Transportation headlines, Monday, Oct. 11

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

CicLAvia hits the streets without a hitch (L.A. Streetsblog)

Organizers estimated that 100,000 cyclists and pedestrians enjoyed car-free streets of L.A. at the first-ever CicLAvia event Sunday. Damien Newton, at Streetsblog, thinks the numbers are a little besides the point — more importantly it was a day when cyclists and pedestrians usually treated like second-class citizens on the streets in favor of vehicles, got a break and made the most of it. Read the comments on the post, too — readers are leaving their stories.

Google cars can drive themselves (New York Times)

The Internet giant has quietly been teaching a fleet of cars to drive themselves using artificial intelligence. No one is sure — including Google apparently — what application there will be for the technology since most states still legally prefer humans be behind the wheel. Excerpt:

But the advent of autonomous vehicles poses thorny legal issues, the Google researchers acknowledged. Under current law, a human must be in control of a car at all times, but what does that mean if the human is not really paying attention as the car crosses through, say, a school zone, figuring that the robot is driving more safely than he would?

The Times’ reporter certainly seems convinced the technology itself works and notes there are times it does seem as if the robot is every bit as good a driver as those pesky humans. LAist is also reporting that Google tested the cars in Hollywood and Santa Monica, too.

As the world burns (The New Yorker)

A good, long look — hey, it’s the New Yorker — on how legislation intended to lower the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions died in the U.S. Senate this past spring. The article has plenty of examples of industry asking — and getting — much of what it wanted in the bill before it became victim to election politics and lack of support from the White House and Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. The transportation sector, by the way, is the leading producer of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. Here’s a chart from the U.S. Energy Information Administration: