Top 5 new developments in transportation

July 23, 2013

It’s an exciting time for transportation – never before has getting from point A to point B been as fraught with questions about ease of use, customer experience, environmental implications and innovative progress as it is today. From dynamic parking pricing in San Francisco and taxi apps to world-changing bus rapid transport in Colombia, trends are emerging out of some expected, and other perhaps unlikely places. Check out our selection of the top five new developments in transportation, and keep your eyes peeled for changes coming soon to your city.

1. Dynamic prices for parking

This idea first picked up steam in 2011, when Los Angeles began testing it out with ExpressPark. The concept: Using sensors to determine parking demand at approximately 6,000 sidewalk meters and about 7,500 public parking spaces, the prices at the meters changed throughout the day in response to parking demand.

SFPark in San Francisco is also embracing the idea, gathering realtime data on available spaces to help drivers find parking faster and more efficiently. The goal is to save drivers time while improving traffic congestion and increasing revenue.

Cars parked on a steep hill in San Francsico

[ed: As New Yorkers, we here at RoadTrafficSigns are hesitant to give San Francisco much credit for anything besides fresh seafood and cool weather. But we have to admit – their parking system makes us jealous. From Wouter Kiel.


2. Pay-by-mobile public transit

Beijingers can now swipe their mobile phones to charge their subway and bus rides, after the city’s public transit company signed a contract with China Mobile in July 2013. The service costs about $3 USD, and is also available at certain markets and restaurants.

3. Taxi apps

Anyone who has been stuck on a Manhattan street corner in a downpour knows that, given the right circumstances, finding a taxi is a near impossible proposition. App-makers realized the conundrum and piloted apps in December, such as Uber and Hailo, that enable users to request cabs from their smartphones—but a temporary restraining order prevented people from taking advantage of the technology.

Today, though, there’s good news for stranded city dwellers: the Supreme Court lifted the restraining order in June. Though there’s still a chance of a bumpy road ahead, for now users have the go-ahead. (Even NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has backed the idea.)

New York city cab speeding

Looking for a cab in New York? At long last, there’s an app for that. From nromagna.

4. Bus Rapid Transit

Masivo Integrado de Occidente, or Western Mass Integrated, is a bus rapid transit system covering the city of Cali, Colombia. The widespread route encompasses nearly 100% of the city’s area, and services nearly 3/4 of the city’s public transport needs as one of the most efficient BRT systems in existence.

Following Cali’s lead, the city of Haifa, Israel, plans to kick off Metronit, a BRT system that will initially be free for users and, for the first week, offered during nonpeak hours. Haifa is the first area in Israel to adopt BRT, and the government cites higher bus frequency, longer service hours, and an improved rider experience as key benefits. Back in the States, other recent adopters include Nashville, Tennessee and Alexandria, Virginia.

BRT bus driving through Cali, Colombia

A rapid transit bus in Cali, Colombia. By Manuel Vieda.

5. Making electric vehicles work across borders

A joint effort between the U.S. Department of Energy and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre will “develop and harmonize interoperability between electric vehicles and the electric charging infrastructure.” In laymen’s terms, the collaboration will work towards establishing standards for electric vehicles and charging standards. (Perhaps not a edge-of-your-seat development in transportation, but certainly a necessary one; as anyone who has blown out an electronic product while traveling abroad knows, electric currents vary from place to place.)

While the debate around EVs continues, on the this blog and elsewhere, most can agree that there’s great benefit to preventing electrical blowouts on a scale larger than that of your American blowdryer!

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Category: News & New Products, Trends

About the Author ()

Katy is a writer, reporter and editor who, in addition to writing for RoadTrafficSigns, has worked with the United Nations Development Programme, Hamptons magazine, Hearst Corporation, The Daily Mail, People Magazine, and a variety of other publications and nonprofits. After graduating with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and distinctions on her thesis and in the consumer journalism seminar, she moved to Milan, Italy. In Italy, she worked as a writer and consultant for an international magazine, editing and translating text and reporting on such events as the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the annual design fair. A born and raised New Yorker, she has lived in three of five boroughs, relying quite a bit on public transport until getting her driver's license at the admittedly belated age of 21.

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