It can be challenging to make infrastructure look beautiful, but on a recent Quora thread of “amazing photography,” some gems showed up. Here are some of our favorites: Check out the whole thread here.
Last night’s Short Talks, Big Ideas event presented to a sold-out crowd, showcased the best in transportation innovation for nearly every NYC mode. The impressive speaker lineup was:
-Noel Hidalgo, Code for America, showcased the work of bike data hackers at Bike Hack nights.
- Lois Goldman, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, discussed pedestrian safety measures in Newark, including a crash stat map and a planned demonstration of what various car speeds can do to a 10 year-old crash test dummy.
- Emily Gallo, Taxi & Limousine Commission, showed off the new lime green Boro Taxis and taught us that 97% of yellow taxi pickups are in Manhattan or at the airports.
- Kevin Ortiz, MTA, gave a behind-the-scenes look at wireless connectivity in the subways, and assured us it will be completely installed by 2017.
- Eric Goldwyn, Columbia University, shared his research on NYC dollar vans, which carry 125,000 passengers a day, making them the 20th largest bus system in the U.S.
-Gary Roth, MTA NYC Transit, made the case for bus security cameras, and showed how they work to show false injury claims.
- Robin Lester Kenton, NYC DOT, showed the power of Instagram photography for infrastructure, with special before/after shots of DOT-enhanced roadways. Follow NYC DOT on Instagram here.
- Randy Gregory II showed off his 100 Ideas for the Subway, some of the recommendations from his popular blog.
The event was moderated by Sarah Kaufman, Research Associate at the NYU Rudin Center, who is always looking for new presenters. Contact her at sarahkaufman /at/ nyu /dot/ edu if you’d like to speak in Spring 2014.
See below for some photos and check out #BigIdeas13 for tweets around the event.
Please join the NYU Rudin Center on the evening of November 4th for our next edition of Short Talks, Big Ideas, showcasing innovative work and ideas at the frontier of transportation innovation. Free registration is now open: http://wagner.nyu.edu/events/rudin-11-04-2013
We’ll cover streets, bikes, transit, dollar vans, data, wi-fi, photography, and more. #BigIdeas13
Also, we’re co-hosting the November 19th event “Closing the Enforcement Gap to Save Lives on NYC Streets” with Transportation Alternatives. Register here:
Hope to see you in November!
NYCDOT has begun installing pedestrian wayfinding maps throughout the city. These maps feature clear graphics about multimodal information, including nearby destinations. Yesterday, the WalkNYC program came to Crown Heights in partnership with the Heart of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn’s Children Museum. WalkNYC maps can also be seen in Chinatown, Long Island City, Herald Square, the Garment District, and at CitiBike stations.
Ever wonder which streets have the slowest car traffic? What your average driving speed is? Where you brake the most? New data may help us find that out. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that The New York City Department of Transportation recently received a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to launch a program that monitors 500 cars with transponders around the city. Data will be available through apps to both car users and the city DOT. Participants in the program will receive a discount on their car insurance, and the city will have more data about car travel. Our own Sarah Kaufman was quoted talking about the potential pros and cons of the program.
Over the last decade, cell phones have become ubiquitous in cities across the world, creating less and less of a demand for the public pay phone. According to the Department of Technology and Telecommunications, there are still a little over 10,000 public pay phones on New York City sidewalks. The operational contracts for these kiosks expires in October 2014 and the city has the opportunity to transform the remaining kiosks to meet 21st century needs.
Earlier this year, the city sponsored a design contest to re-imagine these 20th century relics for the mobile 21st century. Several contest winners included electric vehicle charging stations as part of their design.
The electric vehicle is on the rise in the United States, electric vehicle sales are the fastest growing sector of the automotive industry and the number of E.V. models on the market has quadrupled in the last year. One challenge facing E.V. owners is the number and location of charging stations, especially in urban areas.
Converting kiosks into charging stations with two to three parking spaces each would be one potentially creative way to reuse the kiosks, which already have electric power. Finding charging stations can be a challenge for E.V. owners: Jay Friedland, legislative director for Plug in America, said that in one California town, E.V. owners use municipal owned Christmas tree light wiring to recharge.
Conflicting jurisdiction and interests of city agencies could complicate the process, which would involve formal applications and approval from the city. Earlier this year, New York Governor Cuomo announced plans to bring 3,000 charging stations to the state over the next five years and put 40,000 E.V.s on the road in that same period. Converting even a percentage of New York City’s pay phones to charging stations would meet statewide goals and increase access to charging for eager owners.
Pedicabs are an increasingly popular mode of tourist travel in New York City. After a series of scams involving the use of the app “Square,” lawmakers have increased regulations on drivers and companies, who are licensed through the City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). The DCA instituted new regulations about pricing and signage, effective on July 12. Instead of arbitrarily negotiated fares and rates, standard rates are determined by timers. Pedicabs must have clear signage indicating the prices. This will have a large impact on the industry, which has 1,461 licensed drivers and 201 licensed companies (NYC Open Data, DCA).
The data allows us to see who is licensed and their zip code, which for this study is assumed to be their place of residence. There appears to be a large concentration of pedicab drivers from Southern Brooklyn, particularly Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach. There are also many drivers in Upper Manhattan, the South Bronx, and Western Queens. The following table shows the neighborhoods with the most pedicab drivers:
|11235||Sheepshead Bay / Brighton Beach / Manhattan Beach||126|
By Justin Tyndall, Edited by Nolan Levenson
New York City has had a heat wave this week, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees five days in a row. Most New Yorkers know that the subway stations get excessively hot and humid. According to the folks at “L-Degrees”, the average temperature yesterday on an L train platform was 108° F, and with high humidity it felt substantially hotter. For comparison, in Death Valley, California yesterday the temperature was 115° F. Good thing the L train arrives every 3 minutes during rush hours.
Not only does the weather outside heat up the station, but air conditioners used to cool the subway cars create hot exhaust which adds additional heat. Due to the vast ventilation system of the subway, it is impractical to introduce air conditioning in stations. Additionally, there is a lack of space for the machinery that would be needed.
Other cities have air conditioned platforms, including Washington DC’s Metro, but New York’s more antiquated system may make such a retrofit difficult. Other systems including Dubai Metro, Singapore MRT, and the JFK AirTrain accomplish climate control with the help of platform screen doors which help keep the cooled platform air from escaping down the tunnels.
Hot temperatures on subway platforms may provide a reason for the MTA to consider exploring the possibility of installing platform screen doors, and perhaps, air conditioning in the long term. For the moment the best advice is to keep cool any way you can and keep in mind that the next air conditioned car will be there soon.
The combined distance traveled by all New Yorkers on a typical day exceeds 100 million miles–a distance slightly greater than that of the earth to the sun. Only 53% of New York residents report having access to a car (ACS 2011), this leaves nearly half the population to depend on other means to navigate the city.
This chart shows seven modes of transportation which contribute substantially to New York’s transportation needs; the list is not exhaustive but attempts to include the most important modes. Many statistics on transportation provide the number of ‘trips’ made per day to indicate the rate of use. This chart instead shows the total ‘person-miles’ traveled per day. This method provides a different picture of transportation in New York City. For example private cars only account for roughly 35% of trips in NYC; however, this mode also provides the longest trips (8.9 miles on average). A breakout of person-miles shows that private cars actually account for 59 million miles per day of travel, more than the other six modes combined.
New York City is likely the most transit rich city in North America, but NYC as a whole is still very much auto-dependent. This may be troubling to those who point to NYC as providing a post automobile lifestyle. However, it can also serve as an encouragement to those who see value in expanding other modes of transportation; there is still a huge space available to create a city that drives less and uses public and sustainable modes much more.
* Data Notes:
- Pedestrian data only records trips to and from work (note the briefcase), if all walking trips were included this figure would be higher.
- Private Vehicle, (National Household Travel Survey)
- Subway, (MTA)
- Bus, (MTA and APTA)
- Pedestrian, (Municipal Arts Society 2011 Livability Survey)
- Taxi, (Schaller Consulting, 2006)
- Bicycle, (Estimated from NYC Health and Mental Hygiene Survey)
- Ferry, (NYC DOT and public information from private NYC ferry companies)