New London Underground map shows how expensive it is to rent stop-by-stop

Another handy London Underground map has been released, this time showing how
expensive it is to rent at each Tube stop

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In my book about buying a house using location based services I wrote about looking at a property you might be interested in based on crime maps. I’m not sure if there is a crime map based on the London Tube routes, but it wouldn’t be hard to overlay the two data sets, or at least identify suburbs. It would be really interesting to see if the prices for rents compare with the frequency and types of crime in the area. Sometimes you might get what you pay for.

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Connected Semis Will Make Trucking Way More Efficient

Connected cars are nice, says Zonar CEO Brett Brinton. But when it comes to trucks, “we believe it’s a completely different story.”

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I don’t know about you, but this sounds like what Fleet Management companies in New Zealand have been doing for years.

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USDOT reports to US Congress on DSRC for connected vehicles

The US Department of Transportation has released its report to the United States Congress assessing the status of dedicated short-range communications for connected vehicle technologies. The findings are that they are ready for deployment.

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And we get closer and closer to connected cars. As I have blogged before, this is an offshoot of the development of driverless cars. As with the space program and military technology, the longer term futuristic concepts feed short term beneficial technologies. What this report essentially does is gives auto manufacturers the opportunity to start developing V2V communications technologies on a radio spectrum that they believe will generate minimal risk of interference. As a consequence, at the very last, cars manufactured for the US market will start featuring technologies such as communicating cruise control, proximity detection and alerts and event alerts, for example airbag deployment. The key to the success is that manufacturers agree on standards so we no longer have situations where only cars of a certain brand will ‘talk to each other’. There also remain security issues, as there is with the entire Internet of Things (IoT). Imagine being able to hack 10% of vehicles on a stretch of freeway…

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These maps show how far $50 of gas will get you

How to take a fabulous road trip for just $50.

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This is great for Americans, may you enjoy many miles of happy motoring, but for we Kiwi’s the scale doesn’t seem to work the same. With the price of oil coming down, Americans have gone from paying $3.50 a gallon in 1980 to less than $2 a gallon today. In New Zealand in 1981 we were paying $NZ2.70 a gallon.

So going by the same ration, we should be getting it really cheap! But no, we are now paying around $8.10 a gallon for 91 Octane.

Oil companies tell us that the price of a barrel of oil doesn’t have much to do with the cost of petrol at the pump. However this Washington Post (reasonably reputable) article links the fact that oil prices are at their lowest ever is a key factor. That is true, because we pay in excess of $2.70 a gallon in petrol tax, about the same as Americans pay for their entire fuel delivered to the petrol tank of their cars. I wouldn’t have thought the cost of moving oil, given it’s refined locally would be much more than in the USA and I also wouldn’t have thought the cost of running a gas station would be much different either.

So I wonder if someone could explain to me why, with the cost of oil being so low, in America they are paying about 40% less for their fuel per gallon than they paid in 1980 at the same time as we are paying around 300% more?

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Britain’s silliest place names

From Bottom Burn to Netherthong, a new map highlights the silliest towns and
villages in Britain

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This is something you just need to go and look at. There are 10 pages of maps with some of the silliest place names you have ever heard of and they are all real.

I used to think ‘only in America, but when it comes to place names , I think perhaps Britain takes the cake. Imagine coming back from a road trip and when people ask where you have been you list places like Bottom Burn, East Breast, Dickland, Shyte Brook, Thonglands, Loose Bottom, Brown Willy, Great Snoring, Frolic and Cockplay, the only redeeming factor would be that you didn’t have to say you live there.

It reminds me of the guy who owned the second hand shop in Eketahuna in New Zealand who had an outrigger sailboat air freighted from the Pacific Islands and when he inquired as to why it hadn’t been delivered, he was told that it had been sent back to the Islands because no such place existed. I can attest to the fact that it exists. I used to work with a colleague who was born there and I met and had coffee with the guy who bought the outrigger.

It has recently become famous because they are closing the only pub in town, which doesn’t leave much for anyone. On the other hand, for those who say that you can’t buy a house in New Zealand any more. There are houses in Eketahuna for sale for as little as $45,000. I’m not sure what you would do for a job, you might need to work on a farm or commute to Levin, but a 3 bedroom house for under US$30,000 or 20,000 British pounds wouldn’t be too bad to retire on a pension. Don’t take my word for it, check it out here

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The future of mobility: How transportation technology and social trends are creating a new business ecosystem

How will advances in transportation technologies and shifts in social attitudes shape the future of mobility?

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As a futurist one of the hardest things to come to grips with, but the most important reality is that significant change takes time, a lot of time. In relation to previous eras, change happens very quickly, but it doesn’t take place as quickly as we think and they are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

If you think the fit-bit is a revolution that occurred overnight, think again. When did you first get a pedometer? I think I got my first one about 15 years ago, but it could be longer. Of course this is a simple and low cost technology. Driverless cars as a total shift has massive implications as this article points out, not only to the way we drive and the implications for what happens on the road, but also to whole industries dependent on car purchasing and ownership.

I agree that the shift to reduced car ownership is being accelerated in cities due to the emergence of wild card companies like Uber and Lyft. I also strongly agree that the shift will occur at varying rates in different countries around the world and between cities well provisioned with safe, comfortable and timely public transport, versus rural areas where motor vehicle ownership is essential.

The benefits of reduced numbers of vehicles on the road (at massive costs to the GDP of some economies) will be enormous, once they develop all the supporting systems, but that takes time.

In the meantime, vehicle production and sales have yet to peak and whilst they may be safer, that also gives many inexperienced drivers more false security and other than through campaigns on fatigue, distracted and drug and alcohol impaired driving, many are driving faster in more powerful cars, without the skills to control them.

Back to the article, I recommend it to you as a more balanced view of the changes to come.

If you don’t want to read the article, here are the fundamental conclusions:

1: Industries will rise and fall. It’s a great time to be thinking about new careers and investments in new segments and a great time to get out of some as well.

2: The potential benefits of disruptors are compelling. They are creating the tipping points.It usually takes disruption to manifest significant change.

3: The auto industry can lead the changes, but traditional businesses as I have frequently blogged, find it very difficult to change. It’s significant that many of the changes today are not coming from Toyota, Ford or GM, but from Google, Tesla and OEMs. not to mention the Internet of Things and telecommunications.

4: The insiders and the disrupters need each other. Uber doesn’t work without someone making cars, driven or autonomous. Transport networks and management need both in order to deal with urban growth.

5: Profound disruption will extend far past the automotive industry. It will pervade everything we do.

6. It will not happen as quickly as many think it will, but the benefits of the technological developments will impact on our lives soon.


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Posted in Autonomous cars, car insurance, Car Technology, disruptive model, distracted driving, Driverless car, driverless vehicles, Fitness tracker, Future Technology, insurance risk, Intelligent Transport Systems, Mobility Management, Public Transport, Transport, uber, Wearable tech | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Accident-free zone: The German town which scrapped all traffic lights and road signs

A small town in Germany which scrapped all its traffic lights and road signs in a bid to cut down on crashes reported yesterday that the experiment is ‘a total success’.

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Could it work where you live? I’d have to say in my friendly suburb of Torbay it might (in winter anyway), any further out and I would hate to be the politician or engineer that suggested it.

People who have been driving for years still don’t seem to know which hand is left and which is right. Red lights apparently mean go fast so that you can beat the bastards who think they can start driving when their lights turn green.

Lots of people wonder what the stick is on the steering wheel that they accidentally push as they turn a sharp corner, but cleverly in newer cars it bounces back again after the turn has been completed.It indicates something, but don’t trust it because if you watch 20 cars go in the same direction through a roundabout, I guarantee you that there will be an equal number having the right indicator on as the left one; that is if they are driving with the right hand on the steering wheel. If they are on the phone, that’s probably in their right hand and they won’t have to accidentally tap the lever and confuse other drivers, because the hand is nowhere near he steering wheel. They might miss their turn and have to go all the way around the roundabout a second time, further confusing people though. I mean if I watched you go past every exit, I might just assume that you were getting off at the last one. You know the rule, never assume because it makes an ass out of u and me.

Merge like a zip at on-ramps explains why so many trousers and jeans have to go to the tailor to be fixed. It’s a wonder there aren’t more people going to Accident and Emergency through this simple act of closing the gap, thereby getting their privates caught in the zip. It does make entertaining viewing on webcams. You can add some music as they cause the concertina effect as 30 cars slow down during the merge and towies love it too, because some of them would probably go broke if it wasn’t for the nose to tails that occur during this difficult manoevre of getting onto a motorway.

Following distance is something that greenies invented, the idea is that if you follow close enough to the car in front of you, you can clean your windscreen with their water.

I was really impressed with the speed zone of 30km per hour in this study, because when I was in Germany last year, the average driver drove at 30km over the speed limit everywhere. But at least they mostly did it in the fast lane.

In New Zealand we don’t have a fast lane. Here we have our own sets of rules. Take the Harbour Bridge for example, people change lanes constantly in the 80km per hour zone so they can drive at 90, but then when they get to the motorway proper, they still sit in the fast lane at 90 forcing others who want to drive at the 100km per hour target to undertake them, stay alongside long enough to show the slower driver one or two of their fingers, perhaps a demonstration of intellectual prowess; (Today was brought to you buy the number two) and then zip in front of them and cut them off to teach them a lesson about driving etiquette and consideration for others.




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Posted in aggressive driving, car accidents, car crash, Car Technology, cars, connected cars, distracted driving, driving, Motoring, motorway, safer driving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment