All Transportation stories

Seeking a common language for self-driving cars

Zoox is developing sound patterns that can be pinpointed toward individuals to indicate the intentions of its robotaxi. Photo: Zoox

Autonomous vehicle companies are exploring the use of a common language — standardized light patterns or sounds — that would help driverless cars communicate their intentions to humans.

Why it matters: Autonomous vehicles will share the road with human-driven vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists for a long time. The development of a standard communications method could build trust and reduce traffic accidents.

  • Unlike today's drivers, AVs can't make eye contact with other road users or gesture to indicate it’s OK to cross the road.

The rise of RV living

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

RV — or recreational vehicle — sales have been steadily rising for the last decade. But the numbers were supercharged by the pandemic.

The big picture: Many Americans are taking advantage of newfound work flexibility and pivoting to van life. It slashes costs, takes "glamping" to a new level, and truly embodies the "work-from-anywhere" philosophy.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden speaks at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland on December 2. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday announced new testing protocols for international travelers and extended masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.

Nov 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Travel whiplash: Omicron upends holiday plans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Just when it seemed safe to travel overseas again, along comes Omicron.

Why it matters: The emergence of the new coronavirus variant couldn't come at a worse time, just weeks before millions of people are expected to travel for the holidays to reunite with loved ones they've missed during the pandemic.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Nissan makes its move on electric vehicles

Nissan, which introduced the electric Leaf a decade ago but now has just a small share of the EV market, is looking to power up its efforts.

Driving the news: The company said Monday that it's investing $17.6 billion into electrification efforts over the next five years.

TSA: Sunday marked busiest day for air travel since start of pandemic

Expand chart
Data: TSA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Transportation Security Administration screened 2,451,300 people at airports across the U.S. on Sunday, making it the busiest day for air travel since the beginning of the pandemic.

Driving the news: Nearly 20.9 million passengers passed through TSA checkpoints from Nov. 19 through Nov. 28, more than double the number of air travelers screened during the same period last year, TSA said.

Updated Nov 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

In photos: Thanksgiving travel nears pre-pandemic levels

A long line of people awaiting rides after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

People are journeying across the U.S. en masse this week to commemorate the Thanksgiving holiday, with air travel closing in on pre-pandemic levels after more than a year of COVID.

Why it matters: Last Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans not to travel because of the pandemic. One year later, the total number of people traveling for the holiday by car, bus, train or plane is expected to cross 53 million, or 95% of 2019 levels.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

U.S. fuel economy hits record high but falls short of policymakers' hopes

Data: EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

New EPA data on U.S. vehicle fuel economy paints a mixed picture, showing record average efficiency in model year 2020 that's nonetheless far short of what policymakers hope to see ahead.

Driving the news: The annual report shows that average overall fuel economy for cars, SUVs and light trucks sold in the U.S. reached 25.4 miles per gallon (mpg) in model year 2020 in real-world conditions, a 0.5 mpg increase over 2019.

TSA screens highest number of air travelers since start of pandemic

Transportation Security Administration workers screen passengers Nov. 8 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 2.24 million airline passengers on Friday, marking the highest number of air travelers since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Why it matters: The milestone comes after experts anticipated significantly more people would travel this holiday season.