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Archive for December, 2010

Safety System for the Vehicle Introduced

Posted by nahetsblog on December 8, 2010

Vehicle-Based

Integrated

Safety System

IVBSS is a five-year, $32 million cooperative agreement between the US Department of Transportation and a group of partners to test an integrated system of crash-warning technologies for different types and classes of vehicles. Partners for the heavy-truck category include Eaton Corp., International Truck and Engine Corp., Takata Corp., Con-way Freight, and Battelle. Oversight and analysis work for the program has been performed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) at Ann Arbor, MI

Based on recent USDOT studies, an integrated countermeasure system could prevent over 48% of rear-end, run-off-road, and lane-change crashes. Through the Integrated Vehicle-Based Safety Systems (IVBSS) Initiative, the USDOT established a partnership with the automotive and commercial vehicle industries to develop and field-test an integrated safety system on light vehicles and commercial trucks.

The prototype vehicles were equipped to provide forward collision warning (FCW), lane departure warning (LDW), lane change warning (LCW), and curve speed warning (CSW) functions:

* FCW alerts drivers when they are in danger of striking the rear of the vehicle in front of them traveling in the same direction.

* The LDW function provides alerts to drivers when a lateral drift toward or over lane edges is sensed without a turn signal indication.

* LCW will increase a driver’s situational awareness of vehicles in close proximity traveling in adjacent lanes in the same direction.

* The CSW function warns drivers when they are traveling too fast for an upcoming curve.

The system was installed on 10 trucks using visual displays and auditory tones to warn drivers of potential threats. Eighteen drivers from Con-way Freight’s Detroit terminal participated in the heavy-truck field tests. Each participant drove one of the specially equipped, class-8 tractors for 10 months. While the test vehicles were driven, data-acquisition systems recorded driver actions and responses to the integrated warning system.

UMTRI’s key findings related to driver acceptance include:

* The majority of drivers perceived that integrated crash-warning systems would increase driver safety. Drivers stated that the integrated system made them more aware of the traffic environment around their vehicle and their position in the lane.

* Seven drivers reported that the integrated system potentially prevented them from having a crash.

* Fifteen out of 18 drivers said they prefer a truck equipped with the integrated safety system and would recommend that their employers purchase such a system.

UMTRI’s key findings related to driver behavior include:

* In situations where there were multiple threats, the initial warning was generally enough to get the attention of drivers and resulted in an appropriate action when necessary.

* Drivers did a better job of maintaining their position in the lane with the integrated system.

* Overall, drivers responded more quickly to threats of a rear-end collision while the safety system was active than they did when the system was not active.

These findings indicate that integrated crash warning systems not only offer benefits relative to improved driver performance, but that a clear majority of commercial drivers involved in the study accepted the system and reported subjective benefits from the integrated system they used.

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Vets Satisfied with Post 911 Gi Bill

Posted by nahetsblog on December 5, 2010

According to a report released by the American Council on Education, although veterans encountered a number of challenges during the first year of Post-9/11 GI Bill implementation, they were still satisfied with their overall experience.

Data was based on surveys from 230 veterans and 22 student focus groups across 13 institutions, reported Inside Higher Ed. Focus groups were conducted in Arizona, Ohio and Virginia, which are all states that have a large veteran population.

As The Chronicle of Higher Education pointed out, veterans and institutions cited delays in receiving payments as the biggest problem, particularly for veterans who depended on the stipends to pay rent. For some veterans, the late tuition payments–which many reported were three months late–caused them to be dropped from classes.

Jennifer L. Steele, one of the authors of the report, attributed to the delays to problems with infrastructure changes, which created a backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Steele, however, told reporters that the problem will eventually be resolved. "We think this is going to be a problem that is gradually going to fix itself," she said in a conference call.

Another complaint veterans had was over the lack of an online accounting system. Inside Higher Ed noted that because money was directly deposited to accounts without a description, many veterans had no idea what the payments were actually for. Furthermore, some veterans were overpaid and ended up owing the VA money. "I don’t know if that’s [for] housing, if it’s [for] books, just an account error or what," said one student in a focus group. "So, if I get this money, it’s there to spend on whatever. You’re just somewhat fearful that you are going to get a letter in the mail that says, ‘Hey! You owe us this much money, because we overpaid you.’"

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, veterans also experienced problems when trying to transfer military education credits to their institution. Less than half of all respondents said they were satisfied with credit transfer policies.

However, despite these barriers, veterans seemed pleased with the program overall. In fact, after receiving positive feedback from both veterans and institutions, the report called the Post-9/11 bill the "most-generous education benefit for veterans since the original GI Bill".

Inside Higher Ed noted that the survey also examined veterans’ experiences when transitioning from military life to student life. While veterans dealt with some of the same struggles typical college students faced, such as balancing academic responsibilities with day-to-day life, many reported having difficulties that were specific to their veteran status. For example, about 10 percent of focus group participants had service-related injuries, such as bodily injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Some veterans reported having trouble transitioning from the clearly defined environment of the military to the less structured expectations of the academic world. "Getting here, the standard is so high," said one student. "That was where I really struggled. I thought I was really strong in some areas, but when I came here I found it was like comparing apples to oranges… [In the military] the expectations are clear; it is very structured, but here, every professor does something different."

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Scranton, PA Booming

Posted by nahetsblog on December 5, 2010

It’s difficult to detect a construction slump from downtown Scranton’s skyline.

scranton.jpg

More than $260 million in building development is progressing at projects in Central City and at its fringe, creating work for more than 1,400 people in the building trades.

"It’s incredible," Mayor Chris Doherty said of the biggest development boom in downtown Scranton in decades. "Some days, you walk around the University of Scranton and there’s got to be 200 laborers there. It took a lot of years to get here."

The work includes the $120 million Commonwealth Medical College, more than $100 million at the University of Scranton, the $23 million renovation of the Connell Building and the $4 million headquarters of Tobyhanna Army Depot Federal Credit Union.

"There’s a lot going on in the middle of the Great Recession," said Andrew Skrip, vice president of industrial development at the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. "People from out of the area comment on it."

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Heavy and civil engineering construction employment grew for the sixth straight month

Posted by nahetsblog on December 4, 2010

Written by Associated Builders and Contractors
Friday, 03 December 2010
"Today’s employment report is perfectly consistent with ABC’s prior statements regarding the still moderate pace of economic recovery in America." —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

The nonresidential construction sector lost 300 jobs in November, according to a Dec. 3 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. Year-over-year, nonresidential construction is down 7,600 jobs, or 1.1 percent, and employment stands at 685,700 jobs.

Heavy and civil engineering construction employment grew for the sixth straight month in November, gaining 1,300 jobs over October. That sector has gained a total of 23,800 jobs, or 2.9 percent, compared to the same time last year.

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