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Posts from the ‘Road transport’ Category

We must plan the driverless city to avoid being hostage to the technology revolution

The Conversation, 28 April 2017
Trials of autonomous cars and buses have begun on the streets of Australian cities. Communications companies are moving to deploy the lasers, cameras and centimetre-perfect GPS that will enable a vehicle to navigate the streets of your town or city without a driver. Most research and commentary is telling us how the new machines will work, but not how they might shape our cities. The talk is of the benefits of new shared transport economies, but these new technologies will shape our built environment in ways that are not yet fully understood. There’s every chance that, if mismanaged, driverless technologies will entrench the ills of car dependency. As with Uber and the taxi industry, public sector planners and regulators will be forced to respond to the anger of those displaced by the new products the IT and automobile industries will bring to the market. But can we afford to wait?
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How do we restore the public’s faith in transport planning?

The Conversation, 5 April 2017
Opposition to proposed road projects has become a feature of state and federal elections. In Western Australia, protests against the Roe Highway Stage 8 escalated just before Christmas 2016. On the eve of the state election, Main Roads WA contractors (acting at the behest of the then Liberal-National government) pushed forward with the destruction of the environmentally significant Beeliar wetlands. This happened despite considerable community opposition. The Labor opposition, now the newly elected government, declared it would halt the construction if elected.
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VW ‘dieselgate’ [UK] payout offer outrageously low, says Sadiq Khan

The Guardian, 12 December 2016
Sadiq Khan has called on the government to secure proper compensation from Volkswagen for the “dieselgate” scandal, saying the £1.1m pledged so far was outrageous. The London mayor said the settlement was far too low compared with the £12bn payout achieved by US authorities for VW’s use of sophisticated “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests.
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Clear air plans won’t punish drivers of older diesel cars, [UK] PM promises

The Guardian, 5 April 2017
Theresa May says she will not punish drivers of older diesel cars who were encouraged to buy the polluting vehicles under the Labour government. A crackdown on the vehicles to tackle poor air quality has been announced by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, with drivers of polluting vehicles facing £24-a-day charges to drive in central London from 2019.
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How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons

New York Times, 2 April 2017
The secretive ride-hailing giant Uber rarely discusses internal matters in public. But in March, facing crises on multiple fronts, top officials convened a call for reporters to insist that Uber was changing its culture and would no longer tolerate “brilliant jerks.” Notably, the company also announced that it would fix its troubled relationship with drivers, who have complained for years about falling pay and arbitrary treatment.
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GM, Buick to launch plug-ins, electric cars in China

Detroit News, 24 March 2017
General Motors Co. said Friday its Buick brand will soon launch its first extended-range electric vehicle, the Velite 5, in China. The Detroit automaker said it plans in the next two years to introduce plug-in hybrid gasoline electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles under the Buick brand in China. GM’s largest sales market is China, where Buick last year topped more than 1 million in sales and more than 8 million since its introduction in 1998.
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Uber suspends self-driving car program after Arizona crash

ABC News, 27 March 2017
Uber has suspended its pilot program for driverless cars after a vehicle equipped with the self-drive technology crashed on an Arizona roadway. The accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.
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Minimum overtaking distance of cyclists rejected by Victorian Government

ABC News, 23 March 2017
The Victorian Government has rejected a recommendation to introduce a minimum passing distance for motorists overtaking cyclists, saying it will try a public education safety campaign first.
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How electric cars can help save the grid

The Conversation, 22 March 2017
A key question amid the consternation over the current state of Australia’s east coast energy market has been how much renewable energy capacity to build, and how fast. But help could be at hand from a surprising source: electric vehicles. By electrifying our motoring, we would boost demand for renewable energy from the grid, while smoothing out some of the destabilising effects that the recent boom in household solar has had on our energy networks.
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How a 94-Year-Old Genius May Save the Planet

Alternet, 11 March 2017
A man old enough to be Mark Zuckerberg’s great-grandfather just unveiled energy storage technology that might save the planet. John Goodenough is 94, and his current work could be the key to Tesla’s future—much as, decades ago, his efforts were an important part of Sony’s era of dominance in portable gadgets. Over the years, Goodenough has scuffled with Warren Buffett, wound up screwed by global patent wars, never got rich off a headline-grabbing initial public offering and defied the American tech industry’s prejudice that says old people can’t innovate.
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