I encourage everyone to poke around the great Transport Databook site by Yonah Freemark. There are all sorts of great charts that are useful, such as the one below — a nice reminder that Americans are driving at unprecedented levels.
— Yonah Freemark (@yfreemark) September 16, 2016
In defense of the Expo Line (LAist)
Matt Tinoco argues that while Expo may not be perfect thus far, it has overall been a game changer in terms of DTLA to SaMo transit. Excerpt:
Speaking to the scheduling challenges, it’s only expected that service would be spottier during the first month of service of a brand new line. Train operators are getting used to the ebb and flow of the route, and signals might still need some tweaking. It’s also important to note that the Expo Line wasn’t designed to be the absolute fastest way to travel between Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Expecting a train that’s limited to 55 mph and stops at 19 different stations to be quicker than a car on a freeway is unrealistic. That the travel times between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles on the Expo Line and the 10 freeway are roughly comparable (45 minutes give or take) speaks less about the purported inefficiency of the train, and more to the woeful condition of our car-centered infrastructure. Perhaps the Times should investigate delays on the 10.
I don’t have problems with the LAT or anyone asking hard questions about Expo. The project overall cost $2.5 billion and was promoted as a traffic alternative. It should be scrutinized. As for roads, I agree with Matt that generally speaking road projects sometimes don’t get the same media treatment. Sometimes. Anyone remember the 405/Sepulveda Pass widening? That got some attention!
Hardly surprising in a city with a new and skeptical mayor — and a city, the BBC notes, that has trouble picking up its own rubbish.
That leaves L.A., Paris and Budapest in the mix. I think that leaves us as favorites because few people here seem to have an opinion on the Olympics one way or the other and, besides, we’ve already got most of the venues in place. That said, I live with someone of Hungarian descent and I can tell you firsthand that Hungarians tend to get their way.
Tech columnist Farhad Manjoo asks a question that many other in the media have shied away from: who is going to be driving the trucks of the future?
According to the boosters, autonomous trucks would avert lots of accidents, saving thousands of lives annually. They could reduce congestion and carbon emissions by cutting the number of trucks on the road, as each truck would never have to sleep. In the short-to-midrange future — before they are good enough to dispense with a human driver entirely — they may make the job of driving a truck far more comfortable and enjoyable than it is today. And they could also slash the cost of interstate transit, possibly sparking wider economic prosperity.
But it wouldn’t all be rainbows. At least at first, the autonomous technology wouldn’t be perfect. Errors and bugs, perhaps fatal ones, might spark politically damaging fear and outrage. In the long run, if the trucks prove successful and our logistics infrastructure adjusts to accommodate them, they could begin to displace the three million Americans (mostly men) who now drive trucks for a living, not to mention truck stops and the small towns that depend on them.
I can’t wait to see how the self-driving cars and self-driving trucks negotiate the awful stretch of the eastbound 210 in Pasadena, in which vehicles entering the freeway must merge left into three lanes of heavy traffic — including many trucks — trying to move right to continue east on the 210. My prediction: the self-driving cars and self-driving trucks will stop in their tracks, giving drivers the equivalent of the endlessly spinning hourglass. Option+Command+Esc!!!
Categories: Transportation Headlines