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Research Recap, November 21: EVs in China, Mobile Transit Info, Simulated Driving Technology

A new study by the Transportation Research Board examines how transit agencies use mobile devices to communicate real-time transit information. Photo by PatrickYHC.

Welcome to “Research Recap,” our series highlighting recent reports, studies and other findings in sustainable transportation policy and practice, in case you missed it.

Electric Vehicles in China

Nissan and the Wuhan Municipal Government are actively moving forward with their joint Pilot Program to further zero-emission mobility in China. The program focuses on developing efficient and environmentally sustainable transportation in the country, largely through the incorporation of electric vehicles (EVs) into the Chinese transport market. As part of the program, Nissan has already contributed fifteen Nissan LEAFs to the city of Wuhan and ten more are scheduled to be delivered in 2012. The joint Pilot Program includes EV test-driving to help develop user-friendly EVs and EV charging infrastructure, as well as educational public outreach demonstrations and events. To foster the development of low-carbon transport, Nissan is involved in more than 100 partnerships with governments and companies worldwide.

Mobile Transit Information

A new study by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) examines the use of mobile devices in communicating real-time transit information. The study investigates this burgeoning communication platform through the following five dimensions:

  1. The technology used to generate information
  2. The mobile technology required to receive information
  3. The characteristics of the communicated information
  4. The transit agency resources required to deploy the information
  5. The contribution of mobile messaging to overall agency communications strategy

The study includes a review of relevant literature, interviews with transit agency personnel, and a survey that was given to 28 transit agencies worldwide focusing on the five dimensions previously listed. One notable finding from the study is that the majority of transit agencies are outsourcing mobile device applications development to third-parties developers, and are instead focusing on managing their own data. The preliminary results of the study were presented last month at ITS World Congress.

Simulated Driving Technology

U.K.-based Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and Williams F1 signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the research and application of advanced simulator-based driver training technologies. The training technology targets improving driving skills, with the goals of increasing road safety and decreasing vehicle emissions. Williams F1 pioneered the technology over the past decade for the specialized training of racecar drivers. Boasting the advantage of repeatable scenarios and standardized assessments of driver skills, the partnership looks to apply the technology to the research, development and validation of training tools for driving regular, commercial and emergency vehicles.

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  • This is heartening news to see transportation infrastructure entering the 21st century! There is certainly a high-tech opportunity with real-time tracking, mobile data terminals, electronic fareboxes, feedback devices, digital on-time synchronization, asset inventory management and others. Google with GPS, IBM with asset management, GE with the smart grid are taking part in this infrastructure revolution.

    Imagine one more 21st century novelty: in our age of social media, blogging, and forums -one website devoted to people’s reporting of issues and ideas concerning public infrastructure and not just in transit but across the spectrum from airports to water pipes. Whatever you see, hear, or notice with a building, a bus, a water pipe, a broadband connection, you report it free from hassles of phone receptionists or email replies weeks later. All transparent among other people’s entries. And still, a place for your ideas. Well, imagine no more: visit http://www.infrainput.org!