Announcing Urbanful

Part magazine, part marketplace, Urbanful is all about the people, organizations, and businesses making our communities great. Urbanful’s stories highlight all the great things happening in our cities and the innovations in design, technology, culture, and transportation that are changing how we live.

Urbanful loves spotlighting cool local businesses making fantastic products and they’re constantly searching for the most interesting and useful apparel, gear, gadgets, and services for city living. Along with highlighting the best stuff each week, every dollar you spend will go to support Transportation for America’s work.


Government to allow driverless cars on UK roads

UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has announced two new measures that give the green light for driverless cars to take to the country’s roads from January 2015. UK cities can now bid for a share of a £10m (US$16.9m) competition to host a driverless cars trial. The government is calling on cities to join together with businesses and research organisations to put forward proposals to become a test location. Up to three cities will be selected to host the trials from January next year and each project is expected to last between 18 and 36 months. Ministers have also launched a review to look at current road regulations to establish how the UK can remain at the forefront of driverless car technology and ensure there is an appropriate regime for testing driverless cars in the country. The review will look at include the need for vehicles to comply with construction and safety regulations, traffic laws and relevant aspects of the Highway Code, as well as licensing, liability, insurance and driverless regulations being put in place in other countries. Two areas of driverless technology will be covered in the review: cars with a qualified driver who can take over control of the driverless car; and fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) where there is no driver.

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Helsinki’s ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years

Author: Adam Greenfield

The Finnish capital has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point “mobility on demand” system by 2025 – one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car.

Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.

Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility. Imagine the popular transit planner Citymapper fused to a cycle hire service and a taxi app such as Hailo or Uber, with only one payment required, and the whole thing run as a public utility, and you begin to understand the scale of ambition here.

That the city is serious about making good on these intentions is bolstered by the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority’s rollout last year of a strikingly innovative minibus service called Kutsuplus. Kutsuplus lets riders specify their own desired pick-up points and destinations via smartphone; these requests are aggregated, and the app calculates an optimal route that most closely satisfies all of them.

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Ford Initiates Open Innovation Approach to Finding Innovative Mobility Solutions; Launches Innovate Mobility Challenge Series

From : @FordOnline

COLOGNE, Germany – Ford today announced the launch of its Innovate Mobility Challenge Series, inviting the developer and ‘maker’ communities to come together to find innovative mobility solutions in eight different locations around the world.

The worldwide challenges will kick off on July 15 in Lisbon, Portugal, Los Angeles, United States, and Mumbai, India, before moving on to Delhi and the Chennai region in India, Shanghai, China, Johannesburg, South Africa, and a countrywide challenge in Argentina.

“Reaching out to local stakeholders lets Ford more effectively address the diverse mobility challenges around the world,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. “Launching our Innovate Mobility Challenge Series in eight different regions will bring global and local players together in the pursuit of one goal, which is a smarter and more efficient transportation network for the future.”

Ford’s OpenXC program is a non-production, open-source, software and hardware platform designed to encourage top developers to experiment with Do-It-Yourself projects using real-time vehicle data. Developers can use OpenXC data like any other data source in a smartphone, tablet or web app. The Innovate Mobility Challenge Series encourages developers to integrate this real-time vehicle information into apps that relate to sustainability and mobility issues, whether by incorporating the data into existing apps or creating new apps from scratch.


Faster Cars, Hotter Tech, Fewer Drivers

Author: Alex Marshall

Since the Model-T, Americans have brought cars not only onto their streets, but also into their lives and their homes. Government has been handmaiden to this marriage, building millions of miles of roads, requiring vast seas of parking as a condition of development, and setting up traffic systems like stoplights and left-turn lanes that indicate paved thoroughfares are principally for drivers.

Like all relationships, the one Americans have with their cars evolves. In recent years, it would seem the nation’s long-term romance with the auto is beginning to wane. Stats from a recent U.S. PIRG report say Americans are driving less per capita, particularly young people, who are also getting licensed at a later age. Young people view cars more like refrigerators. That is, like an appliance. They want one, and for it to work reliably, but it’s less a projection of who they are.

Or maybe not. To get a sense of where the car and its potential owner are these days, I stopped in at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side. There, hundreds of cars from dozens of top carmakers were displayed under gleaming lights.

The show — the first I had ever attended — was an interesting mix of old and new school. In retro fashion, pretty ladies in tight dresses stood demurely in front of cars, offering the classic combo of hot woman and hot car. Yet behind this classic facade, there clearly was a ferocious evolution and competition going on under the hood of these cars and in their accessory systems.

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Not One Person Has Died on an NYC Bike-Share Bike

Author: Will Oremus

One year ago, New York City launched a bike-share program, and pundits predicted a safety nightmare.

“The most important danger in the city is not the yellow cabs, it is the bicyclists,” raved the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz in a segment titled “Death by Bicycle.” The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart offered a similarly blunt assessment: “A lot of people are going to die.” The bike-share program did give him an idea for a business, though: “Jon Stewart’s Street Brain Material Removal Service.” A Rutgers professor got more specific. In a New York Post story headlined, “Citi Bike ‘Heading’ for a Fall,” he predicted that cyclist fatalities could triple in the program’s first year, from 20 to 60.

It has now been a full year since the first foolhardy tourists began menacing the city’s streets in those fat blue Citi Bike bikes. Riders have taken more than 8.75 million trips so far, Citi Bike reports, travelling some 14.7 million miles in all. Want to guess how many have died?


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