Biden Admin Withdraws Nomination for NHTSA Leadership

The White House withdrew the nomination of Ann Carlson to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Tuesday, following criticisms that she was unqualified to fill the role. Despite Carlson serving as the acting administrator since September, the Senate Commerce Committee had accused her of being a career environmentalist with no formal background in roadway safety.


Read more
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Resigns Amidst D.C. Chaos

Elaine Chao, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, has resigned in the wake of the unrest in our nation’s capital yesterday.

Read more
Roads Aren't Nearly As Empty As You'd Think, Which Shouldn't Come As a Surprise

Following two weeks of unseasonably cold weather that seemed to put spring on hold, Saturday was a gorgeous day in this writer’s city. Warm temps, endless sunshine, and a pandemic that compelled public health officials to tell everyone to stay indoors for the fifth weekend in a row. Or was it the sixth? Time feels more fluid than it once was.

Anyway, yours truly was on the road, seeking an escape from humanity. With too many potential walking or running spaces overrun with people or, oddly, closed off for public safety, I realized I needed to go further afield to distance myself from this constrained, antsy populace. And so I hopped on the highway… and found myself driving in a near-normal level of traffic for the first time since this all began.

Was everyone being an asshole? Was I?

Read more
One Way of Finding Customers: Pay People to Use Your Service

Ride-hailing company Lyft wants you to ditch your car — and hopefully give it up altogether. After rolling out a limited pilot project in Chicago last month, the company has launched a new initiative in 35 American and Canadian cities that compels drivers to leave their car untouched for 30 days.

Lyft hopes to find 2,000 people willing to take part in its “Ditch Your Car” challenge. In exchange, the company will provide credits for a slew of services under its corporate umbrella (ride hailing, bike sharing, but not scooter sharing… yet), as well as credits for transit. What’s stopping these drivers from secretly using their personal vehicles during the month-long experiment? Nothing.

Read more
Report Claims Self-driving Cars Will Make So Much Money, No One Will Care About Employment Losses

There’s been plenty of discussion about how autonomous vehicles will effectively annihilate the trucking and taxi industries. We’ve certainly discussed it — in addition to concerns that self-driving vehicles may not reduce pollution and traffic congestion as promised.

Fear not, claims a recent report sponsored by Securing America’s Future Energy. The problem of self-driving cars displacing huge numbers workers is apparently overblown when compared to the economic impact as a whole. According to the study — “America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future” — the loss in employment opportunities should be offset by the potential advantages in safety, cheaper transportation, mobility, air quality, and individual productivity.

The report says that by 2050, AVs will contribute between $3 and $6 trillion in cumulative consumer and societal benefits to the U.S. economy. While it’s not clear how much of that will go into the pockets of people who’ve lost their jobs, it sure sounds great in theory.

But is this really the future of autonomous transportation? And who are these wizards of analysis who tell us the future looks so damn bright?

Read more
Trump Changes Regulatory Rules on Infrastructure, U.S. Waiting on Trillion Dollar Roadworks Plan

President Trump announced on Tuesday that he had signed an executive order to eliminate and streamline Obama-era regulations that might hinder the construction of U.S. roads and bridges. Absent, however, was any legislation regarding previous promises of allocating a trillion dollars revitalize the nation’s infrastructure.

While the press conference was mired by the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, the topic eventually returned to roadworks and the aforementioned funding. “We will end up getting health care, but we’ll get the infrastructure, and actually infrastructure is something that I think we’ll have bipartisan support on,” Trump told reporters. “I actually think Democrats will go along with the infrastructure.”

Backed by Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump presented the media with a flow chart purporting to show the permitting regulations required to construct a highway in an unnamed state he claimed took 17 years under existing regulations.

Read more
"Houston, We Have an Armored Car Robbery Problem"

For a major city, Houston drivers spend far less time in rush-hour gridlock than those in other large U.S. metropolises. Last year, residents spent an average of 51.5 hours in gridlock, a number unchanged from the year before. Compare that to Los Angeles’ 104.1 hours, Atlanta’s 70.8, Washington, DC’s 61 or Boston’s 57.6.

Overall, Houston ranks the 11th worst city in the U.S. for congestion, despite having the fourth-largest population. The city’s relatively low density and spiderweb of highways makes traversing the urban area an easy task — a benefit for residents who enjoy the leafy suburban life.

Unfortunately, it could also explain the city’s popularity among armored car thieves.

Read more
For Uber, Are On-Demand Flying Cars the Next Frontier?

One of my favourite childhood cartoons was The Jetsons, an animated sitcom where technology had transformed the world into a futuristic utopia. The intro of every Jetsons episode features the family commuting in a flying car.

Last Thursday, Uber published a white paper promising flying cars in the next decade. After 60 years as a cartoon, are The Jetsons becoming a reality?

Read more
Drivers Are Now Less Likely to Plummet to Their Deaths From the Ambassador Bridge

The iconic (#iconic?) Ambassador Bridge is an impressive feat of engineering, but the march of time leaves both scars and decay.

No longer occupying the centerfold in plastic-wrapped copies of Bridges Monthly, the critical cross-border link spanning the Detroit River has received a temporary band-aid after officials determined there wasn’t much holding vehicles back from a 152-foot plunge.

Read more
Hyperloop Makes Successful Open-Air Test, Breaks the Speed of Yawn

No one wants their most exciting moment to last two seconds, so let’s hope the folks at Hyperloop One have bigger things coming down the, erm, pipe.

Yesterday, amid great fanfare and hype, the recently renamed Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies) performed the first open-air test of the electromagnetic propulsion system at the heart of the futuristic transportation concept.

As a bandstand of employees and media watched beneath the hot Nevada sun, a test vehicle rocketed along a track for two seconds, hitting Camry-on-a-joyride speeds — officially, 116 miles per hour — before plowing into a sand trap. The future doesn’t have brakes yet, just sand.

Read more
Expert Predicts Rise in Self-Driving Car Fornication; Window Tint Sellers Cheer

He doesn’t have any firm numbers, but Barrie Kirk has a feeling.

The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence executive director just knows that once humans no longer have to pump the brakes and jerk the wheel of their autonomous vehicles, their ingrained habits will give way to exploits of a carnal nature.

Yes, some people are predicting fleets of rolling bedrooms coursing their way through commuter traffic. Don’t tell Helen Lovejoy.

Read more
Is Musk Planning a New Way of Getting Around for Us Plebs?

Not everyone can afford a Tesla, even the lower cost Model 3, so what is Elon Musk going to do for the public transit set?

Something, apparently. The Tesla founder coyly hinted at a next big thing during a talk in Norway, according to Bloomberg, leaving many wondering whether he had a plan to do away with buses.

Read more
Hyperloop Visits Detroit; Will Auto Talent Make the Jump From Tires to Tubes?

Hyperloop Technology’s co-founder and chief technology officer Brogan BamBrogan, who is a real person and not a Bond villain living in a volcano lair, choose yesterday’s SEA International Congress talent meetup to push the Elon Musk-conceived technology, Automotive News has reported.

BamBrogan’s company is dangling job opportunities in front of the Detroit crowd in a bid to lure new henchmen auto industry talent into its fold.

The former Chrysler and SpaceX engineer’s message to the Detroit audience was clear. To paraphrase Seinfeld — this technology is real, and it’s spectacular.

“We’re calling this our Kitty Hawk moment,” BamBrogan told them.

Read more
New York City Taxi Official Departs For Uber

In a major coup for car sharing service Uber, the start-up has poached Ashwini Chhabra, the deputy commissioner for policy and planning at New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Read more
New or Used? : Economic Outpatient Care Edition

Hello Steve,

I’ve enjoyed for a couple of years now the articles you’ve written for TTAC and the insight you give on used cars and the business you work in. Since you do provide your contact information, I thought I’d write to ask a question relevant to my used-car-shopping situation.

Read more
  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
  • VoGhost Matt, I'm curious why you write that inventory levels are low at 74 days. Typically, 60 days is the benchmark for normal inventory.