February 4, 2014
Welcome to The Future of Transportation

theatlanticcities:

Getting from here to there in the United States today can feel a lot closer to an episode of The Flintstones than The Jetsons. Every day we deal with problems that should be relics of the past: congested highways full of single-occupancy cars, mass transit systems continually under threat of service cuts, and aged infrastructure on the verge of obsolescence if not total collapse. For all humanity’s advances, our daily haul can still be a nightmarish experience that reduces productivity, increases stress, endangers public safety, and hastens global climate change.

Fortunately the future is not all bleak. The flipside of these challenges is a bounty of ideas for how to improve travel in and around America’s cities. We’re recognizing the limits of our current highway systems, finding ways to increase transit efficiency and expand its development, and preparing for the not-so-distant day when our cars will drive themselves (and our “smart” streets will guide them). For every commuting obstacle we face there’s a brighter dream of better mobility.

Welcome to The Future of Transportation — a special nine-month series on The Atlantic Cities that will examine the full extent of America’s transportation challenges and explore how U.S. cities are reinventing the way we navigate them. By future we don’t really mean futuristic (sorry, Hyperloop). Instead we’ll focus on the initiatives and technologies being developed right now that will change the way we move around cities in the next 5, 10, and 25 years.

The series will be split into three parts. We’ll begin with the elusive search for “The Perfect Commute,” exploring new and better ways to enhance what can be the most infuriating part of the day, the journey to and from work. Next we’ll examine “The Smartest Trip,” focusing on the crucial connections between transportation progress and achieving sustainability. Finally we’ll document the current state of “Design in Motion,” sneaking a peak at the technological and planning innovations that will fundamentally alter America’s transportation landscape.

Our weekly dispatches from this horizon will come from correspondents reporting on the ground in cities across the country. We’ll get the latest on sustainable transport in Los Angeles, light rail expansion in Houston, bus-rapid transit in Chicago, urban highway teardowns in Syracuse, and more. Along the way, we’ll also hear from planners, scholars, and fellow travelers, as hopeful as they are frustrated.

Support for this endeavor comes from The Rockefeller Foundation, whose mission for more than 100 years has been to advance a more resilient and equitable world. It’s our view that there may be no better way to achieve those goals than affordable, reliable transportation, and we thank The Rockefeller Foundation for their deep understanding and commitment to this issue. We hope you enjoy the series, and that you’ll join in along the way with your comments, tweets, and insightful feedback.

Check out this cool new series from The Atlantic Cities!

September 30, 2013
A Donkey Ambulance for Women in Labor in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world, and a high concentration of donkeys.
Enter the maternity saddle — a new invention that promises to carry women in labor across Afghanistan’s difficult terrain so they can get the medical care they need.
The British charity HealthProm and designer Peter Muckle developed the inflatable donkey saddle to ease the burden on women about to give birth in remote areas of Afghanistan.
The lack of suitable transport in mountainous areas leads many pregnant women to opt against heading to health centers in favor of giving birth at home, raising the risks for both mother and child should complications arise.
Read more. [Image: Screenshot HealthProm]

A Donkey Ambulance for Women in Labor in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world, and a high concentration of donkeys.

Enter the maternity saddle — a new invention that promises to carry women in labor across Afghanistan’s difficult terrain so they can get the medical care they need.

The British charity HealthProm and designer Peter Muckle developed the inflatable donkey saddle to ease the burden on women about to give birth in remote areas of Afghanistan.

The lack of suitable transport in mountainous areas leads many pregnant women to opt against heading to health centers in favor of giving birth at home, raising the risks for both mother and child should complications arise.

Read more. [Image: Screenshot HealthProm]

July 29, 2013
The Future of Transportation: Own an EV, Get Access to an SUV

The future of the car could well be small, cheap-to-operate electric vehicles for the workaday commute and a sports car or SUV whenever you want one. 
Read more.

The Future of Transportation: Own an EV, Get Access to an SUV

The future of the car could well be small, cheap-to-operate electric vehicles for the workaday commute and a sports car or SUV whenever you want one.

Read more.

November 30, 2012

A Visualization of NYC’s Frantic Transit Patterns Over 24 Hours

Using data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, this animation tracks public transportation on a weekday, starting at 4am. Sumus, the Canadian software company behind these visualizations, uses the General Transit Feed Specification data from various cities to create a whole series of videos that you can check out on YouTube. Be sure to watch full screen in 720 HD to see the movement of subways and buses (which appear to be color-coded to match the corresponding lines). 

November 13, 2012

Newly Un-Flooded New York Subway Still Looking Pretty Horrible

[Images: MTA]

November 2, 2012

Grim Scenes From New York’s Flooded Subway System

If you want to see what a difficult task the MTA faces in the coming days, look at these photos the agency posted on Tuesday to its Flickr account. The damage is incredible. The South Ferry subway station is a dark Venice with waves lapping at platform edges. Out on the Rockaway line, repair crews face yawning holes in the ground and the occasional washed-up boat on the tracks. If you’re wondering why the transit agency didn’t prepare for the tidal surge with sandbags and the like, they did: It just didn’t make much of a difference against the storm’s brutal tides.

Read more. [Images: Flickr]

November 1, 2012
The 2011 Report That Predicted New York’s Subway Flooding Disaster

Last fall, as part of a massive report on climate change in New York, a research team led by Klaus Jacob of Columbia University drafted a case study that estimated the effects of a 100-year storm on the city’s transportation infrastructure. Considering MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota’s comments today that Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the subway was "worse than the worst case scenario," it seems pretty safe to put Sandy in the 100-year category. In that case, assuming the rest of the report holds true, the subway system could be looking at a recovery time of several weeks, with residual effects lasting for months and years.

Read more. [Image: LDEO, Columbia University]

The 2011 Report That Predicted New York’s Subway Flooding Disaster

Last fall, as part of a massive report on climate change in New York, a research team led by Klaus Jacob of Columbia University drafted a case study that estimated the effects of a 100-year storm on the city’s transportation infrastructure. Considering MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota’s comments today that Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the subway was "worse than the worst case scenario," it seems pretty safe to put Sandy in the 100-year category. In that case, assuming the rest of the report holds true, the subway system could be looking at a recovery time of several weeks, with residual effects lasting for months and years.

Read more. [Image: LDEO, Columbia University]

October 29, 2012

The Subway Looks Kind of Creepy When Its Empty

It’s a rare sight to behold in the city of 24-hour everything. 

[Image: Flickr/MTA]

October 25, 2012

Durham’s Bridge of Death Will Decapitate Any Tall Truck


4:54pm
  
Filed under: Video Transportation 
October 17, 2012

The Hunt for the Last Steam Train

Steam-power isn’t as outdated as you might infer from its near extinction in the developed world. Skow remembers his father taking him to watch the big steam-powered freight trains run through the junction at Pasadena, California, in the 1950s. Steam wasn’t systematically phased out in the U.S. until the 1960s. Today, there is still one steam locomotive operating on a Class I railroad in the U.S., the Union Pacific 844.

Read more. [Images: David Longman]


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