Designer makes clothes out of German transit upholstery fabric, rides trains

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Public transit upholstery is a marvel of stain-resistance, long-wearing durability and bizarre abstract patterns meant to deny the shifting conventions of fashion: all these make it (semi-)perfect for "Bustour," German artist Menja Stevenson's 2008 transit couture project, which has her creating lovely -- if stiff and uncomfortable -- outfits out of transit fabric and then riding trains, documenting the reactions of people who encounter her chameleonsuit look. Read the rest

Uber loves competition, when it's the one doing the competing

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Uber terminated access to its API for Urbanhail, a startup that compared pricing and availability among ride-hailing apps and taxi companies, after chastising the company's founders for violating its terms of service, which forbid creating competitive uses. Read the rest

Photo gallery of extremely overloaded vehicles

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"Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid." - Bertrand Russell, "In praise of Idleness" Read the rest

Luxury overnight bus with sleeper cabins shuttles between LA and San Francisco

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Sleepbus is a startup that's "disrupting long distance transport" -- it's a bus. Read the rest

Trains Botting: twitterbot posts a new emoji train landscape every 4 hours

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Trains Botting/@choochoobot is a new twitterbot from prolific botmaster and EFF staffer Parker Higgins. Read the rest

Republican Congressmen backed by airline money kill research on legroom and passenger safety

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Rep. Rodney Davis [R-IL]'s campaign was backed by American, Continental, Delta, Jetblue, and Southwest as well as airline PACs; airlines were the largest donor to Rep. Bill Shuster [R-PA]'s campaign, together, the two led a House Transportation Committee vote against a government study on the effects of passenger legroom on aviation safety, laughing at the idea that close-packed seats might make it hard to evacuate a plane. Read the rest

Derren Brown sends creepy life-size Victorian dolls into the London Underground

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The two creepy head-characters rode the Northern Line, pushed an empty pram down the platforms, and sat down to play trains at Hamley's toy-store, as a publicity stunt for Mind Gap, a new theme park ride designed by stage conjurer/hypnotist Derren Brown (previously) that will open in March 2016 at the Thorpe Park theme park in Chertsey, England.

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A beautiful data-driven Tube ad from 1928

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This 1928 London Underground ad is a beautiful and witty example of using data to help people get the best use out of public services. By listing the tube's load at different times of the day, LU helped riders figure out how to avoid crushes, and by making the descriptions funny and insightful, the poster's creators created memorable hooks for putting the info in context. Read the rest

German student ditches apartment, buys an unlimited train pass

Leonie Müller's undergrad thesis will include an analysis of her months living on Germany's high-speed trains, washing her hair in the bathroom sinks and writing her papers at 100+ km/h. Read the rest

Endless spiralling model-train

James Risner constructed a bi-directional spiral of track and crammed it full of HO-scale model train cars and engines, so it goes around and around in a metaphor for _________.(via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

The Knowledge: London cabbies' multi-year, grueling training

If you want to drive a black cab in London -- the only cars that passengers can hail from the kerb -- you have to pass "The Knowledge," an unbelievably tough exam that tests you on your minute knowledge of every street, landmark, hotel, restaurant, hospital, church, stadium, airline office, club, police station, court, and tourist destination within six miles of Charing Cross station. Read the rest

Vietnamese swimmers ferry passengers across flooded rivers in plastic bags

When remote areas of Vietnam are flooded out, entrepreneurial swimmers set up informal ferries in which passengers climb into sturdy plastic bags and are then swum across the river against the current. The Vietnamese explanation accompanying the video is beyond Google Translate, but I'd love it if anyone out there could help flesh this out, because it's pretty amazing. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Public transit patent trolls get thrown under the bus

In a field of horrible, amoral scumbags, patent troll ArrivalStar is an exceptionally awful enterprise. They have a huge portfolio of ridiculous patents for obvious ways of tracking where public transit vehicles are and using that to coordinate schedule information, and they use that portfolio to extort massive sums from public transit systems in cities across America. After a years-long reign of terror -- which included the Electronic Frontier Foundation getting one of their patents gutted on rexamination -- the The American Public Transportation Association and the Public Patent Foundation have filed suit to get the whole portfolio knocked out. Good luck, APTA and PubPat: our cash-strapped cities need you. Read the rest

4m-long cake-train in Paddington station

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Heathrow Express train service from Paddington to the airport in London, a PR firm built a 4m-long cake shaped like a train on the platform, guarded by birds of prey to keep the pigeons away. Passengers were invited to eat the train on Monday.

Happy Birthday Heathrow Express! – A Train Made Entirely From Cake

(Image: Nathan Pask) Read the rest

Hyperlapse video from the PoV of a Tokyo automated train

Here's time-lapse footage from the front of a Tokyo Yurikamome automated train, shot and post-processed by DarwinFish105. It's a properly Gibsonian bit of video:

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Video of Cambodia's homebrew "bamboo railroad"

At long last, here's video of the Cambodian bamboo railroad I wrote about in 2006; this being a homebrew railroad running at 40km/h off an electric motor, along decrepit and degenerating rails that only see one scheduled train per week. It's a pretty amazing ride.

床が竹、壁も天井もないカンボジアのバンブー・トレイン: (Thanks, Francesco!) Read the rest

Cyclists are safe and courteous, and your disdain for them is grounded in cognitive bias

Jim Saska is a jerky cyclist, something he cheerfully cops to (he also admits that he's a dick when he's driving a car or walking, and explains the overall pattern with a reference to his New Jersey provenance). But he's also in possession of some compelling statistics that suggest that cyclists are, on average, less aggressive and safer than they were in previous years, that the vast majority of cyclists are very safe and cautious, and that drivers who view cycling as synonymous with unsafe behavior have fallen prey to a cognitive bias that isn't supported by empirical research.

The fact is, unlike me, most bicyclists are courteous, safe, law-abiding citizens who are quite willing and able to share the road. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia studied rider habits on some of Philly’s busier streets, using some rough metrics to measure the assholishness of bikers: counting the number of times they rode on sidewalks or went the wrong way on one-way streets. The citywide averages in 2010 were 13 percent for sidewalks and 1 percent for one-way streets at 12 locations where cyclists were observed, decreasing from 24 percent and 3 percent in 2006. There is no reason to believe that Philly has particularly respectful bicyclists—we’re not a city known for respectfulness, and our disdain for traffic laws is nationally renowned. Perhaps the simplest answer is also the right one: Cyclists are getting less aggressive.

A recent study by researchers at Rutgers and Virginia Tech supports that hypothesis. Data from nine major North American cities showed that, despite the total number of bike trips tripling between 1977 and 2009, fatalities per 10 million bike trips fell by 65 percent.

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