Blog

Transportation Relics (and a road that goes nowhere)

Patrick Sullivan | October 24, 2014

Whether on a walk through the woods or a walk through the heart of the city, it’s not uncommon to stumble upon a relic of the past. The archeological ruins of a time before us. All over New England you can find freestanding stone walls built hundreds of years ago still curiously standing along the edge of a field or along a highway. In Boston, it's not uncommon to find old cobblestone footpaths or streetcar tracks visible beneath layers of battered urban pavement. These are reminders of those who lived in our places before us; those who built the first…
Ridesharing: Then and Now

Patrick Sullivan | September 4, 2014

Uber. Lyft. Sidecar. Ridejoy. Hitch. RidesScout. Carma. These are the ridesharing apps that I can think of off the top of my head. Ridesharing (or Transportation Network) apps have become a hot (and controversial) technology that are helping to drive the explosive growth of the sharing economy. Entrepreneurs on both coasts are looking for innovative new ways to disrupt the traditional ways in which we commute. From UberX, which turns anyone’s car into a taxi, to CarmaHop, a modern take on hitchhiking, new technology is pushing us to rethinking the relationship between a car, a driver, and a passenger. For some commuters, ridesharing…
Will We Ever Have a VMT Tax in Massachusetts?

Patrick Sullivan | July 17, 2014

For as long as we have had roads, we have been trying to figure out the best way to pay for them. Over the years, a per-gallon gasoline tax has been widely adopted on both a state and federal level as the primary method in which revenue is generated to pay for highway construction and maintenance. This system worked relatively well for many decades, but improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency have significantly reduced fuel consumption. A study by the Rand Corporation found that gas consumption has decreased by nearly 50 percent since 1980, yet vehicle miles traveled have doubled, creating conditions where…
GPS Watch – 1920’s Style

Patrick Sullivan | June 5, 2014

GPS technology can be found virtually everywhere – our smart phones, our cars, our eyeglasses, and even in our watches. Over the last couple years smart watches have become more ubiquitous and increasingly more powerful. Hikers and runners have been using GPS equipped watches for over a decade, and now more dynamic watches have to ability to track users sleep patterns, stress levels, and combined with smartphone apps can act like small computers strapped to your wrist. Dick Tracywas really on to something. Let's get back to the idea of using a watch as a navigation tool.  The idea of a watch providing…
The Problem with Fare Payment

Patrick Sullivan | May 14, 2014

Over the past several months, The Atlantic Cities has released a series of featured articles exploring the future of transportation in America. The series has touched upon an exhaustive variety of innovations that have the ability to dramatically change the ways in which we commute, and has provided fresh commentary on topics such as ride sharing, urban design and transportation infrastructure. In short, “The Future of Transportation” Series has become required reading for transportation wonks like myself. A recent article in the series from Susan Shaheen and Matt Christensen explores the impact that open data and smart phones will have…
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