TheCityFix Picks: African Road Ecology, Vacuum Like Traffic, Incentivized Pollution, Greek Debt Yields Bikes

South Africa’s extensive road network is responsible for killing thousands of wildlife. Photo by Daniel Chong Kah Fui.

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 Tanzanian MP has called for the national government to lift a decades old ban on overnight long distance overnight-buses in the country. Tanzania had originally banned over night buses due to the propensity of late night accidents and robberies.

The herculean efforts by Transport For London (TfL) to provide increased mobility for the 2012 Olympic Games has paid off, with cycle-hire and light-rail use breaking ridership records.

The World Bank has loaned Kenya Sh25-billion (US$297 Million) to redeveloped the “notorious” traffic along Mombassa’s Uhuru Highway, creating an additonal 12-kilometers (7.45-miles) of urban raised roadway along the route.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)  is expanding its Airport Wildlife Programme to include the effects of ground transportation on South Africa’s wildlife and ecology. According to an EWT official, over 1,100 animals from 155 species were killed over 120 days by vehicular traffic in one region of Limpopo province, which contains part of South Africa’s largest national wildlife reserve.

The Chinese Ministry of Transport has rolled out a plan for integrating intelligent transportation systems (ITS) into the nationwide transport network, linking the one-billion cellphones and anticipated 200-million private vehicles in China to a smart transportation grid.

The Roads and Transport Executive Councillor for South Africa’s Gauteng Province has called for a unified fare system  as the key to modernizing public transportation. The program is set to be implemented in 12 to 18 months, amid the publication of the province’s 25 year integrated transportation plan.

New York’s C train, a subway line that connects Columbia University, JFK International Airport, Brooklyn and Midtown Manhattan, has been rated the worst subway line in New York City for the fourth year running. The rating comes amongst overall lower cleanliness of vehicles and planned train replacements by NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority, whose projected $374 million deficit is being exacerbated by the slow recovery from the global recession. Meanwhile, the 105 year old subway system is installing free wi-fi access points in a soft roll-out in 6 stations; ubiquitous wi-fi provision, at all 277 underground subway stations, is set to be rolled out by 2017.

The private transport firm, FirstGroup, outbid rival private transport provider, VirginRail, for operations of England’s West Coast Line, by a bid difference equating to £240 million (US$ 376.6 million) per year over its 5-year contract period.


Urban Development + Accessibility

The razing of Highway Route 34, a six-lane highway running through New Haven, Connecticut, is slated for discussion by the city’s Board of Alderman this coming Monday.

The Greek Debt Crisis, which has contributed to 20-percent unemployment and a 40-percent reduction of car use, has incentivized cycling as an affordable means of mobility. In 2011, 200,000 bikes were sold in Greece, a 25-percent increase over 2010.


Air Quality + Climate Change

A UN programme seeking to stem the effects of climate change with carbon credits has inadvertently incentivized the production of air-conditioning coolant. The carbon credit system, established by the UN Clean Development Mechanism , has created a multi-billion dollar market for carbon credits based on the elimination of an obscure waste gas, HFC-23.

The hottest month in United States history was July 2012, which saw between 2º-8º Fahrenheit above average temperatures for July across the continental U.S. In the 118 years since temperature records were kept, July provided 35 cities with their highest ever recorded temperatures for any day of the year.


Health + Road Safety

“Gen Y” Americans, aged between 18 and 34, are 11-percent less likely to buy a car compared to 1985, representing 2 million less private autos on Americans roads purchased each year.

The Blue Line Light Rail, operated by the Los Angeles Metro between Long Beach and Downtown LA, is “on pace” to cause more pedestrian deaths and accidents than any other year in its 22 year history, with 6 people already having died on the tracks since January. The Metro Blue Line is one of America’s busiest light rail lines, carrying 26 million riders annually.

Across town, a new report from UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, has documented sound pollution at LA Metro stations running in the medians of freeways. Noise levels at stations register between 70 and 80 decibels, or the equivalent of  “a loud vacuum cleaner running circles around you”.


Communications + Marketing

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) has launched a messaging board and outreach campaign to integrate public input into its 2040 Regional Transportation Plan, which will outline the next three decades of transport in New York City and its surrounding regions.

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