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.


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.


The First Annual Martin Lowson Paper Award

$500.00 paper award

Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) fosters the development of automation and networking to advance the quality and sustainability of transportation, particularly for our urban areas. ATRA academic committee has instituted an annual paper award to recognize contributions in that area. The objective is to recognize high quality, original work that advances the thought and practice of fully automated, networked systems. The inaugural competition will be 2015. ATRA will accept papers that have been authored and/or published between January 1, 2013 up until the end of March 31st 2015. The papers may have been submitted to journals and/or conferences (in fact ATRA encourages this), or may be unique to the ATRA competition. The emphasis in 2015 is on Automated Transit Networks toward sustainable urban mobility.

For more information, see http://www.advancedtransit.org/library/news/first-annual-martin-lowson-paper-award.


Study: Most Auto Execs Not Ready for Industry’s Coming Tech Changes

Author: Sarah Schmid

Results from the third annual EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) survey of the automotive industry were released last week at the Geneva Motor Show, and, paradoxically, they’re both not surprising and a little alarming.

According to the Changing Lanes report, 88 percent of auto executives do not have the confidence to implement data and analytics initiatives; 88 percent feel unprepared to attract and retain talent, and 80 percent feel unprepared to respond to market volatility. Taken together, those are potentially serious problems for an industry that is being rapidly redefined by technological leaps and changes in consumer behavior.

As seen, for instance, in the new Ford experiment with electric bikes, car makers are painfully aware that Millennials are much less interested in owning cars than their predecessors, and therefore know they need to diversify their transportation offerings.

Read the full story at http://www.xconomy.com/detroit/2015/03/11/study-most-auto-execs-not-ready-for-industrys-coming-tech-changes.


Passages Competition in Toronto

“Infrastructures of continuity in the Horizontal Metropolis”: interventions with major infrastructure projects. How to design the interaction between the stops of the new LRT lines and local pedestrian routes, incorporating passages to improve urban life in the suburbs?

The challenges: designing interactions between the rapid transit systems and local access routes; incorporating passages as integral components of the railway line and stations; helping to bring urban quality to suburban areas.

For more information, see http://passages-ivm.com/en/demonstration/toronto-small-suburban-move-multifold-impact-1.


EDI Rounds Out its Utility Solutions with a Class 3 PHEV Truck

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a global leader in advanced zero emissions, high-efficiency Hybrid and Electric drivetrain solutions, today announced the availability of a Class 3 utility truck based upon EDI’s world-first PHEV drivetrain that provides 100 percent OEM performance and 100 percent zero emissions during city and highway driving, while also reducing emissions and fuel use by up to 80 percent.

The vehicle is an industry-first PHEV, built upon one of the most popular Light Duty Class 3 Detroit OEM commercial fleet trucks. It is the only Class 3 commercial work truck in the world that has 30-40 miles of all-electric range and delivers zero emissions. The vehicle also features a series-parallel extended range of 300 miles, bi-directional charging, 50-120 kW of grid reliable exportable power, and enough battery capacity to operate vehicle accessories and job site work tools without idling the base diesel engine.

Read the full article at http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150304005212/en/EDI-Rounds-Utility-Solutions-Class-3-PHEV#.VPnUwm74Dct.