Air Pollution is #1 Health Risk. Also, the Surprising Benefits of Taking Cars off Our City Streets

 World Economic ForumOct. 29, 2019 By Marcela Guerrero Casas A future in which everyone travels in driverless flying cars may still dominate the popular imagination, particularly when it comes to media and marketing hype. But if we are to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on sustainable cities and communities, a more revolutionary (albeit more low-tech) picture will unfold, in which …

Car-free zones could be the future of cities + the story of two city transit upgrades

San Francisco and New York City are limiting cars on certain streets to prioritize other modes of transit.By Terry Nguyenterry. nguyen@voxmedia.com  Oct 28, 2019, 8:30am EDT In her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, urbanist writer Jane Jacobs posed a prescient concern. She forecasted one of two possible outcomes for our urban future: “erosion of cities by automobiles, or attrition …

30% more local businesses than previously and a significant increase in the numbers of people making journeys on foot or cycling with Barcelona superblocks + lives saved

By Stephen Burgen in The Guardian 10 Sept 2019 Barcelona could save hundreds of lives and cut air pollution by a quarter if it fully implements its radical superblocks scheme to reduce traffic, a new report claims. A study carried out by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health calculates that the city could prevent 667 premature deaths every year if it created all 503 …

Seattle May Try to Replicate Barcelona’s ‘Superblocks’

On some of the city’s earliest Superblocks, bike trips rose by 30 percent and walking jumped 10 percent. The blocks make urban life quieter and more peaceful and sociable by creating a space for gathering and play, as the photo above shows. By Angie Schmitt, Sep 6, 2019 5 Streetsblog A Seattle council member is proposing that a six-block area of the …

Social factors in walkability: walking while black?

Connectivity is good for walkability, but social factors also matter Posted on September 3rd, 2019 in NewsTags: active transportation, bicycle, crime, pedestrians, safety By Saumya Jain Most efforts to increase bike and walk accessibility focus on physical access. But the built environment is not the full story. A new study finds that certain attributes of the social environment also greatly affect the perception of walkability, especially among people …

Beautification and stormwater management:

NYC doubles curbside rain gardens in green infrastructure program By Chris Teale@chris_teale, in Smart Cities Dive, Aug. 30, 2019 New York City will double the size of its green infrastructure program by building more than 5,000 curbside rain gardens, adding to the more-than 4,000 that have already been installed around the city. The curbside rain gardens soak up stormwater to mitigate local …

‘War on Cars’ is a misnomer when the majority of transportation investments and road space are devoted to automobile travel and those walking and bicycling are most at bodily risk

Todd Litman calls the war on cars a bad joke. He gives us a lot of ammunition in the fight to end it. Calling every bike lane or transit improvement “a war on the car” didn’t start in Toronto, but it got a big boost with our late [offensive adjectives deleted] suburban drivist mayor Rob Ford and the current Deputy Mayor, Denzil …

Car Crashes Aren’t Always Avoidable

The Atlantic, Car Crashes Aren’t Always Avoidable, July 2019 In a country where the laws compel the use of cars, Americans are condemned to lose friends and relatives to traffic violence. My childhood neighbor was a varsity student-athlete, the president of the junior class, and the most popular girl in school. One day in September 1995, a car crash took …

Swedish university designs air pollution sensor for streetlights

Jason Plautz@Jason_Plautz Smart Cities Dive June 18, 2019 Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology have developed an optical nano-sensor that detects low concentrations of air pollution and is small enough to be mounted on a streetlight, according to a release from the university. The device measures nitrogen dioxide pollution, which largely comes from automobile traffic or industrial activity. Breathing nitrogen dioxide …

FHWA and USDOT Planning, Environment, Realty, and Human Environment Research and Resources (Spring 2019)

Welcome to the Spring 2019 edition of the FHWA’s Office of Planning, Environment and Realty’s (HEP) quarterly research newsletter. This issue of the newsletter focuses on HEP’s efforts to ensure transportation planning decisions are made using a comprehensive process. The Office of Planning (HEPP) together with The Office of Project Development and Environmental Review (HEPE) promotes greater efficiency by fostering …