‘Topless’ Tour Van and Tour Buses Are Not Safe and Should Not Be Transporting Passengers

It’s one of the most iconic ways to tour Los Angeles, but the federal government has opened an investigation into the safety of the ‘Topless’ Tour Vans. NBC 4 Los Angeles’ investigation team first called these tour buses on what appeared to be lax safety regulations. Many of the seats on the topless buses had modified seatbelts, or didn’t have seatbelts at all. The team also felt that the custom construction of the buses — the roofs have been removed — did little to protect riders in the event of an accident. The United States Department of Transportation appears to...

Los Angeles’ Most Dangerous Railroad Crossing Gets Overhaul

Officials have long had a solution to improving California’s most dangerous railroad crossing, but only now have they secured the funds to make their plan a reality. They announced that they had received the final $15 million needed for the $137.2 million project: an overpass that will allow drivers to skip over the railroad tracks located at Rosecrans and Marquardt avenues. This railroad crossing sees up to 31,000 cars and up to 130 trains pass through it each day. As the latter number is expected to reach 180 by the end of the decade, it’s perfect timing for a new...

Ford and Baidu Invest $150 Million in California Self-Driving Technology Hotspot

Self-driving technology is taking off, and Ford and Baidu have teamed up to jointly invest $150 million in a Silicon Valley tech company. Velodyne started in 1983 as a manufacturer of high-end audio equipment, but switched gears as times changed; the company has had its hand in LiDAR— light, detection and ranging — technology since 2005. Ford’s investment will help them to ramp up their production of LiDAR sensors of equal or greater quality to the ones they’ve been building on a smaller scale. The investment and increased production will help automakers like Ford to, in turn, increase their own...

LA Metro’s Twitter Account to Find Pokemon in Southern California

Many have lauded Pokemon Go for getting gamers out of their chairs and onto their feet — the virtual game requires them to walk around to find Pokemon, evolve their catches and gather supplies. Of course, many participants have begun to improvise by using their cars to get them from Pokemon A to Pokemon B. In response, the LA Metro has tried to make it easy for public-transit takers to catch Pokemon, too: they’ve started a Twitter to help customers catch ‘em all via bus and train. It all started after Metro customers started tweeting at the public transit service...

Four Dead After Catastrophic Bus Accident in Merced

A charter bus collided with a highway sign in Central California, slicing the bus down the middle and killing four passengers. When first responders arrived on the scene, they found the highway sign still in tact, standing straight up and out of the front of the bus. They noted scattered debris from the inside of the bus all over the highway and shoulder — drinks, seat cushions, personal effects, etc. As for the rescue of passengers, they found several people ejected from the bus, while more remained inside, unable to get out. One rider, Leonardo Sanchez, remembered falling asleep and...

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Sued Over Rail Project Near Little Toyko

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s attempt to build a Regional Connector has been riddled with lawsuits since plans were first approved. Recently, the owners of Japanese Village Plaza have added another to the pile. They claim that the construction plans include a stabilization method called grouting, wherein crews would inject concrete into the ground to make up for the settling that will occur after they tunnel through the ground below. The Japanese Village Plaza owners claim that they were not informed of the concrete injections, which they found out would occur beneath their property without their consent. They filed...

Volvo Claims Californians and New Yorkers Really Want Driverless Cars

It’s not surprising that opinions on autonomous cars vary from state to state. Recently, Volvo conducted a survey that disclosed nine out of ten New York residents and 86% of Californians believe that driverless vehicles could simplify life. In comparison, 62% of Pennsylvania residents surveyed revealed that self-driving cars will prevent traffic accidents. In the state of Texas, only 60% of survey participants believe that driverless cars could protect their families. In Illinois, only 52% of residents in the study said that they would trust an autonomous vehicle to make safe decisions on the road. This finding proves that Illinoisians...

Can Los Angeles Drop the Traffic Accident Rates to Zero?

The intersection of Hollywood and Highland has been known as one of the most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles. An average of 13 annual collisions that prompted an average of 10 injuries occurred at this busy intersection over the last seven years. Then, surprisingly, between November 15th and April 30th, only one crash that did not lead to any injuries took place. This drastic decline in accidents and injuries in November was the result of a pedestrian scramble installed by the city of Los Angeles. A pedestrian scramble is when all of the pedestrians walk at one time in any...

Tesla Knows When a Car Crash is Your Fault

Tesla technology will be the best witness in a car accident — even if drivers don’t want to hear its side of the story. One driver has already experienced this truth-telling after crashing into a wall and explaining to police that the Tesla accelerated on its own. The car’s internal register told a different tale, as it had a record of the driver pushing the accelerator to 100 percent of its power. In short, the car had nothing to do with it, and the accident’s fault fell on the driver. Car aficionados won’t be surprised that Tesla is the first...

This App Will Help You Find Your Bus Stop More Easily

Joann Becker of Perkins Solutions, which develops new technology to assist individuals with vision restrictions, has been working on a new app. Through the use of voice technology, Becker operates smartphone apps that can see what she cannot see. One app uses the smartphone’s camera to take a picture and then states what is in the picture. For example, after taking a picture of a woman in a green floral-colored shirt, the smartphone can tell the user “picture 1 is a woman in a green floral-colored shirt.” With some help from Google maps, the app will be able to help...