Monday, December 17, 2007

World's First Ship Tunnel

According to Reuters, Kystverket, the Norwegian Coastal Administration has approved plans for the world's first shipping tunnel. Likely to cost around $310 million, the tunnel would span 1,700 metres (5,577 feet) across the base of the Stad peninsula. The tunnel is to be located well inland where the openings would be sheltered from the raging storms of the North Sea.

The Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal affairs could present the plan to parliament in 2009.

Friday, December 14, 2007

GPS Gets Handy

The Global Positioning System is becoming woven more and more into everyday life, and we could be on the brink of an explosion of new applications. GPS receivers are becoming lighter, more portable, more versatile and cheaper. Consequently they are moving off the dashboard and into the hands and pockets of pedestrians. An article in the current Economist outlines the rapid developments in portable GPS receivers and their uses.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

UPS Logistics

A post not wholly irrelevant to the holidays- NYTimes is currently reporting on logistics software being implemented by UPS. One major factor, the article explains, is the near-elimination of those costly, wasteful left-hand turn signals. The author explains:
Last year, according to Heather Robinson, a U.P.S. spokeswoman, the software helped the company shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and has reduced CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons. So what can Brown do for you? We can’t speak to how good or bad they are in the parcel-delivery world, but they won’t be clogging up the left-hand lane while they do their business.

Fast food - they mean it

You now get just 45 minutes to scoff your stuff at UK branches of MacDonalds. Surveillance cameras in the parking lots of drive-thru branches record license plates and the duration of one's stay. Stay for more than 45 minutes and a private enforcement agency will send a fine of £125 (yes, pounds sterling; about $250.) Stubborn types who refuse to pay up quickly find that the amount increases the longer they hold out. Read more in the UK's Guardian.

(But how can it take 45 minutes to put away a burger and fries? They must be doing something else in those parking lots. Blogging, maybe.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wired's Best & Worst Airport to Rail Connections

Alexander Lew compiled lists of the best and worst cities for airport to rail connections. The five best:
5. Chicago O'Hare for its connection to the Blue Line
4. Tokyo's Narita airport connections to its Narita Express and Keisei Skyliner trains.
3. London's Heathrow airport's BAA Heathrow Express.
2. Paris Charles de Gaulle's connections to the TGV.
1. And the most convenient is Hong Kong's Airport Express.

Unfortunate travelers may find themselves having to rely on public transportation at the following airports:
4. New York's JFK
3. Shanghai Pudong PVG
2. San Francisco SFO
1. Los Angeles LAX

Monday, December 03, 2007

Cool Traffic Modeling Program Says "Yes" to Congestion Pricing

SF City Planner, Billy Charleton, is interviewed on KQED Radio as he describes using SF Champ 3.0, an unusually sophisicated traffic modelling program which contains census data on 750,000 SF residents. In each scenario he runs, the simulation shows that traffic congestion is reduced with the introduction of congestion pricing. Critics of congestion pricing, however, point to London which charges about $16 to enter downtown during business hours. There, retail sales have declined since congestion pricing started.

Asha Weinstein Agrawal, of San Jose State's Dept. of Urban & Regional Planning, conducted a survey of 2700 California residents. 63 percent of respondents say that people with less fuel efficient vehicles should pay higher vehicle registration fees. This leads Agrawal to believe that people would be amenable to congestion pricing.