Archive for » February 15th, 2012«

New 2012 Fiat 500 Named "Best Car" in Travel + Leisure’s Annual Design Awards …

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire around COMTEX/ –
Travel + Leisure Design Awards commend courteous pattern that urge a transport experience

New 2012 Fiat 500 models broach contemporary Italian styling, pleasing craftsmanship and city-friendly proportions total with intelligent adaptations for American roads

New 1.4-liter engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir® technology, invented and law by FIAT, delivers power, fuel potency and refinement

Starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $15,500

Known for providing a readers with discernment into a authentic, a innovative and a irresistible, Travel + Leisure named a new 2012 Fiat 500 “Best Car” in a eighth annual “Travel + Leisure Design Awards.” The 2012 Travel + Leisure Design Awards commend new products, buildings and destinations that urge a transport knowledge by courteous design.

“The Design Awards jury applauded a Fiat 500 for a free multiple of compress practicality with a genuine clarity of style, speed, and fun,” pronounced Luke Barr, News Director of Travel + Leisure.

The Fiat 500 will be featured in a Mar emanate of Travel + Leisure — accessible on newsstands Feb 17 and is now online at . In addition, a Fiat 500 will be famous during a Travel + Leisure Design Awards eventuality on Mar 7 during Department in Berlin, Germany.

“We are intensely respected to win a ‘Best Car’ Design Award pretension from Travel + Leisure — as a 2012 Fiat 500 offers a singular multiple of Italian design, pushing fun and potency during an unbeatable value,” pronounced Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America. “In addition, a alfresco Fiat 500 Cabrio, a disdainful 500 and 500c by Gucci models and a high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth yield drivers with a best of Italian character and pushing excitement.”

About a new 2012 Fiat 500 models Building on a attributes that done a strange chronicle an idol some-more than 50 years ago, a 2012 Fiat 500 models yield an wholly new era of drivers with a best of Italian motoring: craftsmanship, character and safety, total with fun-to-drive small-car efficiency.

The 2012 Fiat 500 offers high levels of safety, fuel economy, peculiarity and modernized technology. With a city-friendly four-passenger size, enchanting pushing dynamics, all-new fuel-efficient 1.4-liter MultiAir® engine with eco:Drive(TM) Application, 7 customary atmosphere bags and accessible TomTom® Navigation with customary BLUEME(TM) Handsfree Communication technology, a new Fiat 500 offers a singular pushing and tenure experience. This package is serve extended with new peculiarity and excellence adaptations for a U.S. market, and a “Top Safety Pick” for 2011 by a Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Expanding on a qualities that have done a strange Fiat 500 (Cinquecento) a undying and fit automobile, a new 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio (500c) adds alfresco leisure and even some-more pushing enjoyment. And with a deftly designed multi-position power-retractable cloth tip and iconic body-side silhouette, a new Fiat 500c delivers character with class-leading interior sound quality.

At internal FIAT Studios, business might select to personalize their Fiat 500 or 500c with selections that embody as many as 14 accessible extraneous paint colors, 14 singular chair tone combinations, 3 models and dual interior environments. And to safeguard that each new 2012 Fiat 500 will be distinct, a full line of authentic Fiat 500 accessories by Mopar® will offer business even some-more personalization possibilities, including singular striping packages, extraneous and interior styling accessories and authentic FIAT-styled merchandise.

Offering even some-more exclusivity and style, a limited-edition 2012 Fiat 500 and 500c by Gucci models arrive during FIAT Studios national this December. For some-more information, visit .

Arriving into a U.S. marketplace in a first-half of 2012 and building on a fad of a Cinquecento, a new Fiat 500 Abarth is designed for track-day enthusiasts and pushing purists who wish a ultimate high-performance tiny automobile with a extraction of an disdainful Italian exotic. With a all-new 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine, Abarth-tuned cessation and stop systems, race-inspired pattern and record facilities not traditionally enclosed on a tiny car, a new 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth unleashes a brand’s mythological opening birthright to American streets.

The 2012 Fiat 500 and 500c Pop models have a U.S. MSRP of $15,500 and $19,500 respectively (plus $700 destination).

About a FIAT Brand The FIAT code stands for find by ardent self-expression. It encourages people to be in assign of their lives, live quietly and applaud a smallest of things with spreading excitement. That truth is embodied by a North American introduction of a iconic Fiat 500 or Cinquecento — a tiny automobile that lives big. Italian during heart and secure in a abounding heritage, a 500 is synonymous with complicated elementary pattern consistent form, duty and a honour of tenure that is genuine.

Reminiscent of a strange Cinquecento, a 2012 Fiat 500 and Fiat 500c (Cabrio) build on a vehicle’s tellurian popularity. Since a initial launch in 2007, some-more than 700,000 Fiat 500 vehicles have been sole in some-more than 80 countries around a world. The model’s complete recognition is a outcome of a Fiat 500′s good ability to broach unmatched personalization options with modernized solutions in terms of quality, engine and newcomer comfort. In serve to success on a sales front, a Fiat 500 has warranted some-more than 60 awards, including being named a 2008 European Car of a Year, 2009 World Car Design of a Year, Best New Engine of 2010 (FIAT MultiAir® Turbo) and a 2012 “Recommended Pick” by Consumer Guide.

About Travel + Leisure With an eye for a authentic, a innovative, and a irresistible, Travel + Leisure ( , @travlandleisure and ) fuses consultant stating on culture, food, character and pattern with overwhelming photography, transporting readers to a places — and a transport practice — that matter now. T+L a monthly pretension from American Express Publishing and a long-standing management in a field, has a largest assembly of any transport repository and is an indispensable beam for tellurian nomads. Travel + Leisure has a network of general editions, including Travel + Leisure Mexico, Travel + Leisure Turkey, Travel + Leisure China, Travel + Leisure South Asia and Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia.

SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved


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Romney criticism hold outward Westminster dog show

The Romney debate did not respond to requests for comment.

The Westminster Kennel Club eventuality is a many prestigious dog uncover in America and draws 2,000 entries. Hendrix pronounced her organisation didn’t wish to miscarry Westminster.

“We’re only regulating this as a backdrop,’’ she said.

A few extraordinary passers-by stopped to speak to a protesters, though nothing of a champion dogs walked by.

“Dogs don’t vote!’’ hollered one male in a hurry.

Al Alvarez hold a pointer in one palm and a control to Petey a longhorn terrier in a other.

“I consider Romney’s opinion toward dogs was demonstrative of his opinion toward a many exposed in a society,’’ he said.

Alvarez pronounced Petey rides in a bin in a behind chair of his automobile since “he’s always perplexing to change a gears.’’

Tate Hausman brought 8-year-old Sake a pug in his backpack, and “she’d be really upset’’ to see any footage of Romney’s dog on a roof. “She wouldn’t approve.’’

American Kennel Club mouthpiece Lisa Peterson pronounced she was wakeful of a Romney story.

“The AKC promotes obliged dog ownership. Putting a dog in a bin for automobile transport is a initial step toward obliged dog ownership,’’ she said. “The second step would be to put that bin in a car.’’

Republican opposition Newt Gingrich has poked Romney about a episode. Gingrich’s debate put together a tilt of Romney’s written slip-ups, including a Fox News talk in that Romney pronounced Seamus was kept in “a totally indisputable kennel, mounted on a roof of a car.’’


Associated Press author Kasie Hunt contributed to this report.

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Extraordinary Life Travel and Partnering to Offer Culinary & Safari Tour to South Africa

Spouses partner their businesses, Extraordinary Life Travel and, to provide food-loving travelers with a sumptuous food, wine, and safari experience along South Africa’s famed southern coast

Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) February 15, 2012

When Stormy and Will met 15 years ago, they knew they both loved to travel and eat great food. What they didn’t realize was that they would one day each own a business dedicated to these things and that those businesses would partner to offer culinary tours.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer – as well as to join fellow travelers – on this tour,” said Will Swanepoel, owner of the Extraordinary Life Travel. “I grew up in South Africa and love traveling the Garden Route and Route 62 whenever I can. The great thing about this tour is that travelers get to enjoy South Africa’s natural splendor, wild creatures, and diverse cultures, as well as its amazing restaurants, food producers, and vineyards.“

When asked about the food in South Africa, Stormy Sweitzer, owner of Maoomba says, “Where do I start? You’ll taste everything from ostrich carpaccio, Cape Malay cuisine, wild game, and melt-in-your-mouth grilled calamari to delicious home-grown olives, artisanal cheese, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and, of course, the wine. I have traveled to South Africa numerous times over the years, and I am always impressed by how fresh-tasting it is.”

She also adds that, “As someone with food allergies, I find that I am able to eat extremely well there because nearly all of the restaurants we visit know exactly what goes into the food they serve. In fact, many of them grow produce themselves and source foods from area farmers and fishermen. “

The itinerary for Tastes of South Africa Tour: tastes-of-south-africa/

About Extraordinary Life Travel

Extraordinary Life Travel is a boutique tour company exclusively focused on leisure, safari, golf, and adventure travel in South Africa. Their hallmarks are small groups, attention to details like restaurants serving fresh, seasonal fare, and itineraries that engage travelers so much so that they forget what day it is.

About Maoomba

Maoomba is a real-food resource, dedicated to helping home cooks incorporate healthy, whole foods into their already-full lives, and to supporting organizations that promote health, community, and economic empowerment through food. Maoomba offers a weekly newsletter filled with recipes and ideas, virtual cooking classes, food tours, and food organization consulting services.


Stormy Sweitzer
Email Information

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36 Hours: Penang, Malaysia


3 p.m.

Get your bearings with a stellar view atop 2,750-foot Penang Hill. The easiest way up is by funicular. The slightly white-knuckle ride in new Swiss-made air-conditioned coaches takes five minutes or less. Up top, the air is fresh and cool, and the vistas unparalleled: to the south, George Town’s neat rows of clay tile roofs; to the north, undulating hills backed by a turquoise sea. If you’d rather walk down (two to three hours) than ride, a little-used jeep trail ends at the Penang Botanical Gardens at the foot of Penang Hill, a 30-minute taxi ride back to George Town.

5:30 p.m.

As the day’s heat begins to fade, runners, dog walkers and idlers converge on Padang Kota Lama, a grass pitch sandwiched between Penang’s stately town hall and 18th-century Fort Cornwallis. Poke around inside the fort (entrance, 1 Malaysian ringgit, or 33 cents, at 3 ringgit to the dollar), then cross the street to the esplanade overlooking the Strait of Malacca. Buy a bag of kacang rebus (boiled chickpeas seasoned with turmeric, 3 ringgit) from one of the parked white trucks and head to the unpretentious (and nameless) cafe at the esplanade’s terminus, where you can watch the sky turn orange over a beer.

8 p.m.

Among George Town’s recent flurry of openings in refurbished structures, China House (153-155 Beach Street and 183b Victoria Street; 60-4-263-7299) is the most stunning: over 10,000 square feet of food, drink, and retail and arts outlets in three interconnected shop houses in the city’s warehouse district. The décor leans to heritage chic, with exposed beams, weathered timber and cement floors, an eclectic mix of Chinois, mid-20th century and contemporary furnishings and splashy textiles. Start with dinner at the intimate BTB+Restaurant (dinner for two, 190 ringgit), where the menu runs to Western dishes with Asian and Middle Eastern influences, then climb the stairs to Galleries I and II to view works by Malaysian and international artists. The best place to wind up the evening is at the stylish Canteen+Bar (drinks for two, 80 ringgit), where arty types mingle with (upscale) backpackers and the after-work crowd around a sheet metal-clad bar; local musicians perform on weekends.


7:30 a.m.

Book ahead for a spot at Nazlina Spice Station (71 Stewart Lane; 60-12-453-8167;; 135 ringgit for a class), where the bubbly former electrical engineer Nazlina Hussin imparts the secrets of Malay dishes like chicken rendang and ikan masak lemak (fish cooked with spices and coconut milk). Hands-on classes start with a tour of a local market, where you’ll taste pickles made from local nutmeg fruit, and end with a communal meal. Or greet the morning with the old-timers at the dim sum institution Aik Hoe (6 Carnarvon Street; breakfast for two, 30 ringgit) and follow with a walking tour of the city’s architectural highlights led by a member of the Penang Heritage Trust (60-4-264-2631;; 180 ringgit for up to three people; book several days ahead). Finally, have lunch at the International Hotel (92 Transfer Road; 40 ringgit for two), where a Sumatran-run hawker stall in a Chinese-owned coffee shop serves a selection of Malay, Indonesian and Indian- and Chinese-influenced curries, vegetable dishes and sambals.

2 p.m.

Housed in a former school built in the late 1800s, the Penang State Museum (Lebuh Light; 60-4-261-3144;; 1 ringgit) presents an engrossing overview of the island’s history, architecture and multi-ethnic population over two floors of exhibitions in Malay and English. Plenty of space is devoted to kitchen culture, local specialties and even the history of Penang’s kopitiam (coffee shops).

3:30 p.m.

The two-block stretch of Armenian Street, named after an immigrant community of businessmen that included the Sarkies brothers of Eastern Oriental and Raffles hotels fame, is rich with history and consumer diversions. In addition to Sun Yat-sen’s Penang base (120 Armenian Street; 60-4-262-0123), where the architect of the Republican China plotted the downfall of the Qing dynasty, four Hokkien clan associations reside here. With its opulent temple and small but fine museum, Khoo Kongsi (18 Cannon Square; 60-4-261-4609;; 10 ringgit) is most definitely worth a look. Gallery hop from Studio at Straits (86 Armenian Street; 60-4-262-7299;, showing mostly Malaysian works, to Galerie Seni Mutiara (118 Armenian Street; 60-4-262-0167;, exhibiting international artists on the ground floor and, upstairs, a permanent collection of paintings by Malaysia’s early post-independence artists. Handblown glass is sold at Fuan Wong Gallery (88 Armenian Street; 60-4-262-9079). China Joe’s, below Studio at Straits, sells women’s wear and contemporary Asian housewares and furniture, while the “antiques” shop Chin Seng Leong (55 Armenian Street), a dusty hole in the wall, is for serious treasure hunters.

7 p.m.

When it moved, almost two years ago, from a glorified lean-to in a nearby alley to a spiffed-up shop house, Tek Sen (18-20 Carnarvon Street; 60-12-493-9424; 100 ringgit for two) tripled its seating capacity. That hasn’t diminished the family-owned restaurant’s charm, or its ability to turn out flawlessly executed dishes that have been drawing locals for over 45 years. The extensive menu includes Teochew and Malaysian dishes, each of them memorable. Highlights: stir-fried roast pork with chiles; whole pomfret steamed with ginger, tomatoes, pickled mustard and sour plums; and gulai tumis, stingray in tamarind-soured spicy gravy.

8:30 p.m.

That Little Wine Bar (54 Jalan Chow Thye; 60-4-226-8182;, a snug social spot frequented by expats and Malaysian residents, pours vintages by the glass (20 to 28 ringgit) and by the bottle. A youngish crowd gravitates to Behind Fifty Love Lane (Muntri Street at Love Lane), a cafe and bar in a low-slung cubbyhole; the owners have been known to organize patrons into teams for games of charades.


8 a.m.

Pack a towel and hire a taxi (30 ringgit per hour) to Taman Negara Pulau Pinang (Telok Bahang; 60-4-881-3530;; no charge), a 3,100-acre smidgen of beach-fringed jungle in the northwestern corner of the island, about 11 miles from George Town. After registering at the park office, hire a longtail boat for the short ride to Monkey Beach (40 ringgit, one way for two people), where you can swim and laze on the sand before tackling the moderately challenging 1.8-mile trail back. The hike, traversing a combination of paved and dirt trails and passing a few secluded coves, takes about 90 minutes.


It would be a mistake to leave Penang without sampling its most iconic dish: asam laksa, a sour, sweet and spicy fish-based rice noodle soup garnished with mint, cucumber and shreds of peppery torch ginger bud. On the way back to George Town, stop at Miami Beach (Jalan Batu Ferringghi) and make for the food court, where a female vendor named Ita serves an exceptional version, thick with bits of sardine (3 ringgit). Eaten accompanied by coconut water (2 ringgit) sipped through a straw, it’s a fitting end to an island interlude.


Modeled on European boutique hotels, Campbell House (106 Lebuh Campbell Street, Georgetown; 60-4-261-8290; delivers warmth and top-notch service. Each of the 10 individually designed suites has an iPod docking station, minibar and espresso machine. Rates, starting at 400 ringgit ($134), include breakfast, in-room refreshments and Wi-Fi.

After an 18-month restoration, the Oasis Hotel, formerly a hostel, has re-emerged as a bijou boutique hotel named after its street address, 23 Love Lane (Georgetown; 60-4-262-1323). Housed in four 19th-century structures set around a walled garden, the hotel’s 10 rooms (including a duplex), from $150, are furnished with antiques and contemporary artworks by Malaysian and Southeast Asian artists from the owner’s private collection.

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Road to Wealth Destruction

The soon-to-be-built Charlottesville Bypass provides a lousy mercantile lapse on investment. Only supervision would spend $244 million on a devise that yields rebate than $8 million a year in advantages to a public.

By James A. Bacon

The adults of Charlottesville and Albemarle County cruise they have a trade overload problem on U.S 29 north of a city. Of course, everybody thinks they have a trade problem. You should see a intersection of Parham and Patterson nearby my home in Henrico County around 5:30 p.m. It can take 3 or 4 cycles to get by a stop light. And try pushing on Interstate 95 in Prince William County. It’s distant worse than anything in a Richmond segment – we can get stranded in stop-and-go trade during 6:30 in a morning!

The doubt is possibly a overload on U.S. 29 north of Charlottesville is so numbingly God-awful compared to all a other trade hell-holes in Virginia as to aver a $244 million investment (including sunk expenses) to build a bypass, as a McDonnell administration has motionless to do.

For some-more than a half year now I’ve been letter about a Bypass from a distance, here in Henrico. At times, a debate seemed remote and abstract. To unequivocally know a controversy, we motionless we indispensable to knowledge a frustration, a anguish and a highway fury of pushing on U.S. 29 initial hand. So, one day in December, regulating a digital stop watch to line my time, we spent some-more than an hour pushing adult and down a undiluted highway mezzanine slated for bypass. we wanted to see for myself usually how bad things got during rush hour.

It was a unchanging workday, a University of Virginia was in eventuality and trade conditions were routine. we set some manners for myself: no line weaving, no fender hugging and no gunning by yellow lights to change a outcome. While we was operative myself, there would be no cursing, fist jolt or banging on a steering circle either. we would expostulate like a normal person.

The formula were distant from anything we expected.

The widen of U.S. 29 in doubt runs by 14 stoplights and is lined with restaurants, selling malls, bureau buildings and other development. Although a highway is designated a highway of statewide stress — one of Virginia’s 3 vital north-south weight  routes — Albemarle County zoned a land around it as a primary expansion corridor. Thousands of people use a highway to expostulate to work any day during a University of Virginia and other Charlottesville practice centers.

Figuring that morning rush hour would knowledge a misfortune congestion, we picked a duration of 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. to expostulate behind and onward between Ashwood Boulevard during a due northern confine of a Bypass and a U.S. 250 Bypass underpass to a south. Driving north opposite a rush hour trade determined a bottom line: My 3 trips averaged 7 mins and 42 seconds. Traffic was well-spoken issuing throughout, nonetheless delays did start during extensive stop lights during a Hydraulic and Rio highway intersections.

Likewise, we gathering south 3 times with a rush hour traffic. My initial outing took a longest. we was astounded during how uniformly trade changed though we did get hung adult during a Rio Road intersection for a prolonged stoplight cycle. Thanks to a synchronized lights, however, we whizzed by a vital intersections though a join on a subsequent dual trips. The normal expostulate time for all three: 7 mins and 21 seconds – faster than when we was pushing opposite a rush hour tide!

At a finish of a exercise, we had one question: Traffic congestion? What trade congestion? These people know zero about trade congestion!! What is all a hoo-ha about?

ROI – No, that’s Not French for “King,” nonetheless It Is a Foreign Word in Virginia

A accumulation of claims have been modernized in preference of building a Bypass. First, there is an mercantile advantage to shortening a volume of time people remove being stranded in trade congestion. Second, a devise will urge safety, shortening a series of trade accidents on an accident-prone widen of road. And third, it will foster mercantile expansion – not indispensably in a Charlottesville segment though in points south, privately in Danville and Lynchburg. Building a Bypass around Charlottesville’s overload prohibited spot, it could be argued, will revoke lorry transport times and urge a rival viewpoint of production businesses that use U.S. 29 as a weight corridor.

While a claims are not improbable on their face, no one has subjected them to serious study. The Virginia Department of Transportation has never conducted a Return on Investment (ROI) investigate to establish how many mercantile advantage a country will get from a $244 million expenditure, many rebate how that ROI would review to choice transport improvements.

ROI investigate is elemental to a corporate world, though it’s a unfamiliar word to Virginia government. The rejection or inability to control such an investigate means that billions of dollars value of transport projects around a state are saved on a basement of ideology, tummy feelings, lobbying vigour and tender politics – not where a income can be many productively employed. The emanate is all a some-more dire today, given a McDonnell administration’s use of borrowed income and open private partnerships to account billions of dollars of new road, highway and overpass construction over a subsequent several years.

Legislation before a General Assembly would need a Virginia Department of Transportation to allot a “rating” to vital Northern Virginia transport projects though a methodology is incomplete. It would cruise usually a advantages of ameliorating trade overload and of minimizing a detriment of life in a eventuality of a homeland certainty emergency. In this essay, we will take a initial moment during conducting a some-more thorough-going analysis, addressing overload relief, softened safety, and mercantile expansion any in turn. As a initial effort, it has unavoidable shortcomings. we have not figured out, for instance, how to incorporate environmental costs and advantages into a equation. My wish is to enthuse state and inner officials to commend a advantage of such an proceed and to request a resources to do a some-more extensive job. In an ideal world, a methodology could be practical to any transport project, possibly a road, highway, overpass or mass transit, in a wish of reaching decisions that do a biggest good for a biggest series of people.

Congestion Relief

Calculating a cost of overload use is comparatively straightforward. The initial step is to discern a time saved per trip. In a box of a Charlottesville Bypass, we can guess time saved by comparing a normal length of time it takes to transport from a northern Bypass confine during Ashwood Boulevard to a southern Bypass confine during Leonard Sandridge Road (a) when regulating a existent U.S. 29/U.S. 250 track and (b) when regulating a due Bypass.

Bypass map
According to my measurements, a time it takes to transport from a northern confine to U.S. 250 averages 7 mins and 42 seconds. To that contingency be combined an additional 1 notation and 30 seconds for a time it takes to bound onto a 250 Bypass and dog-leg over to a due terminus. Total normal time elapsed: 9 mins and 12 seconds.
The Bypass itself will run 6.5 miles, and a highway will be designed for 60 miles per hour. Therefore, underneath normal conditions a outing will take roughly 6 minutes, 30 seconds, so shred 2 mins and 42 seconds on normal off any trip.

In theory, there could be a delegate benefit. Because a bypass will take trade off a existent U.S. 29, motorists regulating that highway should confront fewer cars, hence, rebate congestion. In theory, those drivers, too, could save time. However, a stoplights, final synchronized in 2010, are doing a stream volume of trade with minimal fill-in and delay. Taking cars and trucks off a highway will not make a element disproportion until a altogether trade volume increases considerably.

There is one other means to consider. Although we did not privately declare any back-ups on a ramp joining U.S. 29 and a U.S. 250 Bypass when we was holding my measurements, veterans of a Charlottesville trade stage forked out that some of a misfortune overload occurs there. That ramp – referred to as a “Best Buy” ramp since it is located nearby a Best Buy vast box store (see pinkish dot on map) – can supplement dual or 3 mins of check for anyone roving by a city, depending on a time of day. However, inner officials pattern to make down that backup with a elementary further of a brief line on U.S. 29. That project, estimated to cost $4.7 million, is scheduled to be advertised for construction in FY 2014.

Once a time saving has been estimated, a subsequent step is estimating how many cars and trucks will advantage from it.

The many new trade investigate of a U.S. 29 Bypass was conducted in 1996-97 by Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade Douglas (PB) as partial of a Interchange Feasibility Study. Drawing on progressing work, PB estimated that bypass trade would volume to 17,400 vehicles per day in 2010. But that forecast, contends a Charlottesville Albemarle Transportation Coalition in a minute critique of a trade projections, insincere a existence of dual interchanges on a Bypass – one during Barracks Road and one during Rio Road – that would have significantly augmenting inner traffic. Those interchanges, records a anti-Bypass coalition, are no longer in a plans!

Correcting for that vital pattern change, CATCO estimates that trade would have been 6,470 to 10,600 vehicles per day had a Bypass been assembled by 2010, and would boost to between 8,800 and 14,400 per day by 2022. Assuming a Bypass opens in 2014, a reasonable operative guess would tumble around a median of those figures, or about 10,000 vehicles per day.

In a annual 2011 Urban Mobility Report, a Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimates a cost of trade overload for 101 civic areas opposite a United States. Using an elaborate methodology, TTI distributed a cost of transport check (extra transport time) and a cost of additional fuel consumed (due to pushing in undiluted conditions) during $16.30 per person-hour for individuals. Because not all motorists expostulate solo — normal ridership amounts to 1.25 passengers per vehicle – that translates into $20.38 per car. The cost of time check is $88.12 per hour for blurb trucks.

On a basement of TTI assumptions, a projected time and gasoline assets for a singular outing on a Charlottesville Bypass will work out to $3.88 per lorry and $0.90 per car.  Assuming 10,000 vehicles per day, 7 percent of that are trucks, we can calculate a sum time-value saved of $11,086 daily, or $5.8 million per year.

Thus, for an output of $244 million, a country of Virginia can pattern to emanate mercantile value of $5.8 million annually from overload relief, or a Return on Investment of 2.4%. That is a bad rate of return. With a country of Virginia borrowing income during a rate of roughly 4.4% for 30-year bonds, a Charlottesville Bypass would destroy mercantile value if overload use were a usually means considered.  

Road Safety

But that’s not a whole story. Another justification for building a Bypass is to revoke a series of trade accidents on a many accident-prone widen of U.S. 29. According to a Nov 2010 American Automobile Association report, “Crashes vs. Congestion,” a governmental cost of trade accidents, injuries and fatalities nationally is roughly $300 billion, or three times a cost of trade congestion. Success in shortening a series of trade accidents in a U.S. 29 mezzanine potentially would not usually revoke tellurian pang though paint a outrageous mercantile gain.

Drawing on third-party investigate and 2009 data, a AAA estimates that a singular vehicle deadliness costs multitude $6 million, while a trade repairs costs $126,000. Additionally, slight accidents can cost thousands of dollars in skill repairs to cars. According to a Highway Loss Data Institute (HLSI), it costs $4,000 to correct an vehicle concerned in an accident, and typically many accidents engage dual or some-more vehicles.

According to a Albemarle County and Charlottesville military departments, a series of accidents that occurred on a bypassed portions of U.S. 29 and a U.S. 250 Bypass averaged 289 per year in 2010 and 2011, while a series of injuries averaged 108. There were no fatalities. Using AAA numbers, a injuries alike to an mercantile detriment of $13.6 million in 2011. Using HSLI numbers and presumption an normal of dual cars per accident, automobile correct costs amounted to $2.3 million.

Clearly, a intensity exists to reap vast mercantile gains by shortening a series of accidents an injuries along U.S. 29. The wily partial is calculating what impact a Charlottesville Bypass would have.

Assuming a Bypass diverts 10,000 vehicles, it would revoke trade volume in a influenced area by roughly 20%. Would that revoke a series of trade accidents?

Ray Khoury, arch VDOT engineer, says yes. He attributes a magnitude of accidents to a multiple of high trade upsurge and a vast series of intersections, trade signals, driveways and other branch points in a business corridor. The Bypass would revoke a magnitude of accidents, he says. “Any time we take trade out of a transport corridor, generally trucks, we will revoke a intensity for crashes.”

A rebate in a series of accidents does not indispensably interpret into revoke mercantile cost, however. As a AAA news states:

A formidable attribute exists between overload and crashes. Although a justification is mixed, rebate undiluted roadways seem to lead to fewer, though some-more severe, crashes. This attribute is generally clever in a box of pile-up severity; that is, some-more serious crashes start on rebate undiluted roadways due in vast partial to faster speeds. On some-more undiluted roadways, a series of crashes might increase, though they might be essentially teenager crashes reflecting a augmenting weaving and access/egress movements mostly occurring on undiluted highway segments.

Khoury does not pattern speeds to boost on U.S. 29. The vigilance course will continue to assuage speeds, he says. Thus, a business mezzanine would seem to suffer a best of both words: reduced volume though a consequent boost in speed. All other things being equal, there is any reason to pattern fewer crashes with no offsetting boost in severity.

Fatal accidents

On a other hand, a Bypass termini during Ashwood Boulevard in a north finish and Leonard Sandridge Road on a south finish will significantly boost a complexity of trade upsurge during those dual intersections, thereby augmenting a odds of accidents and injuries during those dual locations.

Khoury says that VDOT has not conducted any studies to inspect a impact of a Bypass on a series or astringency of trade accidents. So, calculating an mercantile benefit, if any, from softened reserve would be an practice in speculation. Throwing counsel to a winds, however, we will try to calculate an order-of-magnitude estimate. First, we assume that, all other things being equal, shortening a trade volume by 20% will lead to a 20% decrease in a series of accidents and injuries. Second, we assume that converting dual elementary traffic-lighted intersections during any finish of a Bypass into dual formidable intersections will boost a corridor-wide series of accidents by 5%. If both assumptions are roughly accurate, a Bypass will revoke a $15.9 million in annual mercantile repairs from trade accidents by $2.4 million.

Adding a conjectured assets from fewer trade accidents and injuries would boost a sum mercantile assets to $8.2 million annually. While that would boost a Return on Investment on a $244 million Bypass investment to 3.4%, it still would tumble underneath a commonwealth’s 4.4% cost of collateral and still would outcome in net resources destruction.

Economic Development

Economic expansion is a third categorical justification for a bypass. The U.S. 29 mezzanine is a primary expansion mezzanine and an mercantile engine for a Charlottesville-Albemarle region. The Workplace 29 news published by a Free Enterprise Forum found that a area contributes 45% of a county’s inner taxation revenue, supports 20,000 jobs and generates roughly $800 million in annual salaries. While a Forum permitted a Charlottesville Bypass, a classification has finished no petrify claims per a inner mercantile impact.

Forum President Neil Williamson supports a Bypass as many for what it wouldn’t do as for what it would. The devise would describe nonessential a choice proceed of converting a U.S. 29 business district into what he calls an “expressway.” Building separated-grade interchanges and restricting entrance to a highway during pivotal intersections, as described in a Places29 plan, would mistreat many businesses located in a corridor, he says.

Can he request an mercantile advantage from a Bypass? Williamson concedes that he cannot. But he suggests that a categorical alternative, Places29, would means some businesses to change locations – “some within a county, maybe some outward a county.” What would a repairs be? He acknowledges that he can't put a series on a impact.

Likewise, Rex Hammond, boss of a Lynchburg Regional Chamber, openly admits that he can't request any discernible advantage to a Lynchburg economy. Rather, observant a region’s miss of entrance to an Interstate highway, he flips a weight of explanation to those who have against a project. “How do we decider a series of companies that have not located in Lynchburg and Danville? How do we know how many trucking companies would have finished business here? How do we know how many tourists would have come by a community? How do we magnitude mislaid opportunities since of a condition of a highway as it is?”

Lynchburg transport time
Any response to Hammond’s doubt is speculative, though it is distant from self clear that shred 3 mins off a transport time between Lynchburg and, say, Philadelphia, New York City or Boston would measurably urge a mercantile competitiveness of manufacturers in Central Virginia or make Lynchburg a some-more appealing transport end for Northern tourists. According to Google Maps, a transport time from Lynchburg to a Big Apple is 7 hours and 56 minutes. Saving 3 mins by holding a Charlottesville Bypass would revoke a length of a outing by 1/160th. In any case, delays in Charlottesville are approaching to be distant surpassed by congestion-related delays in a Washington, D.C., area.

Indeed, Hammond stresses that a Bypass is partial of a incomparable problem – a augmenting overload of U.S. 29 due to encroaching development, stop lights, crossovers and blurb driveways. The Bypass, he says, is a Band-Aid. “You have understanding with a systemic issue. This is a state’s highway, a nation’s. … The approach we concur entrance points and red lights and blurb and residential expansion has to change” or a Bypass will have to be extended. The state can build a bypass though if it allows developers and home builders unlimited entrance to U.S. 29 north of a bypass, overload will stand adult again.

The bottom line: While Bypass proponents disagree that there are mercantile advantages to a Bypass, they do so in epitome terms and they concur that they have no discernible justification to behind adult their claims. No one has conducted any studies. The benefits, such as they are, can't be totalled with any confidence. As such, it is unfit to incorporate mercantile impact into any Return on Investment model.

Cost of Project

One other vital means affects Return on Investment: a cost of a Bypass. For functions of discussion, we have used VDOT’s central $244 million guess as a basement for my calculations. But a tangible cost could be aloft or lower, depending on how bidders respond to VDOT’s RFP this spring. In inner discussions, VDOT engineers have warned that a devise could be vastly some-more costly than creatively anticipated: The cost of slicing by plateau and stuffing ravines in sections of a track could run as many as $100 million aloft than a central estimate. Additionally, a Southern Environmental Law Center has highlighted a problem of squeezing both a Bypass and a Berkmar Drive extension, another high priority project, by a bottleneck during a North Fork of a Rivanna River.

But a McDonnell administration has cited 3 reasons since it can keep a devise on budget. First, elaborate on/off ramps in a strange pattern can be simplified, and mine costs can be reduced by lifting a highway elevation. Second, a devise will be administered as a “design-build” contract, that enables a private executive to control pattern and construction work simultaneously, so completing work faster. And third, interjection to diseased mercantile conditions, devise bids have been entrance in 15% to 20% revoke than VDOT operative estimates over a final year and a half.

The ROI investigate is difficult by one additional factor: a cost of highway upkeep and operations. Given an normal upkeep cost of $21,000 per lane-mile opposite a state’s 22,000 miles of primary roads, a Bypass can be approaching to supplement $546,000 a year in ongoing costs.

So, to recapitulate:

+ $5.8 million in assets from overload mitigation
+ $2.4 million in assets from reduced accidents and injuries
– $0.5 in augmenting operations and upkeep costs
= $7.7 million net mercantile benefit

Now, let’s run a attraction analysis. If a bids come in $50 million revoke than a central $244 million estimate, a Return on Investment will be 4.0% formed on overload slackening and reduced trade accidents/injuries. If a bids come in $50 million over, a ROI will be 2.7%. That compares to a 4.4% seductiveness a country pays on a debt. Thus, even underneath a many confident cost unfolding a Bypass never reaches mercantile mangle even. Under all other cost scenarios, it destroys poignant value. 

Alternative Investments

In a business world, corporate executives review a expected Return on Investment of one devise with a ROI on choice uses of a capital. Many potentially essential investments never get finished since collateral can be directed to projects that beget an even aloft rate of return. In a instance of U.S 29, there are alternatives to building a Bypass.

A 2010 Commonwealth Transportation Board investigate of a U.S. 29 mezzanine spelled out minute ideas for shortening overload and improving reserve in northern Albemarle County. Potential investments embody re-timing trade signals any 3 years, installing trade cameras and reserve detectors, and building use roads that couple businesses though a prerequisite of hopping onto a highway. Grade-separated interchanges during vital intersections also could urge trade upsurge and revoke formidable trade patterns that minister to accidents.

The region’s Places29 devise provides a minute plans for requesting a beliefs discussed in that study. The idea of a investments would be to revoke transport times in a mezzanine for everyone, not usually cars and trucks flitting by a region. Places29 would reinstate a traffic-lighted intersections during Hydraulic and Rio Roads with interchanges, finish together roads on a Hillsdale and Berkmar Drive extensions, make some-more ramp improvements to U.S. 250, make improvements to obtuse intersections and build walking ramps over U.S. 29. All a Places29 priority projects contemplated for a subsequent 10 years could be saved for half a cost of a Bypass. VDOT never complicated a intensity ROI of a projects on that list.

The McDonnell administration didn’t invent a stream complement for prioritizing transport projects, that has developed over many decades. But Governor Bob McDonnell does devise to spend billions of dollars – many of it borrowed – on mega-projects even bigger than a Bypass during his four-year reign in office, so it is reasonable for adults to insist that he allot that income in a approach that will accomplish a many good for a many series of people. The Charlottesville Bypass falls distant brief of assembly that standard. And, though some-more design criteria for ranking transporation priorities, so could a projects that follow.


This essay was finished probable by a sponsorship of a Piedmont Environmental Council.


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Customized Dodge Dart Targets Compact Segment in Chicago

(EMAILWIRE.COM, February 14, 2012 ) CONCORD, N.H.– Mopar, Chrysler’s in-house tuning and parts division, celebrated 75 years of service by debuting four customized cars to the 2012 Chicago Auto Show last week, including a 2013 Dodge Dart GTS 210 Tribute. As a heavily accessorized version of the all-new 2013 Dart arriving at Dodge dealerships this summer, the GTS 210 Tribute was designed to promote the Mopar customization kits that will be available to new Dart owners starting this fall.

Mopar’s Dart GTS 210 Tribute featured just some of the more than 150 new accessories that have been developed for the 2013 Dodge Dart, the first vehicle to use that nameplate since the original Dart was discontinued in 1976. The new Dart shares design cues with muscle-bound sports cars like the Dodge Challenger and Charger, providing an aggressively styled option in compact form for commuters looking to stand out from the crowd.

“The new Dodge Dart is a showstopper without the Mopar accessories, but the little additions really send it over the top,” said Brian Duval, general manager of Concord, New Hampshire Dodge dealership Bob Mariano Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. “Today’s car buyers like to customize their cars to fit their personality, and having the full Mopar catalog at their disposal makes it easy and affordable.”

Mopar presented the Dart in Chicago with two accessory packages: an appearance package called Mopar Stage 1 and a performance package called Mopar Stage 2. Featuring leather upholstery and piano-black accents on the inside, Mopar Stage 1 also bundles matte-black exterior trim pieces like a chin spoiler, side skirts, a rear spoiler and a carbon-fiber vented hood.

Tweaking the most powerful of the Dart’s trio of engines, the Mopar Stage 2 system adds a new exhaust system and an improved air-intake system to the 2.4-liter Tigershark with MultiAir unit to boost horsepower from 184 to 210. The Dodge Dart will also be available with a standard 2.0-liter 160-horsepower engine and a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine that produces the same amount of horsepower but more torque, reaching 184 pound-feet.

Mopar saw no reason to touch the Dart’s available Uconnect infotainment system, which Dodge claims to be the most technologically advanced in the vehicle’s class. A center-mounted 8.4-inch touchscreen controls the stereo, navigation and hands-free phone calls, while the available Garmin Navigation and SiriusXM Travel Link can offer access to fuel prices, weather updates, sports scores and movie listings. The 2013 Dart also has an optional reconfigurable gauge cluster that features a class-exclusive seven-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display, allowing drivers to keep a clear eye on their performance.

“Dodge packed an incredible amount of technology into its most affordable car, which shows its commitment to providing a top-notch driving experience,” Duval noted. “The Dart is going to be a game changer, and we think New Hampshire drivers are going to find it to be the most engaging compact car on the market.”

About Bob Mariano Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram:
New Hampshire Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler and Ram customers come to Bob Mariano Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram for unmatched attention to detail, whether they are searching for a new or used Jeep, financing a new Chrysler sedan, or looking for Dodge service and parts for a crossover, SUV or pickup truck. Their knowledgeable sales team can help you find the right car at the right price, while their parts and service specialists get you back on the road quickly and effectively. Put them to work for you by visiting, calling 603-228-1345 or stopping by their dealership at 146 Manchester Street in Concord, N.H. You can also find them on Facebook at

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Why Electric Cars Are More Polluting than Gas Guzzlers — during Least in China

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

It’s unspoken, though each motorist gliding around city behind a circle of a Prius is meditative a same thing: “I’m saving a planet. What are we doing, we dirty-fossil-fuel burner?”

What’s pragmatic is that hybrid or electric-car drivers are also saving tellurian lives, given a fuel-burning inner explosion engines that appetite required vehicles evacuate CO dioxide and excellent particulate matter including acids, organic chemicals as good as dirt and soil; this wickedness has been related to respiratory and heart problems and cancer.

But, according to a new investigate published in a biography Environmental Science Technology, it turns out that a use of electric vehicles might not be that purify after all, quite in a world’s many populated country, China.

In a study, Christopher Cherry, an partner highbrow of polite and environmental engineering during University of Tennessee, and his colleagues found that in terms of atmosphere pollution, electric vehicles were some-more damaging to open health per kilometer trafficked than gasoline-powered cars. That’s right — a electrically powered cars incited out to be dirtier than those with inner explosion engines.

VIDEO: Turning Old Gas Guzzlers Into Electric Vehicles

How could that be? Cherry says there’s been an substantial arrogance that since electric cars don’t bake hoary fuels, they’re cleaner for a sourroundings and safer for people, though that doesn’t take into comment how a electricity they use is generated. In China, that would be from — we guessed it — hoary fuels. About 85% of a country’s electricity is powered by hoary fuels, of that 95% is coal.

“It’s wily comparing electric automobile emissions with emissions from inner explosion engines, since we can’t review a emissions,” says Cherry. “With gasoline engines, a 1-1 change in emissions formula in a 1-1 change in health outcomes since a emissions are expelled in a same place where people breathe them.”

That’s not a box with electric cars, whose unwashed emissions are expelled during a electricity-generating appetite plant, while a automobile is used elsewhere. It’s this undo that has given electric vehicles an apparently cleaner check for health, though Cherry says that once we cause in how many people within a operation of electricity generating appetite plants are influenced by emissions, a story gets a small dirtier. In China’s case, wickedness from electricity plants is swelling bearing to potentially damaging particulates in a atmosphere from civic populations to those in some-more remote farming regions.

Kilometer per kilometer, electric cars in China kick out required vehicles as among a misfortune environmental polluters. On average, a excellent particulate emissions per passenger-km are 3.6 times incomparable for electric cars than for gasoline cars. That’s softened than for diesel cars though on standard with diesel buses, that can widespread their environmental impact opposite a series of passengers they carry. “If we review gasoline automobile emissions to electric automobile emissions, a electric cars demeanour very, really bad,” says Cherry. “So a indicate is that we have to cruise a emissions bearing when a bearing source is distant detached — a electrical appetite plant as against to a tailpipe of a car.”

MORE: 6 New Developments in a World of Electric Cars

The problem is that a Chinese government, in a well-intentioned bid to foster some-more eco-friendly appetite use, has been pushing electric cars, motorcycles and scooters in new years. The bid has been so successful that electric bike tenure is surging during 86% annual growth. There are now 100 million electric bikes on China’s roads, and they outnumber gas-powered cars 2-to-1.

The good news is that while electric cars didn’t transport so good in shortening emissions, electric bikes and scooters — that typically use one-tenth a electricity of a cars — did a lot better. The researchers found that e-bike use softened atmosphere peculiarity and environmental health by displacing a use of larger, some-more polluting vehicles.

There’s also some wish in China’s changing appetite policies; cities in a southwest have adopted cleaner electricity generating appetite sources, and generally recover fewer emissions than those in a northeast. Cherry records also that electricity era in a U.S. is cleaner than it is in China, that means that a impact of electric automobile use in a dual countries can’t be compared. But a formula prominence an critical doctrine not only for China though for anyone fervent to scale adult choice appetite prolongation as a approach to advantage both male and a planet.

“China has a lot some-more room for alleviation in a appetite sector, and a lowest unresolved fruit would be to purify adult a appetite zone first,” says Cherry, rather than focusing on obscure automobile emissions. Once that happens, he says, “electric cars will have room to benefit on required cars in a prolonged run.”

Alice Park is a author during TIME. Find her on Twitter during @aliceparkny. You can also continue a contention on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter during @TIME.

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