James M. Connolly

Learn What Smart Cities Mean to You

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magneticnorth0
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
magneticnorth0   11/8/2016 9:10:03 AM
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Terrorists can blow up anything.

I would think the US could use Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. I looked it up and it seems that there are supposed BRTs in New York and in Boston, but they've been classified as "Non-BRT" by the international body advocating BRTs. It seems that these cities have removed enough of the features that make BRTs rapid.

Lyndon_Henry
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
Lyndon_Henry   11/1/2016 8:08:34 PM
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..

Magnetic asks

... pardon my ignorance, but why is the US government more inclined towards promoting individual vehicles rather than mass transit? Any reason apart from reducing government expenditure?



 

Excellent question, but definitely no simple answer. I'll try to cover just two or three factors briefly, but there are more.

1. Cost — The vehicle capital cost and ongoing operating & maintenance (O&M) costs of private vehicles are covered by vehicle owners, whereas public transport vehicle costs are subsidized by public agencies and O&M costs by the transit agencies plus passenger fares (and other revenue sources such as ads, leases, etc.). I know you wanted to consider factors other than cost, but I think it's important to realize that overall the cost of public transport per person-mile is much lower, but the lawmakers etc. who authorize tax revenue don't care about that bigger picture.

2. Split-up government interests — First of all, the various states have different interests and attitudes, plus there are a lot of rural or small-town interests within states that want a strong car-oriented state transportation focus. On the federal level, the various states are represented by senators and Congressional representatives, and they demand some share for their states of the highway program money (a kind of pork-barrelism that remains). This means no White House in its right mind would dare to suggest a major cutback of the highway-obsessed program that's in place.

3. Inertia — Streets and roads, plus bridges and tunnels and parking lots and so on constitute this huge infrastructure already in place. The public in general are sort of locked into it, it needs to be constantly fed, and there's also this eternal futile effort to try to eliminate congestion by just building more and more of it, which then locks everybody even more tightly into it. It's actually a sort of hell, but we're all in it, and the way out will take a revolution. I think most people would rather go shopping ...

There's a lot more to this story, but hope this helps ...

 

SethBreedlove
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
SethBreedlove   10/31/2016 9:28:52 PM
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@ Magneticnorth, this is an aurgument we've been having here in the U.S. for at least the past 50 years.

Eons ago the streets belong to everyone not just cars but the automobile and oil industies have fought very hard against public transportation.  One aurgument is that terrorist could blow up a high speed rail. 

Another difference here in the U.S. is that our major cities are much more spread out than they are in Europe.  For example car sharing in Germany (and I don't mean Uber.) is succesful in Germany because everything is a much shorter distance.  Finding a random stranger to share a ride from Las Angelos to Miami is an entirely different story. 

 

magneticnorth0
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
magneticnorth0   10/31/2016 10:55:25 AM
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@Jamescon I see. I asked partly because I've recently become aware of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Basically connected buses instead of train coaches and dedicated roads instead of railroad tracks. Given the reasons you stated, BRTs will probably not work either.

Jamescon
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
Jamescon   10/31/2016 9:06:32 AM
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@MagneticNorth. From what I've seen there are three basic forces in play against public transportation in the US. One is that people cling to the old frontier image of being able to go where they want, when they want, and not when a train or bus schedule tells them they can. The second plays off that: People feel that if they are paying for a car their tax dollars shouldn't be used to support people who don't pay for cars. Finally, there are the petroleum and automotive sectors that have profits at stake and have paid a lot of money to politicians to maintain their influence in Washington.

magneticnorth0
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
magneticnorth0   10/31/2016 6:47:49 AM
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@Lyndon_Henry pardon my ignorance, but why is the US government more inclined towards promoting individual vehicles rather than mass transit? Any reason apart from reducing government expenditure?

bobsalmon
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Non-functional requirements
bobsalmon   10/22/2016 5:30:31 PM
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The DDoS attack on DNS provider Dyn shows that the Internet of Things can easily become the Internet of Insecure Things.  Imagine every streetlight in several cities hitting your website, rather than phoning home to their normal server.  I realise that this is an analytics discussion, but I wouldn't want my analytics project torpedoed because the local residents got justifiably upset about poor security and so the smart city project generating all my lovely data was cancelled.

Also, whose data is it?  The UK government smart meter project explicitly said: the data belongs to the user.  Anyone else would get only as much data as they needed to fulfill a statutory obligation (keep the lights on, etc.) or as the customer had given them informed consent to access.

Smart city projects should make life better for citizens, and if private companies, academics and so on get some benefit then that's great but it's not the main aim.  It's easy to be beguiled by a new shiny data set to play with, but as a taxpayer I'd want my tax to be benefiting my neighbours and me above all else.

 

kq4ym
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Data Doctor
Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
kq4ym   10/22/2016 10:54:25 AM
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Those would be good ideas among the many that would benefit the area residents in safety and governmental budget saving. It may be interesting to see if funding becomes more from federal agencies or more local entities and how that might affect just what type of smart city infrastructure develops from area to area.

Lyndon_Henry
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
Lyndon_Henry   10/20/2016 11:03:04 PM
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..

Austin was one of a handful of cities that made the short list of finalists for a U.S. Dept. of Transportation Smart Cities Challenge grant, but in the end it was Columbus, Ohio that won the $140 million prize. Reportedly, the main reason was the city's emphasis on high-tech motor-vehicle-focused systems, particularly driverless cars and electric vehicle (EV) technology.

Several cities with highly successful rail transit systems, including San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, also lost out. As summarized by the Autoblog website (described as an "internet-based automotive news and car shopping website"),

 ... the city will have $140 million with which to work as it becomes a living laboratory for self-driving technology, connected vehicles, battery research, and more.



 

In my own asessment, this would seem to reflect a continued emphasis at the federal (as well as local) level on promoting more individual motor (including electric) vehicle transportation rather than rail mass transit systems.

 

Ariella
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Re: Integrate and improve quality of life
Ariella   10/19/2016 10:27:27 AM
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@PC even the regular lights can be used to increase safety if they can be adjusted to be brighter when needed or to illuminate a patch of ice, etc.

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