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Luxembourg is first country to offer free mass transit to all - Curbed

Urban traffic is an ongoing problem for many of the world’s cities. On an individual level, traffic is frustrating. But collectively, cars in jam-packed streets contribute to increased air pollution and exhaust that has been linked to an estimated three million deaths every year caused by air pollution. Such sobering statistics have caused cities like London, Paris, and Seoul to double-down on car-free policies, including things like price congestion, car-free areas, the banning of diesel vehicles, and policies that would create more bike and pedestrian friendly cities. Just recently, one of the smallest countries in the world has promised a new solution: Free mass transit for all. According

Will Norway’s Electric-Vehicle Boom Outlast Its Incentives? - City Lab

No other country on Earth has bet as big on electric vehicles as Norway, and it’s finally paying off. Half of all new cars sold to Norwegians are either fully electric or hybrid, making the country of 5.3 million the biggest per-capita market for EVs. Norway’s EV success is owed to both the carrot and the stick. It offers extremely generous incentives to EV buyers, and it punishes people who continue to use gas or diesel cars. Capital city Oslo has made extraordinary efforts to promote EVs, including toll-free roads, HOV-lane access, free parking, and free charging. “I think you could call it a success, because the density of EVs in Oslo is quite special at the moment: 57 percent of all new

2018 Was the Year of the Scooter - City Lab

Albert Camus once likened absurdity to a man with a sword attacking a nest of a machine guns. But Camus never saw an electric scooter. When these shared, dockless vehicles began to materialize in American cities early this year (the first scooters emerged late last year in Santa Monica), the erstwhile child’s toys seemed like a ridiculous answer to some very grown-up transportation challenges. But despite some initial dorky misgivings, e-scooters swiftly and silently inserted themselves into the American cityscape. Unlocked with smartphone apps from an array of happy-sounding four-letter startups with names like Lime, Bird, Skip, and Spin, scooters found riders among tourists, communities of

PA Turnpike expects more than six million holiday motorists to hit the roads - Montco.Today

The PA Turnpike Commission (PTC) today projected that 6.3 million vehicles will travel the Turnpike during the holiday period beginning Thursday, Dec. 20 and concluding with the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 1. “While there may be a white Christmas in parts of Pennsylvania with heavy rain and snow in the forecast for later this week, the weather does not seem to be a deterrent for those heading out for the holidays,” said PTC CEO Mark Compton. “Typically, the Christmas through New Year holiday is among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year, with 90 percent of travel occurring by car. Most of the traffic is expected to be spread out over the holiday week. However, this year many ho

We Can’t Stop Global Warming Without Reducing Driving - Streets Blog USA

Electric vehicles aren’t going to cut it, emissions-wise. That’s one alarming finding in a new report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The estimates vary. But one important finding estimates [PDF, page 65] that about 20 percent of emission reductions needed to limit temperature rise need to come from trips avoided or trips shifted — from cars to trains, buses and bikes. Meredith Hankins, an environmental law fellow at UCLA notes in an article for Legal Planet that this has been soft-pedaled in discussions about decarbonizing the transportation sector. But as transport emissions make up a greater and greater portion of overall emissions, it’s time we started discussing our stra

The Life-Saving ‘Dutch Reach’ Comes to American Driver’s Ed - City Lab

For people who bike on city streets, moving cars are pretty scary: They stop short, swerve suddenly, and make right-hook turns at intersections. But parked cars pose a serious threat, too, because that’s how cyclists get doored. There’s an extremely easy way for a driver to mitigate these dreaded encounters between car doors and passing bicyclists: Open the door with the right hand, rather than the left, which forces the driver to swivel around and give a quick rearwards glance into the traffic lane. Some traffic safety advocates refer to the maneuver as the “Right Hand Reach.” Michael Charney, a retired doctor in Massachusetts who has perhaps become the technique’s top evangelist, populariz

New guidelines for pedestrian safety focus on preventing crashes before they happen - Mobility Lab

When a city tries to improve pedestrian safety, most of the time they’ll take what’s called (informally) the “hot spot” approach. With limited funds, this method improves one particular area – a mid-block crosswalk or an intersection, for example – where a person walking had previously been hit by a vehicle. The problem with this approach, however, is that fixing areas where a pedestrian crash occurred doesn’t account for risk factors present in other areas. If pedestrian crashes rarely happen in a city, improving the one spot where the crash happened doesn’t protect people walking in a high-risk area. A better approach is a systemic approach, according to the National Cooperative Highway Re

Chicago Transit’s website redesign offers blueprint for improving rider experience - Mobility Lab

Transit users are an agency’s most valuable source of insight – especially when it comes to improving their website. A website of a large public transportation provider has to serve many different uses at the same time. Customers typically use an agency’s website to plan trips, check arrival times, and get updates on planned work. Visitors typically need to get maps, figure out fares, and find their way around. Journalists, advocates, and policymakers need to keep up with capital plans, system improvements, and service quality for their constituents. How can a transit agency’s website fulfill the needs of all users and reenergize their relationship with transit? Engaging with each group give

Why Are We Still Waiting for Electric Buses? - Streets Blog

There are 300,000 battery powered electric buses in the world. Only 1,600 are in the United States. China has 50 times that number. Electric buses offer potentially big benefits for cities: Cleaner air, quieter neighborhoods, efficiency that saves $130,000 over the bus’s lifetime, and, of course, helping cities achieve zero carbon transportation. But America remains on the sidelines. What’s going on? The nation is in the midst of a long-overdue attempt to bring its bus fleets from the 1940s to the 21st century. Even enthusiastic transit agencies are struggling, and some transit systems are only slowly waking up and smelling the electrons. Albuquerque provides a disheartening example. The cit

Can machine learning improve road safety and traffic? Techies try it out - Mobility Lab

In the right hands, automated systems like computer vision and artificial intelligence can act as tools for humans to make better decisions. For transportation planners and advocates, they can lead to better use of resources and better distribution of space for all road users. At Transportation Techies’ Playing with Traffic Meetup, locally- and internationally-focused coders shared how they have combined machine learning with human analysis to build safer streets around the world. A bot that aggregates unpaid driving citations Daniel Schep and Mark Sussman shared their Twitter bot, @howsmydrivingDC. When someone tweets a license plate number at the bot, typically in response to the car’s dri

America’s Power Grid Isn’t Ready for Electric Cars - City Lab

Today, less than 2 percent of the vehicles Americans buy are electric. But within the next three decades, some automotive industry experts expect electric vehicles could make up the majority of U.S. and global car sales. All told, American drivers log about 3 trillion miles per year, consuming more than 170 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel in the process. Converting all those road miles to electricity would place new demands on the nation’s system for producing and delivering electricity. As part of a major energy infrastructure study, we are seeking to understand how an increase in electric vehicles (EVs) might change how energy is supplied and consumed. So far, we have figured out th

Understanding Transportation as a Service’s potential to reduce car ownership - Mobility Lab

More users but fewer cars on the road is the estimated end result of the oncoming Transportation as a Service (TaaS) model, according to the Hon. Jennifer M. Granholm. TaaS is an attractive option for those looking for easy, flexible transportation without the hassle or cost of owning a personal vehicle. During her presentation at 2018’s Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conference, Granholm, a former two-term governor of Michigan, cited a 2017 RethinkX transportation study as she shared reasons why TaaS will be cheaper than personal cars by 2030. A self-proclaimed “independent think tank,” RethinkX tackles technology-driven subject matter and its implications for society in general. TaaS,

Bikeshare, Scooters, Cars, Trains, Bridges: One Agency to Rule Them All - City Lab

The current management of transportation in American cities is, to put it mildly, balkanized. Powers to regulate, tax, and allocate budgets for modes like transit, automobiles, and taxis are divided across numerous transit authorities, state agencies, and city departments. The predictable result: organizational friction and confusion about who is ultimately responsible for achieving policy goals such as equity, safety, and the reduction of pollution and congestion. This situation is not sustainable, especially in an era when new mobility services like ride-hail and scooters have made the pursuit of regional mobility goals more challenging—and more important—than ever before. It’s time to con

San Francisco Poised to Eliminate Parking Minimums Citywide - Next City

San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to propose removing all parking minimums, with legislation introduced in October, Quartz reports. The city’s minimum parking requirements, which date to the 1950s, require one car space per residential unit, the nonprofit Livable City says. However, San Francisco has been rolling back minimum parking requirements around transit since BART opened in the 1970s, the SF Examiner reported. The new legislation, introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim, would eliminate minimum parking requirements citywide. Developers in San Francisco already avoid building car parking by providing alternatives like bike parking, the Examiner says. The legislation would s

A U.S. Transit Atlas That Ranks the Best (and Worst) Cities for Bus and Rail - City Lab

When a new rail or bus line gets built in the United States, its mere opening is often cause for celebration among transit advocates. That’s understandable, given the funding gaps and political opposition that often stymie projects. But not all trains are bound for glory, and it’s often not hard to see why. In the new book, Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of U.S. Transit (Island Press, $40), Christof Spieler, a Houston-based transit planner, advocate, and former METRO board member, takes stock of the state of American transit with a tough-love approach. In nearly 250 pages of full-color maps, charts, and encyclopedia-style entries, Spieler profiles the 47 American metropolitan re

Two Capital Cities Take Stock of Their Transport Infrastructure, Find It Needs Work - Next City

Report Recommends Major Transportation Improvements for U.S. Capital Region Never mind Amazon HQ2/2. Everything else in the extended Greater Washington, D.C. region — a territory stretching from Baltimore to Richmond — will put a severe strain on the regional transportation system in the years ahead. According to an article on Smart Cities Dive, the Greater Washington Partnership’s “Capital Region Report for Regional Mobility” states that the region’s transportation network is already “too often failing to meet our needs.” And it’s only going to get worse: if the region simply makes the transportation investments it’s currently planning to make between now and 2040, congestion will rise to 1

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