Transportation

slug it out

‘Slugging’ lets commuters hitchhike to work without ass, gas, or grass

Photo: BankbryanFor the last 30-plus years, commuters in the D.C. area have been commuting to and from work via modified hitchhiking. Commuters wait in “slug lines” for a driver who’s going their way — it’s a little like catching a SuperShuttle at the airport. These spontaneous carpools are beneficial for the drivers, who get to use speedy HOV lanes; for passengers, who get a free ride to work; and for the environment, because it means fewer cars on the road. The popularity of slug lines shows that people are willing to sit with strangers, put up with someone else’s schedule, …

Fit to be bow-tied

Rep. Earl Blumenauer burns calories instead of fossil fuel — and loves it [VIDEO]

In honor of National Bike Summit Week, Politico’s Patrick Gavin takes a ride with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, (D-Ore.), the bikingest guy in Congress. In a video interview, the bow-tie-sporting congressman — who is founder and cochair of the Congressional Bike Caucus — explains why he’s been riding his bike to work for the past 15 years: I have burned hundreds of thousands of calories … I’ve never been stuck in traffic, I’ve never had to look for a parking place, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars. It’s kind of a win-win-win, burning calories instead of fossil fuel. Also, when you …

Gas pains

How much could you save by riding transit instead of driving?

The ability to go somewhere without gassing up: priceless.Photo: JasonSo the Middle East continues to melt down, and gas prices are going up, again. This time, the jump is the second-biggest in the history of the gasoline market — 33 cents per gallon in just two weeks. According to the American Public Transportation Association, an average two-person American household can save $825 a month by giving up one car in favor of public transit (those figures include parking). In New York, the city at the top of the list, savings could add up to more than $14,000 per year. In …

Mad for trains

TV’s ‘Mad Men’ are all about high-speed rail [VIDEO]

So you might have heard that Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell on the ultra-addictive AMC show Mad Men, is a fan of public transportation. In fact, Kartheiser lives in Los Angeles and goes about his daily business without owning a car, which is pretty great. Now Kartheiser and fellow Mad Men cast member Rich Sommer are starring in a video about high-speed rail from public-interest advocacy group U.S. PIRG. The video is slated to debut next Wednesday, but U.S. PIRG released a teaser on their Facebook page today. We’re pretty sure that George Will isn’t going to approve.

Back-tracking

Before George Will was against high-speed rail, he was for it

Flip flop much?Photo: lincolnbluesRemember how we told you the other day that Newsweek columnist George Will thinks high-speed rail is a sinister progressive plot to undermine American individualism? Well, big thanks to reader Ed D’Amato, who tipped us off to something very interesting from Mr. Will’s archives. Because apparently, that wasn’t always his opinion. In the dark days immediately after 9/11, Will seems to have had a revelation about how a certain mode of transportation could help our nation be stronger and more secure. In an Oct. 1, 2001 column syndicated in the Jewish World Review, Will recommended three steps …

toll road 4 sale

Maybe selling off government-owned fossil-fuel infrastructure isn’t such a bad idea

Might a little bit of the free market be just what we need to get Americans paying something closer to the true cost of driving?Photo: Marius WatzEveryone knows about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s unhinged attack on his state’s unions, but did you know that he’s also pushing for the right to “sell any state-owned heating, cooling, and power plant [PDF] or … contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount”? Walker’s not alone in his inclination to sell off public infrastructure; for the past several years, budget-strapped …

Riding onto the Sunset

Traffic-snarled LA goes bike-wild with 1,600 miles of lanes

The Backbone Bikeway Network proposed by the L.A. Bike Working Group was incorporated into the city’s master plan for 1,680 miles of new bike lanes.Graphic: LA Bike Working GroupThe cab driver who cut off Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when the mayor was riding his bicycle last year may have done the city a huge favor. After the incident, in which he fell from his bike and broke his elbow, Villaraigosa started talking a lot more about the importance of bicycles to the city’s future. And on March 2, he signed a kind of astonishing bicycle master plan, which had …

START A LOVE TRAIN (LOVE TRAIN)

TreeShagger: Finding love on public transportation

Public transit is an aphrodisiac.Photo: Martin StroblWelcome to TreeShagger, our column on green dating. If you’ve got green dating questions, send ‘em our way! Did you hear about Patrick Moberg, that dude who found the girl of his dreams on the New York subway? Like a twee Wes Anderson hipster-man, he drew a picture of her in full rosy-cheeked glory, set up a website (NYGirlOfMyDreams.com), and struck gold when a friend of hers saw it and put him in touch with her. Dreams come true! Don’t stop believing! Take the midnight train going anywheeere! (Ahem.) Perhaps you too want to …

Soft machine

If Watson can win Jeopardy, can IBM make cities smarter?

Photo: Rodrigo SennaIBM has generated a lot of buzz lately for Watson, its game-show-playing supercomputer that recently bested a couple of skin jobs on “Jeopardy.” Less high profile is the expansion of Big Blue’s computer and software systems designed to monitor and control municipal water, energy, and transportation systems. Developed under the umbrella of IBM’s Smarter Planet effort, such systems are designed to cut water and energy consumption and save cities money. On Monday, IBM announced a series of projects showing that in the future, public works may be just as much about sensors and cloud computing as pipes and …

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