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TheCityFix Picks, April 30: E-Jeepneys in Manila, Moving Back to the City, Bicycles for Haiti
Electronic "jeepneys" (public mini-buses) are getting more popular in the Philippines. Photo by Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Electronic "jeepneys" (public mini-buses) are getting more popular in the Philippines. Photo by Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Welcome back to TheCityFix Picks, our series highlighting the newsy and noteworthy of the past week. Each Friday, we’ll run down the headlines falling under TheCityFix’s five themes: mobility, quality of life, environment, public space, and technology and innovation.

Mobility

European railways garnered praise for their efficient response to the volcano eruption in Iceland. “Railways showed they can be an efficient, flexible and convenient alternative on both short- and long-haul distances for passengers and freight transport,” said Johannes Ludewig, executive director of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies.

New data suggests that 236,000 New Yorkers ride bicycles each day in 2009, up 28 percent from 185,000 daily riders the year before.

Bangkok, Thailand is set to launch a new 12-station, 16-kilometer bus rapid transit system in May.

Quality of Life

The Harvard Business Review says, “Both young workers and retiring Boomers are actively seeking to live in densely packed, mixed-use communities that don’t require cars.” Read the full article here.

People are sending bicycles to Haiti as a way to help with earthquake relief, as discussed in Wired magazine’s “Haiti Rewired” online forum.

Environment

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, a non-governmental organization, is on a mission to replace polluting “jeepney” mini-buses in Manila, Philippines with so-called “e-jeepneys” (electronic jeepneys), as a way to reduce urban air pollution.

Cities in California have the worst air quality in the United States, according to a new study from the American Lung Association where the state’s air quality was rated one of the most polluted in the nation.

Public Space

The state of Colorado will pilot a new Sustainable Main Streets Initiative in five communities “to identify and target specific resources to support community projects, ranging from increasing disaster readiness plans to improving energy efficiency in downtown areas to preserving the cultural integrity of the community’s core.”

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced this week that he would like the city to completely pedestrianize a 1.2-mile expressway road along the River Seine by 2012. See what the area would like like without cars here.

Technology and Innovation

Toyota, French energy provider EDF, and the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg launched a large-scale Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle demonstration in Strasbourg, Germany. This project is part of  Toyota’s plans to deploy 600 Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles in Japan, the United States, Canada and Australia. I

Meanwhile, Better Place demonstrated the world’s first switchable-battery electric taxi in partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, and Nihon Kotsu, Tokyo’s largest taxi operator.

Daimler will be showing off its “future-oriented drive technologies and mobility concepts,” including electric cars powered by batteries or fuel cells, at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, which is to be held from May 1 to October 31, 2010.

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