Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Ithaca Carshare
On Tuesday, Ithaca Carshare started accepting membership to their program, which should be running in June. Members can borrow Ithaca Carshare vehicles by logging into the website www.ithacacarshare.org and see the availability and placement of the vehicles. For getting around when a car is needed, this looks to be a great alternative to owning a car and paying for all of the associated costs. Considering the cost of ownership with repairs, maintenance, gasoline and insurance, this service might be a well needed relief to those who own cars currently but don’t drive them often enough to make the costs economical.
Ithaca Carshare is starting with two plans: “It’s my car” is $20 per month and $4.95 per hour of usage, and “Just in case” is $50 a year plus $7.95 per hour. Both plans charge 20 cents per mile driven also. I did the math, and if you plan on using this service for more than 63 hours in a year, than the “It’s my car” plan becomes cheaper. The application fee is regularly $30, but there is a reduced price of $15 if you sign up before May 5th.
According to the website, every shared car is equivalent to taking 15 personal vehicles off the road. With the economy in a bit of a slump and gasoline prices increasing, it becomes more viable to not own cars – or get rid of the second car at least – when a service like this can help support your travel needs. Of course walking and biking still use less resources and energy, but for those times when a car is needed, Ithaca Carshare is a great option.


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By Tim Ashmore from the Ithaca Journal:

ITHACA — Imagine it: Ithaca with less traffic congestion, less road construction and a new-age monorail zipping people around some 15 feet above ground. The concept may sound strange, but after a conference in Uppsala, Sweden in October Connect Ithaca, an organization dedicated to building a more sustainable infrastructure, met with the Institute for Sustainable Transportation and learned about a transportation system that’s safer, faster, cleaner and quieter than any transit unit used on Ithaca’s streets.The monorail is called PRT, short for personal rapid transit systems, or podcar, and though at present it’s only an idea being kicked around by some residents, it could become a reality sooner than people might think.

“The industry itself, of course, has in its own best interest to start building these networks,” said Jacob Roberts, former chairman of Connect Ithaca and representative at the 2007 conference.

Roberts said if the community gets behind the idea and is open to it, European companies may be interested in building part of one of the first demonstration podcar networks in the world for free.

He said that creating demonstration cities is a good way for the companies to market its product.


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Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun by Carlos Rymer and Gregory Falco:

Got wireless? Got iPod? Got JPods? You may be wondering, “What’s a JPod?” Well, in the age of information and the high-techs, most people feel like they’re fully connected to the world. Cellphones and the Internet have virtually “connected” you to the rest of the world, but what about your physical connection? There’s a new mode of transportation coming to America and it’s called PRT, or personal rapid transit. It promises to make transit amazingly reliable, convenient and sexy. Are you interested yet?

PRT is an overhead rail that is completely automated, taking passengers from one location to a destination without even having to deal with stop lights or congestion! You go to a station, hop into a capsule (no medicine here) that will be waiting for you and select where you want to go. This system has been extensively researched and developed since the 1980’s, especially in Europe, and it is now ready to make mobility green, cheap and easy. Hop into our capsule, we’ll explain.


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So we all want the world to be climate neutral, right? Yea, some people spit out numbers like 50% and 80%, but in the end we just want to get rid of fossil fuels for good. Those that claim that fossil fuels are going to be an important part of the energy mix for the world in the future are either ignorant, are not aware of what global warming is already doing, or are simply obsessed with fossil fuels. Sorry if it annoys anybody, but this is true. So, assuming we want a climate neutral world (with no net greenhouse gases coming from humans) or perhaps a climate positive world, we need to address sectors like electricity and transportation, among others. In the transportation sector, there has been a huge push for different fuels (biofuels) and for increased fuel mileage. Unfortunately, proponents of these seem to also be obsessed with fossil fuels and, particularly, cars.

Let’s start with biofuels. Ethanol and biodiesel are the big ones today. Ethanol from corn, sugar cane, and cellulose (which is far away into the future anyways), and biodiesel from vegetable oil from any source. Ethanol from corn is simply an extremely bad choice. First of all, there isn’t even consensus on whether corn ethanol is energy positive. The numbers range from slightly energy positive to slightly energy negative. The energy positive folks are simply supported more widely because people want to jump into the lucrative corn ethanol bandwagon. If positive, the small gains are extremely small and are largely outweighed by the fact that we’re depleting more farmland to do this. At the same time, it’s taking a huge amount of corn agriculture and shooting up prices like crazy, which may be good for the big food companies, but bad for people in Mexico and elsewhere. So those people investing in corn ethanol are investing in something that will come to an end. At best, they’ll cash out of the boom, but many will be left severely hurt.


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Connect Ithaca is a new group composed of Ithaca residents and students from Cornell and IC. Connect Ithaca aims to share wisdom, news and ideas about the global sustainability movement with our community; to support residents and agencies in preparing for the future; and to assist decision makers in fully understanding the potential impacts of future development projects. 

More specifically, we will investigate and promote a range of possibilities for how we might redesign regional transportation and land-use planning in anticipation of coping with rising energy prices, climate change, and demographic shifts.


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The Cornell Carpool on Facebook Competition

The Problem: Driving our personal cars contributes 20% of US CO2 emissions, the single most significant source from individuals. CO2 emissions levels need to be curbed to avoid potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.

Solution: You and Carpool on Facebook!

Carpool on Facebook was built to provide a safe and hassle free way to find a ride, wherever you are going. Carpool on Facebook will make life easier for those without a car, provide company and money for those with a car and help those who want to share a cab. The application is built upon Facebook’s social network of 30,000,000+ users. Carpool on Facebook uses geo-coding technology to make rides easily searchable, and calculates your CO2 emissions saved.
For more information about Carpool on Facebook go to: www.zimride.com.

Your Mission: To market Carpool on Facebook to the Cornell community bydeveloping and executing a marketing plan that could easily be replicated at other universities. The best statement of interest we receive prior to October 15th, will be chosen to participate in the Carpool marketing campaign. The winning team will be supplied with a marketing budget to cover all associated expenses.

For years, there have been carpool-matching sites on the internet. Never has there been a community (campus or city) that has achieved large-scale use of carpooling as a means of transportation over single occupancy travel. Social networking, the strength of the Cornell community and your help can make history towards a more sustainable planet.

Statements of interest should describe your team (please include resumes if easily attained) and your plan. Statements should be approximately 2 pages in length. Judging submissions will be the founder of Carpool on Facebook, New York City Senior Project Manager for Congestion Pricing, and a Professor in the field of Sustainable Business.


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