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).
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]
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]
It’s a rare sight to behold in the city of 24-hour everything.
Steam-power isn’t as outdated as you might infer from its near extinction in the developed world.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]
— One of your responses to this month’s business column. “The Cheapest Generation,” asked whether twentysomethings putting off cars and houses represented a Great Recession trend or a new normal for young people.
When it comes to creating good public policy, an academic expert told the gathering of transportation officials, think like a nine-year-old.
You mean conceive massive public works projects made of Lego toys? Or give out free copies of the latest kids novel by Rick Riordan in return for raising sales taxes? Have members of the U.S. Senate address one another, “Hey, dude”?
“Nine-year-olds expect from technology things that we’ve only begun to think about, and they don’t have the same status quo assumptions. ‘Why can’t I use my iPhone to pay tolls or why is there just one person in so many cars?’” said Charles Wheelan, an economist and public policy lecturer at the University of Chicago. […]
Getting back to a nine-year-old’s perspective, Wheelan alluded to more imaginative uses of technology. What if every new vehicle had a GPS and you were charged on toll roads, or even city streets, based on how far you were driving, what kind of car you were driving (a gas-guzzling, polluting Hummer versus a Chevy Volt) and what time of day you were driving?
Read more. [Images: Flickr/Mugley]
On this day in 1804, the world’s first steam-powered train hauled 10 tons of iron and 70 men for nine miles at a speed of five miles an hour in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, opening a century whose history would be defined and guided by the expansion of the railway. The engine was designed by Richard Trevithick (1771-1833). Above, a drawing of an earlier Trevithick design, thought to be quite similar to the locomotive that ran in 1804.
Read more. [Image: irsociety.co.uk]