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TheCityFix Picks, Feb. 26: Driving on the Rise, Transport Contributes to Climate Change, Sidewalks Improve Relationships
This week we learned that road transportation is one of the biggest net contributors to climate change - and that driving in the U.S. is going back up.  Photo: neoporcupine, flickr.

This week we learned that road transportation is one of the biggest net contributors to climate change - and that driving in the U.S. is going back up. Photo: neoporcupine, flickr.

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

Mobility

The release of INRIX’s 2009 National Traffic Scorecard shows that the historic decline in driving we’ve seen for the past two years has ended.

Indian Railways Minister announces $9 billion in planned investments in existing rail corridors and a commitment to the development of new high-speed rail corridors.

The U.K. government announces grants available to electric car buyers that will be worth 25% of a car’s recommended retail price.

Representatives from the New York City Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the federal government envision bus rapid transit as part of New York’s eventual transit future, but lack the money and the right-of-way now.

Quality of Life

The Seattle City Council announces its intention to make Seattle the first carbon neutral city in the United States by 2030.

A report released by the Drum Major Institute (DMI) contrasts the $2.8 billion the White House will direct to big-ticket urban aid programs with the estimated budget shortfalls of $19 billion faced by American city governments next year.

The Victoria Transport Policy Institute finds that high quality transit in large American cities is saving households an average of $1,575 per year.

Environment

A study from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies shows that road transportation – along with burning biomass for cooking and raising animals for food – are the biggest net contributors to climate change.

Environmental concerns put a stop to a Chinese company’s plans to buy Hummer.

China’s top climate change negotiator says the country currently has no intention of capping greenhouse-gas emissions.

Public Space

The New York Times asks whether sidewalks and benches can transform not only public space but social relationships in Amman, Jordan.

A report released by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy highlights the new wave of parking policy innovation that could contribute to more livable streets, sustainable transportation and high quality public space.

Detroit city officials announce that they have enough funding to tear down one-quarter to one-third of their 10,000 abandoned houses.

Technology and Innovation

Bloom Energy unveils the “Bloom Box,” a wireless fuel cell “energy server” developers hope will one day replace power plants and the transmission grid.

The Greener Gadgets 2010 conference showcases new technologies that can help you buy locally grown food and reduce your energy use.

Tesla Motors announces that it will offer a lease option on its flagship Roadster and Roadster sport models, making the luxury electric cars slightly more affordable.

Next American City looks at new efforts to make municipal data more accessible to citizens.

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