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TheCityFix Picks, December 10: Dubai's Transit Hopes, Wasted Parking in America, U.K. Emission Cuts
At any given moment, there are 500 million parking spaces sitting empty in the United States. Photo by Jeffrey Smith.

At any given moment, there are 500 million parking spaces sitting empty in the United States. Photo by Jeffrey Smith.

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

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that $1.2 billion in economic stimulus funds for transportation projects will be reappropriated to 13 states, with the majority going to California and Florida. Ohio and Wisconsin were the original recipients but rejected the federal monies.

Dubai set a target of 30 percent of the emirate’s population using public transport by 2020. High metro ridership seems to show the city is on track to meet the goal.

This week saw the debut of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Green Line. The light rail line is expected to serve about 15,000 passengers per week by the end of its first year in service.

Minneapolis’ first bus rapid transit station opened this week. The newest station is part of the Interstate 35W Bus Rapid Transitway, a BRT project that will be in full operation in 2012.

Quality of Life

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is considering recommendations on how American kids travel, such as including higher age requirements for rear-facing car seats.

Municipal leaders in Israel’s Dan region around Tel Aviv announced plans to create a regional transportation authority in response to demands for real solutions to the region’s congestion problems.

A new report looks at cities that have endured recent economic turbulence and shows that the developing world is leading the way out of the Great Recession. What is the most “dynamic” city? Istanbul.

Ikea has a big surprise for all 12,400 U.S. employees: A new bike for everyone!

Public Space

The first nationwide count of parking spaces across the United States revealed their high environmental cost. At any given time, there are at least 500 million empty spaces.

Portland, Ore. began work on the city’s latest urban space project, which features an Old World-style piazza, fountain and cafe. It’s the “best European city in America!” hails Metropolis Magazine.

Since 2010, Google Maps has offered routes specifically for bikes. Now, cyclists can use their computers to plot the best route from point A to point B, including the topography and traffic conditions.

Environment

The British Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published a report in which it advises the United Kingdom to cut emissions 60% by 2030‎. If passed into law, the goal would be the first legally binding 2030 target in the world.

A new hybrid ferry will bring tourists to the Statue of Liberty starting next spring. The 600-passenger Hornblower Hybrid will use a combination of diesel, hydrogen, solar and wind power.

Hybrids are set to overtake gas-powered company cars within a decade, says a new survey out of Britain. Less than 5 percent of those surveyed believe that gas-fueled cars will outsell other fuel types in 10 years.

Technology and Innovation

Eighty cabs in London will test a contactless payment system that allows passengers to pay fares up to £15 by tapping a reader with their Visa card.

A new iPhone app slows down your music when you speed using GPS technology. If you go over 6.2 miles per hour above the legal limit, the app shuts off your audio all together.

The Open Standard for Public Transport Alliance introduced the Cipurse, a new open specification for securing contactless transactions between transit passes and access points like turnstiles.

Ford started shipping the Transit Connect, the first all-electric commercial plug-in van. The $57,400 vehicle has a range of 80 miles.

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