Alternative Transportation: The Eco Friendly Way To Travel

Whether you’re a environmental activist or just plain tired of rising gas prices, the time is now to consider alternative energy sources. One of the first things you can do, that has immediate results for both your pocket and the environment, is switch to electric powered vehicles. Electric powered scooters, electric bicycle scooters, and electric motor motorcycles are becoming an increasingly more popular form of urban transportation.

From the Department of Energy / Pike Research studies show that even from the dirtiest coal powered electric grids, electric power vehicles produce less green house gas emissions than gasoline vehicles. The good news is that coal use in the U.S. is on the decline. According to government data, over the next 25 years, the projected coal share of electricity will fall to 39%, significantly below the 49% in 2007.

Transportation accounts for between 25% and 34% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and approximately 70% of all U.S. oil use. Globally, the demand for fuel is increasing, especially in developing nations. Besides the fact that the fossil fuel we are so dependent on is NON-renewable, it is also wildly unpredictable. What is the price we pay? The consequences of the BP spill didn’t mean just higher taxes. It meant loss of jobs for Gulf Coast residents, fisherman, tourism, and sadly, damage to the ecosystem. There’s the unrest in the Middle East, but at the top of the list would be pollution. This instability is what our transportation economy is based on.

As disheartening as it appears, it is also exciting to see all of the new, ever improving technology geared towards providing cleaner, safer, and more economical transportation alternatives. Riding electric powered bikes and scooters are a great example of utilizing renewable energy, with a cost of approximately.05 cents per charge (20 – 30 miles). Besides an easier commute, there are many varieties to choose from to fit your specific needs. There’s the electric power bicycle with the option to pedal or power. You get to decide how much effort you want to put in to your ride. Maybe you need an assist getting up the hill, or dealing with headwinds There’s electric bicycle scooters, also known as ebikes. Other than the electric power motorcycle, which requires a drivers license, ebikes are classified as bicycles, and as such would not need a license. Play a role in the growing renewable energy generation and commute by bike.

Why We Need To Maintain Our Vehicles

In the modern world, we use to see so many vehicles around our locality, city, state and nation. The vehicles are the backbone of the modern day transportation. Without the help of vehicles we can’t imagine our transportation from one place to another. They run throughout the year, the distance may be small or large, but how do they managed to run throughout the year? I mean do they need maintenance or not? Yes, they need maintenance or service to work properly!

A modern car may have more than 75,000 parts, which means, to work accurately every time they need to be maintained properly after a certain period of time. By maintaining a car in good state will help or assist us to keep it safe, drive it for more time and someday we will get better price by selling it.

In a way to keep your car performing at its best, this is really important to remain with the routine maintenance and inspections. With the regular service of the vehicle, we can reduce repair costs; which can occur in future, we can optimize our vehicle’s performance, and we can extend its life. But we are talking so much about vehicle maintenance, what actually occurs in the maintenance of the vehicle? Always remember the word “TOWBIF”, which stands, T-Tires, O-Oil, W-Windows, B-Brakes, I-Interior and F for Fluids.

Proper checking of air pressure in tires, oil is the blood of the car and without oil we can’t expect our car running, windows should be cleaned as well as interior, the braking system should be maintained periodically for maximum braking efficiency and fluids like coolant, steering fluid, transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid and other fluids should be inspected at a minimum of once in three weeks.

It is also very important to check the wiring of the car, which helps to operate the speakers and the lights of the car. As we have discussed above, regular maintenance schedule is a necessary step in keeping the car safe and running for years to come. You must consult your car mechanic to see when your car needs next maintenance check up.

Also it is really important to remember that for a better maintenance you need an experienced car mechanic, who can provide the necessary service by his experience for the car. It is important for the car the need of periodic service and also it is important that the mechanic should have all the necessary tools and equipments.

We Can Do Our Bit To Reduce Global Warming

We can all help reduced the pollutants released everyday by changing our transportation choices, changing our light bulbs, use renewable energy sources and conserving paper products. But above all, the governments of all countries have to make a serious and committed effective effort to combat the causes of global warning. There is adequate scientific evidence to support the damaging facts of global warming, that to continue to ignore this issue on such a grand scale will result in replaceable damage leading to severe changes to our world as we no it.

Automobiles cause twenty percent of United States carbon dioxide emissions, probably one of highest in the world. The United States is the world’s largest consumer of oil. We could reduce our dependence on oil by carpooling, using public transportation, building bike paths and just driving less. Sadly, the USA’s attitude to the problems of global warming is alarmingly dismal. Another thing we can all do is vote for government representatives who will promote clean renewable energy alternatives.

Coal burning power plants are one of the major contributors to pollution, using renewable sources of energy as an alternative, such as wind and solar energy, would significantly reduce damaging emissions. By using these modern sources of energy to naturally generate electricity without any form of emissions, this could then be used as the energy fuel for cars and buses and other consumer items. We should all be responsible in making every effort to reducing harmful and often avoidable emissions.

What if Artificial Intelligent Software Takes Over Our Air Traffic Control System?

Be careful what you humans wish for!

Designing the world’s most perfect system for air traffic control makes sense, and it will keep humans safe. But what if the Artificial Intelligent system created starts redesigning itself to 100% perfection and then takes over? Yes, the Sci Fi thriller awaits you say, and you admit you’d like to see that movie too, but what if it isn’t a movie? What if it becomes our future reality?

Well then I guess we will be chastising the AI software designers from here to eternity in that case. Not long ago, I was discussing this topic with Troy Laclaire, a think tank type. I explained to him that most of the near collisions have been pilot error, or air traffic controller mistakes, and even recently an air traffic controller actually fell asleep with aircraft on long final, actual airliners with people in them.

We’ve had Ferry Operators fall asleep and crash into the dock, MetroRail conductors text messaging and get into head-on collisions, and air traffic controllers nodding off and not responding. Human Beings are the problem, they are the ones which make the mistakes, so I suggest we replace them with AI. Troy, on the other hand loves all the little humans and doesn’t want to see folks unemployed, and somewhat is skeptical of our AI future. He states;

“However, on the flip side, I am not yet ready to give up full control to automated systems, and prefer to have someone ready to stand by.” But I challenged his love for humanity and asked; Why? Why not get rid of the weak links and human error altogether? Troy says; “All well and good, until you have an AI system that decides to go terminator on us.” But I believe we can maintain Situational Awareness and Pre-Emption the machines if we must in the future, referring to pre-empting run-away AI if need be. AI is challenged by randomness – giving at least a bit of edge to humans – ie. element of surprise.

Troy goes one-step further, and states that; randomness as well as some kind of built in inhibitor system to keep the AI from learning beyond a certain point might be necessary. So, my question for all of you out there is do we allow human error to continue to kill people randomly, due to stupid lapses in judgment or do we develop AI to run our transportation infrastructure? Please consider all this and think on it.

Solar: Will It Ever Power Our Vehicles

As solar power has matured as a technology, companies have started applying it to more than just houses. Acting as an energy platform for our transport was an obvious application.

As an active technology, one of the first uses for solar power was on NASA spacecraft. Although not used for propelling the crafts, interested parties immediately started thinking about using solar power for getting us around in our daily lives. Alas, there were so many problems with the technology, including efficiency issues, that the idea never really gained much footing. With the massive popularity of hybrid vehicles, companies and research institutes are revisiting the idea.

Vehicles getting all of their energy from the sun are not a viable option at this time or for the near future. The problem is you simply can’t produce enough energy to meet the power needs. Until technology is developed to make the sunlight conversion process much more efficient, there really is not an answer to the problem. This technological advance, however, may not be far away.

Quantum dots are a form of nanotechnology that is being developed by numerous companies for solar power applications. This technology essentially tries to create tiny solar robots to convert the sunlight to energy. Millions fit within small areas and the hope is the efficiency conversion rate will go through the roof. The companies are looking to create a platform where the robots would exist in paint. Yep, the paint on your home and car may eventually produce all the energy needed.

In the meantime, solar power applications are being developed with a focus on hybrids. The basic idea is to use solar power to provide energy to the batteries powering the hybrid cars. Put another way, it is a step towards the ultimate goal. Honda does not discuss its research, but is believed to have built a facility solely for this purpose and is dumping money into it hand over foot.

The creation of viable solar vehicles is dependent on the advances of the underlying technology. Solar hybrids should be on the market relatively quickly. The big breakthrough, however, will be when viable commercial applications are developed using nanotechnology.

Auto Transport Broker, The Role Of A Middleman

Have you ever wondered what an auto transport broker does for the customer? If you have, you are not alone. Many people do not know exactly what to expect when they make that first phone call. When I first learned of the auto transport broker business, I did not know the exact and complete role of the broker either.

There are many small details just like any other job. However, today I want to address one BIG part of the job. That is how the transport broker must balance serving their customer with serving their drivers.

Brokering may seem simple…

The reality is there are many details that make up the job. Some may seem minor, but could take a twist and turn for the worse making a mountain out of a molehill.

One such detail is the carrier’s insurance. Department of Transportation requires each truck and driver on the road to carry a minimum amount of insurance. Truckers are no different from you and me. We are fined when we do not have insurance on our cars, the same goes for them.

One major difference is in the insurance limits and terms of coverage. Verifying the insurance is in effect and will not expire during the transport is part of the job. Then there is the matter of what is covered. It only makes sense that liability and equipment is covered. However, what about the customer’s car; is it covered?

Trucker’s insurance has a special coverage called “cargo”. Each company’s limits will vary according to their equipment, how many cars they can carry and of course, the premium they are willing to pay. Therefore, as a transport broker we must make sure our customers precious cargo is covered at least for the minimum allowed by law.

Another aspect of brokering is in verifying the reputation of the carrier and company. Each brokerage has points of contact to do this part of his/her job. There are government websites available and reference checks from business contacts to aid checking a carrier’s reputation. In any case, you always want to know whom you are dealing with on behalf of your customer.

What will happen if a problem comes up?

Just like any other job, problems can arise no matter how well you have done your job. With government cutbacks, paperwork and websites are not always up to date. Insurance lapses and the updating of each file can fall between the cracks. A quick call to each company’s insurance agent can solve that piece of the puzzle very quickly.

Can you really count on references to give an honest one? One source you can trust is your fellow auto transport broker! We have found over the years that a huge key to our success is building a solid relationship with our fellow brokers. By advising each other of negative experiences, we have developed a “black list”. This list contains names and locations of carriers who have performed below the standards we choose for our customers.

One of these problems arose just the other day in our office. We received a phone call from one of the office managers at the trucking company. The issue revolved around the delivery of a customer’s car. After carefully listening, pulling the file and contacting the customer for their side of the story, we were able to call the carrier back with a solution.

As a business owner, you must be able to referee each part of the transport in a fair and equitable fashion. There is Department of Transportation laws that govern what we as brokers may and may not do, period. Keeping this in mind, we must serve our client who has paid us. Then, we must also take care of our truckers who provide the service to our customers and us.

So, what are we to do? Listen to all of the facts, from both the customer and the driver. Looking at our file and notes, we must then make a determination of “the reality”. We must keep in mind that each driver and customer is going to be looking at it from his or her own perspective. Each will want the situation to end the way they want it to. We help each party calm down, take a step back and come to a solution, peacefully.

We must make each one happy. We want a happy, satisfied customer with their vehicle safely in their possession. However, we also want a satisfied trucker who will want to work with our company again.

As the transport broker and business owner, all we can do is follow the law. Guide our customer through the process and help the driver and customer complete the transaction in a fair and equitable manner.

This is auto transport brokering. It can be a fun, challenging and rewarding profession. An auto transport broker solves two situations. If you want to ship your car, a broker can help you. If it is a new career you are looking for, an auto transport broker is a possibility, too.

Improving Travel In Our National Parks: The Transportation Scholars Program

As the population of the United States continues to increase, so do transportation issues in our national parks. In the past three decades, park visitation has jumped more than 83 percent; almost all of these additional visitors have traveled to and through the parks in privately owned vehicles. Roads and parking facilities that were once adequate are now overwhelmed, especially during peak travel seasons.

The resulting congestion both degrades visitor experiences and imperils the natural and cultural resources the National Park Service (NPS) is committed to protecting. The result is further strain on an agency already stretched by small budgets and over-worked staff.

In 2001, in an attempt to help the NPS find innovative solutions to this problem, the National Park Foundation (NPF), the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Eno Transportation Foundation teamed up with the NPS to establish the National Park Transportation Scholars Program. Today the program continues under the guidance of the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks and Technical Assistance Center, and the Eno Transportation Foundation.

The Transportation Scholars Program provides parks with transportation professionals who assist in developing transportation systems to help parks reduce traffic, congestion, and pollution while improving park visitor experiences. The Scholars Program pairs transportation professionals and graduate students with NPS staff seeking expert assistance with projects involving transportation planning and analysis, public outreach, intergovernmental coordination, environmental impact assessment, and other transportation-related tasks. Assignments generally begin in early summer and last either six or twelve months.

The Transportation Scholars Program provides the Park Service with much-needed transportation expertise at a fraction of the cost of hiring consultants or bringing on full-time staff. The Parks derive significant advantages from having Transportation Scholars located on-site versus using off-site assistance, and Scholars benefit parks by serving as single points of contact on transportation matters for consultants, contractors, and local communities. Scholars also bring a fresh perspective to the Park Service, while taking away valuable personal and professional experiences.

Jacqueline Lowey, Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) from 1996 to 1997, and Deputy Director of the NPS from 1997-2001, conceived the idea for the Transportation Scholars Program. “I think that transportation is absolutely key to protecting park resources,” said Lowey. “Transportation is the nexus of how you preserve parks while enabling visitors to experience the parks’ incredible natural and historical treasures now and in the future.”

To be eligible for consideration, parks must have a specific transportation-related project ready to begin or already underway. A committee made up of representatives from the NPS, the NPF, and the Eno Foundation reviews park applications that meet these basic requirements; final park selections are made by the NPF’s Board of Directors.

Parks with projects connected to well-developed, long-term transportation plans and involving innovative approaches to addressing park transportation issues are given priority. Examples of such innovative approaches include projects incorporating alternative transportation systems, community involvement, sustainable transportation, transportation master planning, multi-modal access, and non-motorized transportation. The scholar selection process is administered by the Eno Foundation, which assembles a selection panel with representatives from the NPS, the USDOT-Federal Lands Highway, and other organizations with a transportation focus. The panel reviews the project proposals of parks selected by the National Park Foundation, and matches the best qualified candidate with each project.

Transportation Scholars have come from a diverse range of educational and professional backgrounds; several have been working professionals in transportation-related fields. Others have been graduate students pursuing PhD or masters degrees in civil engineering, landscape architecture, urban planning, public policy, and business administration. Most Scholars are given assignments of between 3 months and 1 year, though some have worked for the same park for multiple years.

At the end of their term, the scholars are required to submit a report to the NPF detailing their accomplishments, providing guidance to NPS decision makers, and describing the significance of their findings for other park units and the larger transportation community.

Transportation Job Descriptions

Transportation primarily means moving goods from one place to another without causing any destruction or depreciation. The growth of a country without transportation is impossible. A company requires transportation for its safe delivery of goods. Likewise, an educational institution may take help of transportation for the safety of their students.

The transportation industry is present in every part of the country. The major mediums through which transportation happens are by road, air, rail and sea. Transportation facilitates communication and accessibility. Candidates who are highly educated and experienced grab posts like the transportation manager, transportation supervisor, transportation security officer and other such managerial posts. On the other hand the transportation section includes posts like drivers, loaders, laborers, shipping officers and cargo management officers who work under these managers. Pilots, air hostesses and captains of ships devote a lot of time to their profession but at the same time draw a huge amount salary for their services.

The post of a freight manager is very challenging and involves high educational and management training. In the shipping and railway sector, the transportation manager has to ensure the safe dispatch of the freights and co-ordinate the shipping process efficiently. Likewise, in the aviation industry the transportation department takes care of the baggages and cargos of the boarders so that they don’t get lost and are delivered without any hassle.

Road transport has become an everyday phenomenon for individuals who go for work or to study. To facilitate their journey the transport industry has come up with different kinds of buses and car pools which have resulted to be a great success. Students have their school buses and car pools, and working people avail buses, auto rickshaws and metro’s for their travel. A government or a private sector’s primary motive is to ensure the safety and protection of the travelers and hence they employ transportation security officers of different levels to meet the safety parameters. The job of a truck driver, car driver, bus driver demands attention and dedication to their work.

There is also transportation included in the postal service department. The task of a post man or a delivery boy is to transport mails and goods to the individuals safely. There are also transportation sales executives who keep the sales of the transportation sector at its heights. If technology is the most sought after field in this world, then the transportation industry is no less important. The transportation sector supply living to a host of individuals which makes it an indispensable element of our life.

Freight Transport: Industry Terms

In our commitment to being the premier source of knowledge and information regarding the freight industry, we are embarking on a new leg of the journey. We are going to start building a glossary of all the most important freight transport terms we’ve encountered on the road, on the rails, and everywhere in between. There are a lot of good resources out there; the U.S. Department of Transportation has put together a pretty inclusive list that we’ll be drawing from, along with our own resources and others around the industry.

We’re going to start this endeavor with our first term. Average Annual Daily Truck Traffic (AADTT) is a term used to describe the total volume of freight truck traffic that passes over a given portion of highway in a given year. This number is then divided by the number of days in a year. This might seem like a menial statistic, but it is an essential measure in determining the amount of maintenance that a given portion of road might need. It can also be important in determining the amount of tax dollars needed to keep everything running smoothly through this portion of highway.

A transport vehicle, whether we are talking heavy haul vehicles or ltl trucking vehicles, is decidedly more wearing on a given portion of road than conventional transport vehicles. In fact, the heavy wear delivered by the heavier loads of freight is enough to restrict transport vehicles over a certain weight from accessing some smaller roads. Roads frequented by transport vehicles (those roads with higher AADTT) require a lot of extra funding from all the extra wear and tear that comes from the thousands upon thousands of tons of freight that travel across their surfaces. By using the average annual daily truck traffic measure, the needs of a given portion of highway can be more accurately assessed and judged, keeping the roadways safe for both freight carriers and public users alike.

Because it has been a while since we talked about the history of freight transportation, it would probably be helpful to do a recap of what we’ve talked about to date. We started way back in time with the first human need for freight transport. Although we have an industry that is highly advanced and evolved, it had to start somewhere. We traced back to the very first movement of freight by humans. There is no telling when this actually occurred, but we thought it was important to try to get as close to the beginning as possible. From there, we moved forward to the all-important invention of the wheel – that invention that changed the course of human history forever and marked the birth of the freight transport vehicle.

This was the grandfather of the entire lineage of automobiles and trains making it a keystone moment for the freight transport industry, so we just had to include it in our history. Then came the wagons and the chariots. The wheel, that simple yet profound idea, found its way into carts and horse drawn buggies and continued to alter human development and slowly build freight transport from a need into a reality. Early transport was slow and inefficient, but as the wheels kept turning (cheesy pun #2) the industry kept growing and redefining itself into what we know and use today. Next time we’ll look at the latter part of the history of freight transport.

Tips For Budget Planning – Transportation Expenses

The next big ticket item on our budget is definitely our transportation expense. This will include things like your car payment and how much gas you put in your car every month. This is an important part of our budget, because your car is a vital part of your lifestyle. It helps get you to work, so you can make money to support your lifestyle and it helps you get out to do things you enjoy, because work and money are not everything.

The first thing you need to list when you are making out the budget for your transportation expenses is your car payment. If you don’t have a car payment, congrats! But, this is often the second biggest monthly payment people make next to their mortgage. Most likely you have a set amount you pay the bank every month and like your mortgage, this payment doesn’t fluctuate. So, its pretty safe to just list the amount you pay monthly on your budget.

After you get your car payment down, then you need to list how much you spend on car insurance. Whether you pay it monthly, quarterly, or twice a year, it is still important to include on your monthly budget, because if you set aside money every month, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to write that car insurance check every six months! Depending on your car insurance company, sometimes you will save money every time it renews and you haven’t had any accidents. You may also save money on your car insurance when you turn 25 or when you get married, but your overall savings really depends on your insurance company, so if you feel like your company isn’t doing all it could for you, then maybe its time to start price shopping and see if its time to switch insurance company’s.

Your fuel expense is the next item on this part of your budget. Because of rising gas prices, this may be another portion of your budget where you should figure a little higher, and this maybe an area you would want to transfer the savings from other areas of your budget. You can also conserve gas by making a list before you go out and doing everything on your list, instead of coming home several times and having to make several trips. Need to pick your kids up from school at 3:00? Maybe you could save that trip to the grocery store until right before you have to pick them up. If you live close enough to bike or walk to where you need to go, give yourself extra time and do that instead wasting gas to go a mile up the road. Conserving fuel is hard, but it is possible.

Another part of your transportation budget that you may not think about is the amount of money you spend on repairs and car services. This amount should include the amount of money you spend on oil changes, check-ups, and inspections. Its also a good idea since you probably don’t do those things every month, to put money away every month for those expenses, plus bigger car expenses like new tires, a new transmission, or fuel pump because you never know when the worst will happen, but it helps to be prepared for it.

It’s harder to cut cost in this transportation area of your budget to save money, but this may be an area you want to put your savings from other areas of your budget, to give yourself some wiggle room. This is definitely one of the places most of your finances might go, but that is why you are writing your budget down on paper, so you can evaluate each part of your expenses and see where all your money is going.