TheCityFix Picks, January 6: Transforming Transportation, Hawaiian Light Rail, Intelligent Intersections

Barring unforeseen intermediate obstacles, construction for Honolulu, Hawaii's 20-mile light rail system will begin this March after four decades of planning. Photo by Jeffrey Woldan.

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

China’s largest train-maker, CSR Corp Ltd., recently unveiled a test train that travels up to 500 kilometers per hour. The service train speed record is currently held by a fellow CSR Corp Ltd. train, serving the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway, at 300 kilometers per hour.

IBM and the University of Guadalajara in Mexico teamed up to create the Smarter Cities Exploration Center.

Registration is now open for Transforming Transportation, the annual sustainable transportation conference organized by EMBARQ, the producer of this blog. The two-day conference will be held on January 26 and 27 in Washington, D.C.

Urban Development + Accessibility

The second annual TRANSIST 2011 conference was recently held in Istanbul, Turkey, with the aim of encouraging awareness and adoption of sustainable transport. EMBARQ Turkey was among the conference presenters.

After 40 years of planning, barring unforeseen intermediate interventions, Honolulu, Hawaii will see construction beginning on its 20-mile light rail system this March.

The government of Medellin, Colombia gifted the residents of some of its poorest slums a $7 million hillside escalator, turning what was a 30-minute uphill hike into a six-minute homeward glide.

Air Quality + Climate Change

New research by MIT economist Christopher Knittel shows that in spite of an average private vehicle curb weight increase of 26 percent in the United States between 1980 and 2006, the average private vehicle fuel economy increased by 15 percent.

Sales of Audi automobiles in China increased by 37 percent in 2011, totaling 313,036 units and making the country Audi’s biggest sales market.

Polk forecasts new vehicle sales in 2012 to increase by 6.7 percent over 2011 levels, with sales in China growing by 16 percent.

Health + Road Safety

New intelligent traffic lights with the ability to discern bikes from cars were recently rolled out in Pleasanton, Calif. The intelligent intersection systems adjust the duration of light phases to improve road safety for cyclists.

Banning cars and increasing pedestrian infrastructure in Mexico City’s Centro Historico has led to a decrease in local crime, according to city business owners.

Physical activity improves academic performance among children, new research indicates.

Communications + Marketing

The Design with the Other 90%: CITIES exhibit hosted at the Visitors Center of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City comes to a close this Monday, January 9. Admission to the exhibit is free.

The greater Washington, D.C. metro region is experimenting with integrating real-time transit info screens throughout its urban landscape.

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