TheCityFix Picks, October 8: U.S. Transportation Spending, Roadway Traffic Constraint, Spanish Quick-Charge Buses
A researcher in Iowa has developed a "clean asphalt" made from plant and wood derivatives. Photo by Ryan O'Shea.

A researcher in Iowa has developed "clean asphalt" made from plant and wood derivatives. Photo by Ryan O'Shea.

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

Riding on the coattails of the city’s popular bike sharing program, Paris will soon launch a city-wide electric car sharing program. The program is set to cost a monthly fee of 15 Euros ($20) and promises guaranteed parking spaces to users across the city. (Read our previous post about Autolib.)

Transit agencies across the United States will receive $776 million of unallocated funds from the Federal Transit Administration budget to upgrade bus maintenance facilities and procure more clean-running buses.

With the U.S. federal government offering financing for massive infrastructure endeavors, particularly in passenger rail, many are left scratching their heads when so many local politicians reject the aid.

Two former U.S. Transportation Secretaries, along with 80 other transportation experts, released a report calling for “nothing less than a fundamental overhaul of America’s transportation policies and programs.”

Has anyone thought about the effects of less gas tax revenue as more drivers in the United States turn to alternative fuel vehicles? Emily Badger at Miller-McCune considers the possibility of a tax on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) as laid out in the “Well Within Reach” report.

Quality of Life

Stay away from alcohol, car doors and taxis if you’re hopping on your bike. These and other dangers top the list of  several contributing risk factors in a study of 143 bicyclists in New York City injured in traffic crashes.

Speed cameras are highly effective in curbing the rates of road traffic injuries and deaths, according to a new study from Australia.

As a large portion of the U.S. population moves in to its senior years, suburban sprawl takes its toll, as many people choose to give up driving and become increasingly homebound.

The U.S. Transportation Department’s federal safety ratings program “Stars on Cars” sets the bar higher for new cars and trucks to make the grade.

Environment

A small French town has decided to ditch the typical garbage truck and employ horse-drawn carts for the weekly trash collection.

Could the military’s fatigues get any greener? The U.S. military hopes to cut dependence on fossil fuels by 50 percent within ten years.

The Electric Vehicles Initiative was launched recently at the Paris Motor Show by eight countries: China, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United States. The eight nations seek to promote the rollout of electric vehicles.

Public Space

The majority of home builders and developers on the East Coast of the United States are employing principles of smart growth, according to a recent survey of 1,000 industry professionals.

Congestion pricing has become a hot and controversial topic in the world’s big cities. There may be an alternative to cutting congestion and reducing private vehicle use: roadway traffic constraint, i.e. prioritizing the creation of bicycle, bus and tramway infrastructure.

Cyclists are closing down the streets of downtown Los Angeles. This weekend brings the inauguration of CicLAvia, a car-free streetfest (inspired by the weekly Ciclovia in Bogotá, Colombia) that shuts off seven miles of streets for those who enjoy a bit of time on two feet or non-motorized wheels.

Seeing the city on two wheels has become an increasingly popular option over the past several years for tourists visiting the Big Apple. The Associated Press looks at those who decide to leave the double-decker tourist buses behind and strap on a helmet instead.

Technology and Innovation

A Spanish electric bus company has manufactured a quick-charging bus that allows the vehicles to charge at overhead stations and run up to 15 kilometers on a five minute charge.

A newly developed fuel cell-powered bike runs 60 miles on a single charge, employing energy generated by mixing water and a sodium silicide powder.

London’s bike sharing program has turned to crowdsourcing to seek public input for future placement of bike stations around the British capital.

A researcher in Iowa has developed a form of asphalt derived from plants and trees that may replace the traditional pavement material that is made from the dregs of petroleum production.

Web 2.0′s SimCity is here! This week brought the debut of IMB’s CityOne interactive online simulation game for urban planning.

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