Transportation

Eric Heiman
Necessary Frictions
Want to get an immediate, on-the-ground sense of a new city in all its multicultural glory? Use its public transit.


Rick Poynor
Exposure: Commuter in Tokyo by Michael Wolf
How to cope with compression


Rick Poynor
Stephen Bayley: Death Drive
Style, money, class, glamour, sex, and the car crash


Véronique Vienne
Taylor Holland’s Scenic Tour
A photograph is at first a document. Crop it, and it becomes a picture. Trim it further into a square and you’ve got a “sign” — a potential icon.


Owen Edwards
A Michelangelo, at 100 mph Plus
The recent death of Italy’s Massimo Tamburini brought to an end the glittering career of perhaps the greatest motorcycle designer ever and one of the greatest industrial designers of recent decades.


Anne Quito
Anne Quito on Quiet
Anne Quito will graduate in May 2014 from SVA’s MFA Design Criticism program. In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in Visual Culture from Georgetown University.


John Thackara
Cloud Commuting
A two-year project in Belgium proposes new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. Its design objective: a networked mobility ecosystem.



John Thackara
Caloryville: The Two-Wheeled City
In China, ‘battery-bikes’ are outselling cars by four-to-one. Pedelec sales are soaring in Europe, too. Is this the start of system-wide phase-shift in transportation?



Observed
1920s Chicago Transit Posters
Chicago-L.org has a small, but gem filled collection of Chicago transit posters from the 1920s.


Owen Edwards
My Month as a Mocker
A remembrance of London in the 1960s. Rockers rode motorcycles and Mods rode scooters.



Observed
Parking Meter History
The history of the parking meter — originally designed to have a positive affect on traffic flow and shopping.


Rick Poynor
The Experiential Thrill of Driving in Films
A new book, Drive, shows how the car scenes in movies help us understand the experience of modernity.



Observed
Visualizing Mass Transit
Andrew Walker has visualized the mass-transit systems of major cities.


Rick Poynor
It’s Smart to Use a Crash Test Dummy
The image of the crash test dummy has traveled from the subcultural fringes to the pop culture mainstream.


John Foster
Accidental Mysteries
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age. This week's focus is St. Louis Bus Passes from the 1940s.


John Thackara
Virtual Boring Agent
The Virtual Boarding Agent Orly Airport in Paris. It's spooky, clever and very well executed — and most people seem to ignore it after a first casual glance.



Phil Patton
Audi Urban Future Summit 2011
Report on one of the latest conferences to take on the global theme of the city



Phil Patton
The Green Dashboard
The design of instrument panels reflects the new technologies of hybrid and electric vehicles



Alexandra Lange
On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
If you want parents to use public transportation, first you have to fix the car seat.



Phil Patton
Another Wrong Turn for Chris Paine
Review of the documentary film Revenge of the Electric Car.



John Thackara
Rotterdam: Where Time is no Longer Money
Twelve-year-old children in Rotterdam have never known a time when their city was not being rebuilt around them.


John Thackara
If It’s Not the Destination and It’s Not the Journey...
A team at Rutgers University, uses ultrasonic sensors, GPS receivers and cellular networks to find empty parking spaces. While technically impressive, this is an absurdly over-complicated answer to the wrong question.



John Thackara
The Gram Junkies: In Transportation Design the Key Issue Is Not Speed, but Weight
In the matter of mobility and modern transportation we all need to become gram junkies.



Phil Patton
Charging Double
Comparing two new electric-car chargers: Blink and WattStation


Mark Lamster
The Ugliest Object I Have Ever Owned
What's the ugliest object you've ever owned (and loved)?


John Thackara
Is an Environmentally Neutral Car Possible?
The future of the car has been electric for what? Five years now? Ten? The answer is 110 years. The new Riversimple, makes us look again at the feasibility of the electric car.


Mark Lamster
Trabantimino
The idea: fuse a Trabant, that iconic East German junkmobile, with an El Camino, the classic American musclecar.



Phil Patton
Mitsubishi i-MiEV Electric Car
Review of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car.



Alexandra Lange
Archpaper Review: Our Cities Ourselves
Does one size fit all, even when it is oh-so-hot bikes and buses?



Phil Patton
Murray T.25 City Car
Report on Gordon Murray's conversion from revolutionary race car designer to creator of one of the greenest city cars ever.



Mark Lamster
Coming to America: The Extraordinary Journey of Morris Moel
From Poland to New York, the story of Morris Moel.



Alexandra Lange
Diana Center & Architectural Bull----
Though rave reviews (
Architect, Metropolis, previously New York) are rolling in for Weiss/Manfredi’s Diana Center at Barnard College, every review has praised two things that I quickly dismissed as the most basic architectural bullshit: the copper glass and the street-level transparency.



Mary Badon
Red Light, Green Light : The Invention of the Traffic Signal
The traffic light — invented in 1912 by a policeman in Detroit — has radically impacted the way transportation rules have developed over the past 100 years, all over the world.



Phil Patton
One Car Per Family
Report on Yves Béhar's design for a new "people's car."



Jonathan Schultz
Better Place
Report on Better Place, winner of the 2009 INDEX Award in the Community category.


Phil Patton
Triple-Digit Inflation
Phil Patton questions GM's sustainability claims for its Chevrolet Volt electric car.



Mark Lamster
Blriot! The Centennial of a Historic Flight
A century ago today, Louis Blriot took off in an airplane of his own invention.



Observed | December 13


“Symbols don’t make it clear what you do, it just makes it clear who they are. The less they say, the better.” We celebrate 60 years of branding torchbearer Chermayeff & Geismar with this new retrospective video from the AIGA Design Archives. [LS]

Can biometrics help architects design better cities? [JH]


Observed | December 12

Mis-overestimating the user, aka “the reverse George Bush design effect”. [JH]

In Dubai: building a design culture, from scratch. [JH]


Observed | December 11

Why success stories are just propaganda. [MB]

“Design thinking is kind of like syphilis: it’s contagious and rots your brains.” [MB]


Observed | December 08

Designing an autonomous car—from scratch. (Ford says they’re ready.) [JH]

There is Nordic design and then there is incredible Nordic design. (This is the latter.) [JH]


Observed | December 07

Protect your design job! From robots! No, not the tagline of a new blockbuster movie: an article about how you can actually, um, protect your design job from robots. [JH]

New design guidelines announced for the city of San Francisco. Perhaps other cities will follow suit: better to serve humanity than to express hostility, no? At a minimum, we should strive for coherent and peaceful cities. [JH]


Observed | December 06

Airbnb: People think our logo is anatomically suggestive. New Jersey ice cream parlor: Hold my beer. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]

Saving faces...on eggs. [MPL]


Observed | December 05

Can design reduce stress in cities? [JH]

News from China: will design help “power the next stage of growth”? Some business leaders think so. Meanwhile, in Shenzhen, a new design center opens. And if you’re in Hong Kong later this week, threee days of design inspiration await you! [JH]

Type designer and House Industries co-founder Rich Roat has died, age 52. [JH]


Observed | December 02

A decade of Chip! [JH]

Can a logo be adorable? Air Malta thinks so. [JH]


Observed | December 01

Is this the end of an era? Is process passé? More here. [JH]

Design tool = privacy nightmare. [JH]

If God is in the details—maybe design is in the relationships? Nathan Shedroff thinks so. [JH]


Observed | November 30

Holograms and rainbow printing are just a few of the ways the new Hong Kong high-tech ID card is building in security. [JH]

It seemed like a good idea at the time? [JH]


Observed | November 29

Book lovers never go to bed alone. (Support public libraries!) [BV]

Cool new illustrations from London-based illustrator Fay Dalton for the original James Bond novels. [BV]

You’ve seen the decorations everywhere: How postwar Christmas embraced spaceships, nukes, cellophane. [BV]


Observed | November 28

From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty. [BV]

Will there be grapes in 2050? Tour the facilities where scientists breed plants to survive the future. [BV]

Zuckerberg and the data visualization that’s become core to Facebook’s mythos. [BE]


Observed | November 27

Design for Neuroticism? Sign me up! Bot designers (yes, it’s a thing) frame bot characters around something called the “big five” (I was hoping for hippos, like on safari, but no luck). The big bot five is a “personality trait model according to which each personality has five dimensions — agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, and openness”. [JH]

This just in from the department of first world problems: The Dip Clip is the brainchild of a problem encountered, a decade ago, by a group of designers who stopped during a short trip at a fast food drive-thru and “realized they could not easily enjoy their condiments without making a mess.” [JH]



Jobs | December 14