Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Berkeley study: car pool lanes are effective"

ITS Berkeley in the news. The recent findings by Mike Cassidy and Carlos Daganzo on how HOV lanes affect traffic flow are summarized in a local ABC News report.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More predictions from the past

Transportation futuristics from the Paleo-Future site. Marvel at all the people in 2000 wearing 19th-century clothes as they walk on water, soar through the air on personal flying machines, travel on moving sidewalks and enjoy televised opera concerts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New bibliographies from the Transportation Library

Library staff members Seyem Petrites and John Gallwey have recently compiled bibliographies that may be of interest to our readers. Seyem compiled Sources of Information in Intelligent Transportation Systems, a solo effort, while John engaged the help of several members of the Special Libraries Association's Transportation Division (including our own Kendra Levine) to assemble Sources of Information in Highways.

These bibliographies are part of the 6th edition of the SLA Transportation Division's "Sources of Information in Transportation." The new edition will become available on the National Transportation Library website in summer 2007.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Enthusiasm for music of all kinds runs high among the Library's staff. But former Circulation Manager Sean Mooney (that's him in the middle) was a practitioner as well as a fan. One of his musical adventures was the Happy Boys project. Several of their EuroDance masterworks can be heard on the Boys' website. Unfortunately, no transportation songs.

The Great Quake of '06

In 2006 the Transportation Library participated in The Great Quake: the Legacy of Disaster exhibition in UC Berkeley's Main Library in 2006. The exhibition was part of the campus's recognition of the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Focusing on themes such as transportation, water resources, public policy, and earthquake preparedness, the exhibits gave a glimpse of how UC Berkeley researchers and local agencies have worked to reduce risks and improve disaster management.

Staff member Seyem Petrites selected items from the Library's collections to arrange an exhibit featuring programs developed by Bay Area agencies and transportation providers to reduce the region's vulnerability to earthquakes. The exhibits were on display from April 18 through the end of August 2006 in the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery in Doe Library. An expanded version of the exhibition continues online, courtesy of the Bancroft Library.

Bay bridges exhibit

From 2002 to 2004 the Transportation Library and the Water Resources Center Archive ran a joint exhibit on the history of Bay Area bridges with sections on the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and the Carquinez bridge; the new east span of the Bay Bridge; unbuilt projects; and the Golden Gate Bridge in popular culture. The site was created by Randal Brandt, formerly of the Water Resources Center Archive and now chief cataloger at the Bancroft Library.


If you liked the previous entry on technological forecasts from 1900, you may well enjoy Engineering Futuristics, an online exhibition of weird and wonderful transportation ideas from the past. Assembled by our Operations Manager Paul Hernandez from items in the Transportation Library's collections, the physical exhibition was originally displayed in the lobby of UC Berkeley's Main Library. It reopened on Cal Day, April 16, 2005 on the ground floor of the breezeway between McLaughlin Hall and O'Brien Hall.

Paul talks about the exhibition in an interview in the online magazine The High Hat.

From Beijing to Lhasa by rail

The controversial new railroad between Beijing and Lhasa, capital of Tibet, travels over some of the highest terrain in the world. At over 16,000 feet the oxygen content is just 45% of normal levels, and oxygen masks are supplied for passengers. John Flinn of the San Francisco Chronicle rode the train and filed an illustrated report in the November 5, 2006 Sunday issue.

More recently the New Yorker (April 16, 2007) published a longer article by Pankaj Mishra. It describes the author's train ride to Lhasa and ponders the political implications of the new rail link. An abstract is available.

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Yorker article on commuting

"There and Back Again: The Soul of the Commuter" is an article in the New Yorker (April 16, 2007) discussing the impacts of commuting on individuals and society, and the heavy economic and social costs involved.

Some highlights:
The longest known commute is 372 miles a day, or 7 hours, between the Sierra foothills and San Jose, done by a Cisco Systems engineer who actually claims to enjoy it.

"The number of commuters who travel ninety minutes or more each way—known to the Census Bureau as “extreme commuters”—has reached 3.5 million, almost double the number in 1990."

Ideally the sides of the sleep-work-shop triangle are short. In today's large urban areas the commuter can spend an hour traveling each side. The smaller the triangle, the happier people are.

The "Drive until you qualify" concept refers to the distance commuters must travel away from work to reach an exit where they can afford to buy a house. Salary determines the length of the commute.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Looking forward from the year 1900

Futuristics from the December 1900 issue of the Ladies' Home Journal, in an article titled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years" by John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. What's interesting is that the author and his consultants ("the wisest and most careful men in our greatest institutions of science and learning") got quite a few things correct, though they missed out on the airplane.

Here's a facsimile of the original article.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

French high speed train breaks record

Here's a report from CNN on the French TGV breaking its speed record in late March. It topped 564 kilometers (356.5 miles) per hour. Here also is a video of the event, shot inside the train, from the air and from a couple of stationary locations. The best moment comes when the train passes under a bridge; that's when you get a true impression of the vehicle's awesome speed.

Someday we may get the chance to whisk between the Bay Area and the Southland on one of these things.