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.


Postdoctoral Research Position in Sustainable Urban Mobility

The Department of Transport Engineering and Logistics (DTEL) at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (www.ing.puc.cl/transporte-y-logistica), host of the BRT Centre of Excellence (www.brt.cl) and key member of the Centre for Sustainable Urban Development – CEDEUS (www.cedeus.cl), is currently looking for a post doctorate or experienced researcher to join their research group. They have a number of on going projects on different urban mobility issues in which the successful applicant could participate, leading some of them and/or collaborating with other researchers at the DTEL on others. Individuals with research interests in any area regarding urban mobility (public transport, non-motorized modes, pedestrians, private vehicles, etc.) ranging from the most strategic to the most operational aspects of each theme are especially encouraged to apply (i.e. planning, design, financing, economics, social issues, environmental impacts, demand modelling, operations and control). They welcome applicants with the ability to carry out interdisciplinary and collaborative research and an interest in the role transportation plays in urban sustainability.

Job Description: They are seeking applicants with a PhD in an area related with urban mobility and planning, with a demonstrated research potential. Candidates need not be fluent in Spanish at the moment of applying as they welcome applications from within and outside Chile. They must exhibit excellent oral and written communication skills and an aptitude for teamwork. While industrial experience is desirable, a strong commitment to rigorous and relevant research is essential. They offer the attractive opportunity of a job working in the field of urban mobility within an international and interdisciplinary academic setting.

Requirements: Applicants must hold a Ph.D. or be about to complete it. It is important that the applicant is able to work collaboratively and international experience is desirable. Review of applications starts immediately and the position will remain open until a successful candidate has been found. The position starts at the beginning of 2015 and we expect a commitment of at least two years.

Information and application: Interested applicants should forward their CV including a publication list, contact details of three reference providers and a one page description of their experience and research interests related to this position. The application information and/or any requests for more information should be sent by e-mail to Prof. Juan Carlos Muñoz , Director of the Department (jcm@ing.puc.cl).


Verizon Powerful Answers Award:

Honoring its ongoing commitment to innovation and social responsibility, Verizon is offering US$6M in prizes for innovators who propose the most innovative solutions to help develop and empower three core areas:

  1. Transportation: How can technology find better, more efficient ways to reduce the complexities of transport and distribution in the physical world?
  2. Emergency Response: How can technology help solve real world issues that plague our first responders and advance the effectiveness of long term relief?
  3. Internet of Things:  Connecting things is making the world smarter and more efficient.  How can your solution impact how cities operate, or change big industries like healthcare and agriculture?

Each category winner will receive $1M, one second prize of $500K and two runners up per category will each receive $250K.

For more information, see http://www.verizon.com/powerfulanswers/award.


Munich Re America joins U-M research partnership on connected and automated vehicles

Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. has joined the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) Affiliates Program—part of a major research partnership of industry, government, and academia that is laying the foundation for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles. The Affiliates Program has 27 initial members from a wide range of industries.

Read the full story at http://www.greencarcongress.com/2015/03/20150327-munichre.html.


New Ford S-MAX first worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter

Ford of Europe announced that the a new S-MAX will be the first Ford worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter, a new technology that scans traffic signs and adjusts the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.

Intelligent Speed Limiter for the first time combines the two current Ford technologies Adjustable Speed Limiter and Traffic Sign Recognition, which are both already available on models including Focus, all-new Mondeo, and Kuga SUV. Drivers can choose between speed limiting systems in the vehicle menu using the steering wheel controls, and activate them using the speed system controls.

Maximum speed for Intelligent Speed Limiter can be set and then raised or lowered in 5 km/h (5 mph) increments. Between 30-200 km/h (20-120 mph) the technology utilises speed limit information from the Traffic Sign Recognition system. In vehicles equipped with onboard navigation, Intelligent Speed Limiter also uses map data for improved accuracy.

Read the full story at http://www.greencarcongress.com/2015/03/20150324-smax.html.


Better living through transit: Detroit firm seeks to improve public transportation throughout region

Author: MJ Galbraith

How do you convince a region to embrace public transit when it’s been neglecting it for decades? That’s what Freshwater Transit is hoping to do. The Detroit-based transit firm is looking to produce a series of seven videos that demonstrate just how easy, beneficial, and indispensable public transit is in other metropolitan regions across the country.

The educational series is called “15 Minutes or Better.” The theory goes that since metro Detroit has no idea what a high-functioning public transit system actually looks like, how are we ever going to make the decisions necessary to putting one in place? Freshwater will be traveling to seven cities to show how key concepts of public transit actually work. They’ll then examine how those concepts are being expressed in metro Detroit.

Read the full article at http://www.modeldmedia.com/devnews/15MinutesOrBetter.aspx.


Data Mining Reveals When a Yellow Taxi Is Cheaper Than Uber

The crowdsourced cab service, Uber, is currently taking the world by storm. Commuters use the service’s smartphone app to order a car, a request that is forwarded to the nearest available driver who then makes the pick-up.

Uber itself determines the cost of the fare so no money changes hands in the cars. Uber determines its fares by the service it offers, by the time a journey takes and sometimes by the distance traveled. The price also increases when demand is higher. On New Year’s Eve in 2011, for example, fares were reportedly seven times the normal rates.

It’s fair to say that Uber has alienated the official taxi drivers in many cities around the world. The company has come up against numerous backlashes and regulatory issues. But it is nevertheless wildly popular.

So here’s an interesting question: is Uber cheaper than conventional taxis? Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of Cecilia Mascolo at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. and a few pals who have compared Uber’s prices with those of Yellow Taxis in New York City. They say the ability to compare prices in this way should help commuters choose the cheapest options and thereby help control costs for all cab users.

Read the full article at http://www.technologyreview.com/view/535886/data-mining-reveals-when-a-yellow-taxi-is-cheaper-than-uber.