cities also announced plans to join forces with Better Place to create an electric recharging network by 2012. However, Better Place chose Hawaii as the first statewide rollout for several reasons: the size of the state, the contained environment and consistent climate the island offers, and the abundance of renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal and wave power.

Here are two short clips: one of Agassi and Hawaiian Governor Linda Lingle driving one of the Better Place electric vehicles (hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of these cars in the near future), and one of Agassi answering a reporter’s questions about Better Place’s agenda for the Bay Area.

CTA Charges Ahead in Cashless Transit

November 19, 2008

The front page of today’s Chicago Tribune featured an article on the CTA’s quest to combine their transit cards with riders credit cards. The CTA wants to offer riders the option to use their credit or debit cards on buses and trains in the near future; they plan to start soliciting bids from the major credit card companies in early 2009. According to CTA President Ron Huberman, they “believe this is where the market is heading, and we don’t want to be chasing it. We want to be leading it.”

What wasn’t mentioned in today’s article was the fact that I-GO is a part of these changes going on at the CTA. As we’ve previously mentioned, the CTA and I-GO will begin offering one card for both your CTA and I-GO use. This pilot program is set to roll out in late December. If you’re interested in being contacted when the program starts, click here to provide us with your contact info.

Fewer Cars = Stronger Economy?

November 14, 2008

In a new report unveiled by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, transportation leaders across the country are calling for an immediate and robust investment in public transit, high-speed and intercity rail, neighborhoods that are less car-dependent, more walkable and more affordable, and restoring the thousands of roads and bridges in failing condition across the United States. Funding these important projects has the potential to create millions of good, green jobs nationally, save Americans thousands of dollars per year, and reduce America’s dependence on oil once and for all.

What do you think the new Obama Administration should do to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.