Transportation News Roundup

From mind-controlled drones to “smart decline”– here’s a roundup of the most interesting transportation news that we’ve happened upon in the past seven days.


ASU researcher creates system to control robots with the brain, by Scott Seckel, Arizona State University

Electric Bikes Figure Into California’s Zero Emissions Goals by Josh Cohen, Next City

In Sacramento, the city housing authority and a nonprofit housing provider, Mutual Housing, are using the funds to launch a subsidized car-share program in low-income housing communities. “The use of the vehicles is going to be free to residents in those communities. Seeing as how there are lots of low-income communities in the Sacramento area, I can see an easy path to replicating and scaling this model,” says Tim Hartigan, an ARB air pollution specialist and pilot project lead.

CalBike has also been working with electric-assist bike manufacturers and is hoping to use ARB funding to pilot electric-assist bike-sharing.“E-bikes can really expand the potential of biking as a transportation mode,” Ward-Waller says. “In a city like Fresno that’s smaller and more spread out, they think e-bikes might make bike-share more viable for them.”

Metrolink unveils new locomotives that could help improve the region’s air by Dan Weikel, LA Times

Transportation News: Rick Tripoli, Metrolink's director of equipment, walks through one of 40 new engines the commuter rail line is buying.

Rick Tripoli, Metrolink’s director of equipment, walks through one of 40 new engines the commuter rail line is buying. (Christina House / For The Times)

The so-called Tier 4 locomotives, which cost about $280 million, are the cleanest available in the nation and designed to emit up to 85% less air pollution than the older engines Metrolink has had in service. Rail officials also say the state-of-the-art vehicles, built by Electro-Motive Diesel in Illinois, are fuel efficient and have dramatically more horsepower than conventional engines, allowing trains to pull more cars. “This is quite a piece of equipment,” said Art Leahy, Metrolink’s chief executive, during ceremonies at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. “We will get more horsepower, less fuel consumption and lower emissions.”

This Spray-On Compound Can Protect Buildings During Disasters And Explosions by Lauren Crockett, Arch Daily

Walls which are painted with Paxcon® can withstand explosions up to 20 times greater than naked walls, a claim which Line-X has substantiated with rigorous testing over the past 20 years.

It’s versatility and ease of application could see the coating become an industry standard in construction and engineering, greatly improving the stability and security of the buildings around us. For more proof, the video below shows the incredible amounts of force an object coated in Paxcon® can withstand.

Do Parts of the Rust Belt ‘Need to Die Off’? by Alexia Fernández Campbell, The Atlantic

Newman: What I think is going to happen is that a lot of these old, large cities are going to die out. I don’t think they’re going to officially die, but I think we’re going to have to let some of them go, while these other newer cities are going to sprout up and take off with modern-age industries. It will probably be a pendulum swing. I don’t know if it will happen before I die, but at some point these older cities aren’t going to be able to sustain economies because of the way industry grows now and technology changes so fast. And so the pendulum’s going to swing back and forth, but all of these smaller cities are going to grow larger and all of their suburban belts are going to overlap. So we’re going to be really looking at regional-based growth rather than city-based growth to some degree. We need to accept that some of these big cities need to die, pieces of the city need to die off, not the whole city, to make way for future growth. That’s what I think, but people don’t want to hear that because we’re talking about their homes, that’s where they live. They shouldn’t have to hear that.

 Transportation news: A vacant house in Detroit's Brush Park neighborhood

A vacant house in Detroit’s Brush Park neighborhood (Rebecca Cook / Reuters)