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100 Miles From Dubai: Driving The $80 Million Road To Nowhere

Jebel Jais was supposed to lead to the boom of the new, growing, oil-rich and tourist-friendly United Arab Emirates. Instead the road became a perfectly paved 22-mile symbol of the global recession, a dream for fast drivers, and a safe haven from a brutal surveillance state — all to the tune of just $80 million. » 8/25/15 12:08pm Tuesday 12:08pm

This Company Wants To Test Plastic Roads That Can Be Made In a Factory

Some scientists believe we’re living in a new epoch of history, the Anthropocene, defined by how drastically humans have altered the Earth with mining, roadways, and other earthworks. Now, engineers are testing plastic roads that can be installed and removed incredibly quickly. » 7/13/15 12:28pm 7/13/15 12:28pm

Transportation Expert: Let's Raise The Speed Limits

We’ve been saying it for years, and now we’ve got someone smart to back us up: it’s time to raise the speed limit. In an article called “Roads Are Better. Cars Are Safer. Let’s Raise the Speed Limit,” Stephen Boyles, an Assistant Professor of Transportation Engineering at the University of Texas, makes the case that… » 7/05/15 2:24pm 7/05/15 2:24pm

How States Use Inflated DOT Forecasts to Rationalize More Highways

Americans are simply not driving as much as they used to; most experts agree we hit “peak car.” But that’s not the story according to the Department of Transportation’s forecasts, which year after year show skyrocketing demand for more roads—and year after year are proven wrong. Still, states use this data to fund… » 6/09/15 8:36pm 6/09/15 8:36pm

Potholes In Panama Are Literally Crying Out For Help On Twitter

Potholes are the garbage of roads. But they’re also the bane of the existence of drivers in Panama City, a gleaming metropolis of skyscrapers and beauty, which was so busy building all of it that it forgot about its actual roads. One company sought to change that, by having the potholes tweet about it every time a… » 6/03/15 4:20pm 6/03/15 4:20pm

That Fancy New Solar Bike Path In Amsterdam Is Utter Bullshit

When it comes to ideas that feel good but fail when stupid old reality sets in, having solar panels on a road has to rank at the top if only for the enormous amount of public support. In Amsterdam, a company called SolaRoad (smart name, right?) doubled down and installed a solar bike path and ran it for six months.… » 6/02/15 1:35pm 6/02/15 1:35pm

The Best Tool for Tracking Our Crumbling Infrastructure Is In Orbit

The sad state of America’s bridges is a perennial topic amongst engineers and a regular talking point for politicians, all of whom have a plan to fix them. An interesting post from the European Space Agency shows how one of the best tools for repair is actually hanging out in Low Earth Orbit. » 5/18/15 12:03pm 5/18/15 12:03pm

This Is How They Test Crash Barriers On Bridges

Ever stare at the barest pieces of concrete and metal preventing you from veering off a bridge and plummeting hundreds of feet to your watery grave below, and wondering how they test all that? Me neither, let’s be honest. But if you did, it’s exactly how you think they’d do it. By crashing big stuff into it. » 5/06/15 5:00pm 5/06/15 5:00pm

The Secret Lives of NYC Mega-Projects, Revealed By One Photographer 

The sprawling construction sites buried below NYC are carefully regulated places, inaccessible to the public. But one photographer has been exploring these caverns and tunnels for 15 years at the MTA’s request—and his work paints an amazing picture of life underground.
» 4/15/15 7:10pm 4/15/15 7:10pm

​Our 'Smart' Cities Are Ridiculously Insecure

Cities from Los Angeles to Seoul are pouring billions of dollars into smartifying infrastructure, networking everything from traffic lights to waste management systems. But just like most tech-focused public works project lead by underfunded or clueless (or both) bureaucrats, even basic security measures are being… » 4/09/15 5:30pm 4/09/15 5:30pm

A Simple Design Tweak May Keep Drunk People From Falling On Train Tracks

The number of deaths linked to drunk passengers who wander off the platform and onto the tracks has steadily increased over the years. But a new study of these falls shows that many of them occur in the same way—and that there might be a few simple ways to prevent some of them. » 3/30/15 11:26am 3/30/15 11:26am