Tag: Transportation

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The latest so-called cyber hit landed on one of the U.S.’s biggest meat suppliers, JBL, today.   “The world’s largest meat processing company has resumed most production after a weekend cyberattack, but experts say the vulnerabilities exposed by this attack and others are far from resolved. Preview Open

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‘You Better Go to Raw Data’


People operating complex machines and systems–ships, aircraft, and nuclear power plants, for example–are often dependent on information that has been processed or filtered in some way. The same is true of people exercising their responsibilities as citizens in a large and complex society, inasmuch as they cannot directly and personally observe most of the relevant facts and events.  Disasters that occur in complex physical systems can serve as a metaphor to help shed light on disasters–actual and potential–in the political sphere.

On June 9, 1995, the cruise ship Royal Majesty was on a routine voyage in good weather.  The vessel was equipped with GPS, which displayed latitude and longitude position…which the crew diligently plotted..and also drove a moving map overlaid on the radar scope.

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I was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Public Affairs in the George H. W. Bush Administration (1992) the last time Congress voted to increase the federal gas tax by a nickel per gallon, to its current 18.4 cents per gallon (24.4 cents per gallon for diesel). It pales in comparison to nearly all state […]

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Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Chris Dempsey, Director of Transportation for Massachusetts, about road and mass transit innovations that could address traffic challenges in a high-growth, post-pandemic economy.

Chris Dempsey is Director of Transportation for Massachusetts. He was formerly Assistant Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In that role, he co-founded the MBTA’s open-data program, which was named Innovation of the Year by WTS-Massachusetts in 2010. Chris has also worked as a consultant at Bain & Co., on a number of local and statewide political campaigns including that of Congressman Joe Kennedy III, and at a transportation technology startup that provides mobile ticketing for transit systems in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. Chris is a graduate of Pomona College (B.A., 2005) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A, 2012). Chris has taught transportation policy at the graduate level at Northeastern University. In 2015, Chris was named Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe Magazine for his volunteer work leading No Boston Olympics.

Join hosts Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute’s Mary Connaughton, and guest, former Mass. Secretary of Transportation Jim Aloisi, as they discuss the I90 Allston Multimodal Project, its long-term benefits, and their concerns for the metro west commuters and communities during the project’s decade-long construction.

Interview guest:

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I don’t write posts frequently (I enjoy the other ones so much!) but every so often something comes up and as I was fretting over it, I realized that the very-sensible Ricochet-members would probably have solid advice. Here goes: I take the Metra from downtown Chicago to the suburbs (Lake Forest, for those in the […]

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Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, joins City Journal contributing editor Nicole Gelinas to discuss the state of U.S. infrastructure and how federal spending could be used more effectively to improve safety and reduce fiscal waste.

The federal government spends between $40 billion and $60 billion on transportation infrastructure annually. In recent years, congressional leaders and the White House have pushed a $2 trillion plan to upgrade roads, bridges, and more. But such proposals, Osborne argues, “would throw more money into the same flawed system.”

Corey Johnson, Speaker of the New York City Council, joins Seth Barron to discuss the state of New York City’s transit system and his plan to break up the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), allowing the city to take control of its buses, subways, bridges, and tunnels. According to Johnson, direct control of the MTA would enhance its responsiveness, accountability, and transparency.

All Aboard! 10 May 1869, 150 Years Ago Yesterday


On 10 May 1869, 150 years ago yesterday, the newly reunited United States were tied together, from coast to coast with the first transcontinental railroad. Without any modern construction or surveying tools, the two teams, building towards each other from east and west, met in Promontory, Utah. The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad presidents met and drove a ceremonial final spike. With this, transportation accelerated far beyond any prior technology.

The inherent efficiency of even wood or coal steam engines over animal and sail power meant those modes would change. Horse or oxen would now service hubs defined by rail stops. The stops, necessary to refueling with coal and water, became towns. The glorious era of clipper ships was cut short, the golden spike puncturing their whole business model as surely as the rocky coast of Cape Horn could hull them. @seawriter can tell that tale far better.

The original wire story from AP has been reprinted in honor of the 150th anniversary of linking the United States by rail.

Nicole Gelinas joins Seth Barron to discuss her research on New York subway ridership, the future of the city’s subways, and the decriminalization of fare-jumping, a reversal of a critical policing strategy that helped fight crime.

Subway ridership in New York has nearly doubled since 1977, but it’s not tourists packing the trains: it’s city residents. And New York’s poorest neighborhoods have seen the biggest growth in annual ridership over the last 30 years.

This week on Banter, AEI Visiting Scholar Rick Geddes joins the show to discuss hyperloop technology. Geddes has written extensively about how hyperloop technology could dramatically reduce travel time in the United States as well as the regulatory, environmental, and financial challenges such a system would need to overcome. Geddes hosted a public event at AEI headquarters on hyperloop in April. You can view the full event video below.

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Since I love the Ricochet podcasts, I thought why not become a member! Hope folks enjoy my first post, an interview with former Democratic nominee 88′ Michael Dukakis. I’m trying to return our political debate to intelligent conversation instead of yelling over split screens. If you like it please share. Thanks. Preview Open

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Robert Poole (Reason Foundation) joins Aaron Renn on the ​City Journal podcast to discuss the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Port Authority was originally founded to manage the region’s transportation infrastructure, but the agency has long been plagued by politicized decision making, money-losing facilities, and declining financial viability.

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Of all the ways to travel in Thailand, the rickshaw was almost my favorite. We called this town conveyance a somlaw, or three-wheeler, because it was a bicycle in the front with two-wheeled carriage attached to the back. Somlaw carriages came in vivid primary colors with elaborate raised designs. The drivers tended to be older (men from surrounding villages?) […]

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What Is the Future of Pricey Bullet Train Projects in a World of Driverless Cars?


shutterstock_200996891_BullettrainsThe Wall Street Journal reports that the “U.S. government has approved the first federal funds for an ambitious plan to tap Japanese technology for a high-speed train project that could carry passengers between New York and Washington, D.C. at more than 300 miles an hour.”

Indeed, politicians have lots of big transportation ideas, like a $10 billion business terminal in New York or that ever-more-expensive California bullet train. But when dreaming up these super-pricey projects, are politicians taking into account autonomous vehicle technology? What should transportation policy be given the following scenario, sketched out by Princeton’s Steven Strauss?

Fleet ownership of AVs could reduce the number of cars on the road by 60% to 90% due to more efficient usage and, consequently, reduce car sales by an equivalent percentage. Many of the 1 million jobs in U.S. auto manufacturing will probably disappear.

Drone Taxicabs, Maglev Transportation Bubbles, and Peak Car


shutterstock_109852124Technological advances can help us do more with less. In a new piece at the Breakthrough Institute, Jesse Ausubel argues that with better tech, a “large, prosperous, innovative humanity, producing and consuming wisely, might share the planet with many more companions, as nature rebounds.” A future of abundance, not austerity. Already we may be at Peak Farmland and Peak Timber because of efficiency and alternatives. Also, Peak Car:

The beginning of a plateau in the population of cars and light trucks on US roads suggests we are approaching peak car. The reason may be that drone taxis will win. The average personal vehicle motors about an hour per day, while a car shared like a Zipcar gets used eight or nine hours per day, and a taxi even more. Driverless cars could work tirelessly and safely and accomplish the present mileage with fewer vehicles. The manufacturers won’t like it, but markets do simply fade away, whether for typewriters or newsprint.

Moreover, new forms of transport can enter the game. According to our studies, the best bet is on magnetically levitated systems, or maglevs, “trains” with magnetic suspension and propulsion. Elon Musk has proposed a variant called the hyperloop that would speed between Los Angeles and San Francisco at about 1,000 kilometers per hour, accomplishing the trip in about 35 minutes and thus comfortably allowing daily round trips, if the local arrangements are also quick.

What to do About Amtrak — Beyond the Usual Suggestions


051415amtrakBreaking! There’s a major disaster with possible public policy implications! Scramble the hot takes! (I know I often do.)

Here we go: “Amtrak needs help,” asserts the New York Times editorial page. But maybe the “world will lose nothing if the government winds down Amtrak by selling off its profitable lines in the Northeast to a competently-managed private company and scrapping the rest,” as the Washington Examiner argues. Then again, the Center for American Progress claims “Congress’ refusal to acknowledge Amtrak’s predicament has made American trains so inefficient that it’s actually having a dampening effect on ridership growth.” Yet National Review’s Ian Tuttle counters that “Amtrak’s history of fiscal chaos suggests that the service’s problems are not the product of congressional stinginess, but of a faulty assumption (that America needed a passenger rail service) compounded by decades of mismanagement.”

Just privatize it! (Probably won’t happen.) Just throw more money at it! (Probably shouldn’t happen.) Are there any other options? Transportation blogger Alon Levy offered a different path forward in a fascinating 2012 blog post where he sketched out a hypothetical future in which a profitable Amtrak had surging ridership and high-speed rail. Here are its guts:

A Warning to Republicans Nationwide


voteOn Tuesday, as I reported, the voters in Michigan went to the polls to vote on a sales tax increase aimed in part – but only in part – at repairing the state’s disintegrating roads. The turnout was far larger than I expected. Something like one voter in four actually showed up – and the results were a sharp rebuke to Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican establishment in Michigan. Although the Republicans scheduled this vote at a time when only those guaranteed to profit from the measure were apt to be paying attention — and although the road-building lobby outspent the opposition by more than twelve-to-one — the voters rejected the initiative four-to-one. This was the most resounding defeat for a ballot initiative since the current Michigan constitution was adopted in 1963. If Snyder and his not-so-merry men were up for reelection tomorrow, they would be voted out in a landslide. That is what happens when a political party betrays its base.

Of course, Republican voters are used to being betrayed. Republican candidates nearly always tout their conservative credentials. They oppose abortion, they criticize tax increases, they whine about government regulation. But when push comes to shove, very few of them ever do anything for their constituents.

The ballot measure we voted on yesterday was a bipartisan measure supported by the establishment in both parties. Its defeat is a rebuke to Rick Snyder and the Republican leaders in the legislature. But it is also a defeat for the Democrats. It is, in fact, a rejection of the politics of compromise – in which the Republicans get a little something for the business community and the Democrats move us further down the road of total government control. The thing to keep in mind is that the hand in your pocket is not just there for money. That money is the means for micro-managing your life. As I have pointed out frequently in the past, the public provision of medical care will bring with it a requirement that Catholic hospitals perform abortions.