Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Digest: August 3, 2012

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has become the newest member of the smart card club by joining the TAP system. TAP is the regional smart card system in Los Angeles County, and LADOT will be the 12th transit operator to join this area system. LADOT’s addition will make Los Angeles the largest regional smart card operation in the country. Riders will be able to travel a great number of destinations, all while using one card. If you haven’t heard, here at Port Authority we are also implementing a smart card. In the next few months you will be hearing more about our ‘ConnectCard’ smart card and how you can use it. For now, you can read more about the Los Angeles TAP card at

In addition to distracted drivers, there are now distracted pedestrians on the roads. With the latest technology wave, more people are looking down at their cell phones and tablets rather than looking up at the traffic signs and oncoming cars. This is becoming a major concern across the country, and many transit agencies are actively trying to avoid pedestrian accidents by implementing safety campaigns. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is launching a public safety campaign after a fatal accident last year in which a young man stumbled onto their train track. Across the U.S, the Utah Transit Authority adopted a new regulation that prohibited pedestrians from using cell phones and headphone while crossing their light rail tracks, although this rule did not expand across the state.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that 1,152 people were treated in emergency rooms last year for injuries obtained while walking and using an electronic device. . Read more at The Washington Post.

Have you ever put a bag on the seat next to you or stretched out your legs to avoid a stranger sitting next to you?  If you haven’t done it, then I guarantee you’ve seen it happen. For some reason people are uncomfortable and go to great lengths to avoid sitting by strangers. Esther Kim from Yale University has been conducting a study on this behavior for the past 3 years, examining the unspoken rules of commuters. After many bus trips, Kim came to the conclusion that if there were other seats available, the implied rule was you shouldn’t sit next to someone else. There are certain behaviors people engage in to avoid others, such as checking their phones or putting in headphones. Kim’s ultimate conclusion is that lack of healthy interactions with others could  lead to a breakdown of our society. Read more at Live Science.