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Monthly Archives: November 2012

More Yellow Light Timing

Okay, last one, I promise.

So the National Motorists Association Foundation has put together a nifty website to advocate standards (based on an Institute of Transportation Engineers formula) for yellow light timing and highlight the problems with red light cameras. It provides a great summary of the problems and the solutions.

Yellow Light Timing (Part 2)

Several cities have been found guilty of shortening yellow lights to maximize red light violations.

Yellow Light Timing

It looks like some local governments are setting the yellow light timing too short in order to increase the incidence of red light violations (and in turn increase the number of tickets).

A couple thoughts:

  1. The State of New Jersey seems to have their act together with regards to ensuring yellow light timings are based on speed and safety for motorists. Though, in my opinion, it should be the state DOT setting the guidelines, not the legislature.
  2. It doesn’t surprise me that Chicago has picked the lowest recommended timing
  3. Motorist safety is the core of the issue here. If private companies were operating these intersections and doing this the uproar would be tremendous. Not to mention they’d have their pants sued off

Manhattan’s Internet Vault

I guess this is transportation related… transportation of data. Anyway, an interesting article on the Hurricane Sandy damage to Manhattan’s internet infrastructure. Some staggering photos of the telecom vaults in use in NYC. I’ve been inside some cool telecom and electrical vaults, but these are beyond anything I’ve ever seen.

Unfortunate that the pumps to keep air in the copper insulation for flood protection were located on floors that made them vulnerable to flooding.

Number One But Losing Millions

So Condé Nast ranks Virgin America as number one yet they are losing millions.

since 2007, Virgin America has posted a net loss of $671 million and an operating loss of $447 million.

How does the airline with highest customer satisfaction and the best reviews do so poorly? The aforelinked article from Time shines some light on that.

I think that, in general, most people flying domestically in the States are purchasing their tickets based largely on price. Perks, comforts, and luxuries aren’t what most domestic travelers are looking for. If they have the money for that they’ll likely have the money for business class or first class anyway. I know that when I fly domestic I don’t even look at the major carriers… I just go to and hope they serve my destination. Virgin is trying to offer value to their flights in a market (domestic America) that values price first.

However, international flights are a whole different story. Myself, and others, are willing to pay a few hundred dollars more (often just 10% of the overall cost) for a better airline that is more accommodating. I’ll never fly international on American again, based on experience. I tolerate Delta. I much prefer a European carrier, or if possibly a Middle Eastern one.

Condé Naste Traveler: Top 25 Airlines

No big surprises here. From the international list I’ve traveled Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar and can vouch for all of them. It doesn’t surprise me that no US air carrier is on that list.

From the US list, I’ve traveled Southwest, Frontier, Delta, AirTran, and American. I’d probably have ranked them in that order as well.

Electric Car of the Year

Or rather, Motor Trend’s Car Of the Year 2013 happens to be electric. Actually watching their video and reading the material makes a compelling case for the Tesla Model S.

Photo courtesy of Tesla Motors.

Tesla remarks that they didn’t just want to build the best electric car but rather the best car that just happens to be electric. Thats a great goal. But the $58,570 base price tag makes it a premium sedan that is unobtainable for many. I’d like to see an electric car maker with a goal inspired by Henry Ford; not the best car or best electric car but an electric car anyone can afford to own.

In any case, very exciting to see progress in the electric car market. The Model S looks like a fun ride.