09/04/09 — Barney Smits (B.S.'92 ME) rides Bay Area Rapid Transit every weekday from his Oakland home to his office, two blocks from Oakland's 19th St. station. "I take it just about everywhere I can," he says. "To the opera in the city, to the airport when I'm traveling. Once you're used to it, it's the absolute best, easiest way of getting around." But then he might be biased. Smits, 53, is the transit system's principal mechanical engineer, a job he's held for several years. He's one of the guys who makes sure that the 20 miles of tunnel and 208 miles of track and all the stations and system facilities are safe for riders like him, and you.
10/02/08 — In the fall of 1975, a young General Motors engineer named Larry Burns loaded up his customized Chevy and headed to Berkeley. The Michigan native came west for doctoral studies in transportation engineering. “It's an area that has served me quite well,” he says. Today, Burns is in charge of next-generation cars and other leading-edge technology for the world's largest automaker. “I wake up every day focused on reinventing the automobile,” he says. A 2007 New York Times article called him “the most visible executive at the American auto companies on green issues.”
03/02/08 — UC Berkeley just conducted an unprecedented collaborative experiment involving 100 cars equipped with GPS-enabled cell phones to monitor real-time traffic flow over a seven-hour period on a 10-mile stretch of I-880. You can read more details about the project and its success in Abby Cohn's delightful story in this month's issue.
03/02/08 — On February 8, 26-year-old mechanical engineering student Kenneth Armijo hit the road in a unique experiment exploring the use of GPS-equipped cell phones as traffic monitors. Nearly 150 UC Berkeley students were behind-the-wheel participants in the “Mobile Century” test. Navigating a fleet of 100 cars carrying special mobile phones, the student drivers traveled up and down a 10-mile stretch of the Nimitz Freeway for more than seven hours. The result was a computerized map bristling with tiny flags for each car and its velocity, creating a detailed picture of actual traffic conditions.