Ariella Brown

Driverless Cars Present Ethical Challenges

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Joe Stanganelli
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Re: Urban transit adventures
Joe Stanganelli   8/30/2015 11:47:39 PM
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It is my understanding that in Boston, you have to get special permission to photograph the subway tunnels -- but it's less about the photography and more about being allowed the physical access.  More than crime/terrorism, the bigger concern is people being stupid and getting themselves run over by a train.

Joe Stanganelli
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Re: Ethics
Joe Stanganelli   8/30/2015 11:43:54 PM
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Personally, I am a fan of "Broken Windows" enforcement: coming down hard on litterbugs, noise ordinance violators, vandals, and the like -- which, in turn, leads to a significant reduction in all crime.

I'd love to see Boston bicyclists get ticketed a lot more for their violations.  IMHO, they are by far the biggest wild card and most unsafe aspect when it comes to driving in Boston.

Ariella
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Re: Urban transit adventures
Ariella   8/30/2015 9:01:21 AM
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<Incidentally, I always encourage any photographers similarly stopped by cops to be extremely cooperative and forthcoming. Note that they're the guys with the weaponry.>

@Lyndon_Henry Good advice in general. Responding with hostility tends to just escalate things to everyone's detriment. I'll also have to bear in mind your train recommendations if I get the opportunity to visit those cities. 

 

Ariella
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Re: Ethics
Ariella   8/30/2015 8:59:54 AM
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@Joe quite an exception to the general rule there. Traffic laws do apply to bicyclists, but as police and cameras are all oriented toward cars, there's very little enforecement. I did, however, once hear of a teen ticketed for riding his bike on a sidewalk. I wasn't imperssed, though, because in that neighborhood, the police really have a lot more serious crimes that they should be dealing with, so picking on that seems to be almost a form of bullying while keeping oneself out of any danger.  

Lyndon_Henry
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Urban transit adventures
Lyndon_Henry   8/30/2015 7:59:58 AM
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..

Ariella asks

Do you get a special ID to show those who try to stop you from taking pictures, or do they take your word for it that you're not contributing to an evil plot?



 

Short answer: There's no special ID. I've been stopped (in all cases by cops) 3 times so far taking photos. In the case of 2 of those incidents, I was still a transit authority employee (data analyst) and I wore my photo ID with the "Metro" agency logo prominently on my chest. In the last case (Buffalo, 2012) I was stopped because the cops thought I looked suspicious snapping photos of MetroRail LRT trains going in and out of the downtown LRT tunnel portal. (In Buffalo, the trains run on the street in downtown, then go into a tunnel to head for the suburbs.)

I can understand the cops' concern — we're now living in a climate of terror hysteria — and I can understand being questioned, but some of the policies, attitudes, and actions by authorities I see as counter-productive and repressive, possibly a combination of CYA with opportunities for power-dominance. This is based particularly on my personal experience, but I won't elaborate further for now except to say the cops in Buffalo were the most professional and handled the situation best.

Supposedly, Boston and Atlanta (and perhaps some other transit agencies) require one to apply for and obtain a special permit to take photos. The process is so arduous, I've never heard of anyone actually getting a permit, and I regard this as a de facto prohibition.

Incidentally, I always encourage any photographers similarly stopped by cops to be extremely cooperative and forthcoming. Note that they're the guys with the weaponry.

Ariella also asks

Do you have any favorites among the lines you visited?



 

Hard to answer, because I like cities as well as transit systems.

• Dallas — I never thought my hometown would go to the trouble and expense of re-installing LRT after ripping out the streetcar and electric interurban lines in my childhood, but it has re-established important chunks of its former magnificent system.

• New Orleans — Classic and utterly unique historic city, with a charming original historic streetcar system that carries some of the heaviest transit ridership.

• San Francisco — Leaving aside the price of housing ... seems like a very livable city with lots of excellent transit options. Because of excellent transit access, it has retained the once-typical "old-time" urban environment with shops and cafes just down the street or around the corner. Possible to get breakfast in a cafe on Sunday morning, an unusual feat in most cities nowadays.

• St. Louis — Very interesting city to visit, with high-quality LRT that's almost like a metro.

 • Salt Lake City — Basically, just a beautiful, interesting, livable, walkable city with excellent transit. LRT system is a model for elsewhere.

• Portland and Seattle — Two beautiful, fascinating, walkable cities with excellent transit, rail and bus.

• Cincinnati and Tucson — Two medium-size cities I've visited when they were installing streetcar-type LRT systems that will likely be the basis for more extensive LRT. Tucson's is now in operation, and Cincinnati's is nearing completion. Both cities are attractive, interesting, very walkable.

My recommendation, if you visit any of these cities and you want to use the transit systems: check out the possibility of a day pass, or multi-day pass (depending on length of visit). Most cities offer them, and they not only save money but are a great convenience. 

 

Joe Stanganelli
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Re: Comparing travel safety
Joe Stanganelli   8/29/2015 11:47:22 PM
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Things like this make me think that we should have driver's licenses with multiple levels.

First is your regular driver's license.  Then if you want to do certain multitasking abilities while driving (eating, talking on the phone, etc.), you need to undergo separate testing and get a special license for that.

Joe Stanganelli
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Re: Ethics
Joe Stanganelli   8/29/2015 11:45:18 PM
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@Ariella: The other day, I was in a town outside of Boston and saw a bicyclist patiently waiting at a crosswalk for the light to change -- even though, had he booked it, he could have safely made it across without waiting.

I thought to myself, "Why can't bicyclists in Boston be more like you?"

Joe Stanganelli
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Re: Ethics
Joe Stanganelli   8/29/2015 11:43:30 PM
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@James: Or, for that matter, there's the issue of the suicidal driver.

I imagine a Clippy-like avatar popping up as a hologram on the windshield with a text bubble that says, "It looks like you are trying to kill yourself.  Can I help?"

Ariella
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Re: Comparing travel safety
Ariella   8/28/2015 2:00:52 PM
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@James yes, your car knows an awful lot about you, something I wrote about a while back here

Ariella
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Re: Comparing travel safety
Ariella   8/28/2015 2:00:52 PM
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@James yes, your car knows an awful lot about you, something I wrote about a while back here

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