Author Archives: Micheline Maynard

Stay Tuned For The Return Of The Curbing Cars Podcast

Earlier this month, the Curbing Cars project returned to bring you original journalism about the future of transportation.

On Monday, the Curbing Cars podcast returns, too. It’s our holiday treat to you.

We’ll be talking about the stories we’ve covered this past month — and give you some extra insight.

Colin Beresford joins me to discuss the big upheaval at Ford, Detroit’s new QLine, the issues faced by Uber and the big mess in big city public transportation.

You’ll also hear what a millennial — namely Colin — thinks about owning an automobile.

We’re hoping to make the podcast a regular monthly feature. And, if you’re feeling extra generous, we’re looking for someone to foot the bill. We’d love to find an underwriter to pick up the cost of the studio time we need to make the podcast sound terrific. Feel free to email us at curbingcars@gmail.com for more information.

Meanwhile, listen to the first-ever Curbing Cars podcast from a few years ago. You’ll hear Mark Remillard, former Curbing Cars intern, who is now an anchor and reporter at ABC Radio in New York.

And, join us on Monday. We’ll post the podcast here, on SoundCloud and on iTunes.

 

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Filed under podcast

Become A Journalism Hero. Support The Curbing Cars Project




Curbing Cars is a crowd-funded, independent journalism project. The more money we raise, the more journalism we can produce.

We’re grateful to the backers of our two Kickstarter campaigns. The first one produced the Curbing Cars eBook, which is the best-selling eBook in the Forbes Signature Series.

The second is paying for the weekly newsletter that we began sending to our subscribers this month.

And, we’re now beginning to get contributions from people who missed out on our latest Kickstarter, but want to help.

Would you like to be among them? We have some thank you gifts.

  • For a $10 donation, receive the Curbing Cars Newsletter on Sunday night, before it is delivered to other subscribers on Monday morning.
  • For a $75 donation, receive a copy of the Curbing Cars eBook, published by Forbes.
  • For a $500 donation, a Curbing Cars staff member will brief your team or organization about the future of transportation (subject to availability).

If you would like to support Curbing Cars via check, email us at curbingcars@gmail.com, and we’ll share our address.

Feel free to share any suggestions for obtaining grants or other funding, at the same email address.

Crowd funding is in our DNA. Our first Curbing Cars Kickstarter was successfully funded on Aug. 12, 2013. Thank you to our 124 donors who helped us exceed our goal. Our second Kickstarter exceeded its goal on April 18, 2017. We’re grateful to our 59 backers, who now receive their weekly newsletter each Sunday night.

You can be among them. Click the “Donate” button above.

We’d love to have your support for our independent journalism. Thank you.

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Filed under funding, Kickstarter

Ford’s CEO Is Out, But Its Journey To The Future Continues

Among Detroit auto companies, Ford Motor has been the most vocal about the need to adapt to the new future of transportation.

Its executive chairman, Bill Ford Jr., has talked for years about the need to balance transportation modes with protecting the environment. The company has taken office space in a shopping mall near its Dearborn, Mich., world headquarters for an effort to come up with new ideas.

Unfortunately, its investors have not been convinced Ford was moving fast enough. Ford shares have fallen nearly 40 percent since 2014. And now, that perception has cost CEO Mark Fields his job.

Ford announced Monday that Fields will be replaced by James Hackett, who has been in charge of Ford Smart Mobility, the new division that is tasked with the company’s efforts on self-driving cars, ride sharing and everything to do with mobility.

The swift action, which was barely rumored for a week, puts mobility front and center among Ford’s priorities.

Under the old rules by which car companies played, Fields should have had a solid grip on the company’s operations. Ford, like other Detroit carmakers, has enjoyed recent record profits based on strong sales of pickups and sport utility vehicles. It even posted a $2 billion profit last year in Europe, long a sore spot.

But the old rules are no longer how car companies are judged. The competition is no longer between Detroit, Tokyo, Korea and Germany. The Americans have to prove they can keep up with Silicon Valley companies, such as Google, Apple and especially Tesla, which has become a darling of the technology world for its electric vehicles.  Continue reading

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Filed under cars, Driving, mobility

Curbing Cars Test Drives Detroit’s New Light Rail System

In its first week of operation, the QLine carried nearly 50,000 riders, averaging 7,140 riders daily, well surpassing the operators’ goal of 5,000 riders a day according to M-1 Rail, which operates the system.

The streetcar system was funded by public and private monies with hopes of expansion in the future (there are no concrete plans that detail where the streetcar system may go in the future). There are six streetcars ready for operation–each can seat 34 people and hold 125 people–all of which can be used at times of high-ridership.

The QLine planned to offer free rides for its first week of operation. But late last week, it announced that rides will be free until July 1. The operators will use that time to work out the bugs, and capitalize on the public’s interest in the new light rail system.

Join our Colin Beresford for a test drive of the QLine.

Have you ridden the QLine? Please let us know about your experience at curbingcars@gmail.com

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Filed under cities, Curbing Cars, public transportation, urban planning

Public Transportation Is A Mess. How Can It Be Fixed?

New York. Toronto. San Francisco. Chicago. Great cities, with one thing in common. Their public transportation systems are a mess.

You probably know Richard Florida’s name. And if you don’t, you certain know the phrase he popularized: the Creative Class. In his 2002 book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida said that cities’ fortunes could be revived by appealing to smart, talented people — entrepreneurs, technology experts, artists, and creators of all kinds. These innovators could lead the way in putting cities back on their feet.

His idea worked. The only problem was, it left a lot of people behind. Now, Florida is back with his latest book, The New Urban Crisis.

In it, he says that by ignoring the working class, service class and essentially the middle class in general, America’s cities are in big, big trouble. Some of them could be headed for confrontation well beyond what the Occupy movement generated.

Florida appeared before Ann Arbor SPARK, an conomic development group in Ann Arbor, Mich., last week, where I got a chance to catch up with him.

He says one of the biggest problems that cities face is the deterioration of the ways people get around. “Once a metropolitan area gets above 5 million people, the old way of growing, with single family homes and cars, seizes up. That platform of economic innovation will no longer work,” Florida says.

He went on, “We need to invest in transit. Lord God, come visit me in Toronto and try to get anywhere. It is gridlock. I go to Atlanta, it’s gridlock, Miami, it’s gridlock, Washington, it’s gridlock, Boston, it’s gridlock. New York, the whole thing is falling apart. Every day, the transit system is a nightmare.” Continue reading

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Filed under cities, public transportation

We’re Coming Back! Curbing Cars Returns With Our Newsletter And More

Curbing Cars is getting back on the road. Beginning Monday, May 1, we’ll publish a weekly newsletter with original journalism about the future of transportation. We pick up where the internal combustion engine leaves off — unless that engine is in a self-driving vehicle.

Sign up for the Curbing Cars Newsletter now so you won’t miss anything. Email us with tips or ideas at curbingcars@gmail.com.

We especially want to hear personal stories about the way you’re using all types of transportation. And, tell us if there’s a transportation debate going on where you live. We may come and cover it!

We’d also love it if you’d follow us on Twitter @curbingcars and on Facebook at Curbing Cars.

We recently completed our second successful Kickstarter. But, we’d welcome your contributions. They all go to support our independent journalism. See the donation link in the sidebar.

Be sure to check our site often for updated information and resources about all the ways we get around. And come back Monday to see us get back on the road.

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Filed under Kickstarter, media

The Best American Cities For Bicycle Commutes

Best Bicycling Cities

I’ll bet you’ve notice more people commuting to work by bicycle over the past few years.

I just moved away from one of America’s best cities for bicycle commutes — Ann Arbor, Mich. — but I now live next to another one of the best, Tempe, Ariz. They’ve both college towns and that seems to be an attribute of many of the nation’s leading bicycling cities.

Take a look at this wonderful Bloomberg graphic on the top places where people get to work on two wheels. Is your town on it? What will it take to land your town on it?

 

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Filed under bicycling, cities

Presenting: The Curbing Cars Podcast

From Tucson to Kansas City, Denver to Detroit, it’s been a busy summer for transportation news.

Here, in our inaugural Curbing Cars podcast, Mark Remillard and I look at some of the stories he’s covered. They include:

Tucson’s new light-rail system, the Sun Link.

The Denver-based study showing that more bikes can actually be good for city safety.

The challenge posed to cities by parking craters.

Take a listen, and share it with  your friends.

Would you like to hear more episodes of the Curbing Cars Podcast? Take our survey.

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Filed under bicycling, bike sharing, cars, cities, Curbing Cars, public transportation, Rail, urban planning

See Tucson’s Light Rail System In Action

Our Mark Remillard recently told you about Tucson’s new light rail line — the second such system in Arizona. (Phoenix also has light rail.)

Based on your reaction via Twitter, we know that came as a surprise.

So here’s a look at the new Sun Link in action, via the Arizona Daily Star. Ride the entire route in three minutes. We’re definitely looking forward to hopping on board.

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Filed under public transportation, Rail

Welcome To Our New Intern, Mark Remillard

For the past year, Curbing Cars has been delighted to showcase the talents of young journalists, like Matt Varcak and Adam Rubenfire. Now, we welcome our first summer intern, Mark Remillard. mark-remillard

Mark isn’t your typical intern. He’s already a familiar voice in Phoenix, where he’s a full-time reporter at KTAR, the premier news radio station. Mark just graduated from Arizona State University, where he was a student in one of my business journalism classes.

Look for regular posts from Mark over the summer. But first, let’s hear from him.

“Hello everyone! My name is Mark Remillard and I’ll be this summer’s intern here at Curbing Cars and since I’ll be writing a lot of this website, I wanted to make a quick post to introduce myself. Continue reading

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Filed under Curbing Cars, student stories