Welcome to the SMART blog! It’s a dynamic counterpart to SMART’s website, posting-up-to-the-minute sustainable transportation news, events, jobs, and other opportunities from the U.S. and around the world. It also links to innovations, new research, policy updates, related newsletters, inspiring initiatives, and videos that come our way. You can contribute too! Please send relevant information to Kim Seelye. The blog will benefit and grow from your involvement. SMART is a project of University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. MANY THANKS to the FIA Foundation for their generous support of the development of SMART’s blog in the interests of advancing New Mobility implementation. Many thanks also to Ford Motor Company for supporting the development of this blog through its generous ongoing support of SMART.


Google’s Car Is the Face of Future Robots

Author: Jeremy Hsu

Robots probably won’t look human when they first begin appearing on the streets in the next several years. But some robot cars such as Google’s self-driving vehicles will have recognizable faces designed to win human hearts and minds. Google hopes to begin testing its custom-made robot cars on the roads of Northern California starting in 2015.

Google’s self-driving car prototype represents a cuddly vision of the robot future that is almost the complete opposite of what most dystopian science fiction films have imagined. The vehicle’s headlights combine with a pert “nose” to give the impression of a wide-eyed baby confronting the world for the first time. Wired has described the car as “an egg with the face of a koala.” Cartoonist Matthew Inman, creator of the popular website The Oatmeal, dubbed the Google cars “adorable Skynet Marshmallow Bumper Bots.” In other words, Google’s car has a face that wordlessly asks people to trust it when they see the driverless vehicle ambling down the road.

Read the full story at http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/lovesick-cyborg/2014/12/31/googles-car-is-the-face-of-future-robots.


Boulder Makes It Easy for Low-Income Residents to Take Bus, Bike, and Carshare

SMART likes to share interesting news and innovations from newsletters we receive. This was published by Mobility Lab in Mobility Lab Express. See http://www.um-smart.org/blog/related-newsletters for more newsletters you may find interesting.

Author: Paul Mackie

Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), in partnership with Boulder nonprofits eGo CarShare and Boulder B-cycle, have begun offering a “multi-modal toolkit” to 271 BHP rental households.

What that means is that these households have free annual B-cycle bikeshare memberships, free annual transit passes called Neighborhood Eco Passes that allow them to ride buses operated by RTD, and a 50 percent discount on carshare vehicles through eGo CarShare. Through the grant partnership, eGo CarShare was able to add carshare vehicles in or near five low-income communities served by BHP.

“Transportation, for a lot of folks, can be a #2 or #3 top cost. So how can public transportation be more accessible, and how do we encourage them to use it?” asked Tim Beal, director of sustainable communities at BHP.

Karen Worminghaus, executive director at eGo CarShare, helped lead the effort in securing a $100,000 Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant to launch the program, and additional funding came from Mile High Connects and The Denver Foundation.

Read the full story at http://mobilitylab.org/2014/12/22/boulder-makes-it-easy-for-low-income-residents-to-take-bus-bike-and-carshare.


Job Opening: Farm Assistant at Rising Pheasant Farms

Rising Pheasant Farms is a family-owned and -operated urban farm on Detroit’s east side. They currently grow a wide variety of crops on 1/5th of an acre along with greenhouse micro-green production, which they sell to both retail and wholesale markets. Their farm operates based on a low-resource model which includes organic practices, bicycle transportation and hand tools. Their mission is to increase fresh food access for our family, neighbors and the larger Detroit community. To work toward this goal, they are looking to expand field production in 2015 by beginning to cultivate an additional 1⁄4 acre and building a passive solar hoop house for season extension.

Read more at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4D0DeUe4KleVVMxSkIzeU9MNjg/view.


Nominations Open for Eno’s Future Leaders Development Conference

Each year, the Eno Future Leaders Development Conference (LDC) gives 20 of the nation’s top graduate students in transportation a first-hand look at how national transportation policies are developed. Students apply to the program early in the year, and those selected as “Eno Fellows” come to Washington, DC, for a week of meetings with federal officials and leaders of business and non-profit organizations in the spring.

Nominations due by February 20, 2015.

Find out more at https://www.enotrans.org/course/leadership-development-conference.


Grand Challenges for Engineering: $25,000 Grand Prize

The National Academy of Engineering has outlined 14 game-changing opportunities for the 21st century called the Grand Challenges for Engineering. We want you to review NAE’s 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering, then create and submit a 1 to 2 minute video that shows how achieving one or more of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering will lead to a more sustainable, healthy, secure, and/or joyous world!

Read more at http://www.nae.edu/e4u2/.


Audi autonomous car completes long-distance trip to CES

Arriving in time for the opening of the International CES 2015 (Consumer Electronics Show), Audi’s ‘piloted driving’ concept vehicle has completed a 560-mile (900km) long-distance test drive that began in Silicon Valley, California and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known as ‘Jack’, the Audi A7 3.0 TFSI quattro autonomous concept car proved itself capable of driving in multi-lane highway traffic, and the selected group of journalists that were behind the wheel were impressed with its ability to provide a comfortable drive in real-world, everyday driving situations. As required by state laws in California, an experienced Audi test driver accompanied the drive from the passenger seat, with the journey providing a large quantity of actionable data to help further development of the company’s piloted driving program.

Read the full article at http://traffictechnologytoday.com/news.php?NewsID=65069.