TheCityFix Picks, February 4: Peak Travel, Helmet Cameras, Bicycling Studies 101

Los Angeles held its first CicLAvia car-free day in October 2010. Photo by waltarrrrr.

Los Angeles held its first car-free day in October 2010. The city will host three more "CicLAvia" events this year. Photo by waltarrrrr.

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

One migrant worker in China protested abysmal services of rail despite ever-expanding construction and sleek new trains.

Lee Schipper, founder of EMBARQ (the producer of this blog) and a researcher at Stanford University, says passenger travel may have peaked in much of the developed world.

Paris is planning the Grand Paris Express Network, a $31 billion project that would upgrade the existing metro system. Proposals include the extension of a metro line and a new ring of rail around the city.

Rates of carpooling have fallen sharply since the 1980s, according to The New York Times, which attributes the trend to companies becoming more spread out and the lower cost of owning a car.

Quality of Life

In London, cyclists are documenting their travel experience on city roads using “helmet cameras.”

A report from Smart Growth America, “Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation,” looks at which states were successful or unsuccessful in developing jobs through transportation funding.  Unfortunately, states spent a third of their money on building new roads versus developing public transportation.

New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking at installing sliding mechanical safety doors on subway platforms in an effort to prevent injuries and fatalities of transit riders who fall into the tracks.

Public Space

In Egypt, you can switch off the internet but not the streets,” says a writer for Grist.org in a commentary on the role of public space in the current political protests.

CicLavia, a car-free event, will happen on the streets of Los Angeles three times this year, with expanded routes.

Up to 45 percent of traffic in an area of Brooklyn, New York was caused by cars circling the streets looking for parking, according to a study by Transportation Alternatives.

This spring, Lees-McRae College will bridge the gap between the bicycle and the classroom: A new minor program focusing on “Bicycling Studies” will help students “assume positions of leadership in the world of cycling.”

Environment

With nowhere to put record-breaking mounds of snow this season, a noxious mix of salt, slush, motor oil and trash might head from city streets to waterways in an effort to clear clogged and dangerous roads.

The Global Environment Facility announced $7.2 million in financing to address transport challenges of three major cities in East Africa: Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Kampala.

Within the next 40 years, 80 percent of Europe’s transportation sector could be supported by biofuels, according to an independent study published by the Öko-Institut.

Technology

Biofuel could be harvested as a by-product of tequila production in regions with existing agave production or abandoned fields once used for fiber production.

A Nokia-made cell phone charger, powered by cycling, is set to be released in March in India. The charger draws power from the rotating sidewall of the front wheel.

A Virginia utility company will offer reduced rates for charging electric vehicles during off-peak hours.

Nissan introduced Hawaii’s first all-electric Nissan LEAF to advance “zero-emission mobility.”

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