9 stories
·
0 followers

Can autonomous scooters solve sidewalk clutter?

1 Comment
A dockless electric scooter on its side on a city sidewalk. A Bird scooter knocked over on a sidewalk in Oakland, California. A new startup, Tortoise, wants to help scooter systems perform better with technology that would autonomously reposition vehicles. | Shutterstock

Tortoise believes its tech can help reposition scooters and make micromobility more efficient

A new startup, Tortoise, believes that combining two of the latest trends in transportation technology, electric scooters and autonomous vehicles, can create a more efficient, sustainable transit option.

Founder and president Dmitry Shevelenko, a former Uber employee, says Tortoise doesn’t want to be a new operator, it simply wants to be a technology partner making other scooter systems better. With the ability to move scooters without human operators—which require more vehicle traffic, carbon emissions, as well as hourly wages—Tortoise’s technology can move scooters that are obstructing sidewalks or driveways to city-approved parking spots, public transit hubs, even someone’s front doorstep. Big operators, such as Bird, have said that the challenges of unit economic, including costly repositioning, are a significant focus going forward.

Shevelenko, who helped Uber expand into new modes of transportation such as Jump Bikes and the public ticketing system Masabi, believes that this kind of retrieval and repositioning solution is a missing piece to making micromobility more reliable, easy to access, and ultimately successful.

“We feel an existential need to make this happen, so micromobility can have a vibrant future,” says Shevelenko.

Don’t get too carried away with visions of city streets crowded with swarms of speeding ghost scooters. The initial market focus of Tortoise will be suburbs and low-density areas, where, due to the distances covered and the challenges of repositioning, it’s harder to fully utilize electric scooters.

Tortoise-enabled scooters also won’t be totally autonomous. The vehicles, which will run at 5 miles an hour during repositioning, will reply on a combination of autonomy when roads are clear and remote control when other vehicles and pedestrians are in sight (remote drivers will utilize cameras and steer scooters with small training wheels on their sides). The company’s routing software has been designed to avoid areas of heavy pedestrian traffic.

“We need that flexibility to handle difficult terrain and different variables because actual humans will be on the road,” says Shevelenko.

The reason so many scooters are tossed aside and knocked over, Shevelenko says, is that they’re left in areas that block pedestrian traffic. Tortoise will move vehicles after rides are finished, with no more than five minutes of lag time between a completed ride and remote repositioning (if the scooter is knocked over, Tortoise will flag the operator). Recently, a string of lawsuits by disability advocates claims that misplaced scooters have created such a hazard that they’re violating federal law.

Tortoise’s first demo will be at the Atlanta Tech Park in the city of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, which will go live later this year with roughly 100 scooters. In addition, the company is also working on launching trials in Vilnius, Lithuania, and a yet-to-be-determined market in Spain.

According to Shevelenko, at the jump, the scooters will be 100 percent remote-controlled by operators working out of the company’s engineering center in Mexico City, who will be paid fair market wages for Mexican workers. They’ll slowly introduce more autonomous control as they get more comfortable with operations and ease riders and pedestrians into the concept. Tortoise currently has 15 employees, not including the remote operators, and wouldn’t publicly discuss its funding.

Tortoise is also working with a suite of partners, including Wind, Gotcha, CityBee, Go X, and Shared, all smaller players in the micromobility space, to have its technology deployed in their respective markets. Manufacturers like ACTON, Tronx Motors, Veemo and YIMI will also incorporate Tortoise technology with the bikes and scooters that they develop for operators.

In addition, the company has created an advisory board of former transit officials, including: Beverly Scott, the former CEO of several U.S. transit systems, including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA); Brooks Rainwater, director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities; and Daniel Correa, the Obama administration’s lead on smart cities. Tortoise views itself as a partner to cities, as a way to make larger investments in micromobility more viable and successful. The question remains as to whether autonomy can be a timely technological solution.

Read the whole story
BalooUriza
27 days ago
reply
No, but banning or heavily regulating rental scooters the same as any other rental vehicle can.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Share this story
Delete

Cell Phone Functions

4 Comments and 9 Shares
... tazer ... fire extinguisher ... bird feeder ... toilet paper ...
Read the whole story
BalooUriza
43 days ago
reply
I feel like I did these out of order since "camera" and "credit card" happened around the same time for me since I was an early adopter on G Pay a decade ago.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
hairfarmerrich
43 days ago
Yeah, I'm not really getting the significance of the order of the Y-axis. If it's supposed to be the order of the majority of peoples' specialized device sunsetting, I'd say camera came before web browser. I still haven't sunsetted a desktop browser and haven't used a dedicated camera for years.
alexjurkiewicz
43 days ago
thanks for letting us know you are an outlier, you are very cool
Share this story
Delete
3 public comments
Covarr
43 days ago
reply
Now, I'm not saying I've used my phone as a bottle opener, but I'm especially not saying I haven't.
Moses Lake, WA
llucax
43 days ago
reply
MP3/music Player, Sound Recorder, dB meter, steps counter, barometer, altimeter, GPS, mirror, pager, metronome, baby monitor, 2FA, paperweight.
Berlin
alt_text_bot
43 days ago
reply
... tazer ... fire extinguisher ... bird feeder ... toilet paper ...

Cute 1920s bungalow asks $660K in Portland

1 Comment
A light green bungalow with white trim sits in front of a xeriscaped lawn with bushes  and trees. On the right a small chimney rises from the roof. Spin Photography

Easy, breezy, beautiful

There’s something to be said for stately Tudor mansions or sprawling ranches—they each impress with their size. But more modest houses can be visually stimulating, too. Take this three-bedroom, two-bath bungalow in Portland, Oregon.

With two columns, a front porch, and a low-pitched roof, the 2,372-square-foot home hits all the requirements of a bungalow. Inside, the 1927 home is light and airy, with white walls, flowy sheer curtains, and big picture windows. The living room features a fireplace with built-in bookshelves on either side, and the dining room is across the room with an equally breezy feel.

The kitchen still boasts a retro feel, with white cabinets and the home’s original pink and burgundy tile. An eat-in kitchen area fits a small table with views to the backyard, and other perks include large windows in the bedrooms and an outdoor dining area.

Have a thing for bungalows? 2532 Southeast 16th Avenue is on the market now for $659,900.

A light and airy living room with white slipcovered chairs on the left, a coffee table, and a black modern bench. A fireplace is in the center back wall with built-in bookshelves on either side.
A wooden dining room table is set for four, sitting on wooden floors with a big picture window on the left and two other windows on the wall behind it. A door opens to the right to the kitchen.
A kitchen features white appliances, white cabinets, light pink and burgundy vintage tile, and an eat-in nook with a two-person retro red and silver dining set.
A white bed with blue and leather pillows sits on wooden floors in an all-white bedroom. Flowy curtains hang on a window behind the bed, and two metal bedside tables sit on either side of the bed.
A kid’s playroom features a transportation-themed rug, white storage cubes on the left, two Ikea white chairs filled with stuffed animals, and large windows with sheer white curtains.
A backyard features a gravel patio with a black table and four red outdoor chairs, The yard also includes grass, a tree, and a wooden fence.
Read the whole story
BalooUriza
47 days ago
reply
Jebus, drop the two trailing zeros on that six figure price and it's still too much to ask in Portland.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Share this story
Delete

How Hacking Works

6 Comments and 20 Shares
If only somebody had warned them that the world would roll them like this.
Read the whole story
BalooUriza
126 days ago
reply
Is Venmo a thing?
Tulsa, Oklahoma
popular
127 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
5 public comments
fxer
125 days ago
reply
As sysadmin of the smash mouth message boards I stand by my decision to store the plaintext passwords next to the md5, in case I want to upgrade the hash later.
Bend, Oregon
tedder
99 days ago
Password hint: $entire_password
reconbot
126 days ago
reply
My personal threat model
New York City
67 days ago
https://keramatzade.com/Earn-wealth-with-amazing-business-ideals https://keramatzade.com/Law-of-Attraction-of-Wealth https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-make-money https://modirebimeh.ir/online-calculation-of-iranian-life-insurance/ https://modirebimeh.ir/engineers-professional-liability-insurance/ https://modirebimeh.ir/third-party-insurance-calculation/ https://modirebimeh.ir/iran-liability-insurance-have-you-not-yet-insured-your-business-with-iran-liability-insurance/ https://modirebimeh.ir/iran-life-insurance-ganji-for-the-future-of-children-and-families/ https://modirebimeh.ir/iran-car-body-insurance-the-best-and-most-prestigious-in-the-iranian-insurance-industry/ https://modirebimeh.ir/the-most-reliable-and-unrivaled-third-party-car-insurance-in-iran/ https://keramatzade.com/14-ways-to-increase-revenue https://keramatzade.com/8-ways-to-increase-revenue https://keramatzade.com/25-jobs-with-which-you-can-earn-up-to-a-million-dollars https://keramatzade.com/success-secret-1 https://keramatzade.com/Make-Money-Online-Effective-step-by-step-money-making-techniques https://keramatzade.com/Make-money-at-home https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-make-money-without-capital https://keramatzade.com/Creative-Money-Making-Ideas https://keramatzade.com/The-law-of-attracting-money https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-Make-Money-at-Home https://keramatzade.com/Immediate-absorption-of-wealth-in-10-minutes-and-attractive-ways-to-get-rich https://keramatzade.com/The-secret-of-attracting-money-in-Iran-to-achieve-creative-money-maker-ideas https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-get-rich-in-Iran-with-the-most-wonderful-business-ideas https://keramatzade.com/Astonishing-economic-intelligence-test-to-increase-financial-intelligence
Brstrk
127 days ago
reply
SomeBODY has failed to setup proper Netsec.
Ferret
127 days ago
reply
This is entirely true.
alt_text_bot
127 days ago
reply
If only somebody had warned them that the world would roll them like this.
pedersje
127 days ago
Well, they weren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

America’s Cars Are Heavily Subsidized, Dangerous, and Mandatory

5 Comments and 11 Shares

This is a fascinating & provocative article from law professor Gregory Shill: Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It. The first line of the piece sets the stage: “In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence.”

Let’s begin at the state and local level. A key player in the story of automobile supremacy is single-family-only zoning, a shadow segregation regime that is now justifiably on the defensive for outlawing duplexes and apartments in huge swaths of the country. Through these and other land-use restrictions-laws that separate residential and commercial areas or require needlessly large yards-zoning rules scatter Americans across distances and highway-like roads that are impractical or dangerous to traverse on foot. The resulting densities are also too low to sustain high-frequency public transit.

Further entrenching automobile supremacy are laws that require landowners who build housing and office space to build housing for cars as well. In large part because of parking quotas, parking lots now cover more than a third of the land area of some U.S. cities; Houston is estimated to have 30 parking spaces for every resident. As UCLA urban planning professor Donald Shoup has written, this mismatch flows from legal mandates rather than market demand. Every employee who brings a car to the office essentially doubles the amount of space he takes up at work, and in urban areas his employer may be required by law to build him a $50,000 garage parking space.

Cars and car ownership are massively subsidized on a state, local, and federal level and our laws and regulations have built a nation where cars are mandatory and “driving is the price of first-class citizenship”.

Why are we taxing bus riders to pay rich people to buy McMansions and luxury electric SUVs?

And this speed limit thing is just eye-poppingly fucked up:

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that speed is a top risk factor in motor vehicle crashes. Yet the most prominent way of setting and adjusting speed limits, known as the operating speed method, actually incentivizes faster driving. It calls for setting speed limits that 85 percent of drivers will obey. This method makes little provision for whether there’s a park or senior center on a street, or for people walking or biking.

As a matter of law, the operating speed method is exceptional. It enables those who violate the law-speeding motorists-to rewrite it: speed limits ratchet higher until no more than 15 percent of motorists violate them. The perverse incentives are obvious. Imagine a rule saying that, once 15 percent of Americans acquired an illegal type of machine gun, that weapon would automatically become legal.

Ok, this is one of those articles where I want to excerpt every paragraph…just go read the whole thing. (via @olgakhazan)

Tags: cars   cities   Gregory Shill   legal   USA
Read the whole story
BalooUriza
128 days ago
reply
This thread reminds me of when I lived in Beaverton, Oregon. Just two thirds of a block from the largest, busiest intersection in the state: OR 8 at Murray Boulevard. Murray is 7 lanes of traffic (two of them bicycle only). OR 8 is 9 lanes of traffic (two of them bicycle only). Plus a railroad parallel to the highway, and obviously the trains DNGAF. I'm not entirely sure how many points of conflict that is, but I've been through that intersection by every mode possible in every movement possible, and there's not really a way to negotiate that kind of intersection without some level of apprehension.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
popular
131 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
4 public comments
MotherHydra
123 days ago
reply
I went for a decade without a car, it was an eye-opening experience having to once again have a daily commute, and slightly lowers my overall quality of life.
Space City, USA
67 days ago
https://keramatzade.com/Earn-wealth-with-amazing-business-ideals https://keramatzade.com/Law-of-Attraction-of-Wealth https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-make-money https://modirebimeh.ir/online-calculation-of-iranian-life-insurance/ https://modirebimeh.ir/engineers-professional-liability-insurance/ https://modirebimeh.ir/third-party-insurance-calculation/ https://modirebimeh.ir/iran-liability-insurance-have-you-not-yet-insured-your-business-with-iran-liability-insurance/ https://modirebimeh.ir/iran-life-insurance-ganji-for-the-future-of-children-and-families/ https://modirebimeh.ir/iran-car-body-insurance-the-best-and-most-prestigious-in-the-iranian-insurance-industry/ https://modirebimeh.ir/the-most-reliable-and-unrivaled-third-party-car-insurance-in-iran/ https://keramatzade.com/14-ways-to-increase-revenue https://keramatzade.com/8-ways-to-increase-revenue https://keramatzade.com/25-jobs-with-which-you-can-earn-up-to-a-million-dollars https://keramatzade.com/success-secret-1 https://keramatzade.com/Make-Money-Online-Effective-step-by-step-money-making-techniques https://keramatzade.com/Make-money-at-home https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-make-money-without-capital https://keramatzade.com/Creative-Money-Making-Ideas https://keramatzade.com/The-law-of-attracting-money https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-Make-Money-at-Home https://keramatzade.com/Immediate-absorption-of-wealth-in-10-minutes-and-attractive-ways-to-get-rich https://keramatzade.com/The-secret-of-attracting-money-in-Iran-to-achieve-creative-money-maker-ideas https://keramatzade.com/Ways-to-get-rich-in-Iran-with-the-most-wonderful-business-ideas https://keramatzade.com/Astonishing-economic-intelligence-test-to-increase-financial-intelligence
jlvanderzwan
125 days ago
reply
I'm 35 and don't have a driver's license. I guess I'd be considered a cripple in the US?
satadru
131 days ago
reply
How do stand your ground laws work in those states that have them when you're in a crosswalk and a vehicle is barreling towards you? I can see someone legitimately fearing for their lives?

What if you're a cop and in your jurisdiction it is normative to shoot immediately if you feel a soupçon of threat?
New York, NY
WorldMaker
133 days ago
reply
I cross seven (!) lanes of traffic regularly walking to lunch from work, and that's just the signaled light of one "parkway" in the walk. (There's two deserts of parking lots to cross, and a two lane 4-way stop sign neighborhood street people mistake for a "parkway" as well.) I have right not to have to drive to lunch, but it clearly crosses my mind almost every day that should I get hit by some idiot running a red light or a stop sign I know how many people will blame me for “unsafely walking” a suburban area not built for it. (Some of the same people that also seemingly fear that my urban home environment isn’t “safe” either because while much safer from cars has more pedestrians they distrust. How have we blasphemed pedestrianation so completely?)
Louisville, Kentucky

Central Valley to Get a Diverging Diamond Interchange

1 Comment

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

California’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI), a traffic design engineers say will reduce collisions and improve traffic flow, is coming to the Central Valley.

The DDI will replace an existing interchange on SR 120 at Union Road in Manteca, in San Joaquin County. That part of the city contains a popular shopping and entertainment center, as well as new housing development, and more growth is expected into the future. Improvements at this crossing have been in various planning stages for over fifteen years.

A recent groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of construction on the DDI, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

The DDI, said Caltrans District 10 Director Dan McElhinney at the groundbreaking, “slows everybody down but gets everybody mobile.” That is, it keeps cars moving through a complicated merging pattern instead of requiring them to stop at an old-fashioned intersection.

It also avoids interactions between cars and other road users by removing pedestrians and bicyclists from the roadway. Instead, engineers will build a long, looping, separated path for them, dropping down into a short tunnel to cross under the road and then climbing up to the interchange to cross over the highway at the same level as vehicle traffic.

The basic concept of a DDI is that motorists enter from the right side of the road, cross over to the left side as they go through the interchange, and then cross back again to the right to exit (see a simulation here). Engineers love the design because it supposedly improves traffic flow by removing the need for traffic signals at on and off ramps. They also say its diverging diamond shape will prevent congestion by reducing stopping points.

Koosun Kim, deputy director of Public Works for the city of Manteca, said one of the main reasons that a DDI design was chosen is because it is expected to reduce collisions. The existing interchange has 26 potential conflict points; the DDI design has only fourteen of them.

While proponents of DDIs tout safety for car occupants, others say that they demonstrate blindness to the actual experience of bicyclists and pedestrians trying to get across.

Kim said concern for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists is why the city decided to build a separate path for them.

“If you look at what it’s like right now–it’s very dangerous for children,” he said. There is a school located on one side of the existing interchange and a shopping center and movie theater on the other. Children often cross the interchange on the only currently available space, which is the shoulder.

The planned DDI in Manteca. An elementary school at the top left, a park on the top right, and a shopping center at bottom left.
The planned DDI in Manteca. An elementary school at the top left, a park on the top right, and a shopping center at bottom left.

Usually DDIs locate pedestrian walkways in the median or along the sides of the road, and place bicycle lanes next to vehicle traffic. The Manteca DDI will instead include a separate twelve-foot-wide bridge on the east side of the overpass. To get through the interchange, pedestrians and bicyclists will have to drop down from street level, follow a tunnel under the freeway ramps, then climb upward on a circular path to the bridge, where they will cross over with vehicle traffic, but behind some kind of barrier. Then they will have to repeat the sequence, backwards, on the other side, as illustrated in the top image.

A staircase will be provided as a shortcut for pedestrians who want to avoid the longer ADA-compliant loop. Security measures, including cameras, lighting, and emergency call buttons, will be added to the tunnel.

The design is inspired by one at Highway 50 and Watt Avenue near the American River in Sacramento.

For bicyclists and pedestrians, the trip across the interchange will be about twice as long as it is for vehicles, and that much longer than the current, dangerous shoulder crossing.

The project will also encourage more and faster vehicle traffic in other ways. It will widen SR 120, building “auxiliary lanes” from Airport Way to Main Street, and widen Union Road to four lanes between Daniels and Lifestyle streets.

The city of Manteca is fully funding the project with a combination of Redevelopment Agency funds (the interchange improvement was assigned RDA money before the agency was dissolved), local development fees, and Measure K, the half-cent sales tax approved by San Joaquin County voters.

DDIs have been built around the country, but this will California’s first. Manteca’s design is expected to be the model for other California cities that are considering similar construction projects. There are at least four in the works: in Modesto, San Bernardino, Ceres, and San Diego.

Caltrans hopes so. “We hope to see many more like this,” McElhinney said at the groundbreaking.

Read the whole story
BalooUriza
143 days ago
reply
If you're going westbound on a bicycle, how are you supposed to get to or from that? Seems like it'd be easier to just include a protected bike lane in the traditional location.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Share this story
Delete
Next Page of Stories