From LA TIMES: The bullet train will require about 20 miles of tunnels under the San Gabriel Mountains between Burbank and Palmdale, involving either a single tunnel of 13.8 miles or a series of shorter tunnels. As many as 16 additional miles of tunnels would stretch under the Tehachapi Mountains from Palmdale to Bakersfield. The state will probably opt for twin bores — one for each of two parallel tracks. That means as many as 72 miles of tunneling before 2022.
Can it meet that schedule?
"No way," said Leon Silver, a Caltech geologist and a leading expert on the San Gabriel Mountains. "The range is far more complex than anything those people know."
Cycling is Eco-Friendly, and so is this solar powered Bike Trail
PRISM Engineering thinks this is pretty cool and a great way to encourage more recreational biking without the need for expensive lighting. This glow in the dark bike trail is found near Lidzbark Warminski in northern Poland, and sets a standard for what is possible now with long lasting glow in the dark materials. It was the creation of TPA Instytut Badań Technicznych Sp. z o.o. who specialize in making the synthetic materials (see below)
The bike trail is made from a synthetic material that glows in the dark for up to ten hours, depending on sunlight during the day. This technology is entirely dependent upon and utilizing solar power. More info at: http://www.tpaqi.com/
Solar Roads is an idea whose time has come
So I give this idea a hearty thumbs up. Instead of the petroleum-based asphalt as an overlay, use these. Then it may even be possible to run the electric vehicles we all dream of using someday, and put the gasoline engine to rest. If the sun can power all this, why not?
Federal Government gives them $750,000:
Indiegogo raises over $2.2 M for their Idaho company: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#/
The STRADDLING BUS extends just outside the box space of two lanes, and does not impact those two lanes, keep as is, but this special bus travels overhead. WATCH
I think the idea has legs (pun intended). However, if we are going to avoid all of the at-grade traffic problems that will inevitably occur with this new device, it would be necessary to build a more separated facility. In my opinion, this thing FAILS on the corners, on the turns. It seems like a perfect idea for any straight corridor. So maybe the train could just operate on straight paths ONLY, and transfers could take place at perpendicular locations. This would avoid the conflicts of curves mixed with at-grade traffic, which I think is a critical fail. Its kind of like LRT, but elevated, but unlike LRT it has a much much bigger footprint that has to be accommodated. This means loss of capacity for at-grade traffic, to stop nearly all traffic at intersections while this thing navigates a turn.
More newspaper articles on this development, click READ MORE
The USA is once again Leading the World on the forefront of auto-technology!
It is possible, NOW, to have a car get around without any lights and so the cameras on board are not really cameras at all. They are LIDAR devices, a kind of radar that many engineering firms use to survey terrain, buildings, and all conditions of the environment.
It's not just Google doing this stuff.
Ford is testing dozens of these vehicles all over. So are other car companies. This phenomenon is happening all over the world. The auto makers know it is coming, and being pushed by Google they are moving quick to implement.
Google is also expanding its self-driving car test program, but Google lacks the car manufacturing capability, for now.
FORD / GOOGLE ALLIANCE last week
a week ago... Ford and Google Teamed Up (alliance) to Support Driverless Cars!
The nation’s top auto safety regulator, Mark Rosekind, said the federal government wants to reduce the death toll in auto accidents, and thinks driverless technology could help reduce the annual death toll from traffic accidents: 32,675 people died in auto accidents in 2014! He said 90 percent of vehicle accidents are human error.
It seems like a no-brainer that computers can do a better job at reducing these mistakes, many of which are from distracted driving, something a computer has no problem with.
Self driving cars will change everything, for the better. They will increase capacity of the roadways by three times minimum, and that means more room for bike lanes, ped lanes, and medians and rail. It means a lot of good things. Its not just Google pioneering on this, far from it. Giant Tech companies are way ahead in my opinion, because they actually BUILD cars, and Google is making things from scratch, hence the little bug like cars. Recently, Google announced that it would be testing its prototype of a driverless car on roads in the summer of 2016 inside of California. Many still think that Self-driving cars are a futuristic idea, decades out. This simply is not true. Numerous car companies are ALL working on it, all independently. Ford, Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla, etc. all have self-driving features in the works.
I believe we should be embracing this technology because it is going to vastly improve the quality of life and help lower vehicle miles traveled, lower or eliminate congestion, eliminate accidents, reduce the death rate of 30,000 dead each year by significant margins. They will also enable the idea of shared vehicles with businesses like UBER leading the way in changing the culture of vehicle ownership vs. shared vehicles.
But Bullet Trains are still the rage in some countries, like China where I lived for 2.5 years. I rode these fantastic trains. They are awesome and useful and BEAT the car ride HANDS DOWN because you go much faster and also don't have to have the stress of driving.
But let's bring that to the USA and see how it fits here. First of all, 100% of the people here have a car, or two, or more. In China, only 10% have cars and in very poor cities, even less. This is such a huge and significant cultural difference in how we move about. So the transportation market to choose to ride a train is much much higher in China than in the USA because of this little talked about demographic: Car ownership. If those people without a car in China want to travel to a nearby city they have to take a train, or for more money, a bus. If they can afford a Bullet Train ticket, they will take a Bullet Train and get there 4 or 5 times faster, but for a corresponding increase in price. Most ride the cheap trains out of necessity.
Once a bullet train gets installed in California, China will be another decade ahead of us in terms of infrastructure installed and possibly technological advances in HSR. They already have, right now, these trains connecting at high speeds between ALL major cities in that country, and we have nothing like that. In fact, we have nothing even similar because the antiquated AMTRAK train is just that. The Bullet Train in California when finally fully constructed in 20 years will be a start but it will serve a very small demographic of people who live here, and it may be less than state of the art in the world.
How Googles Self Driving Car WORKS--
TWO YEARS AGO: One of Google's safety drivers takes a ride in their second generation vehicle, the Lexus, to understand how Google's self-driving technology works on the road.
Now they feel they are READY FOR THE ROAD!
Traffic Engineering and analysis in California has been evolving with the advent of SB 743. Safety has always been the primary focus of true Traffic Engineering, creating safe travel conditions for all modes of travel. SB 743 in California has specific elements within this law that place more focus on traffic safety including:
source: New Section 15064.3(b)(3) (preliminary OPR guidance for SB 743)
Staff at PRISM Engineering have decades of experience in preparing traffic and transportation plans with emphasis on traffic safety, utilizing guidance found in AASHTO publications, Highway Design Manual, MUTCD publications, etc., which focus on time-tested methods of design and implementation that enhance and improve safety.
Grant Johnson, registered Traffic Engineer, shares insights and experiences from around the world.