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TheCityFix Picks, June 3: Brazilian BRT, Mobile Wallet Technologies, C40 Cities Mayors Summit

Salvadore, Brazil's BRT moves forward with a call for funding. Photo by Rodrigo Suriani.

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

Despite improvements to the UAE’s public transit, most notably in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the majority of the country’s youth prefer personal vehicle transport, a survey found.

Brazil’s government announced it will call for 570 million real (US$360 million) in July to build a bus rapid transit system (BRT) in the capital city of Salvador. The BRT is scheduled for a May 2013 completion, and comes in part as preparation for hosting the 2014 World Cup.

A push for public transit in Pakistan came from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement political party, who called for the inclusion of a Karachi mass transit system in next year’s federal budget.

Germany will provide Namibia with $1.27 billion in development assistance, 60 percent of which will be allocated to financial and technical services for projects like transport development.

The creation of interstate highways and major urban roads is unlikely to relieve traffic congestion problems, a study by Gilles Duranton and Matthew Turner found.

Last month  Boston’s MBTA transit system reached its highest ridership level since September 2008, with over 1.3 million people riding its bus, metro and commuter rail every weekday.

Quality of Life

51 percent of American vehicle owners are cutting back on purchases as a reaction to higher gas prices, indicates a new Harris Poll taken earlier this month.

The Urban Land Institute announced the winners of its Award for Excellence in the Americas region. Among the winners was the Brays Crossing housing project in Houston, Texas that revitalized 149 low-income apartments.

U.S. rail systems were concluded to be less safe than that of China, Japan, South Korea, the E.U. and India, according to research on passenger rail accident fatality rates.

Researchers at Umea University in Sweden uncovered the startling finding that couples in which a partner commuted to work for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent more likely to divorce.

The C40 Cities Mayors Summit was held in São Paulo, Brazil this week. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is the current Chair of the C40.

Environment

The United States’ relatively nonexistent pollution taxes were exposed by Brad Plumer of the Washington Post when he cited an IMF paper, which showed that the United States raises the least environment-related revenue of any developed nation.

The U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is now accepting proposals for transit agency climate change assessments. The assessments will help transit agencies determine their vulnerability to the various hazards of climate change.

With the help of research from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Robert Steuteville of the New Urban Network asserted that smart growth reduces carbon emissions. His statement came in response to the U.S. National Association of Homebuilders’ recent statetement of the contrary.

Public Space

FIGMENT, a public arts organization, is expanding their ever-popular outdoor exhibitions this year to Jackson, Mississippi and Detroit, Michigan, building on their current roster of New York City and Boston.

San Francisco’s Bike Party Pride Ride will proceed this evening, celebrating LGBTQ pride, cycling pride, and pride for San Francisco.

The state of Oregon voted for more livable streets this week, with their State Senate’s passing of a bill to grant cities the right to lower current speed limits on residential streets by 5 miles per hour.

Green Roof Boot Camp Training will be held in Philadelphia, Pa. on June 14 to 17. The Training provides courses for the Green Roof Professional (GRP) accreditation. You can register for the event, here.

Technology and Innovation

Red light traffic cameras significantly improve driver behavior, new data from the Traffic Safety Coalition indicates.

The success or failure of Google’s mobile wallet technology for cellphones hinges largely on its adoption by commuters, Sheikh Taher Abu of the University of Hyogo found.

Evatran and Yazaki North America signed a Joint Development Agreement to develop plugless electric vehicle charging stations for residential, commercial and industrial applications.

Start-stop vehicles are projected to outnumber hybrid electric vehicles 16 to 1 by 2020, according to Pike Research. Start-stop vehicles, which offer 5 to 10 percent reductions in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, are capable of quickly shutting off and turning on their engines when slowing or idling.

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