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30 Transportation Articles | Page: | Show All

DriverLab: a high-tech simulator to test older drivers

The Economist has taken note of a Toronto startup called DriverLab, which holds out high-tech hope for elderly drivers who are at risk of losing their licenses. DriverLab is founded on the idea that maybe elderly drivers can be given a more fine-grained test, so that instead of risking losing their license completely, they might simply face restrictions on their driving as their abilities dictate - for instance, no driving at night, or driving for short distances only.

The trick is in constructing the test itself. That’s why DriverLab has built a unique test rig that has more in common with flight simulators than more driving simulators. The company has taken an Audi S3, removed the engine, mounted the chassis on a turntable, and hooked the whole thing up to panoramic projectors that can not only simulate a variety of driving situations, but shine realistic lights on the driver in a way that computer screens alone can’t. Will the government consent to this kind of reverse-graduated licensing? It’s too soon to tell - but now they can give it a test drive.

Read more here.

Pearson and Google Maps partner to offer new airport experience

Toronto Pearson International Airport and Google Maps have collaborated to give passengers detailed indoor maps of the terminal. 

Both Google Maps and Google Maps mobile will help passengers find amenities, pre- and post security points, and other points of interest. The map allows passengers to view the floor plan, while also providing zooming capabilities. 

"It's important that we connect with passengers using the technology and platforms that meet their needs and exceed their expectations," Scott Collier, Vice President of Customer and Terminal Services, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), said in an article that appeared on Future Travel Experience, noting that the implementation of the indoor maps "directly supports our strategic goals of improving our ability to connect with our passengers."

"For thousands of people every day, Pearson is Toronto's gateway," said Aaron Brindle, spokesperson for Google Canada, in a press release. "We are thrilled that Canadians and travellers from around the world can now navigate Toronto Pearson Airport with Google Maps."

Read the full story here
Original source: Future Travel Experience 

Jennifer Keesmaat brings lessons from Toronto to Perth, Australia

Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat delivered a keynote speech at the Planning Institute Australia WA State Conference at the end of July to highlight Toronto’s “shift” to public transit and its mission to improve congestion, all while challenging the constraints of urban sprawl.

Perth and Toronto have different challenges. While Perth expands outward, Toronto’s challenge is to improve conditions within the boundaries of a city that has reached its growth boundary.  Still, Keesmaat said, Australia’s largest city with a population of just under two million could learn a thing or two from Toronto. 

“There might be some interesting lessons learned with respect to how you begin to transform to an advanced form of urbanism once you move away from that approach of continuing to develop in a very suburban way,” she said. 

“We’ve been there and gone down that trajectory over the course of the past 30 years and we’re now at a moment where we are beginning to urbanise our suburbs by focusing on adding mid-rise development along our corridors and by ensuring we have the density we need in order to make transit a real option.”

Toronto and Perth are both maturing cities, Keesmaat said, and as cities mature limits need to be put in place. She told Perth about Toronto’s protected greenbelt which caused a “fundamentally shift the land economics of the region and forced many suburban developers to become urban developers — they changed their game.” But beyond this, the focus of her speech remained on transportation and congestion, and its direct ties to population growth. 

She said planning high-density communities makes transit options more sustainable, the key to reducing traffic congestion in the long run. 

“It’s a zero-sum gain, that if you continue to plan low density communities there will never be environments that can successfully sustain public transit because there simply isn’t the critical mass to make high-frequency transit use work,” she said. 

For more from her speech, read the full story here
Original source: Perth Now

Toronto fourth best city in the world for opportunity

Toronto has ranked the fourth best place in the world overall for infrastructure, sustainability, livability and health, according to an annual study comparing major metropolitan areas across the continent. 

The report, called Cities of Opportunity, pegs 30 cities against one another in a number of indicators and categories, many of which Toronto performed well in, including receiving the highest possible grade for quality of life. 

Toronto placed second overall for transportation and infrastructure, with only Singapore ahead. Toronto received the top spot for public transit systems, but the overall score was affected by a 13th place ranking in traffic congestion, and 12th for ease of commute. "Toronto's rankings in these two variables also reflect the city's current reality, in which the lack of a fully integrated regional transportation system is one of the leading challenges for Toronto." 

Toronto was the only non-Asian city to break into the top 5. 

Toronto tied with Sydney for second place (with a marginal difference in Toronto's favour) in health, safety and security. Stockholm took the number one spot in this category, but each of the top contenders shared similar qualities: populations averaging 2.5 million. 

"Larger cities, with larger populations, must strive harder, and expend more resources, to secure the healthy and safety of their residents," the report said. 

Toronto fared well  in our political environment, end-of-life care, hospitals and health employment, crime, and health system performance. 

When it comes to sustainability and the natural environment, Toronto scored major points for air pollution and natural disaster risk, but poorly in thermal comfort, a factor the report admits the city can do little about aside from knowing how to cope with it and improve it, which is what pushed Stockholm to the top. Toronto's overall positioning in this category has dropped since last year.

Toronto also ranked high in the ease of doing business, an indicator that factored in cost and economic clout, but we ranked low in cost of living. 

Read the full report here
Original Source: PWC

City to spend $215M on road work this summer

Tired of construction yet? The city has announced it will spend $215-million on road work this summer, including major projects expected on the Gardiner Expressway and other major routes, 680 News reports.
At a news conference on Monday, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works and infrastructure committee, is reported as saying more than 185 kilometres of road will be resurfaced. As per the artcle in Metro, these include:

  • Markham Road from Kingston Road to Lawrence Road
  • Victoria Park Avenue from Eglinton Avenue to Lawrence Avenue
  • Wilson Avenue from Bathurst Street to Dufferin Street
  • Finch Avenue from Kipling Avenue to Highway 27
  • Kipling Avenue from Bloor Street to Dixon Road
Even with this construction, not all roads will be repaired this summer.
"If the backlog is somewhere around $300 million and it costs $1 million a kilometre to resurface a road, that’s 300 kilometres of road that we aren’t getting to this year," says Councillor Minnan-Wong in the article.
Work on the Gardiner will begin in three weeks, closing the weeking of April 26 for its annual spring maintenance. “After that, three reconstruction projects begin on the western portion of the Gardiner which will cause lane closures between the Humber River and Bathurst Street throughout the summer. Some of that work won’t end until December 2016,” the article reports.
"We don’t have a choice of the Gardiner Expressway. It has to be fixed," Minnan-Wong is quoted as saying in the article.
Some projects have been moved ahead to prepare for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
To read the full article and for an interactive map of the planned road work, click here
Original source: 680 News

Toronto has best public transit system in canada, Walk Score reports

Toronto has been ranked as the Canadian city with the best public transit system for a population of over 500,000, according to Walk Score, the organization best known for determining the walkability of a neighbourhood. We're also ranked higher than the majority of our neighbours south of the border. 
"In comparison to the United States, Toronto and Montreal score better than any large U.S. city except New York and San Francisco," Walk Score says. 
The rankings are based on an algorithm that measures "how well a location is served by public transit. Addresses with a Transit Score of 90-100 are considered a 'Rider's Paradise.'" Several areas in Toronto had high transit scores. The Bay Street Corridor, Kensington-Chinatown, and University scored a perfect grade. Church-Yonge Corridor, Moss Park, Trinity-Bellwoods, Waterfront Communities-the Island, and Dufferin Grove all had transit scores of 99.
Here is a list of the top 10 Canadian cities for public transit, according to Walk Score. 
1) Toronto (78)
2) Montreal (77)
3) Vancouver (74)
4) Winnipeg (51)
5) Ottawa (49)
6) Brampton (48)
7) Quebec (46)
8) Edmonton (44)
9) Calgary (43)
10) Hamilton (42) 
For more details, click here
Original Source: Walk Score

Mohawk College wins top regional Smart Commute award

The year is winding down, so it's no surprise top employer lists are piling in. The Smart Commute awards recognize the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Region's top employers when it comes to implementing smart commute programs. These are employers that demonstrate "exceptional leadership, innovation and success in motivating employees to re-think their commutes," according to the website's criteria. 
It recognizes one overall Regional Employer of the Year in addition to individual awards given to organizations based on region. This year's top winner was Mohawk College. Mohawk's sustainability office played a key role in taking the crown as it supporting smart commute options thanks to its Discount Transit Pass program. In addition, the college offers carpool parking and sheltered bike parking, and has made transportation a "key element of their recent sire redevelopment" including new multi-use pathways that connect the campus to local neighbourhoods. 
Here is the full list of winners broken down by region:
Parsons Brinckerhoff Employee Engagement Award - City of Mississauga
Smart Commute Champion - Sante Esposito
Smart Commute Brampton-Caledon Employer of the YearRegion of Peel
Smart Commute Central York Employer of the Year Scholastic Canada Ltd. - Newmarket
Smart Commute Durham Employer of the YearRegion of Durham’s Hillsdale Estates & Terraces
Smart Commute Halton Employer of the YearHalton Region
Smart Commute Hamilton Employer of the YearMohawk College
Smart Commute Markham, Richmond Hill Employer of the Year Town of Richmond Hill
Smart Commute Mississauga Employer of the YearHatch Ltd.
Smart Commute Northeast Toronto Employer of the YearRoyal Bank of Canada RBC – York Mills
Smart Commute North Toronto, Vaughan Employer of the Year PowerStream
Smart Commute Toronto-Central Employer of the YearBrookfield Properties – Queen’s Quay Terminal
To read about why each employer won the award, click here
Original Source: SmartCommute.ca 

Porter voted world's best small airline

The votes are in and Porter Airlines has been named the world's best small airline, according to Condé Nast Traveler's 2013 Readers' Choice Awards. 
Nearly 80,000 people took part in the annual survey—the most in the survey's history—casting 1.3 million votes for cities, islands, hotels, resorts, cruise lines and airlines. 
Toronto was also named the fifth best city in Canada. Condé Nast readers called Toronto "truly an international city with a wide range of tourist attractions," a "cultural gem," a "vibrant city" with "creative architecture" and "an amazing harbor." However, we lost points for traffic congestion.
Toronto fared well when it comes to Canada's best hotels as well. The Hazelton Hotel was voted the second best hotel in the country with a score of 94.9 out of a possible 100. The Trump International Hotel & Tower scored seventh place, the Ritz-Carlton eleventh, the Four Seasons fourteenth, and Hotel Le Germain was voted the seventeenth best hotel in Canada.
Read the full list of airlines and see the additional awards here
Original Source: Condé Nast Traveler

Two teams race to complete human powered helicopters for $250,000 prize

No one has won the "Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition," but a Toronto team is getting close. 
The competition challenges teams to make a human powered, lightweight helicopter that must hover for 60 seconds and reach an altitude of three metres, staying within a 33-metre parameter. A handful of teams from around the world have given it their best shot since American Helicopter Society launched the international competition in 1980, but the $250,000 prize pledged by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is still up for grabs.
Not if 31-year-old Todd Reichart has his way. The University of Toronto doctoral candidate in aeronautical engineering "built and piloted the world's first continuously flying human-powered ornithopter, an aircraft that propels itself by flapping its wings," according to an article in Popular Mechanics that explores the famed Sikorsky prize and the various attempts that have been made. 
"The following year he broke the college land speed record by hitting 72.6 mph in an enclosed bicycle he designed and built. Now the newly minted Ph.D. and his 26-year-old partner, structural engineer Cameron Robertson, are hoping that the Sikorsky Prize will help finance projects for their fledgling engineering company, AeroVelo." 
Reichart and his team of four student volunteers have been working on a pedal-powered "120-pound flying machine, dubbed Atlas, contains just enough structure to lift Reichert's 165 pounds and scarcely an ounce more." Any wrong move and the thing could fall apart. ?
Reichart's has tough competition down in Maryland, D.C, Popular Mechanics reports. "William Staruk, student team leader for the University of Maryland, is putting his group through similar preparations in an indoor athletic facility—this one a wood-floored gymnasium with a rubberized track around its perimeter." Staruk's Gamera is said to be lighter and "much better tested." It's flown 50 second to Reichart's 15.

With an open deadline it's only a matter of time before someone claims the prize. But as the article points out, "in the 32 years since the prize was established, only five human-powered helicopters have even left the earth." This includes Atlas and Gamera
Read the full story here
Original source: Popular Mechanics

Two new cycling companies to launch custom Toronto bikes

Post City is reporting that two new cycling companies with an emphasis on locally produced urban-minded bicycles are preparing to launch in Toronto.
The first is Gallant Bicycles, which focuses on "the end-to-end production of a Toronto city bike." Frames are constructed in China, but everything else is conducted out of their Annex shop at 678 Bloor St. W. Launching this month, shop owners Jason Wood and Tony Mammoliti told Post City the bikes are made to order. “We are bringing in the frames raw, painting here and assembling just the way you like," Wood said.
Gallant Bicycles will offer two frames with various add-ons starting at $699. 
The second is Simcoe Bikes, which is "taking the design side a step further by creating a bike with T.O. riding in mind: think extra-strong wheels for streetcar tracks and increased rustproofing for Canuck winters."
This shop is set to launch later this summer, but co-owner Eric Kamphof told Post City they're already running behind in part because their Taiwan manufacturer is behind schedule. 
“There is a need for this in North America, even globally,” Kamphof says in the article. “In the city, bikes are now people’s primary transport,” he explains. “Like owning a car, it’s a design and fashion thing, too. It is very important to our market.”
Simcoe Bikes will come in three- or seven-speed versions retailing for $899 and $1,150.
Read the full story here
Original Source: Post City

Toronto could learn from London's cycling agenda

London, England's mayor Boris Johnson is turning some heads with his ambitious, but enviable city cycling plan. In addition to a plan that promises $1.4-billion over 10 years to "build bike paths, create bike parking lots and re-engineer intersections for bikes," Johnson tells the Globe and Mail he wants to change the look of cycling by encouraging "more of the kind of cyclists you see in Holland, going at a leisurely pace on often-clunky steeds." 
Writer Marcus Gee says, "It is just the kind of message a big-city mayor should be sending. Although more and more people in cities are choosing to travel by bike, it is still a minority pursuit. For the majority, it is too scary, too uncomfortable or too inconvenient to justify leaving the car behind."
He compares London's "staggering" $1.4-billion budget to Toronto's $90-million to be spent in the same period. Although Gee makes note of our city's recent attempts with the separated lane on Sherbourne Street and others in the works, it is miniscule in comparison to London's plans to create a 24-kilometre bike "superhighway" that is fully separated from traffic and encompasses the length of the city's core. 
"Cycling will be treated not as niche, marginal, or an afterthought, but as what it is: an integral part of the transport network, with the capital spending, road space and traffic planners’ attention befitting that role," Johnson told the Globe.
Envy indeed. Johnson's newly appointed cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan told the Globe and Mail that with more cyclists "there’s less traffic, less competition for parking, more seats on the Tube." 
Read the full story here
Original source: Globe and Mail

Friends of 2Wheels transforming lives

Toronto's Friends of 2Wheels, a not-for-profit, volunteer-run group that recycles and repairs used bikes then gives them to those in need, was featured this week in BikeRadar magazine.
In the article, founder Mihály Felbert tells BikeRadar he noticed similar organizations were repairing bikes then shipping them to places such as Africa and Latin America. Additional charities also wanted cash in addition to donations. Without undermining the value of supplying bicycles to developing countries, Felbert says he saw an opportunity to give back to those within his own city of Toronto to help them on the path to a better life. 
"In Toronto there are 13 sectors of the city that are poverty stricken, many are emigrants, new to Canada," Felbert says in the article. "We should help those at our front door before extending limited resources abroad, unless it’s a national state."
Friends of 2Wheels is based near the former C.C.M. Weston Factory, the facility that manufactured the majority of bicycles made in Canada from 1917 to 1983. It's also where Felbert grew up and spent much of his youth bin diving for old bicycle parts and making homemade bikes with his friends.
That experience has helped him in the repair business. Funding Friends of 2Wheels largely depends on restoring vintage bikes and selling them to front the costs of new bike parts, equipment and tools. Felbert was inspired to start the organization when he saw a rusty old bike at the side of the road one day. 
"That’s when it hit me, being green-minded and grassroots-motivated to help people in need,” Felbert says. "The charitable core in me spring into gear." 
Read the full article here
Original Source: BikeRadar

Toronto Solar Ship could revolutionize access to critical medical supplies in remote areas

A Toronto company hopes to transform the way critical medical and hospital supplies are delivered to remote areas in the world through its unique solar-powered airship. It's been a dream of Canadian entrepreneur Jay Godsall since he was in high school and now, thanks in part to an in-progress crowd-funded IndieGoGo campaign and potential support from investors, the project is finally taking off.
Thirty years in the making, the aircraft is Toronto-company Solar Ship's most important innovation. It's a hybrid between a bush plane and an airship, powered by solar panels, lifted by helium, and designed to access hard-to-reach places, "where roads don't exist and planes can't land." 
The company has built four prototypes since 2009, but the real mission of the IndieGoGo campaign is to establish enough funding to begin delivering medical supplies to villages in Cape Town, Africa. The company is seeking $1 million through crowd-funding and investors to cover the costs of medical supplies, aircraft development, and training.
“Airships are older than radios, older than automobiles,” Godsall told BBC, “but no one has quite had the mission to do something like this with one.”
There is some backlash. The crafts are expensive and a worldwide helium shortage may cause problems, the BBC article says. In addition, these aircrafts may not be well received in communities unfamiliar with giant hovering aircrafts. “The eastern Congo is not a place you can just pull up in your hospital ship," Dr. Amy Lehman, founder of Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic, an organization that uses small boats to supply medical treatment around the great lake, including eastern Congo, told BBC. 
Despite this, Godsall claims the company has funding should the IndieGoGo campaign prove ineffective (at press time, the campaign had raised just under $7,000). He says the company's persistence is the key to its success. “We build em’, fly em’, build em’ and fly em’, and now, we’ve nailed it.”
Read the full story here.
Original source: BBC

Another airline wants to feed your NYC fix

WestJet is raising eyebrows—and the hopes of Toronto's budget-conscious flyers—with its new route from Toronto to New York.
"WestJet's foray into New York escalates the challenge to Air Canada, the country's biggest airline," writes Bloomberg's Frederic Tomesco. "Founded in 1996 with a focus on vacationers, Calgary-based WestJet now holds more than a third of Canada's air traffic after the discount carrier established a foothold in the Eastern Triangle linking Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal."
"'New York is really our first big push into the business market into the US,'" Bob Cummings, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said in an interview. 'We are pretty close to capped out with the leisure market with respect to our life cycle. We've barely scratched the surface on corporate travel.'"
Read the full story here
Original source: Bloomberg News

Travel mag ranks Bayview station among world's 15 most beautiful subway stops

Online travel magazine BootsnAll lists Toronto's Bayview Station as among the "15 most beautiful subway stations in the world."
Opened in 2002 and designed by Stevens Group Architects, Bayview Station is singled out for its high-ceiling entrance pavilions, long-angled roofs and for showcasing wall projections by Toronto artist Panya Clark Espinal.
"Throughout the station, you can see From Here Right Now, a trompe l’oeil installation by Toronto artist Panya Clark Espinal. Her website explains that in From Here Right Now, 'twenty-four hand-drawn images have been 'projected' onto the architecture of the station so that when seen from the original location of projection, the images are crystalized and realistic, but when seen from other locations they appear to be abstractions. These images act as beacons, drawing the viewers along various paths of movement. Depicting everyday objects and simple geometric shapes, the images are rendered in an uncommonly large scale and in unusual orientations, allowing one to interact playfully with them as one moves through the space."

read full story here
original source BootsnAll
30 Transportation Articles | Page: | Show All
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