E-scooters return to Portland streets TODAY

Starting today, Portland, Oregon drivers are sharing roadways with E-Scooters.

E-scooters are a somewhat controversial new mobility service. Like bike-shares available in some cities, the service provides an electric-powered scooter to rent for one-way trips. The scooters are consigned through a scooter rental app. Some companies offer a call or text unlocking service for those who don’t have smartphones. According to the model, scooters are parked on the sidewalk close to the curb and out of the way of pedestrians when the trip is finished. Some companies requre riders to confirm they’ve parked the e-scooter correctly by submitting a photo through the company’s app to end the rental.

While e-scooters have been cast as a serious menace by detractors – the e-scooters are sometimes driven on and left lying on sidewalks, littering and blocking pedestrian routes – Portlanders approved the one-year pilot program after a 120-day trial period. Proponents who argued for approval for the program cited reduced traffic congestion by reducing the number of cars on the road, fewer automobile fatalities, expanded transportation opportunities especially for underserved Portlanders, and reduced air pollution.

Portland transportation officials warn residents are expected to adhere to e-scooter rules, including mandatory helmet use, no riding on sidewalks, and no riders under 16 years of age. E-scooter riders are also required to yield to pedestrians, and ride only on roadways in parks. E-scooter drivers are allowed on Portland city streets, multi-use paths and in bike lanes. The programs extends til April 26, 2020.

Radios, Cars and Influencers

While many at the National Association of Broadcasters participants last week were focused on topics such as Esports; presentations like Beyond the Briefing Room: Tales from the White House Beat, and on new offerings like the just-introduced Influencer Series: Sports and Entertainment, TrafficCast executive Nick Kiernan was at the Las Vegas conference to see about In-Vehicle Experience, or as we’ve known it for decades – car radio.

Throw some television into the equation as well; industry experts are examining how to offer relevant car radio and video experiences into a future which includes autonomous vehicles. Surround sound? Screens on the back of front car seats? What kind of new content?

TrafficCast supplies nationwide up-to-the-minute traffic information, much of which is disseminated through automobile radios.

The National Association of Broadcasters conference is the world’s largest and most comprehensive convention encompassing the convergence of media, entertainment and technology. With more than 90,000 attendees from 160 countries and 1,600+ exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for solutions that transcend traditional broadcasting and fuel the digital storytelling economy.

Stormy Weather

Oregon is one of the many states experiencing high water difficulties this spring. The National Weather Service in Portland warns that today, April 8, the Willamette River is high at Harrisburg, Corvallis and Albany due to heavy rains in the central Coast Range, central Cascade Foothills, and south Willamette Valley. Just this morning, State Highway 58 near Oakridge in Lane County became closed in both directions when earth and trees slid down a rain-soaked hillside and across the road.

In other parts, I-29 through Iowa and Missouri remains closed since March 19th, following flooding that submerged whole swaths of farmland. And storms are predicted to hit
the Plains, Midwest and East later this week, bringing rain and possibly hail and tornadoes.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is only one of many state departments issuing safety tips for “weathering” storm season 2019. The Oregon DOT reminds drivers that heavy rains can create dangerous conditions that include reduced visibility, reduction traction between tires and road, and compromised car handling. It advises:

Slow down, especially through high water. Driving through several inches of water at high speed can cause you to lose control of the car.

Be aware of the potential for hydroplaning, when your tires encounter more water than they can scatter. Your tire loses traction with the road and if this occurs, ease off the gas, gently apply the brakes and steer straight ahead.

Keep your distance; you may need more time to slow down.

Turn on your headlights to improve visibility.

Disengage your cruise control.

Check your brakes. After driving through a puddle, check that brakes are working properly by tapping them gently a few times.