Transportation

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.


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.



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 | June 14

The history of the 1940 Emeco 10-06 Navy Chair, made of bent aluminum, and strong enough to withstand an 8-story drop from a Chicago window. [BV]


Observed | June 13

Massimo Vignelli’s unused maps for the D.C. Metro are amazing. [BV]

A tale of two hats from Steven Heller. [BV]


Observed | June 12

About two years ago Brooklyn-based polymath Robby Kraft started using algorithmic code to design new origami patterns and they are astounding. [BV]

Herb Lubalin was born 100 years ago. To celebrate, join in to republish Herb Lubalin: American Graphic Designer (1918-81). [BV]


Observed | June 11

Super freaky recently declassified NSA security posters. Seriously. [BV]


Observed | June 07

Encyclopædia Britannica wants to fix false Google results with actual facts. [BV]


Observed | June 06

“Working with children, after all, was the rare field in which women’s gender was seen as an asset rather than an obstacle. As children gained their own spaces, their own toys, and their own diminutive furniture, beginning in the nineteenth century, refining, proselytizing, and testing designs meant for children was women’s work. We see their influence everywhere.” Alexandra Lange on the hidden women of architecture and design. [BV]


Observed | June 04

Lab100 is a new type of medical clinic that will use data science to predict and prevent medical conditions instead of diagnosing and treating issues after-the-fact. [BV]

What if your surroundings never went in the garbage? Taking recycling to the next level. [BV]

What New York can learn from Europe about designing a city for people instead of cars. [MB]


Observed | June 01

Jaron Lanier was there for the creation of the internet and is convinced that social media is toxic, making us sadder, angrier, and more isolated. [BV]


Observed | May 31

#TBT: The retro-futuristic movie posters of Laurent Durieux. [BV]


Observed | May 30

What happens when speculative design goes corporate?...At its most disturbing, it’s a way of giving a company’s employees permission to think the unthinkable—to grapple with how omniscient and powerful that corporate entity might become. [BV]

An explainer video from 1923—when films were still silent and the discovery of Pluto was 7 years in the future—about Einstein’s theory of relativity. [BV]


Observed | May 29

Arbys wants you to download their font, Saucy_AF, to “say it with sauce”. [BV]

It wasn’t until the 1990s that public libraries realized their most loyal patrons were teens—and started giving them room to act like teens. Alexandra Lange explores young adult architecture. [BV]


Observed | May 28

Meghan Markle has been granted her own coat of arms; its design was approved by the Queen. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | May 24

“Design in this century has little use for anything that can’t be quantified. And yet, here is Apple’s App Store, presenting new, original illustrations several times a week.” [BV]


Observed | May 23

Bill Gold, the seminal designer who created posters for some of Hollywood‘s most famous movies—from A Streetcar Named Desire to The Exorcist—has died. [LS]

Pilot and photographer Christiaan van Heijst captures his stunning view of weather from the cockpit. [BV]

Goodbye Philip Roth, designer manqué. [BV]


Observed | May 22

Sadly we must say goodbye to Robert Indiana, who brought his world-famous LOVE sculpture to NYC in 1971. [BV]

Adherents to Design Thinking believe it will save higher ed. Are they delusional? [BV]

Adieu Interview. Almost 50 years after it was founded by Andy Warhol, the magazine is shutting down. [BV]


Observed | May 18

A Qin dynasty document from the third-century B.C.E, titled “The Volume of Crime Scene Investigation—Burglary,” pointed up fingerprints as a means of evincing whodunnit: The surprising history (and future) of fingerprints. [BV]


Observed | May 16

Glamour shots of chickens. [BV]

This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center presents The Ark. [BV]


Observed | May 15

There’s very little advice or collective wisdom about how to properly end a creative project. (h/t Kottke.org) [BV]


Observed | May 14

Some afternoon eye candy: 1930s interior architecture illustrations. [BV]



Jobs | June 18