Friday, April 28, 2006

FAA saves by switching to Linux

The Federal Aviation Administration and Red Hat issued a press release this week announcing that the FAA saved $15 Million by migrating its systems to Linux. The move made the systems' operation 30% more efficient than the previous system with 50% of the operating costs.

Could more public agencies move to open source systems?

via /.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Clever Car?

This week the BBC reported about the Clever(Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transport)Car. Could this sporty two-seater be the answer to so many congestion and pollution problems? Is it at least a step in the right direction?
via /.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

High Gas Price Boosts MTA LA Ridership

The United Transportation Union reports that Los Angeles' MTA has seen an increase in riders since the rise in gas prices. From the story:
From January through March, ridership rose more than 11% on Metro trains and 7% on buses compared with the same period last year, the MTA said.

Citing past experience and statistics, the agency linked the increases to high gas prices, MTA spokesman Dave Sotero said.

"It does correlate with the increasing gas prices. We've seen that over several occasions," he said. "We're making an assumption that ridership gains are parallel with rising gas prices."

The MTA also has anecdotal evidence, he said: Metro parking lots are filling up earlier, and traffic on the MTA's website rose by 10% in March.

A $3 MTA day pass allows unlimited rides on Metro buses and rail lines. "When the price for a single gallon of gasoline equals that of a day pass, it becomes much more affordable for people," Sotero said of public transit in Los Angeles.

Caquinez Bridge is Coming Down.

Today the old Carquinez Bridge is coming down.
The 1927 Carquinez Bridge is dying a slow, meticulous death.

The steel cantilever bridge, which carried eastbound traffic across the Carquinez Strait for nearly 80 years, was replaced in 2003 by a handsome, two-tower suspension bridge and now is being dismantled.

"I wish they'd just blow it up,'' said one person watching the operation, who did not want to be identified. "This is kind of dull. They're being very safe -- slow and methodical.''

That's because the old bridge is one of three bridges spanning the strait between Crockett and Vallejo within yards of one another. The new Al Zampa Memorial Bridge sits to the west of the old bridge, and a 1958 span carrying westbound Interstate 80 traffic sits to the east, leaving only so much room for crews to maneuver. Workers also must be careful not to drop anything into the waters below, which serve as a salmon run and natural habitat for delta smelt.

The Carquinez Bridge built in 1927 was the first steel bridge in the Bay Area. Caltrans determined that the old bridge was unfit for seismic retrofitting, allowing for the construction of the new Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge in 2003.

Goodyear to begin selling carbon-fiber tires

Goodyear announced last month that they will begin selling carbon-fiber enhanced tires in May. From the press release:
In the automotive industry, carbon fiber has been a key material in racing cars and concept vehicle designs. There now is a tendency to use it for regular production vehicles, although the usage is still confined to exotic sports cars.

"Among performance-oriented consumers, carbon fiber is recognized as a substance that raises the product to a higher status," said Bob Toth, Goodyear’s marketing manager for auto tires.

"The integration of carbon fiber in the new Eagle featuring ResponsEdge Technology tire not only helps stiffen the sidewall, but its use resonates with knowledgeable, performance-savvy consumers."

And here is the product information for the Eagle ResponsEdge tire.

Monday, April 24, 2006

More History of Container Shipping

The May issue of TRAINS Magazine has an article about White Pass & Yukon Route. The article has a small section about narrow-gauge container trains and the world's first container ship, White Pass & Yukon's 4,000 ton Clifford J. Rogers which predates Malcom McLean's Ideal-X by a year.

50 years of Container Shipping

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of container shipping.
Fifty years ago April 26, a trucker from rural North Carolina ran an experiment here that forever altered international trade and the global economy.

While many scoffed, Malcolm McLean hired a crane to hoist 58 trailer-sized steel cargo boxes onto a Texas-bound freighter. It was an alternative to the then-ubiquitous "break-bulk" shipping, the costly, pilferage-prone method dramatized in the film "On the Waterfront."
Now, shipping everything from clothing to razor blades to electronics in secured metal containers is the norm. Breakage and theft have been dramatically curtailed, and average shipping costs have fallen from 15% of retail value to less than 1%. At the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's facilities in Newark, N.J. and Elizabeth, N.J., containerization accounts for 94% of the cargo, with break bulk about 1%; automobiles account for the remainder.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Website solves South African logistical crisis

Logistics costs in South Afric represent 14.7% of the country's GDP, compared to 8.5% in the United States. South Africa's State of Logistics Survey investigated the issues facing logistics and freight in South Africa and offered some solutions. Without waiting for an official governement response, new website, offers dynamic real-time solutions for companies looking to transport goods around the country.

Is your city ready for an oil crisis?

Recently SustainLane released their study naming the 50 largest cities prepared for an oil crisis. The top ten cities are:
  1. New York

  2. Boston

  3. San Francisco

  4. Chicago

  5. Philadelphia

  6. Portland

  7. Honolulu

  8. Seattle

  9. Baltimore

  10. Oakland

It's nice to see both San Francisco and Oakland in the top ten. The rest of the list can be found here.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Welcome to TransBlog from the Institue of Transportation Studies Library at UC Berkeley. TransBlog will discuss new developments in transportation research, as well as highlight services and resources for those interested in transportation engineering and planning. Stay tuned!