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Gizmodo reporter Victoria Song writes that a new study by researchers from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) finds that “not only do rideshares increase congestion, but they also made traffic jams longer, led to a significant decline in people taking public transit, and haven’t really impacted car ownership.”


A new study by researchers from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) finds that ride-sharing services can lead to increased congestion, both in intensity and duration, reports E&T. “While mathematical models in prior studies showed that the potential benefit of on-demand shared mobility could be tremendous, our study suggests that translating this potential into actual gains is much more complicated in the real world,” says Prof. Jinhua Zhao.

New York Times

MIT researchers have developed an online interactive tool aimed at helping consumers quantify the costs of buying an electric or gas-powered vehicle. The tool demonstrates how electric vehicles may initially be more expensive, but are often cheaper in the long-run, reports Veronica Penny for The New York Times. Prof. Jessika Trancik notes that she hopes the tool will “help people learn about how those upfront costs are spread over the lifetime of the car.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Berger highlights Superpedestrian, an MIT startup and electric scooter company that secured $60 million in funding. Berger notes that Superpedestrian “spent more than four years designing a vehicle intelligence system that can diagnose and maintain itself.”

Popular Mechanics

MIT researchers have unveiled a new autonomous modular boat, called the Roboat II, which that uses lidar, GPS and other sensors to navigate its surroundings, reports Kyro Mitchell for Popular Mechanics. The Roboat II “can attach itself to other Roboat II’s to form one large vessel, which is then controlled by a main ‘leader’ boat.”

Financial Times

Writing for the Financial Times, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Anna König Jerlmyr, the mayor of Stockholm, explore how to reduce demand on urban infrastructure and make cities more efficient. “Covid-19 has proved that changing routines is possible, so we can decide how our cities function,” they write. “Flattening the curve has been a painful response to a crisis but, in cities, it can be used as a strategy to bring greater wellbeing to our everyday lives.” 

The Washington Post

Third-year student Casey Johnson speaks with Washington Post reporter Luz Lazo about his work exploring the feasibility of using GPS technology to determine when a scooter is on the sidewalk. Lazo explains that Johnson wrote a “surface categorization algorithm to detect the periodic cracks in a sidewalk. He then added an accelerator sensor — which costs less than $1 — to detect when the scooter is being used on an asphalt road versus a concrete sidewalk.”


A new study by researchers from the MIT AgeLab finds that drivers of Tesla cars tend to be more distracted when using the car’s semi-autonomous system, reports Matt McFarland for CNN. The researchers found “drivers glanced more frequently away from the road, and thus paid less attention, when Autopilot was active.”


Writing for Forbes, research engineer Bryan Reimer explores a question that will be included on election ballots in Massachusetts that “proposes to augment the state’s 2013 Automobile Right to Repair Law with new added vehicle data access requirements.” Reimer argues that the provisions in the ballot initiative are “ripe for cyber terrorism that could quickly place vehicle occupants and other road users at increased risk.”


Writing for Forbes, Prof. David Mindell highlights a new report by MIT researchers that explores the future of automation. “We can imagine cities jammed with single-occupant autonomous cars, or we can imagine flexible, high-throughput mixed modal systems that benefit from autonomous technologies,” writes Mindell. “What comes to pass is up to us, and will be shaped by policy choices we make today.”


WCVB-TV’s Mike Wankum visits MIT to learn about the Solar Electric Vehicle Team. “We are trying to prove that we can move away from cars that rely on gasoline or diesel,” explains undergraduate Salem Ali, “and move towards more electric vehicles, and potentially even vehicles that you don’t have to plug in.”

Boston Globe

Prof. David Keith argues in The Boston Globe for implementing congestion pricing to help alleviate traffic congestion in the Greater Boston area. “Pricing access to roads moderates demand for driving at peak times,” writes Keith, “while also generating revenue from drivers that can be reinvested in building a 21st century mobility infrastructure.”

Associated Press

Optimus Ride, a startup founded by MIT alumni, will start a self-driving car shuttle service at an industrial park in New York City, reports the Associated Press. “The free service is expected to transport some 500 passengers daily on the yard’s internal roads,” the AP explains.

The Verge

MIT startup Optimus Ride is launching a self-driving shuttle service at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, reports Andrew J. Hawkins for The Verge.

Fast Company

Researchers from MIT’s Senseable City Lab have found that taxi cabs equipped with sensors could be used to monitor the condition of cities, reports Jesus Diaz for Fast Company. “Gaining an accurate picture of urban conditions is crucial for city planners and administrators who must decide how to allocate scarce resources,” Diaz explains.