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TheCityFix Picks, January 15: Argentina Likes Bikes, Promising HSR Lines, New Options in Google Transit
The America 2050 High-Speed Rail in America report was released this week and maps out the most promising high-speed rail corridors across the United States.

The America 2050 High-Speed Rail in America report was released this week and maps out the most promising high-speed rail corridors across the United States. Image from America 2050.

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 public bike system that launched late last year in Buenos Aires is popular and experiencing high ridership, so much so that a similar (yet significantly smaller) program has been replicated in Santa Fe province.

London’s bike sharing system, Barclays Cycle Hire, is experiencing lower than anticipated ridership numbers, according to The Economist.

Operations of the Nelson Mandela Bay Bus Rapid Transit system, which launched just before last year’s World Cup, have come to a complete stop. Talks between taxi operators, bus drivers’ unions and the municipality have yielded a stalemate, leaving 25 brand new buses sitting to gather dust.

Brazil’s proposed high-speed rail (HSR) link between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo looks to not be in service until late 2016—missing every major event in the country that is scheduled over the next five years.

A new report that evaluated nearly 8,000 potential HSR corridors in mega-regions across the United States gives readers an insight on the most promising HSR lines. The Northeast and California show the most promise. The same report shows that Florida has plenty of money for HSR, just not the potential ridership.

Quality of Life

Those that commute across the San Francisco Bay are paying more since a toll hike on all bridges went in to effect in July. However, they are getting onto the Bay Bridge four minutes faster, and revenues increased by more than 50 percent, reports the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

In flooded parts of Australia, public transportation will be free for a week in the wake of the recent deluge in Southeast Queensland. The free transit aims to keep unnecessary cars off the road and help people get around to shop and help others, says the region’s premier.

Public Space

Parking alone adds 10 percent to the carbon emissions of your average automobile. The amount of soot added to the atmosphere as a result of cars nearly doubles, which includes all the asphalt and concrete and the emissions that go along with making parking spots, writes Scientific American.

Environment

This year’s Detroit Auto Show is electrifying! The auto industry is banking on electric and alternative fuel vehicles as they look ahead.

Electric vehicle owners and auto makers may see some pocketbooks harder hit as a number of states raise electricity prices to make people use less.

Depending on where one lives in the United States, maintaining a well-charged electric vehicle may not be as fuel efficient as a traditional combustion vehicle, reports Edmunds.com.

Technology and Innovation

A new Google Transit feature will make life a bit easier for those who do not own a car. The online map service is providing expanded options for public transportation users: best route, less walking, and the fewest transfers.

Lahore and Istanbul officials hashed out an agreement to provide human resource training as a state-of-the-art bus rapid transit project is being constructed. The knowledge-sharing project seeks to reform the traffic system of the Pakistani city.

With a touch of a button, snow plow drivers in New York City will be able to alert their garage in case of getting stuck and talk to other drivers in the neighborhood, announces Mayor Michael Bloomberg of the city’s newly GPS -equipped vehicles.