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New Transportation

A friend of mine, Josh Sunshine, has had a long-standing interest in transportation, especially technological innovations within the transportation field. He has recently begun writing a very thoughtful and thought-provoking blog, called the New Transportation Blog, which he is using to explore these ideas. For some highlights, check out his often-updated Why We Can Do Better Than Cars and his mission-statement-like post for the blog.

Frumination: a blog with lots of public transit info

Michael Frumin has a great blog, Frumination, chock full of information about public transportation, mainly the NYC Subway. There are graphs, maps, pictures, and much more, with lots of data and links to data. A few interesting posts:

NYC Subway capacity analysis

Urban GPS and congestion pricing

Sources of NYC Traffic Data

Enjoy playing.

On the Nature of Commuting

The New Yorker has an article by Nick Paumgarten entitled There and Back Again all about commuting and why some people are willing to endure unreasonably long travel times. It focuses mainly on New York City and Atlanta, evidently a commuting Hell. As a bonus, the article also includes a brief etymology of the term ‘commute’:

The term “commute” derives from its original meaning of “to change to another less severe.” In the eighteen-forties, the men who rode the railways each day from newly established suburbs to work in the cities did so at a reduced rate. The railroad, in other words, commuted their fares, in exchange for reliable ridership (as it still does, if you consider the monthly pass). In time, the commuted became commuters.

Fight between Walk/Don’t Walk Sign Guys

Snickers has a new ad that imagines what would happen if the Walk/Don’t Walk guys in the street signs at crosswalks came to life. The Red and Green guys duke it out, apparently hard-wired to fight their opposite color. The graphics are great and it’s an enjoyable and very watchable ad. Most importantly, it stands up to repeat viewings, which means that one will not go insane seeing it more than once on television. (via veryshortlist)

Braess’s Paradox

Braess’s Paradox, named after Dietrich Braess, is when you add roads or capacity for cars, and thereby worsen traffic (or alternatively, you lower traffic costs by removing roads). Formally, this simply means that the current traffic equilibrium state is not the optimal one. Dietrich Braess, on his website, notes that this concept has applications to computer networks in addition to traffic networks.