Category Archives: Transportation

Does the World Need Tinted Rear Windows?

After writing yesterday’s post, today I observed cars and in particular their rears with a fresh keen sense. It seems to me now that the key factor inhibiting good forward looking habits are tinted rear windows. Practically all large cars such as SUVs, pick-up trucks, and mini-vans have them these days. The only exception are much older models which are rare. Tractor trailers and delivery vans are impenetrable anyway, so all that leaves is passenger cars. And I even saw some of those with tinted windows; Typically either luxury limousines or souped-up ghetto cars.

WHY?

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Why I Don’t Like SUVs, Pick-up Trucks, or Mini-Vans

Drive around town or the highway these days and seems that there are weigh more SUVs and the like than conventional passenger cars. The gas prices do not seem to be high enough, or have not been high enough for long enough to affect people sufficiently to change their means of transportation.

But this is not an article about fuel economy or about being ecologically conscious. It is about the safety, or lack thereof of sharing the road with these large cars. Continue reading

Flexible Routes

Google maps gets better and better. In fact, their latest added feature completes its feature set and makes me perfectly happy. What now, you ask? Continue reading

Take Another Look: Google Street View

I just read in MacUser, that Google Maps added another cool feature: Street View.

Basically, you enter an intersection or an address as you normally would, and then click “Street View,” and you get a pop-up that shows you a photograph of that intersection, complete with a cardinal axis superimposed over it.

For now, this only works in New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, and Denver. It is really very cool. Here’s a link to a street view of the 5th Avenue Apple Store in NYC.

Enter Exits

I just noticed that Google Maps now shows Interstate exit numbers. This is the one feature of Google Maps I was sorely missing, because I usually prefer to find my own optimal routes rather than relying on the Google’s search engine. I had sent an e-mail some time to suggest they add exit numbers. Other people must have felt the same way for I am sure Google did not add this just for me. Well done Google!

Ludicrous Lights

The scene: You, the traffic light, and the the next traffic light down the road. The result: The next light almost always wins, i.e., it turns red before you can reach it.

Change of scene: Almost every major road in Germany. Your light turns green and you start driving. Shortly before you reach the next light down the road, it turns green and you keep driving. Repeat. Continue reading

Traffic Fatalities

Yesterday I saw an article in AAA news quoting that the number of traffic deaths in the US went up in 2005. Some time ago I heard on the German Tagesschau news that the number of traffic deaths in Germany went down in 2005. A few years ago news about a decline in German traffic deaths prompted me to compare these two countries’ traffic deaths per capita and found out that in the US the number was quite a bit higher. At first that might be surprising considering the much higher driven highway speeds back in Germany. People here usually are shocked when you tell them that folks in Germany routinely drive as fast as 90 MPH and it’s not unusual to get passed on the highway when doing 100. Here’s an interesting link about the German Autobahn.

So, today I went back and looked at the statistics again, and the numbers are, quite frankly, rather shocking. Continue reading