Transportation Newsroom

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By Nicolas Parasie DUBAI—Transportation authorities here in the largest city in the United Arab Emirates are working on a novel solution for businesspeople stuck in traffic jams: flying, driverless drone taxis that will swoop in and swiftly take them to their destinations. Dubai is looking at approving use of an autonomous drone that will carry one passenger short distances. The battery-powered flying taxi—built by Chinese drone maker Ehang Inc.—could be available for booking through an app as soon as this year, depending on how tests go, Dubai’s transportation authority says. The drone taxi has space for one person and a suitcase only. It flies typically at around 60 miles an hour and is linked to a control center on the ground. In case of emergency, the drone will land immediately in the nearest safe space. Dubai’s authorities say that they have already examined the drone prototype and that it would be controlled through 4G mobile internet. “Eventually, the drone will be the method of transport for human beings,” says Mohammed al-Gergawi, the United Arab Emirates minister of cabinet affairs and the future. “Science fiction is going to happen,” he says. Testing ground The drone taxi is part of an ambitious effort by Dubai to be on the cutting edge of new transportation technologies, from passenger drones to a transit system that in theory could travel near the speed of sound. The goal is both to improve connectivity and boost the emirate’s growing reputation as a global trade and tourism hub. As Persian Gulf countries facing lower oil revenues struggle to diversify their economies, Dubai hopes to strengthen its credentials as the region’s center for finance, tourism and transportation. Flying Drone Taxis Could Take Off in Dubai Dubai hopes to have driverless taxi drones flying through its skies as soon as this summer. Its transport authorities plan to have the Chinese-made Ehang 184 ferry individual passengers around the city by July. “You cannot resist the changes that are going to happen in the future,” Mr. Gergawi says. “Either you move and create the future, or it will be imposed on you.” The city already has the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building; palm-shaped, artificial islands off its coast; and, more recently, a canal that meanders under the city’s main highway. It is constructing the world’s biggest airport and has started work on a new tower that will exceed the Burj Khalifa in height. The drive to attract transportation innovators may represent a a new stage in the emirate’s push to grab part of the future for itself. “There’s a transition in Dubai from being consumers of innovation to be producers of innovation,” says Hazem Galal, a partner at PwC and the global leader of its consulting business for cities and local governments. Besides low taxes and an enviable location between East and West, Dubai offers tech companies a business-friendly environment where red tape is limited and regulations can be easily modified for prototypes. “We decided that we are going to be the world’s largest lab,” says Mr. Gergawi. In addition to drone taxis, the emirate plans to test self-driving vehicles. Tesla Inc., whose chief executive, Elon Musk, is a key backer of autonomous technology, launched its electric cars in Dubai earlier this year. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has set a target of making a quarter of domestic transport trips smart and driverless by 2030, which could generate $6 billion a year in savings and economic benefits, Dubai officials say. Even bigger in scale is the Hyperloop, another vision of Mr. Musk’s. Dubai last year announced a deal with Hyperloop One Inc., a company developing Hyperloop technology, to explore linking Dubai with Abu Dhabi in what would be a 12-minute ride averaging 375 mph in pods through low-pressure tubes. Currently the roughly 75-mile trip takes more than an hour by car. Every city in the Gulf region could eventually be reached in less than an hour if a full network is eventually rolled out, Hyperloop One executives say. Flying drone taxis in Dubai could be available for booking through an app as soon as this year. “It is an emirate that has a reputation for not only dreaming big but actually making things happen,” says Rob Lloyd, chief executive of Hyperloop One. In a sign of Dubai’s support for the Hyperloop project, its government-controlled global ports operator, DP World, invested $50 million in Hyperloop One. The Hyperloop project is still years away from transporting its first passengers. The company is working with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority to explore potential routes and how to integrate it with the emirate’s existing transportation infrastructure, which includes mega-airports, eight-lane highways, a metro and tram system. Costs and financing sources are also still under discussion. PREVIOUS CITIES COVERAGE Five Innovative Cities to Watch Autonomous Cars: Urban Misfit? Cities Dig Deep to Manage Growth Can Suburbs Be the New Cities? Making Housing More Affordable Mr. Lloyd says the Hyperloop—a prototype of which is now being tested in the Nevada desert—should be able to endure the Gulf region’s hot summer temperatures and sandy conditions, playing down any early concerns about the technology’s implementation in the region. As a center of innovation, though, Dubai still lags behind places such as Silicon Valley, London and Singapore, says Mr. Galal of PwC. Indeed, Dubai’s pursuit of technology innovations has at times been born out of necessity, to resolve some of the problems it faces. The city has undergone a drastic transformation in the past few decades as its economy and population boomed. But that growth has also coincided with greater traffic congestion and air pollution. Fanfare and finance Ambitious plans have also hit snags. Some projects announced to much fanfare, such as the world’s largest mall and another set of artificial islands, have suffered delays or were stalled in the absence of financing. A proposed Persian Gulf-wide railway project has been put on hold as well. In neighboring Abu Dhabi, Masdar City was designed to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city. Plans there also called for a driverless transportation system. The project suffered many delays and has yet to be completed. Still, Mr. Lloyd of Hyperloop says that Dubai has a good chance of becoming the first location where the Hyperloop will be introduced, and that it will help toward achieving the emirate’s goals. Says Mr. Lloyd, “No one wants to build a project that is an amusement ride.”  
By John Brandon   How big is this one going to be? I'm guessing it will weigh 32,000 pounds, haul enough cargo to build part of a house, and glide silently down the road. The only sound you'll hear is the horn blasting. That's right, Elon Musk just dropped the news that Tesla is working on an electric semi-trailer that could radically overhaul the over-the-road transportation industry. There are scant details, but the implication for all of us is huge.   First, there is already a network of superchargers all across the U.S. You can currently drive your Tesla Model S sedan from New York to LA without needing to panic about a recharge. Initially those stations were free for any owner but Tesla recently started using a pay-to-fill model. For the electric semi-trucks, there's a lot of implications. First, some stats. Today, there are well over 130 million trucks in the road. It's a major cause for congestion in every major city. Driving a truck over long hauls is one of the deadliest jobs in the U.S., and there's extremely high turnover. But what would a Tesla semi do that could help? For starters, there's no question this would impact the gas industry. With a wider network of recharging stations meant for trucks, there's a ripe market for making the industry less dependent on fossil fuels. There are many safety implications as well. A Tesla semi would like use the same autonomous driving sensors as the vehicles on the road today, including collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control. Trucks could be platooned to stay in packs. Drivers could eventually trust that the truck will keep them safe, reducing turnover. The biggest implication, though, is on transportation costs. If and electric semi can actually replace gas-powered vehicles, there's a chance that the overall cost for transporting goods will go down. The main benefit here is on how the power is distributed. If Tesla can build solar-powered stations, ramp up their infrastructure, rely less on gasoline, and convince drivers to switch, it's possible that the consumer and the companies paying for the transport will realize some of those benefits. Now for the hard part. How do you make an electric semi with the torque required to pull a heavy load? Most of the early electrics were golf carts with a bit more zip. We have yet to see a production-ready vehicle that has enough power to pull a heavy load, let alone a tanker filled with oil. (Irony alert.) electric motors don't use gears or belts; they have plenty of initial torque but the question is how do you maintain that torque all the way up to 75 MPH or more? That's the engineering challenge. I'm guessing Tesla has figured that out, which is why Musk sent the tweet--they have already proven they have the power required for semi-trailer loads and they are likely finishing the design prototypes. In September, we'll see a prototype. Here's hoping it gets enough momentum.
The logistics company’s new Saturday delivery service is expected to create 6,000 jobs by 2018—with 4,000 of those to open up this year. Lily Martis     How’s your job search trucking along? Does it feel like it’s stuck in transit? Good thing UPS is here to get your job search moving—and the company’s recent announcement could expedite the process. UPS is expanding its delivery service to include Saturdays, and online shoppers aren’t the only ones to reap the benefits. This extra day is also a major boon for job seekers, as the new Saturday delivery service is expected to create 6,000 new jobs at 5,800 UPS locations by the end of 2018. Rather than waiting five to seven business days, hiring is already underway, UPS spokeswoman Dawn Wotapka told CNNMoney , as the logistics company aims to open up about 4,000 of these jobs this year. A quick search on Monster supports these heavyweight hiring plans. More than 1,400 UPS jobs have been posted on Monster in the past 30 days, according to data provided by the TalentNeuron tool from insights and technology company CEB. The most jobs available right now are for drivers —both tractor-trailer drivers and package delivery drivers —but you’ll also find loads of jobs for supervisors , analysts , warehouse associates , package handlers, and shipping and receiving clerks . (Check out all UPS jobs on Driverspost here. ) And if brown isn’t your color, you can find jobs at UPS competitors FedEx and U.S. Postal Services (USPS) (both of which already make Saturday deliveries).
Written by Robert Fucci You enjoy spending your days or nights behind the wheel. You consider yourself a people person and are a safe driver. This transportation sector is growing rapidly. Some taxi drivers earn up to $65,000 annually. The industry is projected to be among the fastest growing into the next decade. Find out more about this career below. Daily responsibilities Simply put, taxi drivers transport patrons to and from various places including hotels, airports, restaurants, malls and more. Familiarity of the towns and cities they drive in is crucial to making sure patrons arrive at their destination on time. Working conditions Rates for injuries are among the highest in this profession due to car accidents. Taxi drivers maintain flexible working schedules and can dictate when they want a break in their shift, which can be any time of the day. Entering the field There are no minimum educational requirements for taxi drivers. Most states require drivers to earn a taxi or limo license. On-the-job training usually lasts no more than two weeks. Pay day The average taxi driver earns just shy of $28,000 annually, according to PayScale, although some have earned as much as $65,000. Hiring forecast Job openings for taxi drivers are projected to grow 16% through 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, making it among the highest growing industries. Those with a safe driving history and flexible schedule are most likely to land these jobs.  
Written by: Jon Simmons What do Google, Xerox and Photoshop all have in common? Answer: They’re all brands that became so wildly popular that we now use them as verbs. You can now add Uber—and increasingly, Lyft—to that list. Today, about 160,000 Uber drivers serve over 8 million users in order to earn extra cash or grow their own businesses. Lyft drivers total over 100,000 people , and the number is growing. No wonder these popular rideshare services have not only given rise to the gig economy, but also entered the everyday lexicon in cities across the world. Sound like a gig you’d enjoy? Before you grab your keys and ditch your day job, you need to understand who you’re actually working for, how to make decent money and more. Monster asked both current and former Uber and Lyft drivers to share insider tips on what you should expect. You’re an independent contractor—and you're be taxed like one If you drive for Uber or Lyft, you’re most likely not one of their employees (i.e., someone who works at their corporate offices). You work for you. “Drivers are actually paid via 1099 and are technically running their own business,” says Harry Campbell, a current Uber and Lyft driver in Los Angeles and author of blog and podcast The Rideshare Guy. “So that means they have all the same reporting and tax requirements of a small business. It isn't a ton of work, but most drivers should consider this since they need to worry about their expenses just as much as their income.” Be aware that state, federal, Social Security and Medicare taxes are not deducted from your paychecks. If you drive often, this means you should probably be filing quarterly estimated income taxes. You've got to know your market to maximize your earning potential What’s the biggest difference between driving in a city like L.A. and a small suburb? Demand—and that affects your pay. In the burbs, there are fewer people requesting rides and more wait time between trips, meaning drivers must spend their time wisely. When not driving, Michael Noker, an Uber driver in El Paso, Texas, works on his side gig as a YouTube influencer. He responds to YouTube comments, monitors social media and checks email. “I use that time to further my efforts across other areas that earn me money. I'll also pay bills and write out plans for tomorrow,” he says. “I earned about $8 per hour before taxes and gas for the past week. If I hadn't been doing other things with my downtime, I wouldn't be able to make my bill payments today.” Another tip for getting more fares in slow markets: Double-team your efforts. “If your market has more than one [transportation] option [Lyft, Postmates etc.], consider running more than one app at the same time,” says Teajai Kimsey, marketing director at Crystal Structures Glazing in Wichita, Kansas, and a part-time Uber driver. That away, you’ll maximize your odds of landing a fare. You need to track your expenses for everything car-related Since you’re an independent contractor if you drive for Uber or Lyft, you have the ability to deduct business expenses on your taxes related to your main asset: your car. But you should also be aware that the wear and tear can add up. “Gas, oil changes, tires and brakes all get used more as you tack on the miles,” says Kimsey. “So, the gross take-home from Uber is actually going to be less when you start hitting expenses.” Your driving violations could affect your eligibility They’re unpredictable and no one wants them, but that’s why they’re called accidents. As a rideshare driver, you should have a backup plan in case an accident or ticket restricts your ability to continue driving. “Both Uber and Lyft will terminate your account if you get a black spot on your driving record,” says Alex Guirguis, a former Lyft driver and founder of Off the Record, a Seattle-based company that helps rideshare drivers keep violations off their records. “A speeding ticket, even an HOV violation [high-occupancy vehicle] could get you suspended. This is true even if it happens when you're not driving a customer—i.e. on your own time.”  
Written by Robert Fucci Employees in the trucking industry are aging, meaning more jobs in the sector will need to be filled soo. According to a government report released this week, 4.6 million workers will need to be hired and trained in the industry due to growth, retirement and turnover through 2022. The report—a combined project from the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Education and Department of Transportation—details the employment “hot spots” in transportation by industry subsectors, occupations, career areas, and geographic areas. Among the other key findings: Transportation is projected to add 417,000 net jobs from 2012 to 2022 due to industry growth. Between 2012 and 2022, the average employment growth rate of 11% across transportation subsectors is similar to that of the entire economy (10.8%) and of the infrastructure industry (11%), which includes transportation, logistics, water, energy, telecommunications, and public works. Net transportation job growth will occur in all but two states between 2012 and 2022. Kentucky and Vermont will experience a slight decline but only by 1%. The fastest growth will occur on the West Coast, the Gulf Coast, the upper Mid-Atlantic, several mountain states, and the Midwest. Much of the regional transportation job growth is driven by growth in the large metropolitan areas within those regions. The highest number of job openings in transportation, including all six subsectors, will likely be generated in New York City, Dallas, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago between 2012 and 2022. The sector expected to see the most hires is trucking, with over 2 million jobs needed to be filled due to industry growth and separations. Smaller sectors such as railroad and maritime are also expected to see a bump in jobs due to retirements. The report also concluded that 13 out of the top 20 highest demand transportation jobs pay above the median wage, and many of these jobs include strong benefits due to unions in most transportation subsectors. Search for transportation jobs on DriversPost.
It’s Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year by Jordan Golson      @jlgolson Mar 17, 2017, 2:24pm EDT     If you’re the type of person who buys an electric car to show how “green” you are, this may be the electric car for you. It’s the 2018 Ford Focus Electric , and it’s available in a new color: “outrageous green metallic.” It may be the greenest EV on the market. It’s actually the color “greenery” that Pantone named as its 2017 Color of the Year and, of course, it’s green for St. Patrick’s Day. Here are the important, technical details for greenery in a variety of formats: Pantone - 15-0343 HTML HEX - 88B04B RGB - sR 136, sG 176, sB 75 CMYK - C51, M 9, Y88, K0 “Outrageous Green Metallic is a unique shade, symbolizing modern renewal and a reconnection with nature, then finished with a special tinted clear coat to give the color depth and vibrancy,” said Ford color and materials design manager Barb Whalen in a statement. Ford’s research shows that between 35 and 40 percent of car buyers will choose not to buy a vehicle from a certain brand if they can’t get their preferred color. It’s part of the reason why high-end brands like Rolls-Royce allow customers to choose their own colors from a nearly endless palette.   The Ford Focus electric has a 33.5 kWh battery pack and an EPA-estimated range of 115 miles, putting it in a similar ballpark with cars like the Nissan Leaf, with a starting price of $29,120 before federal and state tax credits.
Playing the numbers game by Tamara Warren    @tamaratam Mar 19, 2017, 3:00pm EDT     The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is coming in 23 days to the New York auto show. What’s fueling interest in this two-door muscle car variant is the guessing game: How powerful is it? The Demon is the latest strike in the white-hot contested horsepower wars. The battle to go fast is fueled by an online enthusiast community drooling at the thought of delirious numbers that translate to incredible launch speeds once reserved for the drag racing strip. Photo: FCA The Demon was first announced in January and that same day rumors of an 850 horsepower car swirled on the Chrysler fan forum Moparts . Since then the banter has been brewing on “Dodge Challenger SRT Demon?”, one of multiple threads speculating on the car’s performance numbers. Watchers are looking for alpha-numeric clues in everything from the clock to the license plate for confirmation, pointing to the latest magic 757 horsepower number. Moparts is one of many forums for diehard Chrysler brand fans, which range from the old-school Forbbodiesonly to the contemporary SRT Hellcat Forum . Moparts attracts 1960s and 70s a, b, and e-body muscle car owners who are passionate about drag racing their cars or those who are keen on total painstaking restorations. Beyond the usual tips and spats amongst participants, insider gossip is part of the appeal. There may even be a rogue company employee spilling the beans. It’s one of thousands of forums devoted to dissecting car builds, like NAISIOC for Subaru Impreza owners and VWVortex for Volkswagen enthusiasts. The forum design may be rudimentary and traditional, but its still where car rumors live. For example, Moparts chatter is consistent among its members year round, extending the summer sport of hobbyist racing. For car enthusiasts, these forums serve as a help-desk for the never-ending TLC that restoring and maintaining old cars requires and a place to keep the connection to new models alive.   Dodge is learning to harness that online interest by fueling the hype machine up for a couple of weeks until the Demon’s New York International Auto Show reveal. Last week, the Demon’s drag soundtrack prompted a fan frenzy. The video series is a way for Dodge to show off its more complex performance features, like the torque reserve system, a function that kicks in when the car is in launch mode that maximizes air flow through the engine when the supercharger ticks above 1000 rpms. Images of the actual Demon have already seeped out via a misplaced Fate of the Furious Vin Diesel Facebook video and in an official trailer . But what fans are coveting are details on the engine trickery employed to make more efficient razor sharp power. Fans trade barbs on whether it will be an all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, and how it will beat out the Challenger Hellcat’s 650 pound feet of torque, the car that gave FCA an edge. When Dodge upped the ante on the 707 horsepower Challenger Hell Cat in 2015, the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang took a backseat in the numbers game. Now Ford is rumored to be answering with a more-powerful 2018 Ford Mustang, and talk of a souped-up Shelby GT500 Mustang that makes 750 horsepower possibly followed by another storied-Mustang variant, the Mach 1.   THE DEMON SOUNDTRACK PROMPTED A FAN FRENZY So why do these companies bring back old nostalgic marques? A big part of it points to the support of these online communities that drive the anticipation and one place that seems to be making Dodge’s hype campaign effective. Owners of old Plymouth Road Runners and Barracudas can live out their enthusiasm as the sister brand Dodge keeps the dream of menacing, big hulking cars flying across 1320 feet of proving grounds pavement. The Demon is FCA’s muscle swan song, a tip of the hat to the 1971 Demon , a short-lived muscle car based on the Dodge Dart. The Demon was phased out of the lineup when sales fell short as religious groups’ objections to its devilish name won out. Back then, car talk was traded at swap meets and in garages, but when the real 2018 Demon numbers are made official, they will travel burn across the glow of the screen. T-minus three days until Dodge unleashes its next teaser.