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TheCityFix Picks, March 2: Smart Cities in China, Air Pollution in Spain, Transit Apps in India

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

A comprehensive bus transit system can cost almost one-tenth of a metro system.

Boston is expanding its biking program and bike lanes to make sustainable transportation more accessible.

Turkey and Pakistan are pursuing a partnership in which the two countries will cooperate in advancing energy, transportation, solid waste management and construction, among other sectors. They are specifically collaborating on a modern parking plan, and the Punjab government is pursuing a bus rapid transit system that will modernize traffic.

Urban Development + Accessibility

The city of Zhenjiang in China and IBM are collaborating to build a smarter city. The city will use IBM’s Intelligent Transportation solutions to provide city managers with a consolidated view of the transportation network. The city will also work to improve the efficiency of its public transportation system and anticipate traffic congestion.

The number of cars in China is expected to grow 7 to 8 percent annually in the medium term, and influence the redesign of urban areas to provide “smooth” movement for cars.

The Australian Green Infrastructure Council launched the first national scheme for rating infrastructure sustainability. The rating scheme will be able to rate everything from railways to ports and harbors, sewers, drains and bicycle lanes.

Air Quality + Climate change

Spanish cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Bilbao have been consistently exceeding standard levels of pollution as a result of a lack of environmental planning and a long drought.

Gasoline is worse than diesel when it comes to secondary organic aerosols, tiny particles that form in air and cause human health effects like heart and respiratory problems.

This week, a federal court in Washington heard oral arguments on a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s science-based determination that heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution is a threat to our health and well-being.

Health + Road Safety

The Mineta Transportation Institute published a report to provide recommendations that improve safety for bicycle commuters. The report includes chapters on risks, application of social psychology to bike safety and dimensions of effective practices, among other important topics.

Traffic fatalities on Wisconsin highways were up almost 50 percent in February compared to last February, according to a state report. DOT Bureau of Transportation Safety attributes the increase to multiple fatalities in several crashes, largely due to passengers and drivers not using their seat belts.

Obesity is becoming a more prominent problem in Colombia, where parts of the country are reporting up to 31 percent in childhood obesity. The trend is most visible in privileged children and experts attribute this to lifestyle changes, like an increase in automobile ownership among affluent families.

Communications + Marketing

Six Canadian cities are releasing new editions of their Metro commuter paper. The papers are targeted at youthful, active metropolitans between the ages of 18 and 49.

The department of Energy and Environmental Affairs of Massachusetts is sponsoring a mobile app contest that will allow people to use smartphones to find information on recreation hot spots in the state.

A new mobile phone app called “Mumbai on the Go” is available for iOS. The application gives you information for the four major forms of transportation in Mumbai: bus, taxi, auto and train. The application downloads all the information to your iPhone or iPod Touch, so that you do not need to have a data connection to map your route.

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