Thursday Dec 13, 2007

Taking the Tehran Metro

It is getting really late here in Tehran but a friend at work had sent me a request asking me to write a few things about what I'm doing. 

I've been in Tehran now for the last two days, and besides reading the local papers, eating Persian food, and visiting with my parents, my grandmother, my aunts and my uncle, I had a chance to get out a bit. Earlier today (3 am California time), and along with my family and my brother and his family (visiting from Turkey), I took the Tehran Metro from the Beheshti station, near my parents' home to the Sa'di station. Ticket price for all seven of us: less than $2. Objective: to travel to the electronics bazaar near Sa'di square to buy a new home phone system for my parents, to buy a new fax machine for my dad and to pay a short visit to Cafe Naderi, for  cappuccino, ice-cream and cake. (The cappuccino could be better but the Turkish coffee was excellent. Incidentally, Panasonic rules the phone and fax market here, and the choice was rather quick given the abundance of supply.)

The Tehran Metro Art is quite astounding and the continuous improvements in the last few years in passenger management, traffic and ticketing (including RFID installations) are quite nice to see, and of course, what might impress some visitors most would be its cleanliness.


Route: Line2
Station: Azadi
Art Name: Winter
Artist Name: Ali Mehdi Heidari
Dimensions: 4.95\*2.40 (meter)
Art Kind: Tiles


The only problem is that Tehran can use scores of other stations and many more lines (see the current map), and unfortunately, at one point, I did read in The Washington Post that the large Chinese conglomerate which originally supplied some of the electric powered wagons used in the Tehran Metro  was subsequently, and very soon, put on the sanctions list by the U.S. This was about 3 or 4 years ago, I believe. I did read later, somewhere in the Iranian media, that Iran is now making these wagons in the country but I'm sure it will always be much more convenient and timely to use some of the production capacity in China or elsewhere to supply the lines and more capital investment can surely help with building the remaining lines and stations...but Persians, like all traditional and rooted cultures (and that just happens to be a good starting definition for any culture), are a patient people and will always value honor, commerce, justice and generosity more than threats and hand-outs.

Monday Sep 17, 2007

New Membership

As of last Friday, I joined the Prius club.

Sunday Sep 16, 2007

Hybrid Autos on Display in Frankfurt Motor Show

BMW and Damiler Benz unveil some hybrid models in the Frankfurt Motor Show. (See this blog entry and this report from the WSJ.)

Friday Nov 03, 2006

Scaffolded Urban Intelligence

Technology, when weaved through the fabric of our daily lives, can produce the effect that some have called scaffolded intelligence--intelligence that naturally has merged into our environment.

Great examples of this involve the use of seamless technology (i.e. technology that does not get in our way) to allow us to navigate around. While I have some questions about the natural-life integration of GPS navigation tools within cars, a more interesting integration involves seamless information gathering and distribution for more effective use of transportation artries within a city.

This type of integration has been available in Europe for some time. Users can get accurate information regarding bus, metro and train arrivals at particular stations and they can plan whole trips using their mobile devices, while en route, in several European countries.

Now, a similar system has been implemented for one of the best transportation systems in the U.S.:  Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

For details, see this Washington Post article: Lena H. Sun, "Web Lets Riders See Train Times From Afar," WP, Nov. 3, 2006, page B03.




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