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TheCityFix Picks, August 5: Hangzhou Bike Share, Plan Verde, Low Car Diet Challenge

Mexico City's Plan Verde (Green Plan), which commissioned Metrobus' fuel efficient buses, has set the city on course to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Photo by Abbaner Casmill.

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: integrated transport, urban development and accessibility, air quality and climate change, health and road safety, and communications and marketing.

Integrated Transport

The Hangzhou Public Transport Company reports robust bike sharing rates in the Chinese city, with around 200,000 daily bike rides and each bike being used roughly five times per day.

California senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein announced a $9.7 million grant for a bus rapid transit project (BRT) on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The BRT will feature dedicated bus lanes and is expected to reduce travel time along the boulevard by 25 percent.

Chinese and German ministers signed two joint declarations of cooperation to collaborate on work in the areas of sustainable mobility, energy efficiency and innovative transport technology.

Mexico City is on course to meet its greenhouse gas reduction target of 7.7 million tons by 2012, in part due to the city’s Plan Verde (Green Plan), which targets various urban systems, including transport, energy, and air quality. Transportation is responsible for 44 percent of Mexico City’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Urban Development and Accessibility

The city of Philadelphia, Pa. announced its Pedestrian Plaza Program. The initiative will focus on converting underutilized street segments into public space.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a new country strategy with Costa Rica amounting to roughly $1 billion in loans for the period of 2011 to 2014. The strategy focuses on work in the areas of transport, energy, and early childhood development and innovation.

IIT Delhi under the aegis of India’s Ministry of Urban Development will host the fifth Urban Mobility Conference in Delhi in December of this year. Those interested in including their urban transport research in the conference must submit abstracts by August 31.

Air Quality and Climate Change

A new study on Munich electric vehicle (EV) owners uncovered the interesting consensus of 88 percent of participants finding it more convenient to refuel their EV than a traditionally-fueled vehicle.

The UNEP’s Green Economy Report released the finding that investing 0.34 percent of the global GDP each year until 2050 in transportation sector development can reduce global oil usage by 80 percent.

Barcelona’s bicycle sharing scheme reduces roughly 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide pollution each year and saves about 12 lives, reports a new study from researchers at Barcelona’s Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology.

Health and Road Safety

A new report, “Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do” summarizes all research on distracted driving as of January 2011. Sadly, the report offers the conclusion that there is no present evidence that initiatives banning cell phone use while driving have been effective in enforcing the behavior.

Red light cameras at traffic intersections induce crash reductions of roughly 25 percent, according to a new study by the Texas Transportation Institute-Center for Transportation Safety (TTI-CTS).

Two-thirds of polled Americans rated themselves as either “excellent” or “very good” drivers in a new Allstate survey. In contrast to this self-confidence, the respondents reported that only 29 percent of their close friends fall into such superlative driving categories.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the six winners of its Connected Vehicle Technology Challenge. The challenge sought ideas on vehicle-to-vehicle dedicated short-range communications (DSRC).

Communications and Marketing

Zipcar’s 30-day Low Car Diet Challenge took off at the end of last month and will continue through August. The sustainable-transport spurring contest includes 36 contestants from cities across the United States and Canada.

The Alliance for Biking and Walking kicked off their 2011 People Powered Movement Photo Contest earlier this week. The object of the contest is to bolster the photo reserves of people walking and biking for use by advocacy organizations.

To compliment the state’s new complete streets law, Wisconsin is promoting respective multi-modal road usage with the “Share and Be Aware” program.

Vilnius, Lithuania Mayor Artūras Zuokas ran over a Mercedes car illegally parked in a bike lane with an armored tank in a publicity stunt earlier this week. The mayor identifies as an “avid cyclist” and has backed bringing a bike-share program to the city.

Dutch national bike advocacy organization the Dutch Cyclists Federation – Fietsersbond released a new music video-style commercial encouraging individuals to join the biking movement.

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