Here’s what we know about the designated Uber, Lyft zones in Fenway

Starting at 5 p.m., designated, curbside zones for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to drop off and pick up customers will take hold at the corners …

As Boston continues to try to ease traffic congestion on the city’s streets, a new approach will hit the pavement at a busy Fenway intersection on Friday night.

Consider it a modern, tech-centric spin on a cab stand.

Starting at 5 p.m., designated, curbside zones for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to drop off and pick up customers will take hold at the corners of Boylston and Kilmarnock streets.

The trial run is aimed at improving the safety of passengers entering and exiting vehicles while also cutting down on disruptions to traffic flow — double-parked cars, for example — generated by the wave of Uber and Lyft rides that have taken Boston’s streets by storm in recent years.

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In 2017 alone, there were approximately 67 rides a minute, with 96,000 daily trips on average. Out of 64.8 million trips across Massachusetts that year, more than half started in Boston.

“Uber and Lyft have changed the way many people travel. They’ve provided convenience,” Mayor Marty Walsh said while announcing the initiative in a speech last week. “But with 35 million trips a year in Boston alone, they’ve also increased congestion and confusion, especially during rush hour. We need to find ways to make rideshares work better.”

Here’s what we know about the new curbside initiative:

How does it work?

The designated zones are set up on Boylston Street, where ride-hailing passengers will find newly installed signs.

Lot’s of excitement today for the new pilot of pick-up/drop-off spots in the #fenway area for @Uber@lyft and other ride sharing. Please note that enforcement starts tomorrow. Read more at https://t.co/0qgTn6VsYjpic.twitter.com/keQ3Hp5ZlT

— BostonTransportation (@BostonBTD) March 15, 2019

The areas covered by the pilot program are only the blocks where the zones are located, officials said in a statement, adding that that includes “the immediate blocks to the west and east of Kilmarnock Street on Boylston Street.”

People seeking to call a Lyft or Uber ride must go to one of the zones in order to meet their driver.

The zones, officials said, will also be available for any driver to use for picking up or dropping off passengers. Street signs at the zone indicate there is a five minute limit for vehicles.

When is it enforced?

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The pilot program, starting Friday evening, is slated to run every night beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at 8 a.m. the following morning.

City officials have not said how long they intend to test the model but said that the Boston Transportation Department will ultimately gauge how well it works.

What are Uber and Lyft saying about it?

Both Uber and Lyft say they’re on board with the trial run.

In separate statements, each company highlighted the potential the new approach has for making trips more convenient for riders and drivers.

“We’re thrilled to see the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics explore innovative projects like this one,” Tyler George, the New England general manager for Lyft, said. “These zones will not only make moving around the area more convenient and frictionless, but it can meaningfully reduce congestion and improve the experience for drivers, riders, and the Greater Boston community.”

Koosie Boggs, the head of rides for Uber in New England, said the zones will make trips “seamless for riders.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor on our shared goal of reducing congestion,” Boggs said.

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Commentary: Only transit investment—not tech hype—can solve Gwinnett’s transportation woes

In particular, some have bought into to the promise of emerging transportation technologies as privately-financed alternatives to public investment in …

MARTA
A MARTA train at West End station.

Photograph by Marilyn Nieves via iStock/Getty Images Plus

As Gwinnett County prepares to vote on a potentially transformational expansion of its transit system, skeptics are turning to a number of familiar anti-transit arguments to justify their opposition. In particular, some have bought into to the promise of emerging transportation technologies as privately-financed alternatives to public investment in new rail, bus, and vanpool service.

Over the past decade, many metropolitan areas across the United States have increased transit funding and supported denser land-use to fight congestion and increase economic competitiveness. Nonetheless, in communities like Gwinnett’s around the nation, we’ve also seen Uber, automated vehicles, hyperloop, and even flying cars offered as reasons not to commit to long-term transit planning. These expectations are wildly inflated, both in terms of technological maturity and regional transportation utility.

After nearly a decade of operations, both Uber and Lyft are still deeply unprofitable, and their business models may not be sustainable in the long run. But what if they could cut operating expenses by eliminating drivers? The prospect of low-cost private “robotaxi” fleets blanketing a metro free of taxpayer subsidies is certainly an enticing vision. That vision, however, would require fully automated vehicles, and is more than a decade off.

And even then, Gwinnett’s roads simply don’t have the capacity to support more private transportation for its growing population and employment centers. Conventional high-capacity transit offers far more promise for congestion reduction and quality of life improvement for all residents of and visitors to the county.

In the past year, I’ve helped Peachtree Corners develop its automated vehicle test track, and as part of a team of Georgia Tech transportation researchers, developed the Georgia Department of Transportation’s statewide automated vehicle technology roadmap. In my current role with the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta, I work with manufacturers, suppliers, and fleet operators to develop and commercialize advanced vehicle technologies, particularly around driver assistance and automation.

I understand these technologies and their development trajectories intimately. While I’m genuinely excited that we’re now demonstrating many of them on public roads, and eagerly anticipate their eventual mass deployment, I see the need for a collective reality check on the timeline and transformative impact of their arrival.

One October 2018 poll from Thatcham Research, Euro NCAP, and Global NCAP found that 71 percent of global respondents believed they could already purchase a self-driving car. No leading automated vehicle technology firm would support this claim, and many are now postponing their commercial deployment timelines by years. Most of these firms have finally come to appreciate the magnitude of their task ahead, but those reduced expectations have yet to permeate popular perception of the technology.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, while justifiably credited for popularizing electric vehicles, has contributed to this misinformation by claiming that, absent regulatory constraints, his cars would be capable of full automation. They’re not. Tesla’s current and near-term technology only supports steering, braking, and acceleration assistance on highways, and low-speed vehicle retrieval. This degree of automation still requires full attention from drivers when their system is engaged.

I highlight Musk, not only because he’s drawn the ire of automated vehicle leaders for misinforming the public in a way that threatens the entire industry’s credibility, but also because he’s oversold the plausibility of privately financed mass transportation. His Boring Company’s hyperloop concept does not stand up to serious scrutiny.

In metro Atlanta, a firm promoting a similarly half-baked concept using suspended pods for on-demand transit has drawn interest because it has promised the system at no taxpayer cost. Flying cars developed by Uber and others will have similar network and capacity problems, even after they’ve demonstrated technical viability. Fully functioning, high-capacity systems using these technologies would cost orders of magnitude more than claimed, and almost certainly require large public subsidies or eventual government bailouts.

Engineers with little experience in transportation systems or network planning often come bearing promises of privately-financed silver bullets. They successfully woo millions of Americans eager for transformational transportation solutions without any support from taxpayers. I understand and appreciate that appeal, however, there are no silver bullets in transportation.

There is no serious substitute for conventional rail and bus service backed by good land use planning. No private money will come to rescue Gwinnett from the crippling congestion that former Governor Nathan Deal—when endorsing the transit measure—cited as the greatest threat to the county’s future.

Gwinnett’s continued dynamism is critical for the prosperity of metro Atlanta, and I hope Gwinnett residents consider these facts when they vote on the county’s transportation future.

Nathaniel Horadam is an automated vehicle specialist at the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta. Views expressed are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.

Panasonic Industry announces sponsorship and collaboration on future transportation …

The Hyperloop is a transportation concept for a high-speed train to travel in a near-vacuum tube, which allows the capsule to travel at supersonic …

Munich, March 2019: Panasonic Industry Europe (PIEU), the European partner for electronic components, devices, modules and solutions in the industrial sector, today announced a collaborative sponsorship agreement with Technical University of Munich and Eindhoven University of Technology, both internationally recognized institutions of higher education and research in the field of engineering. The cooperation encompasses four mobility projects, all addressing frictionless, automated and sustainable answers for tomorrow’s transportation. The one-year sponsorship grants almost €100k in financial support and importantly enables the teams to benefit from Panasonic Industry’s components and know-how. Both vital factors to the education of scientists and engineers and to the development of technologies that can significantly make a better life and a better world.

Johannes Spatz, President at Panasonic Industry Europe: “Our society stands on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we travel and how we perceive transportation. In particular, the technological changes associated with ACES transformation – Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared vehicles – will create vast opportunities. At Panasonic Industry we are excited about new possibilities and opportunities which lie ahead of us and our scientific research collaborations give us the opportunity to share our natural curiosity with young and smart heads as well as to share our enthusiasm for connected mobility and our products. We are always surprised when we expand our horizons with ambitious and motivated students: there is a lot of creative and visionary potential we want to promote, support and nourish”.

The four sponsorship and mentoring programmes are:

  • Solar Team Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology
  • TUM Hyperloop IV, Technical University of Munich
  • InMotion, Eindhoven University of Technology and Fontys
  • TUFast, Technical University of Munich

Solar Team Eindhoven

Solar cars are powered by energy from solar panels mounted on the vehicle. They have been raced competitively since 1985 in Europe, the US and Australia. The Solar Team Eindhoven is working on a prototype which will participate at the World Solar Challenge in Australia, and also on building a commercially viable solar-powered family car from the ground up which will quicken the transition to clean energy abundance.

“We believe that the solution for electric vehicles is not to be found in the energy grid or better infrastructure: it is to be found in cars themselves. By becoming independent of the grid we can accelerate the transition towards sustainable mobility through bypassing political agendas. By using the largest infinite source of energy; our Sun, we can make mobility not about energy consumption, but about facilitating energy abundance” says Evan Quadvlieg, Technical Acquisition Manager, Solar Team Eindhoven.

TUM Hyperloop IV

The Hyperloop is a transportation concept for a high-speed train to travel in a near-vacuum tube, which allows the capsule to travel at supersonic speed – faster than any commercial train or car in the foreseeable future. In pursuit of this vision, SpaceX founder Elon Musk launched the “Hyperloop Pod Competition”. Teams of students from around the world compete against one another with pod prototypes. In Musk’s 2013 ground transportation paper, pods of people and cargo travel between cities at transonic speeds in a network of low-pressure tubes, while self-driving electric cars transport goods from Hyperloop stations to their final destinations around the country.

“Our design concept is influenced in many ways by the e-mobility sector. On that basis, a co-operation with Panasonic Industry was a logical and necessary step for us. Using an electric motor guarantees the best possible acceleration, but it also creates safety requirements for our components that are typical of electric vehicles – here we can benefit from technical support and guidance by the industry” explains Tim Simon Klose, Technical Lead, TUM Hyperloop from Technical University of Munich.

InMotion

The long term goal of this ambitious project is to participate at Le Mans in 2023 – its centenary year. InMotion aims to make electric refuelling for its e-race vehicle as fast and convenient as refuelling a conventionally-powered car. Electric refuelling is a technologically challenging concept. Solar, wind and grid energy charges an energy buffer used to supply the energy to the car during charging. An active cooling system for both the car and charger is necessary to keep the energy transfer as efficient as possible. The battery pack needs to be safe for everyday use and have a high power density while being able to handle large charging powers.

“We at InMotion believe innovation is best achieved in a challenging environment, under extreme conditions. There is nothing more challenging than driving a car for 24 hours for over 5000 kilometres. Our vision is to present our battery prototype at the end of 2019 and improve the endurance and charging time of the battery in subsequent years. If we can meet the e-racing challenge, electric refuelling is then ready for use by everybody. ” concludes Sjoerd Filmer, Partner Relations Manager, InMotion.

TUfast

For the fourth consecutive year, Panasonic Industry Europe is sponsoring the TUfast Racing Team from Technical University Munich in the Formula SAE/Formula Student racing competition, where student teams from different universities compete against each other in professionally organized races in their own self-built and developed racing cars. The team will be participating with an electric racing car and also with a driverless, autonomous racing car, both built from scratch by the students.

“Panasonic Industry’s team of engineers and product managers are highly experienced and helped us to avoid mistakes. Thanks to our collaboration we will create a better car each year because fresh and creative ideas from our side mixed with years of experience from Panasonic Industry’s side generates the best design in the end” says Grygoriy Garyuk, Technical Director TUfast Racing Team.

Commenting on the four projects, Alexander Schultz-Storz, Division Director, Solution Competence Division, Panasonic Industry said: “ Cooperation between industry and university is not a one-way street: industry also benefits. The TuFast Formula Student project enables us to interact with and support students who exhibit lateral thinking and design capabilities in a realistic engineering environment. The InMotion project looks at replicating the gasoline car experience which may be required to bring over some folk who won’t otherwise drive an electric car. Hyperloop offers a significant reduction in carbon emissions, intended to enhance current sustainable, networked mobility concepts. This matches our mission as a global leader in smart and sustainable infrastructure. Finally, Solar Team Eindhoven’s solar vehicles are a match for Panasonic Eco Solutions’ technologies, especially its photovoltaic modules, which are among the highest quality available on the market. At Panasonic Industry Europe we‘re continuously looking for fresh and innovative ways to throw our know-how into exhilarating and ground-breaking projects to explore new opportunities and make life more liveable for everyone – these sponsorships provide an ideal method of doing that.”

For further product information, please visit: http://industry.panasonic.eu

Picture ‘Panasonic Industry_TUM Hyperloop’ (left to right): Shahrokh Kananizadeh, Product Manager; Michael Meissner, Department Head, Corporate Marketing; Alexander Schultz-Storz, Division Head Cross Value; Tim Simon Klose, TUM Hyperloop; Guillermo Fuente, TUM Hyperloop

Picture ‘TUFast_SolarTeamEindhoven_InMotion’ (left to right): Ferdinand Heinrich, TUFast; Tobias Heinrich, TUFast; Julian Klein, TUFast; Evan Quadvlieg, Solar Team Eindhoven; Daniël Stekelenburg, Solar Team Eindhoven; Jorn Van Kampen InMotion; Sjoerd Filmer, InMotion

About Panasonic Industry Europe

Panasonic has been a worldwide leader in the development of innovative technologies and solutions for the electronics industry for more than 100 years. On a global scale, the portfolio encompasses the expanding B2B business with solutions for the areas Living Space, Mobility, Industry, and consumer electronics. The Panasonic Group now operates 591 subsidiaries and 88 associated companies worldwide, recording consolidated net sales of 7.982 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, 2018. As part of the Group, Panasonic Industry Europe GmbH offers key electronic components, devices and modules up to complete solutions and production equipment for manufacturing lines across a broad range of industries to customers in Europe. More: http://industry.panasonic.eu

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Panel Looking Into Plans For Hyperloop In Missouri

A panel has been launched that could help to make a 28-minute trip from Kansas City to St. Louis become a reality. State House Speaker Elijah Haahr …

Courtesy Virgin Hyperloop One

A panel has been launched that could help to make a 28-minute trip from Kansas City to St. Louis become a reality.

State House Speaker Elijah Haahr says Missouri became the Gateway to the West about 100 years ago by building an interstate system. During a press conference Tuesday in Jefferson City, Haahr told MissouriNet he wants Missouri to be the gateway to the world by building the first-ever Hyperloop system.

Haahr has created a group of elected officials and business people to study whether the revolutionary high-speed tube transportation could thrive and find ways to fast-track a potential Hyperloop in Missouri.

The tubes could carry passengers from St. Louis to Kansas City in 28 minutes with a stop halfway in Columbia.

MO House Speaker Elijah Haahr has announced the creation of a special panel to study how to make MO the “global epicenter” for research & development of Hyperloop technology & ways to boost construction of a KC-Columbia-St. Louis Hyperloop route. #moleg#mogovpic.twitter.com/wxmAkBNj2N

— Alisa Nelson (@alisagbrnelson) March 12, 2019

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Lyft Celebrating Women’s History Month By Offering Free Rides To Philadelphia Inspirational …

Philadelphia-To-Pittsburgh Hyperloop Step Closer To Reality. The company also plans to launch a social content series that highlights civic heroes …

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– Ride-sharing app Lyft is celebrating Women’s History Month with free rides up to $10 to inspirational locations around the city throughout the month of March. Some of the inspirational places include the National Constitution Center, Parkway Central Library, The Rosenbach, Betsy Ross House and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.

Riders in Philadelphia can use the promo code WHMPHI19 when visiting these spots around the city.

Philadelphia-To-Pittsburgh Hyperloop Step Closer To Reality

The company also plans to launch a social content series that highlights civic heroes and female Lyft drivers who’ve made an impact in their community across the country.

Lyft will also be planning local meet-ups for its female drivers to help their relationships within the driver community.

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