FORD TAPS THE BRAKES ON THE ARRIVAL OF SELF-DRIVING CARS (4-9-19)

JUSTIN MERRIMAN/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Ford CEO Jim Hackett Tuesday joined the growing ranks of vehicle and tech execs willing to say publicly that self-driving cars won’t arrive as soon as some had hoped.

The industry “overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Hackett told the Detroit Economic Club. Though Ford is not wavering from its self-imposed due date of 2021 for its first purpose-built driverless car, Hackett acknowledged that the vehicle’s “applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex.” Bloomberg earlier reported the comments.

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Study: Cities With Ride-Shares Like Uber And Lyft Also See Rise In Fatal Accidents

The study arrives as New York lawmakers think about how to implement the country’s first congestion pricing to enter Manhattan’s busiest parts starting in 2021.

There’s been an approximate 3% rise in serious and deadly accidents in major American cities once ride-hail platforms are introduced, according to new findings from researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

The services definitely bring serious pluses, the study acknowledges, like increased convenience for commuters needing to get from A to B — not to mention whole new avenues of income for people with a driver’s license.

But the findings say there’s a flip side that should be weighed too: “Costs exist, are not trivial, and can be measured in human lives — specifically, in increased rates of major traffic accidents and traffic fatalities.”

These fatalities can also be measured in dollars, researchers say. Applying the U.S. Department of Transportation’s statistical value of a life, the potential drag on economy from lives lost is about $10 billion, according to the study.

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Uber, But For Football Practice: A Kid-Only Ride Hailing Service Is Coming To D.C. (4-6-19)

Jalen Walker, 14, heads to football practice followed by driver Jacqueline Bouknight from the company HopSkipDrive, a ride-hailing service that specializes in transporting minors. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

It was nearing 5 p.m. on a Wednesday, and as usual, Shawna Walker was doing three things at once.

After a long day of conference calls from her Springfield, Va., home, the federal employee was rushing to finish an assignment for her job in human resources. She stirred a pot of spaghetti on the stove, and made sure her 14-year-old son, Jalen, was working on his homework at the kitchen table. Jalen’s football practice would start in a half-hour, about a 20-minute drive from their home, but both Walker and her husband were still tied up with work.

Then, a woman knocked on the front door, wearing an orange T-shirt with the word “CareDriver” on the back.

“You can call me Miss B,” the woman, Jacqueline Bouknight, said while shaking Walker’s hand and introducing herself to Jalen.

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A Startup Is Putting Ads Inside Ubers and Lyfts (4-1-19)

A Washington, D.C.,-based startup is selling ad inventory inside ride-share cars.

Octopus places screens inside vehicles for Uber and Lyft to let riders decide if they want to play a game to win cash, which also means watching a 15- or 30-second ad. The startup, which launched in 2018, isn’t the first of its kind, but it’s been able to impress some brands like Red Bull and agencies like Omnicom.

“We jumped on it right away. We do a lot of Taxi TV, and with the growth of Uber and Lyft in the market and the fact it’s reaching a younger millennial audience with disposable income and with the engagement option, it made sense for us,” said Hailey Barton, digital media director at Omnicom’s Serino Coyne.

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Congestion Pricing In Manhattan, First Such Plan In U.S., Is Close To Approval (3-25-19)

New York moved closer to formalizing a congestion pricing plan for Manhattan, as the leader of the State Assembly indicated on Monday that his members were “ready to go forward.” Dave Sanders for The New York Times

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ALBANY — After years of hesitation, New York is poised to become the first city in the United States to introduce congestion pricing, which would put new electronic tolls in place for drivers entering the busiest stretches of Manhattan.

Though state leaders have not ironed out details, they had reached consensus on Monday that the plan was necessary to help pay for much-needed repairs to the city’s beleaguered subway system.

The proceeds from congestion pricing are expected to enable the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the city’s public transit network, to raise billions of dollars in bonds to modernize the antiquated subway. Such a windfall overwhelmed lingering concerns about various aspects of the plan, including the cost to commuters in the boroughs and suburbs outside Manhattan who rely on cars.

Other American cities are exploring variations of congestion pricing, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. The idea dates back decades, with supporters often pointing to an array of health, safety and environmental benefits, including reducing air pollution and pedestrian injuries, and alleviating the stranglehold on gridlocked city streets.

Read Full Story Here (via NY Times)