Some core city regions have been banning cars and finding the regions are transformed to much more pleasant places that are often more economically viable ... deliveries can be an issue, but some new techniques are emerging to reduce truck use.
The airlines are shipping this maintenance work offshore for the reason you’d expect: to cut labor costs. Mechanics in El Salvador, Mexico, China, and elsewhere earn a fraction of what mechanics in the U.S. do. In part because of this offshoring, the number of maintenance jobs at U.S. carriers has plummeted, from 72,000 in the year 2000 to fewer than 50,000 today. But the issue isn’t just jobs. A century ago, Upton Sinclair wrote his novel The Jungle to call attention to the plight of workers in the slaughterhouses, but what really got people upset was learning how unsafe their meat was. Safety is an issue here, too. The Federal Aviation Administration is supposed to be inspecting all the overseas facilities that do maintenance for airlines—just as it is supposed to inspect those in America. But the F.A.A. no longer has the money or the manpower to do this.
One of the fastest-growing of the offshore repair sites is on the perimeter of El Salvador’s Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport. Named for the archbishop who was assassinated during Mass in 1980, the airport has become a busy hub, owing largely to a steady influx of foreign jetliners needing maintenance and repair. Jets flying the insignia of US Airways, Southwest, Jet Blue, and many smaller American carriers are a common sight as they touch down and taxi to the Aeroman complex at the edge of the field.
The barriers to greater bicycle use are being understood, but it seems unlikely that large scale adoption will occur in the US. Nonetheless it is interesting to consider the potential result of a large scale shift to human and hybrid human-electice powered urban transport.
A paper from the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy at UC Davis (pdf) \
The Potential for Dramatically Increasing Bicycle and E-bike Use in Cities Around the World, with Estimated Energy, CO2, and Cost Impacts
Davis Jacob Mason, Lew Fulton, Zane McDonald
Cycling plays a major role in personal mobility around the world, but it could play a much bigger role. Given the convenience, health bene ts, and affordability of bicycles, they could provide a far greater proportion of urban passenger transportation, helping reduce energy use and CO2 emissions worldwide.1 This report presents a new look at the future of cycling for urban transportation (rather than recreation), and the potential contribution it could make to mobility as well as sustainability. The results show that a world with a dramatic increase in cycling could save society US$24 trillion cumulatively between 2015 and 2050, and cut CO2 emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 percent in 2050 compared to a High Shift scenario without a strong cycling emphasis.
The report builds on the 2014 study A Global High Shift Scenario: Impacts and Potential for More Public Transport, Walking, and Cycling with Lower Car Use. That report provided a global assessment of the potential for increasing travel on sustainable, ef cient modes while concurrently developing cities that are far less car-dependent. However, the role of cycling in the previous study could be considered relatively minor, with the global average urban mode share increasing by three percentage points in 2030 (from 3 to 6 percent of total travel).2 A number of supporters/ users and contributors to the previous report felt that the role of cycling might have been understated in that study. The authors rec- ognized that those comments might be valid because within the wider study there was limited capacity to consider cycling in detail.This report explores just how much is possible if we study cycling in more detail using the same approach. The result is the most com- prehensive picture ever of global urban cycling activity.
Both the 2014 study and the High Shift Cycling Study focus on urban areas, which are projected to have the greatest growth in demand for travel. Given the higher densities of people, services, and jobs that are possible in cities, as opposed to rural areas, cities inherently have the greatest potential to direct the growing demand for travel to sustainable modes and to cycling in particular.
This study uses the same basic method- ology as the previous study, including the development of business-as-usual and high shift scenarios. However, it provides a number of new contributions over the previous study.
A loophole in European emissions testing laws may have allowed VW to legally fit their cars with 'defeat device' software that manipulates emissions in tests. According to the minutes from a 2012 meeting of the EU type approval authorities: “A manufacturer could specify a special setting that is not normally used for everyday driving.”
A leaked letter from VW UK’s boss, Paul Willis, to the House of Commons Transport Committee confirms the VW Group is still arguing they have not cheated in EU emissions tests, saying: “It is still being determined whether the software in question officially constituted a ‘defeat device’ in the EU.”
A dream for some. The Bell Rocketbelt arrived around 1960 using H2O2 forming steam around a catalyst. Incredibly noisy and flight durations measured in seconds. A few commercial versions were built over the years, but very impractical beyond commercial stunts. The military was interested in a personal jetpack with longer flight durations. Williams built small turbojet engines and built a prototype that could fly for tens of minutes.
In the past decade a range of small turbojets have been developed for model aircraft and drones. The JB-9 Jetpack is a new entrant using two of these engines. A very inefficient way to fly, but very attractive to some. One wonders if this one will have any commercial success.
A velomobile is a two to four wheeled bicycle-like vehicle with a fairing to clean up the aerodynamics and provide some protection from the elements. There aren't many in the US and only a few in the Netherlands and Germany. Due to their limited production they tend to be very expensive ($8,000 isn't uncommon) and somewhat limited.
A few have tried to make them a bit more practical as a city car. The Pedalist is aiming at something like a $4,500 price. It is based on a tadpole tricycle configuration with a very high and visible body. An electric motor adds to your pedaling - technically it is a human-electric hybrid.