Friday, October 20, 2006

Buy a (Non-flying) Piece of Aviation History

Bidding on eBay has reached more than $3,000,000 for an unflyable, undriveable M400X Skycar prototype from Moller International of Davis, California. The brainchild of Paul Moller, it's been in development for years but is still neither sky- nor road-worthy. Flight tests have tantalized some investors, however, and the company has successfully spun off research into rotary engines using ethanol.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Reverse Commuting on Upswing in New York

The commuter trains headed to Grand Central Terminal from the suburbs to the north are still packed each work day morning, but a now cars headed in the other direction -- out of Manhattan -- are also full. A story this week in the New York Times describes changes in job locations and marketing efforts by the railroads.

The result? Less than half of the riders on Metro-North are now traditional suburb-to-Manhattan commuters. And this hasn't come at the expense of traditional commuters as their numbers are higher than at any time since Metro-North began operation 23 years ago. Instead, seats are filled with day-trippers, reverse commuters, and people traveling between suburbs.

Pavement Lousy in Bay Area

In what may come as a surprise to Bay Area drivers, road conditions in the Bay Area have improved during the past year, according to a report issued today by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. But despite the modest improvement, much of the pavement is in a danger zone where further deterioriation will require major rehabilitation.

Said MTC Vice Chair John McLemore, “...our streets and roads are still at a critical stage. There are thousands of miles of streets and roads all around the Bay Area with PCI scores that have fallen below 60, which is the point when pavement begins deteriorating rapidly. So we need to invest in both preventive maintenance to keep the good roads above 60 and in rehabilitation to bring poorer roads out of the danger zone. Given the size of our funding shortfall, that’s a huge challenge.”