See also - why cellphones don't cause brain cancer.
Friebolin's two data points are misleading in the way they underplay the story on the use of mobile devices.
1. The US population has increased from 1994 to 2008, from 263M to 304M.
2. There are more vehicles per capita on the road in 2008 than in 1994.
3. Total miles driven increased substantially from 1994 to 2008. At a glance, it looks like roughly a 25% increase.
4. Average commute times are rising even faster than total miles driven. In Atlanta, the average commute time is 127 minutes per round trip.
5. The automobile accident rate has declined steadily since the 1920s. (Friebolin's "0.9% decrease" is actually quite misleading because it compares total counts rather than rates. See below ...)
6. Although the absolute number of subscribers has increased (as shown above), per-subscriber activity levels have risen at a vastly greater rate. You'll find growth from 44B MOU in 1996 to 1.68T in 2008 and 2.25T in 2011, according to CTIA. Likewise, texting has gone from negligible levels in 1994, to 33M in 2001, to nearly 200B in 2011. Read those numbers again. That's a 51x increase in voice MOUs from 1994-2011, and a 6000x increase in texts just in the last ten years.
Of course, none of t... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]
Peak Oil: Bugatti Makes a Car for the Ages | Product Reviews | Wired.com
Topic: Cars and Trucks
8:58 pm EST, Mar 7, 2011
The first Veyron is an engineering marvel. It required the intellectual might of one of the largest and arguably smartest car companies in the world to birth a car that was not only faster than anything on the road, but easy enough to pilot that anyone could drive it.
To make the Grand Sport, Bugatti's engineers had to do the same thing, only with a giant hole in the middle. It was like designing a picture frame to break rocks.
They had to bolster the floor, doors and B pillars (where the back edges of the windows rest) with acres of carbon fiber. They had to turn the topside air scoops into structural supports for protection during a rollover. Then they had to sacrifice 100 virgins and have the production facility in Molsheim, France, blessed by druids.
The result is the most structurally rigid convertible in the world, which, miraculously, weighs no more and goes no slower than the coupe on which it is based. With the transparent roof removed, air resistance limits the Grand Sport to 217 mph, but you'd want that roof on for a top-speed run anyway; the wind could rip your face off at around 245.
This is surely one of the signs of the apocalypse: Americans aren't driving as much as they used to. The downward trend last year was stark.
Perhaps the only good thing about losing your job is that you no longer have to endure the drive to work.
The exceptionally sluggish pace of new-vehicle sales in the face of extremely attractive incentives being offered by the automakers might imply that Americans are considering making more-permanent adjustments to their lifestyles.
Every now and then I meet someone in Manhattan who has never driven a car. I used to wonder at such people, but more and more I wonder at myself.
The present and impending disorder of the automobile companies is a reminder, even more than the decline of the housing and banking industries, of the desolation of the Great Depression.
A bailout that includes no more than a commitment to fuel efficiency, or to electric vehicles, would be a denial of the administration's commitments to respond to climate change. The idyll of plug-in hybrids is also the promise of a high-energy society, in which the auto-industrial organization of space, or of transport-intensive growth, is set in concrete for another generation, or longer. It is frightening in relation to the US, and a dystopia in relation to the world.
An enduring bailout, or a new deal for Detroit, would be different. It would be an investment in ending the auto-industrial society of the late twentieth century.
A year ago:
Driving is the cultural anomaly of our moment. Someone from the future, I’m sure, will marvel at our blindness and at the hole we have driven ourselves into, for we are completely committed to an unsustainable technology.
Also, from a year ago:
China’s catching up alone would roughly double world consumption rates.
The Urge to Merge: Making it in the Battle for a Lane
Topic: Cars and Trucks
3:45 pm EDT, Aug 2, 2008
So here you are, let us say, heading west toward the Caldecott at the end of a July afternoon. The geography, what with the hills rising on either side, pretty much requires you to focus on the thing that is about to happen in front of you — you can see it coming, and sometimes from quite a distance, depending on how bad the backup is. The trick about the Caldecott is that although each bore is two lanes wide, the middle bore switches direction, by means of signage and mechanically raised cone separators, contingent on the flow of the main morning and evening commute. So if you’re driving out of the suburbs toward Oakland at the end of the day, the cars coming the opposite way take that middle bore, which means your side of 24 is being coned off into the one remaining bore on the right — a four-lane to a two-lane funnel.
This is the point at which the North American driving populace, as you know, cleaves into two camps.
See also, for the transportation wonks, "The" Freeway in Southern California, which speculates on the origins of the regional practice of prepending "the" when referring to numbered freeways.
Pinch Us: Autoblog drives the 2008 Porsche GT2 - Autoblog
Topic: Cars and Trucks
7:58 pm EST, Nov 7, 2007
It's just before noon on a Thursday morning as I saunter down pit row at Daytona International Speedway and slide into the supportive sport bucket seat of a 2008 Porsche 911 GT2. I fiddle a bit with the seat and steering column adjustments until I'm comfortable, then double-check that my seatbelt is secured. It's hot and humid, but that's not why I'm perspiring - this cold sweat is a sign that my body's survival instincts are on edge, and for good reason. Fortunately, I've received personalized instruction from a quartet of legendary drivers and a complete technical briefing courtesy of Porsche Motorsports engineers, and there's little left to be learned without actually driving the car. I depress the heavily-weighted clutch pedal, muscle the short-throw shifter into 1st gear, bring the revs up, and...