AHFE Las Vegas – days 2 and 3

By Sanna Pampel

The second and the last day of the AHFE conference prove to be somewhat more relaxed for me, because my main job, the presentation, had been done. These days, though, continued to be filled with very interesting talks. At each time slot a session took place with relevant subjects ranging from vehicle automation, distraction and workload, all kinds of driver support systems to, just before I left, a session dedicated to eco-driving.

Being curious about getting around in a tourist spot such as Las Vegas, I have tried a range of the available transport modes in my free time. I have used small hired buses, shuttles, for a few trips, which drove on roads with stunning views as below:

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Taxis are available in front of every hotel, but at the destination of a short drive I needed to complain about the change as well as the receipt. In fact, the driver had handed me an empty card as receipt! Navigating through Las Vegas with air-conditioned buses turned out to be easy, cheap and convenient. A 24h ticket I purchased on the previous day for the hybrid Deuce bus ($8) could be used to travel all the way to the McCarran Airport. Finally, as I left, I received an upgrade to the business class on my flight to Minneapolis (thank you, thank you, thank you!) It provided a pleasant, more spacious, and therefore, I admit, a tad less sustainable, beginning of a long trip back to Leeds.

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At the end of the blog I want to reveal the outcome of gambling the £1 coin from my friend. In a large casino I searched for the machine matching most clichés, and accepting $1 coins. I inserted the coin…

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… and…

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lost!

So, I am back in good old Europe by now and hope that I can be on the road – or in the air – again soon.

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AHFE Las Vegas – day 1

By Sanna Pampel

The AHFE began for me with a keynote by Dr. Stephen R. Barley from Stanford University about unintended changes caused by technology, such as organisational tensions. The talk was followed by networking at the reception dinner, where I met a number of fellow PhD students, most of them supplied by the Technische Universität München.

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The next morning it was my turn. During a very interesting session for automation of light vehicles I presented the first results of the second study of my PhD, in which I attempted to prompt drivers to use their eco-driving knowledge and skills.

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Getting to the conference venue by the free hotel trams was not as easy as expected. In order to get to and from such a tram station I needed to walk a long way through casinos as well as past shops and restaurants. The tram-trip itself took a small fraction of the time, but in sum, walking turned out to be much faster, and bearable in the early morning hours.

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Another option to move around the Las Vegas Strip is taking one of the hybrid/natural gas buses, owned by the city. The tickets for the more sustainable mode cost about three times as much as the ones for the standard diesel buses running perpendicular to the Strip.

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As you go to Fremont Street, a very recommendable tourist experience, these Deuce/SDX buses commute on dedicated lanes, and become an example of BRT (bus rapid transport).

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In the city I have hardly seen any cyclists, apart from police officers on the pavements and a few brave candidates, nor appropriate road infrastructure. However, as you can see on the rack below, all buses here provide the means for bringing your bicycle with you on the bus.

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AHFE 2015 – arrived in Las Vegas

By Sanna Pampel

My trip to Las Vegas included three flights, and a drive with an electric bus in Schiphol, which I doubt made up for the emissions generated by my detour to Amsterdam. However, an electric fleet makes much sense on a restricted area such as an airport, and this one is even solar powered.

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… and then, late at night (early morning UK time), I finally arrived in Vegas:

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The first impression of the city was amazing. It is warm and loud, crowded and welcoming, as the image above may suggest. A shuttle I had booked on-line brought me to my hotel, which is located on the main-tourist-stretch, the Las Vegas Strip. Searching for something to eat, I went on a first walk, and was quite astonished by the sheer amount of pedestrians.

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A tourist guide explained to me that the number of pedestrians has increased substantially during the last ten years. In the 70s and 80s walking was almost unheard of. People would make sure they are not seen in public before dressing up and then travel virtually everywhere by taxi – even when the destination is across the street. Today, with ample street crossing facilities and pedestrian bridges it is so much easier to walk around the Las Vegas Strip than I had expected.

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Lastly, being curious about the days ahead, I made sure that I caught a glimpse of the conference venue Caesars Palace, here on the left:

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AHFE 2015 Las Vegas

By Sanna Pampel

I agreed to blog about my trip to Las Vegas for the AHFE, the 6th International Conference Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics 2015, so stay tuned! First I will have a few days to get to know Las Vegas and have a look at all kinds of transport means with different degrees of sustainability. Then on Tuesday 28th July I will present about ‘The activation of eco-driving mental models: Are regular reminders able to change driving habits?’

A fellow PhD student provided me with a dollar, which I will put into a gamble machine and see what happens…

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