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.


Privacy Principles For Vehicle Technologies and Services

Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have issued Privacy Principles for Vehicle Technologies and Services (“Principles”).

The automotive industry is developing innovative technologies and services that promise to deliver substantial benefits and enhance the driving experience. These technologies and services may assist in enhancing safety, reducing the environmental impacts of vehicles, diagnosing vehicle malfunctions, calling for emergency assistance, detecting and preventing vehicle theft, reducing traffic congestion, improving vehicle efficiency and performance, delivering navigation services, providing valuable information services, and more.

Many of these technologies and services are based upon information obtained from a variety of vehicle systems and involve the collection of information about a vehicle’s location or a driver’s use of a vehicle. Consumer trust is essential to the success of vehicle technologies and services. Global Automakers, and their members understand that consumers want to know how these vehicle technologies and services can deliver benefits to them while respecting their privacy.

The Principles provide an approach to customer privacy that automakers can choose to adopt when offering innovative vehicle technologies and services.

Read the document at https://www.globalautomakers.org/sites/default/files/document/


Jetsons-style commute may be in Toronto’s not-so-distant future

Author: Peter Gorrie

Niagara Falls startup plans to build test version of award-winning SkySmart pod system, which would carry one- to 12-person pods along overhead rails strung between towers along city streets.

One way or another, big change is coming to city transportation.

Everyone hates congestion, and economists frequently bemoan its huge cost in jobs and business activity.

Concern is growing over greenhouse-gas emissions and climate change, as well as toxic air pollution.

Younger urbanites want connectivity more than cars.

Public transit is inadequate and maddeningly slow.

All this suggests we need new ways to move around increasingly large and crowded cities.

Read the full story at http://www.thestar.com/autos/2014/11/21/jetsonsstyle_


Subsidizing Congestion: The Multibillion-Dollar Tax Subsidy That’s Making Your Commute Worse

Subsidizing Congestion: The Multibillion-Dollar Tax Subsidy That’s Making Your Commute Worse, by Frontier Group and TransitCenter, is available for download at http://transitcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/SubsidizingCongestion-FINAL.pdf.

Executive Summary:

The federal government provides subsidies through the tax code for employer-provided and employer-paid automobile parking, transit passes, and some other commuter expenses, but it does so in ways that run counter to the nation’s overall transportation goals.

Ultimately, the effect of the tax benefit for commuter parking is to subsidize traffic congestion by pu#ing roughly 820,000 more cars on America’s most congested roads in its most congested cities at the most congested times of day. It delivers the greatest benefits to those who need them least, typically upper-income Americans, and costs $7.3 billion in reduced tax revenue that must be made up through cuts in government programs, a higher deficit, or increases in taxes on other Americans.

The tax benefit for commuter transit only weakly counteracts the negative impact of the parking tax benefit. The transit tax benefit reaches too few people, and the drop in its value compared to that of the parking tax benefit at the beginning of 2014 limits its potential to get cars off the road.

We estimate that the parking and transit tax benefits together account for an estimated $8.6 billion total in forgone federal and state income tax and payroll tax revenue each year. The high cost and significant transportation impact of commuter tax benefits demand that the federal government undertake a detailed evaluation of the benefits and initiate reforms to ensure that they support, rather than hinder, achievement of the nation’s transportation policy goals and fiscal priorities.


Present your ideas for smarter mobility and urban development at Transforming Transportation 2015

Transforming Transportation 2015 is the annual conference co-organized by EMBARQ, the sustainable urban transport program of the World Resources Institute, and the World Bank. This year’s conference will focus on Smart Cities for Shared Prosperity, and will examine how smart, connected urban mobility can improve quality of life in cities.

They’re inviting YOU to become a presenter. Pitch your presentation using the application linked below to present on either “Innovations in Urban Development for Smart Cities” or Innovations in Mobility for Smart Cities.” Presentations will follow the PechaKucha and must be submitted by December 2, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.

For more information, see https://embarq.formstack.com/forms/ttdc15_presentations.


Call for Papers – NECTAR 2015

The transportation field is undergoing a technological revolution in information and communication technologies including “big” data, connected vehicles, modeling techniques, and—just over the horizon—self-driving cars. For these smart transport developments to fulfil their promise, they need to be guided by and deployed in service of smart planning: a planning that improves the fairness of transportation’s distribution and lessens its environmental impact and societal costs. Technological innovations must be implemented in a way that applies the lessons of history on the relationship of transportation and urban form to forestall unwanted outcomes. Fundamentally, these advances must be part of a shift that values accessibility over simple movement as the overarching purpose of transportation.

The conference will facilitate interaction between North American and European transport and communications researchers on all these topics. In addition, the conference will incorporate a specialized subconference for researchers, professionals and decisionmakers from both continents on “Accessibility-Based Evaluation: From Laboratory to Practice.” Researchers have long argued that planning and evaluation of transportation should be on the basis of metrics of accessibility, rather than travel speeds, highway level of service, or vehicular throughput. Yet the progress of this idea into professional practice and decisionmaking has been halting, and nowhere has accessibility evaluation displaced analysis based on the quality or quantity of human or vehicular movement. The specialized subconference will consider obstacles to accessibility-based reform of transportation planning practice, approaches to overcoming those obstacles, and instances of successful implementation of accessibility-based evaluation.

The conference will provide a plenary session for keynote speakers, sessions with presentations of submitted papers, and NECTAR Cluster Meetings/Sessions.

Papers are welcome from the fields of transport, communications and accessibility at large. In addition to the main theme of the conference, themes of specific interest include:

  • Networks
  • Policy and Environment
  • Logistics and Freight
  • Commuting, Migration, and Labor Markets
  • Accessibility
  • Transport Security

Deadline for abstracts: 5 January 2015.
For more information, see https://sites.google.com/a/umich.edu/nectar.


Dow Sustainability Fellows Request for Proposals

The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program is an outstanding opportunity for your doctoral students, and the program is now accepting applications for its Doctoral Fellowships, which offer up to $50,000 in funding support and inclusion in a vibrant “Community of Scholars.”

This program is open to exceptional Ph.D. students conducting interdisciplinary research related to sustainability. A key part of this two-year doctoral fellowship program is that it is multidisciplinary in nature, so we encourage doctoral students from all schools, colleges, and units at the university to apply. A total of 10 doctoral students who have completed at least one full year of their doctoral program prior to January 2015 (and who will not finish their program before April 2017) will be selected.

For more information, see http://sustainability.umich.edu/dow/doctoral/rfp.