Ford Forging Ahead

Ford Logo

Ford’s CEO Allan Mullay made headlines in the StreetsBlog community  with his comments that cars in urban environments are “not going to work” and discussing the role that personal mobility should have in big cities.  While the writer of the article seems shocked that the Detroit car manufacturer could say something so seemingly blasphemous this doesn’t break with previous trends of the company to support innovative transportation research. The Ford Company has been a supporter of the changing paradigm of transportation and the seemingly bold notion that a glut of cars will lead to gridlock. 


Dear Local Government,

Source: Intelligent Cities Forum

You should care about car sharing.  A recent report by Simpler Solutions & Planning, LLC and Arlington County Commuter Services outlines a few reasons why. These reasons include:

  • Parking, Congestion and Mobility
  • Fairness, Equity, and Community
  • Economics, Housing and Affordability
  • Environmental Quality

The full report can be found here

Foxx’s Early Stride

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx

Late last year the Surgeon General released a call to action for American’s to walk more.

In some places though, ” You’ll see pedestrians waiting at a crosswalk and car after car will go through.” Americans may want to walk but their built environment is not interesting or safe to walk through.

The Department of Transportation has told 22 focus cities that are especially dangerous for pedestrians that the DOT will fund $2 million in grants for six selected cities to promote pedestrian safety and enforcement.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said “Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,”

As StreetsBlog pointed out it is notable that this is an initiative that Secretary Foxx is taking so early in his tenure.  It makes this pedestrian excited for DOT to continue to cross the street with Americans.

Increasing Fuel Efficiency, Decreasing Investment

A little under 1/3 of carbon emissions are from the transportation sector.  Obama made his big climate change speech last week and the transportation section made up far less than 1/3 of his remarks.

The only mention of transportation sector was hailing the success of increasing fuel efficiency of cars. This is a great achievement but it also limits the investment we make in our transportation infrastructure. The Highway Trust Fund, funded by the federal fuel tax, funds transportation infrastructure in this country. While increasing fuel efficiency we are also cutting off the hand that feeds us.  We are limiting our ability to implement multiple-mode of transportation and upkeep our existing infrastructure.

This is not to say that Obama’s speech should be written off. It has some great proposals and as it pointed out on Streets Blog most of the reforms mentioned can be done without Congress, this can also explain the lack of transportation initiatives mentioned in the speech.

So what’s next? How do we continue to fund the Highway Trust Fund and invest in smarter transportation infrastructure?

My answer for now is the same response from Congress; We’ll save it for another day. 


Can the Car Save Us From Ourselves?

Will self-driving cars save us all ? Policy makers in DC are beginning to answer that question. DC which has seemed more prone to driving off cliffs lately is starting to talk about cars that drive themselves.

States like Nevada, California and Florida have already enacted legislation regarding permitting of these self-driving cars and now the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its own policies and research initiatives.

Outgoing DOT secretary said that “advances like automatic braking may save lives in the near term, while the recommendations to states help them better oversee self-driving vehicle development, which holds promising long term safety benefits”

While I remain skeptical, probably from too many Terminator movies, I  hope the future self-driving car is more like the crime fighting vehicle KITT.

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LaHood to Leave

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gives a thumbs up to Arlington/DC bike share bike (Photo credit: Caron Whitaker, America Bikes)

Ray LaHood is stepping down as Transportation Secretary.

Will the StreetsBlog readers have their wish granted, and have Janette Sadid-Khan be the next Transportation Secretary?

Ryan Holeywell, a staff writer at GOVERNING, speculates on the contenders for the job including Sadid-Khan and Gabe Klein, “another darling of the smart growth crowd”.

Ray LaHood has made some notable changes in the way in which transportation is handled on the federal level. Atlantic Cities  has a list of the fundamental ways that he transformed policy.

Most profoundly, in my opinion, is that transportation is “more than highways”. The inclusion of bicycles, transit and land use in policy is notable.

The next secretary should do more to encourage a mulit-modal approach to federal policy and encourage the funding from Congress to follow suit.

These Boots were Made For Walking

If the boots were made for walking, why can’t our transportation bill be made for walking too?

Recently,Streetsblog reported  that the US Surgeon, General Dr. Regina Benjamin, said that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is going to a produce a Surgeon General’s report that is “a call to action on walking”. The report will be accompanied by a national campaign for walking. According to the CDC more than one-third of U.S adults are obese and this “call to action on walking” is going encourage American’s to walk more.

However, as of July 6, 2012, the latest transportation authorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, known as MAP-21, reduced funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects by approximately 33%. 

Let’s hope that when a new transportation bill comes around that it will heed the Surgeon General’s “call to action on walking”.


Six Wheels Plus

During the winter of  2012, I found myself buying a bike and a car in one weekend.  I also have access  to the many wheels that Capital District Transportation Authority’s buses provide.  This blog is inspired by the many ways to travel and creating a transportation network that makes traveling options accessible and convenient.

This blog is called multi-modalist. What is meant by this? Multi-modal refers to the multiple modes, or transportation options, that could be taken from point A to point B and the way these modes can work together to build an efficient and sustainable transportation system.

My former professor at the State University of New York at Albany,  Jeff Olson, describes a “third mode”, as following:

 While walking and bicycling are unique forms of mobility, they can also be thought of together to represent a “third mode” of transportation that is as important as highways and mass transit. This mode of transport, and the kind of thinking that is required to integrate it into our modern world, symbolizes a different perspective on our way of thinking. If you can understand why non-motorized mobility is important for transportation, you can also see how other problems could be resolved with similar thinking. This thought process is called The Third Mode, how it can lead to a more connected, healthy, and sustainable society.”

This blog is dedicated to writing about increasing our transportation choices.  It may also include topics such as history, politics, gardens, crafts, and beautiful things. Let’s get moving!