Archive | December, 2012

$35 Transit Appliance?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how relatively easy it was to get our Transit Appliance software stack running on the Raspberry Pi.

I’m using the Raspian OS (a variant of Debian) and the Midori web browser (webkit based).

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, since the ARM11-family processor and 512MB of RAM are substantially beefier than the Infocast/Chumby 8 that we’ve been running on successfully for some time.

I still need to acquire a compatible WiFi adapter and see how that does. But one true surprise is how nicely the single-board computer drives a display at 1080p (1920×1080) resolution. The Linux nettop we’ve been using for our flat screens tops out at 720p (1366×768)!

It will take more investigation to determine if we can really build some practical configurations around this. If so we’ll need a case and power supply, so the unit costs will be more than the $35 for the processor board, but could easily stay under $100…

Stay tuned.

Featured Class Presentation: Broadway/Flint/Wheeler

Each year, I like to call out one outstanding presentation from the Traffic and Transportation Class.

This year I have to plead to some bias since I’ve been aware of this effort for some time. But it’s also not every project that’s already been submitted by the City to ODOT for funding.

There are also a LOT of people who have been involved in this effort, in both government and in the community, and the credit is clearly shared.

But presenter Betsy Reese has been watching the very dangerous intersection at Broadway/Flint/Wheeler for over a decade from her vantage point at the Paramount Apartments which she and her husband own. She’s been letting the City know how dangerous this location is on an ongoing basis.

PBOT attempted one fix a few years ago, creating a sidewalk peninsula in front of her building – it didn’t help. The bicycle right-hook risk continued, as did the parade of cars making unsafe cut-across movements to make the U-turn back to Broadway.

As the NE Quadrant project finally gave some direction to what will happen in the long term, PBOT (and the Mayor) acted and removed the right turn opportunity onto Wheeler.

But this doesn’t fix all the issues at the intersection and Betsy and her allies continue to advocate for stronger treatments, including signalization. Betsy’s class presentation (PDF, 10M) outlines all the issues, and the effort got a major boost mid-way through this semester’s class when PBOT submitted the project for an ODOT grant.

We’ll continue to track this and let you know when it’s time to send those letters and e-mails to ODOT to support the project during final selection later in 2013!

Some Changes Coming, Your Help Needed!

Here at Portland Transport, we’re getting ready to take the plunge… to WordPress, that is.

In 2005 when we founded this blog, the state of the art in blog software was Movable Type. And it’s served us well for 3,200 posts, 48,000 comments and more than a million visits. But it’s getting a bit long in the tooth. You may have noticed some server errors and double posts from time-to-time when making comments.

So we’re going to switch! Sometime early in 2013 we’ll take a few days of downtime, move everything over and take advantage of a platform that has literally thousands of features and plugins.

This will not be a small effort. As part of the process we’ll be getting some professional help with a new theme, and probably also with database work.

In fact, if we have any web designers reading out there, we’re soliciting proposals for the theme development project. Get in touch at webmaster@portlandtransport.com.

And the quality of work we’re looking for won’t be free. Which is why this message includes our annual year-end solicitation. Please think about hitting the donate button and sharing a few dollars to keep this enterprise going. Many hands make for light work!

Thank you and have a great holiday season. And expect to see good stuff in the new year!

Another Year, Another Great Set of Class Presentations

Every fall I look forward to participating in the panel discussion during the Traffic and Transportation Class presentations of student projects (even more so this year because I had to miss last year due to a conflict).

Each year the standard gets higher and higher, and this year is no exception! Later in the week I’ll feature one standout presentation. But here are some of the great efforts this year: