I sometimes think I could drop all of my technical Twitter follows except for @kdnuggets and that would be more than enough to keep me busy. Today he mentioned MassBigData, a statewide initiative to open government data for exploitation. What used to happen inside 128 has spread as far west as Worcester.
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I’ve long advocated for expanding our national rail network and replacing the city networks, which once spanned the entire country from Long Island to Milwaukee. Here’s what the state of Massachusetts makes available in terms of transportation data as part of the initiative:
Data sets are available from a range of sources, including from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Massachusetts Port Authority, Massachusetts Regional Transit Authorities, The Massachusetts Ferry Service, & from private bus carriers. Data types include Real-time Travel Times (RTTM), roadway events, 511 traffic cameras, bicycle data, and more.
The economic affects of just examining this are wonderful – 118 pages of jobs in the area, and that’s before any decisions get made on what to build next. You can already take an all electric ride from Boston down to D.C., or you can hang a left at Philadelphia and journey two hours west to Harrisburg.
It’s been seven years since the Association for the Study of Peak Oil dedicated their annual conference revenues to the creation of the Threshold-21 North American model, an integrated policy modeling exercise that demonstrated we could expect to cut our oil use by 38% and expand our economy by 25% due to the development that would come from electrifying just one sixth of our total national rail network. We could use the boost, but I fear we’ll have to wait until 2017 when the fringe right is well and truly excluded from power before we can start adapting to climate change and peak oil.