Thursday’s Headlines

The Transportation Research Board’s 99th Annual Meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 12-16, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

  • Uber and the delivery service Postmates are seeking an injunction against a California law reclassifying their drivers as employees, rather than contractors with no rights. The law took effect Wednesday. (New York Times)
  • One of the drawbacks of electric vehicles is that they’re so quiet, pedestrians can’t hear them coming. But London is testing electric buses that emit sound to help people — particularly the visually impaired — tell where the bus is and where it’s going. (Inside EVs)
  • Mazda is downsizing its battery packs — a move the company says makes its electric cars more environmentally friendly by reducing the impact of manufacturing,  charging and replacing the batteries. (Jalopnik)
  • The U.S. DOT’s inspector general is conducting a criminal inquiry into the use of federal funds on several Seattle transportation projects. (Crosscut)
  • Even as other transit systems thrive in the traffic-choked Bay Area, San Jose is closing a branch of its poorly planned light rail network. (City Journal)
  • The Florida DOT is taking its sweet time fixing a deadly stretch of road in Pensacola. (News Journal)
  • Instead of removing little-used crosswalks, Honolulu should be spending that money to make crossing the street safer. (Honolulu Magazine)
  • Colorado’s rural transit systems led the nation with 16.7 million boardings in 2017, many of them visitors and workers in mountain resort towns. (Colorado Politics)
  • Utah is the second state, after Oregon, to tax drivers per mile driven in lieu of per gallon of gas. Right now the tax only applies to electric cars, but it could be expanded to include all vehicles. (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Ithaca will have to keep waiting for e-scooters after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill legalizing them due to his helmet obsession. (Voice)
  • Drivers are running over pedestrians at an intersection near a Salt Lake City homeless shelter where there is no crosswalk and no streetlights. Yet police blame the victims for “jaywalking.” (Fox 13)
  • Did you know the term “jaywalker” was popularized in Syracuse? After a driver killed a woman who was stepping off a streetcar, a local department store hired a Santa to call people illegally crossing the street “jays,” which meant something like “hick” 100 years ago. But as one modern-day resident put it, who cares where people cross, as long as they’re doing it safely? (CNY Central)