Travel tips from Amazing Race winners Will Jardell and James Wallington
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From electric cars, trucks and boats to autonomous cargo trains and self-driving race cars, the innovative technology showcased at CES this year indicated a growing shift in the way people and goods move.
Some of the products unveiled this week could power a future full of smart cities where buses and cars communicate seamlessly to plot safe and efficient routes, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Thursday in a virtual speech at the CES 2022.
However, he also emphasized the responsibility policymakers have to consider the potential challenges and safety concerns of new technology.
“We are witnessing the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles, the widespread adoption of recreational and commercial drones, renewed attention to cybersecurity vulnerabilities in our infrastructure, increasingly routine commercial space travel, and perhaps most urgently, the high-stakes race to dramatically reduce transportation’s impact on our climate before it’s too late,” he said.
Buttigieg said the public sector needs to be intentional about the role it plays and announced that his department is establishing a set of six principles, the first of its kind, to support and regulate innovation in the transportation sector.
“These principles will ensure that the enormous potential of U.S. transportation innovation benefits our nation and its people,” Buttigieg said.
Electric cars and autonomous vehicles were a big trend at CES this year, but they have garnered criticism in the past for malfunctioning and crashing. One of Buttigieg’s principles addresses safety issues such as these. Specifically, the DOT will create new testing standards and a national incident database for crashes involving self-driving cars.
The principles also ensure equitable access to transportation and support communities and workers impacted by the technological shift in the industry. In the case of electric and autonomous vehicles, the DOT is working with organized labor groups to evaluate and address the consequences such vehicles might have on the workforce.
Under the new principles, public, private and academic sectors will collaborate with one another, Buttigieg said, noting that policies should have the flexibility to change as technology continues to advance.
Although some critics say that innovation and government do not always go together, Buttigieg pointed to companies like Tesla, Apple and Google — all of which used government subsidies and loans to prosper in their early days — to show that the public sector “has always played a vital part in unlocking the innovative capacity” of American entrepreneurs.
He also called on the industry to use technology to confront the climate crisis, saying the goal of innovation in the transportation sector should be to “help America win the 21st century with transportation systems and infrastructure that make communities more competitive, adaptable, and resilient.”
Buttigieg said President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill will help fund some of these endeavors. The bill will provide $550 billion to invest in overall infrastructure projects, including $110 billion for roads and bridges. The package also includes $11 billion for transportation safety and $7.5 billion for zero emission buses, ferries and trains. An additional $7.5 billion is allocated for federal investments in electric vehicle charging stations across the country.
“The investments in that law will help more Americans purchase affordable EVs and save money on gas. They will help more children take the bus to school without being exposed to toxic fumes. And they will put more people to work creating the infrastructure of the future,” Buttigieg said.
He added that innovation isn’t just about the technologies but how the federal government can help make available the resources needed to deliver useful products.
“It’s a huge opportunity, and a big challenge, because alongside that funding, it will be vitally important for us to improve our country’s track record in delivering big infrastructure projects on time, on task, and on budget.”
LONDON/AMSTERDAM: The Omicron coronavirus variant spread around the world on Sunday (Nov 28), with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is not yet clear whether Omicron, first detected in Southern Africa, is more transmissible than other variants, or if it causes more severe disease.
“Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalisation in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection,” WHO said.
WHO said understanding the level of severity of Omicron “will take days to several weeks”.
The detection of Omicron triggered global alarm as governments around the world scrambled to impose new travel restriction and markets sold-off, fearing the variant could resist vaccinations and upend a nascent economic reopening after a two-year global pandemic.
In its statement, the WHO said it was working with technical experts to understand the potential impact of the variant on existing countermeasures against COVID-19, including vaccines.
Britain said it will convene an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss the developments.
Authorities had tested all of the more than 600 passengers on those two flights and had found 61 coronavirus cases, going on to test those for the new variant.
“This could possibly be the tip of the iceberg,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told reporters in Rotterdam.
Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” last week by the WHO that is potentially more contagious than previous variants, has now been detected in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands and South Africa.
If running a marathon is a bucket-list goal, your sign-up window for two of the biggest races on Earth is right now: You can enter the lotteries for both the 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon (applications close Nov. 30) and the BMW Berlin Marathon 2022 (until Dec. 6). Both are World Marathon Majors — a group of six sought-after events — and will take place next fall.
Canada’s largest permanent immersive destination, Oasis Immersion, is showcasing their latest exhibition, this one themed around a feel-good sensory journey you stroll through. Called “Recharger/Unwind,” the collection of 10 digital artworks is a riot of colour, light and sound, taking over 23,500 square feet inside the Palais des congrès de Montréal.
New in Banff
During the pandemic, Banff’s Bear Street underwent a major spruce-up to become a more pedestrian-friendly, shared-use street. The first major events to be held there will kick off this holiday season: the Bear Street Holiday Market (weekends from Nov. 19 to Dec. 24) and the Banff Craft Beer Festival (Dec. 3, 4, 9 to 11). The latter has the distinction of being the only festival to focus only on Alberta craft brewers, with more than 30 vendors, including Three Bears Brewery and Restaurant.
Sip and learn
WOW (World of Wine) in Porto isn’t merely a place to get acquainted with the Portuguese city’s most famous aperitif. Opened during the pandemic and recently expanded, it’s a sprawling, full-fledged cultural quarter, with seven interactive museum experiences, covering everything from cork to chocolate. The latest additions include the Pink Palace, dedicated to rosé education, and the Porto Fashion & Fabric Museum.
Located a few minutes from the Douro River, the years-in-the-making district also includes a dozen restaurant and bar options.
Sign up at thestar.com/newsletters to get our weekly Travel Headlines newsletter in your inbox. Travellers are reminded to check on public health restrictions that could affect their plans.
It’s the 36th Los Angeles Marathon on Nov. 7 and you want to experience in person the spectacle for once when more than 27,000 racers from across the United States and around the world take on the 26.2-mile course.
Maybe you promised to catch a glimpse of family or friends or wish to see the elite runners pounding the pavement somewhere along the course from Dodger Stadium to the new finish line in Century City.
It’s time to plan ahead on finding your sidewalk viewing spot.
Wherever you’re starting from, you probably don’t want to drive. Many streets and some freeway off-ramps surrounding the route will be closed beginning in the wee hours of the night. Plus, where to park will be tricky unless you’ve planned ahead.
Taking the Metro — the B Line (also known as the Red Line) from the San Fernando Valley, or the L Line (also known as the Gold Line) from the Pasadena area are two possibilites.
If you’ve never ridden any of the Metro lines, now is the time to study the schedules and plan where you want to be — and when.
The marathon begins at 6:30 a.m. with wheelchair and handcycle participants, followed by the elite women at 6:45, and at 6:55 a.m. the elite men and the full field .
The elite runners are fast, so you might want to calculate your street position by the 2020 winners finish times. Bayelign Teshager, from Ethiopia, was the men’s winner at 2 hours, 8 minutes and 25 seconds. Margaret Muriuki, from Kenya, also flew down the course with her women’s winning time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 27 seconds.
The maximum net race day finish time of 6 hours and 30 minutes is calculated by the time the last runner crosses the start line. The half-way point, around mile 13 of the course, is on the Sunset Strip, the eastbound gateway to the City of West Hollywood.
And just like for the runners, timing and preparation is everything when you take public transportation to view the marathon. Check this page Metro Rider’s Guide: www.metro.net/riding/guide/
In preparation for using any Metro lines on Sunday, you should purchase a TAP card in advance to save time on marathon day. A TAP card is an alternative way from paying cash for bus and train rides in the system. Currently, bus rides are free, but fares need to be paid to ride the rails.
Purchase a TAP card at a Metro station, at a vendor or online. Information on Metro fares and TAP cards here: www.metro.net/riding/fares/
Check Metro’s Saturday, Sunday and holiday schedule section online to see what time you want to arrive at a few easy-to-get-to areas. Make sure you scroll to the end of timetables for the weekend hours section, and also the schedule for the direction in which you want to go.
If you’re coming from the San Fernando Valley, you may want — or need — to take the G Line (formerly known as the Orange Line) from the closest Metro bus station near where you live to Metro’s North Hollywood station. Get off the bus and take the underground passageway to the B Line (also known as the Red Line) station. Check the schedule and map for the G Line (Orange) here: bit.ly/31gwxv6
A larger map of Metro’s system in the San Fernando Valley is here: bit.ly/2PSaRwC
The three closest station stops to get to the marathon route from North Hollywood station are Metro’s Hollywood/Highland, Hollywood/Vine and Hollywood/Western stations.
If you leave early enough, you can ride toward downtown Los Angeles to other stations, including Civic Center/Grand Park. Check the B and D Lines (Red and Purple Lines) schedule and map here: bit.ly/2IptYdk
If you’re coming from the Pasadena or East Los Angeles area, you may use Metro’s L Line (Gold Line) to get to Union Station in Los Angeles. From Union Station, you can catch Metro’s B Line (Red Line) for stops at Civic Center/Grand Park and other westbound stations that are near the marathon course. Check the L Line (Gold) schedule and map here: bit.ly/3cVoVSC
Other ideas to get to the course
Get the phone apps from the popular ridesharing services:
The development of space tourism may still be in its nascent stages, but insurance startup Battleface is looking to stay ahead of the curve with what it claims is the market’s first civilian space travel insurance plan.
Launched earlier this year, Battleface’s space insurance policy is highly customizable, offering many of the same protections typically covered by more traditional travel insurance plans, including trip cancellation and interruption benefits.
“For example, you may have to travel to Texas just to get to your space launch,” said Battleface CEO Sasha Gainullin. “So, standard travel insurance is still an important part of your journey from the time you leave home to the time you come back.”
Unlike regular travel insurance, however, the company’s space travel protections also include add-ons like accidental death and permanent dismemberment coverage. The policy is also far more costly, due to the high expense and risk associated with space travel.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Space Perspectice
When are astronauts not astronauts? When they pay their own way into space, says NASA. But the growing overlap between exploration and adventure travel is redefining both categories.
“It’s very much geared toward individual travelers,” said Gainullin. “We have to understand their background, financial situation, nationality, what they’re looking for in terms of coverage, the training they’re going through and just how safe it is for them to be going into space.”
Gainullin added that Battleface’s space insurance product, which is underwritten by Lloyd’s of London, remains a work in progress. The company plans to adapt its insurance offering as the space tourism landscape continues to evolve.
“One problem we’ll need to solve in the future is how to actually provide assistance [in the event of] an emergency space evacuation,” said Gainullin.
Although it’s early days, interest in Battleface’s civilian space travel insurance has already proven to be fairly robust. The company has been fielding numerous queries from specialty tour operators and travel agencies building a focus around space tourism as well as from brokers working to organize space travel for high net worth individuals.
Just how big the space tourism market is set to grow remains to be seen, but a recent report from Lloyd’s projects that the space travel industry is on track to be worth $1 trillion by 2040.
According to Gainullin, civilian space travel could go relatively mainstream sooner than many might imagine.
“Just last week, we were on the phone with a U.K. travel agency that’s building out an entire model around space tourism, and within the next couple of years, they’re expecting to have space mission trips up to four days in length,” said Gainullin. “So, certainly it’s becoming more and more serious as an industry. And if the pricing [goes down a level], then I think it could become much more like a standard trip type.”
The foray into space travel insurance appears to have been a natural next move for Battleface, which, since launching as a consumer-facing insurance model in 2018, has long specialized in travel insurance products for travelers interested in remote destinations as well as more adventure-oriented activities.
The company has also put a strong emphasis on working with travel agencies, especially those with a focus on adventure and other niche travel experiences.
“What we’ve seen, especially now, is that a lot of travel agents are specializing in a [specific field], whether that’s trips to Antarctica or trips to space,” said Gainullin. “And those are the types of travel agencies that we love to work with.”
“It’s just astonishing,” says Guy Dorrell, a spokesman for Siemens Gamesa, referring to the fact that a single offshore wind farm can now power a million homes. By the end of this year, his firm plans to install an onshore prototype of a 14MW offshore turbine that can be boosted to supply 15MW.
No other details were made immediately available about the trip slated for June 1.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of a race massacre in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, which encompassed more than 35 city blocks of entirely Black-owned businesses. A beacon for African Americans looking to escape the discrimination and violence of the Jim Crow South and live a peaceful and safe life, the district was founded by Black men and women — many of whom were descendants of slaves — and became known as Black Wall Street.
On May 31, 1921, racial tensions and violence with the neighboring White residents in Tulsa boiled over in a massacre. Hundreds of Greenwood’s Black residents were killed and the district was left in ashes.
The White House’s announcement of the visit came after Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met on Tuesday with the family of George Floyd on the one-year anniversary of his death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, sparking nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.
Meanwhile, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — legislation that would set up a national registry of police misconduct, ban racial and religious profiling by law enforcement and overhaul qualified immunity for police officers — remains stalled in the Senate. Biden had set an initial goal of having the legislation passed by Tuesday, but the White House backed off that deadline to allow negotiations to continue in Congress.
Trump’s visit was initially slated for June 19 — Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The date was met with widespread criticism amid the national outcry following Floyd’s death and nationwide protests over police brutality and racial inequality. Trump announced days before Juneteenth that he would reschedule the rally to June 20 “out of respect for this holiday.”
In the round-up: Formula 1’s recently-announced race at Istanbul Park in June has been put in doubt after Britain revised its travel restrictions for the country.
Turkish travel restriction casts doubt on race
Britain, which is home to the majority of F1 teams, announced on Friday that Turkey has been added to its “red list” of countries which “should not be visited except in the most extreme circumstances”. While F1 has previously raced in countries where lockdowns were in force due to the pandemic, it remains to be seen whether this development will put the Turkish Grand Prix under threat.
A Formula 1 spokesperson said the championship is “aware of the announcement made by the UK government regarding travel restrictions for Turkey and are assessing the situation and will provide more details in the coming days.”
Sainz having to learn at Ferrari what he “understood perfectly” at McLaren
Carlos Sainz Jnr says part of the reason for his disappointing performance in the Portuguese Grand Prix, where he fell out of the points on dying tyres in the final laps, was because he doesn’t understand his car’s behaviour as well as he did at McLaren.
“We cannot blame it all on strategy, for sure,” said the Ferrari driver. “We could have done things better. But our tyre understanding before the race wasn’t ideal.
“Also, we didn’t know that the medium was going to be so poor. We didn’t know that the graining was going to be so obvious as it was in the race. We basically didn’t know many things before the race. And we want to to be better at that, better arriving to a race a bit better prepared.
“I’m going to get better at it as the races go on, knowing what the tyres do in the race. This is something that in McLaren, I perfectly knew how the tyre was is going to develop into a race, how the car is going to behave in the race. And maybe I’m still lacking this experience and this this memory this predictability of the car and the tyres in this car in Ferrari.”
Hauger takes pole for opening F3 race
Dennis Hauger beat Jack Doohan for pole position at F3’s first round this year. The two were separated by just six thousandths of a second, after an extremely competitive qualifying session.
Because of Formula 3’s new, three-race weekend format, Hauger will not actually assume his pole position until Sunday’s race, with the top 12 being reversed to start tomorrow’s first of three races.
Until then, making up positions in Saturday’s races is “not that easy”, Hauger admitted. “Even with the new turn 10, it’s not that much easier. Obviously when the tyres degrade at the end of the race I think we’ll get more opportunities. Starting P12 with the new format is going to be interesting, we just have to survive race one, try and get some points and take as many opportunities as we can.”
Juan Manuel Correa, in his return to racing since suffering horrific injuries in the 2019 Spa Formula 2 crash which claimed the life of Anthoine Hubert at Spa, qualified 13th in the 30-strong field.
Hamilton impressed by midfield success
Lewis Hamilton praised the progress midfield teams are making in closing the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull.
“It’s amazing to see the progress that Ferrari and McLarexn are making and even Alpine,” he said. “It’s fantastic to see them so strong. So that applies pressure to us also.”
AlphaTauri trying to improve low-speed cornering
Speaking after Friday’s first practice session, AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost described how the team is working to address the slow-speed cornering deficit which the Portuguese Grand Prix exposed.
“Today we had, in the slow-speed corners, some smaller problems but I think we can get rid of it. Yuki [Tsunoda] had a bit too much understeer in slow-speed and mid-speed corners but no major problems,
“Pierre [Gasly] was, with the soft tyres, quite satisfied. With the hard tyres, he said the car was a little bit too disconnected. The engineers are sitting [down] together to find out hopefully a proper set-up.”