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.

Read Full Story Here (via Wired)

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.

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Post)

Could Driverless Cars Pick Up Passengers In Wheelchairs? (3-29-19)

The future of transportation is approaching. GETTY

Last week, the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a lawsuit against Lyft in California for not having any wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area. By not having the adequately equipped vehicles to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs, Lyft is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

However, this is far from being the only case that transportation has been made inaccessible to people with disabilities, nor is California the only state with this problem.

For example, in New York City, only 112 of MTA’s 472 subway stations are accessible, and out of those, 100 are currently working in both directions. Additionally, less than 1,800 of the city’s 13,000+ yellow cabs are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps, which means less than 15% of the taxis are accessible to New Yorkers with mobility difficulties.

However, as we approach a new era of transportation, notably driverless cars, it is crucial to keep the issue of accessibility at the forefront of our minds.

Read Full Story Here (via Forbes)

D.C. Lawmakers Propose Stricter Regulations On Self-Driving Cars (4-3-19)

In 2013, the District became one of the first jurisdictions in the U.S. to pass a lawgoverning the operations of self-driving cars—also known as autonomous vehicles—on public rights of way. Now, with the vehicles growing in popularity nationally and Ford testing them on D.C. roads, several local legislators want to make those regulations stricter through two new bills.

On Tuesday, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, who chairs the Council’s committee on transportation and the environment, pitched the “Autonomous Vehicles Testing Program Amendment Act of 2019,” along with Ward 6Councilmember Charles Allen and Chairman Phil Mendelson. The bill would set up a permitting process for autonomous vehicle testing within the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), which would have to review and approve such permit applications. Companies that seek to test self-driving cars in the city would have to provide an array of information to officials, including on each vehicle it plans to test, safety operators in the test vehicles, testing locations, insurance, and safety strategies.

Read Full Story Here (via Curbed)

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)