Design & Development
August 2, 2018

Thoughts On Vancouver Rapid Transit – Broadway to UBC

TransLink, UBC and City of Vancouver engineers and planners have told us what they think about the technology for the Broadway to UBC rapid transit line.  There’s no room for more busses on this monster corridor, and LRT has too-low capacity.

This information came out at the July 28 Town Hall meeting mentioned recently in Price Tags along with significant background.

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PT contributor Scot Bathgate forwarded us this video from Ford from a few months ago that takes the “kids on bikes witnessing the otherworldly” trope last seen in the Netflix series Stranger Things, and goes one step beyond.

And although it’s odd for a car manufacturer, one so long steeped in motordom mythology, not only embrace the role of the bicycle in a liveable community, with fleeting glimpses of mass transit and pedestrian activity (and always a glowing, flying orb), it’s all about Ford telling us that the company really understands the importance of mobility mix — the new marketing mix.

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Thanks to John Graham, architect with Graham Sherwin Studio, for this recommendation of Along for the Ride, a new blog on self-driving cars and urbanization by Sarah Barnes:

I’m pretty sure some Price Tags people will want to know about this…written by an urbanist friend in London (ex-UBC urban geography, ex-London School of Economics Urban Planning Masters program).

It’s a fantastic weekly summary of all things vehicular, particularly automated. She’s a delightful writer too.

Barnes was until recently in automated vehicle policy and planning at Siemens, and is now with Beryl, a London-based urban cycling technology company developing lighting products and systems.

Subscribe to Along for the Ride here.

Image courtesy of Siemens PLM Software.

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I’ve been predicting the rise of the “Transportation Service Provider” — a consolidator of every mode of movement imaginable, integrated with technology, and designed to provide consumers with a suite of services for which they pay (as with telecommunications) one provider with a lot of money.

This is based on the assumption a single provider or oligopoly can emerge. Look to see some of today’s giants try to get even bigger and more diverse as fast as possible in order to dominate the market.

Here’s the latest example, via Michael Alexander.

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The title said it all in this tweet from NJ Advance Media, host of and publisher of the Star-Ledger and other New Jersey media sites: “City narrows roads because you won’t stop texting while walking“.

But the correct reframing of this should instead be: “City narrows crossing distance at intersection to make pedestrians safer”.

This whole thing about pedestrians being crashed into by vehicle drivers because they’re looking at their phones is a bit odd. Drivers of vehicles hit, maim and kill pedestrians. What are the three main reasons for this? Driver speed, driver impairment (drugs/alcohol), and driver distraction.

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Friday, June 15th saw the official start of SunTrip 2018, the third annual solar bike rally — this year between Lyon, France and Guangzhou, China.

Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of a ‘sister’ relationship between the two cities, the 12,000 km point-to-point overland adventure will cross 10 countries, and imposes some challenging rules on the 40 rally participants:

  • Participants must ride on a solar electric bicycle and charge their batteries using only solar energy
  • After the start proper (in Chamonix tomorrow, June 19th), there is no specific, imposed route
  • Sun Trip adventurers are not to be followed by support vehicles — this is a completely unassisted rally

And there’s a local connection to SunTrip 2018.

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Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board released its preliminary crash report related to the pedestrian fatality caused by the autonomous vehicle (AV) in Tempe, Arizona this past March.

Trust The Economist to wade right into the muddy waters; since this report has not received much coverage in the rest of the media, we’ll join the fray.

The NTSB confirmed what has been previously reported — the AV’s braking system had been disabled. But why?

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From Bloomberg: “Who’s Winning the Self Driving Car Race?
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicts that robo-taxis will help the ride-hailing and -sharing business grow from $5 billion in revenue today to $285 billion by 2030. There are grand hopes for this business. Without drivers, operating margins could be in the 20 percent range, more than twice what carmakers generate right now. If that kind of growth and profit come to pass—very big ifs—it would be almost three times what GM makes in a year. And that doesn’t begin to count the money to be made in delivery.

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I’ve been predicting the rise of the TSP – Transportation Service Providers: potentially huge integrated companies providing consumers with transportation options and replacements for personal car ownership. Like Ford fleets:
From engadget:

Ford’s Jim Farley told the Financial Times in an interview that the automaker’s self-driving car network will be running “at scale” in 2021. It launched its recent Miami pilot precisely so that it “can scale [by] then,” the executive said, not to merely get the ball rolling. Farley also stressed that this would be a truly Ford-run service. While Ford does have self-driving car partnerships with companies like Lyft, it intends to “own the fleet” for its own services.
… it’s not entirely surprising that the company would push for a large, in-house driverless network. Its leadership has repeatedly talked about preparing for the decline of car ownership, and that means a shift toward services (such as its on-demand commuter vans) instead of pure car sales. If it runs its own fleet, it has a reliable business even if vehicle sales to other customers eventually dry up.

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