Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘automotive’ Category

Mere days after California legislators passed an historic gas tax increase, highway planners are already salivating over using the money to build new freeways:

From Hans-the-Fremont-Traffic-Czar:

“Perhaps the most exciting thing Senate Bill 1 provides for Fremont, Caltrans and all of Silicon Valley is the opportunity to finally get the State Route 262-Mission Boulevard connector between I-880 and I-680 upgraded to a full freeway. The concept being pursued is a below-grade expressway allowing traffic to pass through without stopping at the two signals at Warm Springs and Mohave.

“This corridor is practically congested 24/7 and uncorking this bottleneck should be a welcome relief for daily commuters to Silicon Valley jobs, Silicon Valley’s weekend warriors heading to Tahoe, and increasingly for truckers hauling shiny new electric vehicles emerging from the Tesla Motors factory.

“This project was previously thought as unfundable due to anemic levels of state funding, but SB 1 has changed that. There is now over $500 million available annually for improving congested corridors and freight corridors. I can’t imagine there are many more worthy highway corridors across the state for this investment than 262.”

The gas tax increase was sold as a way to close the maintenance deficit in California’s roads, not to build new highways.

Moreover, the SR-262 is the most useless highway project imaginable. It would blight the commercial district near the $1 billion newly-built Warm Springs BART station, while doing absolutely nothing to improve automobile congestion.

Read Full Post »

If you are a pedestrian in Sacramento, the dangerous drivers may be the least of your concerns.

As you may have heard, a pedestrian was assaulted by a Sacramento police officer while crossing the street. The event was captured in cell-phone video by a bystander, and dash-cam video from the officer’s patrol car. The Sacramento PD released the following statement to explain the incident:

On Monday, April 10, 2017 at 5:07 p.m., a uniformed Sacramento Police officer attempted to stop a pedestrian who was observed crossing the street unlawfully near the intersection of Cypress Street and Grand Avenue in North Sacramento.

After the violation, the officer exited his patrol vehicle and attempted to contact and detain the man. The officer gave multiple verbal commands for the man to stop but the subject ignored his instructions and proceeded to walk away from the officer.

This statement shows the Sacramento PD is utterly confused about jaywalking laws. Crossing the intersection at Cypress and Grand is completely legal under CVC. Dash-cam footage confirms that the pedestrian, Nandi Cain Jr, crossed corner to corner. And no, he was not crossing against a light or anything like that: there are no traffic signals at the intersection.

Even worse, the dash-cam footage shows a driver blasting through the intersection right in front of Cain as he is trying to cross. Pedestrians crossing unsignalized intersection have the right-of-way, and cars are required to yield. If the officer was going to go after anyone, it should have been the driver and not the pedestrian.

So this incident is disturbing on multiple levels. The police did not protect a vulnerable road user from a dagerous driver. Instead, an officer goes after an innocent pedestrian who is rightly annoyed at getting stopped — and gets assaulted as a result. Then the police dept. puts out a ridiculous press release calling Cain a lawbreaker.

sacpedgif2.gif

Dash-cam video of Nandi Cain, Jr “jaywallking”

Read Full Post »

Ford CEO Mark Fields wants fuel efficiency standards rolled back, and President Trump is only too happy to oblige.

Fields says the EPA rules will cost 1 million jobs. He does not say how that 1 million figure was computed (given that it is such a nice round number, we can guess where he pulled it out from). But if it is accurate then that is actually a really good thing. It means that the nation’s transportation requirements can be met with 1 million fewer workers. That is a yuge productivity gain! It frees up 1 million workers to address other pressing needs, like fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure or developing new businesses.

Okay, but maybe assembly line workers can’t or don’t want to be retrained. What to do with 1 million unemployable autoworkers? Well, the 34-year savings of the fuel standards for the economy is on the order of $1 trillion dollars (give or take depending on future gasoline prices). And that is just the direct costs, not factoring in the medical benefits of cleaner air. $1 trillion is enough to give each of those workers a $1 million early retirement check.

Read Full Post »

Good job San Antonio Police. Really making things safe out there:

“We can never have the kids out front,” said Kristi Flanagan. So she made a sign with a clear message, ‘Drive like your kids live here.’

“This is a residential street,” she said. “It’s not an autobahn.”

While she and her family were outside putting Christmas lights up this week, drivers weren’t paying attention. “I started pointing to my sign, trying to notify motorist to slow down there’s kids out here,” she said. Still, she says, they wouldn’t listen.

“So I took to the streets,” she said. She held the sign over her head in the middle of traffic. “We’ve received nothing but support from the community,” she said. Neighbors mostly seemed happy to see someone finally doing something, but 45 minutes later a police unit showed up.

“Issued me a class “c” misdemeanor citation,” she said. “Backwards, it’s very backwards.” She thinks the ticket should have gone to the drivers.

jaywalking_sign

Read Full Post »

In 2015, the Netherlands saw an uptick in road fatalities. Fietsersbond, the Dutch cycling group, says that one culprit is speeding in built-up areas. They want the Netherlands (and all of Europe) to require technology in automobiles that prevents speeding in 30 kph zones:

By building more safe cycle tracks we can reduce the number of deaths. This also applies to the reduction of the speed. However, we unfortunately have to conclude that the 30 kph roads are not safe enough. Indeed, it is still driven too hard. Entering more 30 kph should be accompanied by a widespread adoption of Speed Assistance, a function in a car so it does not drive over the speed limit.

Fietsersbond, Traffic Safety Netherlands, and TeamAlert want the Dutch government will actively promote this functionality and is going to push hard for a European commitment.

The technology for this already exists. GPS mapping is a mature technology, and in the US some insurance carriers already monitor driver behavior electronically. All that is needed to implement this is the “bureaucratic will” on the part of politicians and road safety regulators.

gps

Read Full Post »

Well, that didn’t take long. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is lobbying President-elect Trump to reduce or eliminate fuel economy standards. They want to re-evaluate the Obama administration’s rules for GHG and electric vehicle mandates:

Greenhouse gas and mpg targets through model year 2021 are already on the books. A required midterm evaluation is underway to determine whether proposed mpg and greenhouse gas standards through 2022 are appropriate, or if they should be changed.

The next step in the evaluation comes in 2017, likely midyear, when the next EPA administrator will propose whether the standards are appropriate or should be changed, which would kick off a rulemaking process. A final determination is due by April 2018.

The Alliance argues that that proposed determination shouldn’t happen until Trump’s administration has had a chance to review the regulations, and can lead talks between regulators and automakers about the final years of the program, which currently aim for a fleet average of more than 50 mpg.

A Technical Assessment Report issued by the EPA about the 2025 rules found that automakers were on track to comply and adopting technologies to boost efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than anticipated.

The Alliance believes that the report “over-projects” the benefits of certain technologies and fails to fully consider consumer acceptance and market factors.

The Alliance membership includes the Big-3, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Volkswagen (of course).

Read Full Post »

If true, then Volkswagen USA seriously needs to lose its license to sell or import automobiles:

The newly discovered software was detected four months ago during laboratory tests by the California Air Resources Board, one of the people said. Neither Volkswagen nor U.S. regulators have publicly disclosed the discovery.

The discovery threatens fresh anger from officials, investors and car owners just as Volkswagen is wrapping up billions of dollars in settlements with states and owners of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. and a recall of nearly nine million tainted diesel vehicles in Europe.

Volkswagen’s previously disclosed “defeat device” software was used on Volkswagen and Audi diesel engines to make it appear that they complied with emission standards for nitrogen oxides during lab tests.

The newly discovered software, installed on Audis with both diesel and gasoline engines, did the same with CO2 emissions standards in the U.S. and Europe, according to the people familiar with the matter.

The CARB caught the emissions-cheating software through lessons learned from the earlier probe of Volkswagen diesel engines, according to Germany’s weekly Bild am Sonntag newspaper, which earlier reported the software’s discovery.

CARB technicians conducting lab tests on Audi’s vehicles made them react as if on a road by turning the steering wheel, the people said.

When the cars deviated from lab conditions, their CO2 emissions rose dramatically.

Note that this cheat also affects gasoline engines.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »