The Fairey Rotodyne, the vertical takeoff and landing airliner time forgot
> The phrase “Urban Air Mobility” (UAM) seems like it’s been with us for quite a while, but really it’s only been in widespread use for two or three years. NASA officially recognized UAM in 2017, calling for a market study of remotely piloted or unmanned air passenger and cargo transportation around an urban area. Most people would probably call this the “air taxi” idea—a vision of hundreds of small, unmanned electric multi-copters shuttling two or three passengers from nearby suburbs or city spaces to vertiports at about 100 mph (roughly 161 km/h).
> But if things had worked out differently in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we might have a very different understanding of UAM—something more like mass-transit. We might have had a city-center to city-center 55-passenger vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) airliner shuttling between urban heliports at 180 mph (289 km/h).
> Actually, we did have that, it’s just few people remember. It was called the Fairey Rotodyne.
Uzbekistan's opulent metro
Cars Were Banned on 14th Street. The Apocalypse Did Not Come.
My summer vacation: London public transportation
> The two main forms of mass transit are the tube and buses. Passes are good for both systems, except where noted. There aren’t many options, which is good, because it makes decision-making easier. I’ll start by focusing on tickets for zones 1 and 2, which is where the major tourist attractions are. Prices are as of summer 2019.
The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway
> There is a commonly held belief that Helvetica is the signage typeface of the New York City subway system, a belief reinforced by Helvetica, Gary Hustwit’s popular 2007 documentary about the typeface. But it is not true—or rather, it is only somewhat true. Helvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when it created a new signage system at the end of the 1960s. Why was Helvetica not chosen originally? What was chosen in its place? Why is Helvetica used now, and when did the changeover occur? To answer those questions this essay explores several important histories: of the New York City subway system, transportation signage in the 1960s, Unimark International and, of course, Helvetica. These four strands are woven together, over nine pages, to tell a story that ultimately transcends the simple issue of Helvetica and the subway.
Where oil rigs go to die
> When a drilling platform is scheduled for destruction, it must go on a thousand-mile final journey to the breaker’s yard. As one rig proved when it crashed on to the rocks of a remote Scottish island, this is always a risky business
The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History
> In 1994, Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist, described an idea that has come to be known as the Marchetti Constant. In general, he declared, people have always been willing to commute for about a half-hour, one way, from their homes each day. This principle has profound implications for urban life. The value of land is governed by its accessibility—which is to say, by the reasonable speed of transport to reach it.
> But the endurance of the Marchetti Constant has profound implications for urban life. It means that the average speed of our transportation technologies does more than anything to shape the physical structure of our cities. To see how, let’s travel back in time by more than 2,000 years, and move towards the present.
BART slows rollout of new trains as it contends with more repairs than expected
> One example is the “D” cars, which have a cab where the operator sits. The agency expects them to run 6,000 hours before hitting any kind of equipment failure that causes a delay of five minutes or more. They’re hovering at 1,000 hours.
How OS/2 Powered the NYC Subway
> Vintage technology has powered the innards of the NYC subway system for decades—and sometimes, it surfaces in interesting ways. This one’s for you, OS/2 fans.
Motorbikes in Taiwan. 3:27.
The Man in Seat 61
> This site explains how to travel comfortably & affordably by train or ferry where you might think air was now the only option.
Elon Musk’s first Boring Company tunnel opens, but the roller-coaster ride has just begun
> For Elon Musk’s very difficult year, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
> Specifically, it’s a 1.14-mile tunnel the inventor and beleaguered CEO of Tesla Motors says is a first step in solving “soul-destroying” urban traffic. In 2016, Musk — already busy running two high-profile companies — founded a construction firm called the Boring Company to tackle gridlock by drilling underground. Some thought it was a joke. Two years of big promises and $40 million later, his just-in-time innovation machine delivered a functioning test tunnel late Tuesday.
> What’s it like to ride through Elon’s tunnel? Bumpy, but that’s all part of the ride on a Musk enterprise.
Why We Can’t Have Nice Things–Elon Musk and the Subways
> Billionaires are undermining your home. And democracy! Grab your pitchforks! Yet dig a little deeper underneath the lurid headline and the actual complaints are–dare I say it–boring.
Counting All Cars
> Pondering the evolution of electronic tolling, the system that doesn’t slow you down even as it charges you to use it. It has roots in the theremin—sorta.
RFID from the great seal bug to your windshield.
Philadelphia Fights Gridlock With Ticket Blitz
> Traffic crawls along downtown’s Chestnut Street, horns honking as cars block the intersection. Up ahead, construction claims one of three lanes, and a Canada Dry delivery truck is parked in the bus lane, forcing city buses to squeeze by.
> On a recent weekday, a police officer wrote a $76 ticket to the Canada Dry truck on Chestnut Street—its fifth parking citation in one morning. “Where else would we park?” delivery worker Parrish Deale said, unfazed by the stack of tickets on the truck’s dashboard. “We’ve got to make these deliveries.”
Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge: World's longest sea bridge in pictures
> The 55km bridge and tunnel linking Hong Kong to mainland China via Macau has opened, years late.
There are pictures.
Treasure Hunter Searches Rhine River—for a Steam Engine
> Horst Müller likes trains. It makes sense. As a child he lived with his family on the top floor of Cochem station. He once celebrated Christmas dinner in the cab of a steam engine with his father, a driver. He’s collected model trains, devoured train books and photographed trains since he was 12, and eventually became a driver himself. For the past 30 years he has moved beyond “like” to obsession. His fixation: Find a 19th-century cast-iron steam engine lost in the Rhine river before it even took its first journey.
> “If it’s not the locomotive,” said Mr. Forkmann, “it can only be the Nibelung hoard”—the fabulous “Rhine gold” of Germanic folklore. For Mr. Müller, that would be a great disappointment.
Mystery of the cargo ships that sink when their cargo suddenly liquefies
> When a solid bulk cargo liquefies, it can shift or slosh inside a ship’s hold, making the vessel less stable. A liquefied cargo can shift completely to one side of the hold. If it regains its strength and reverts to a solid state, the cargo will remain in the shifted position, causing the ship to permanently tilt or “list” in the water. The cargo can then liquefy again and shift further, increasing the angle of list.
What's in those mysterious cabinets?
> Thanks to the Wonders of the Internet, it didn’t take long to figure out what it is for. It is a controller for the traffic lights at the intersection.
Pothole Vigilantes Fill the Streets, Plugging Gaps Left by City Workers
> Ms. Cool and the rest of the self-proclaimed Marigny Muckrakers told the city that they planned to fix the pothole after their requests for help over the past year went unanswered. The city said neighbors needed a $250 permit to temporarily close the street. “We were like, ‘We’re not paying you so we can get this job done,’ ” Ms. Cool said.