TheCityFix Picks, August 11: Pedestrian Action Plan, Masa Critica, Optibús Transport System

San Francisco's Pedestrian Safety Task Force is developing the city's first-ever Pedestrian Action Plan to reduce serious and fatal pedestrian injuries. Photo by C. M. Keiner.

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

India’s Minister of Urban Development advocated for a country-wide bike share scheme by proposing a plan that encompasses ten Indian cities.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood awarded the state of California $179 million for passenger rail projects.

A C$950 million (US$ 958 million) light rail transit network was proposed for Greater Victoria, British Columbia.

León, Mexico’s Optibús Integrated Transport System celebrated the first anniversary of the completion of its second phase, which included ten new bus stations, five additional kilometers of bus-only lanes, and 29 new high-quality articulated buses.

Urban Development + Accessibility

Satellite imagery revealed an increase in Singapore’s city greenspace over the last 25 years from one-third to one-half of the city’s surface.

Seattle is considering enacting an already-permissible vehicle license fee increase from its current rate of $20 per year to $100. The increased fee would generate an additional $34 million in city funds.

Registration is open for next year’s “How to solve the problem of urban mobility in Curitiba?” workshop, which will include presentations from EMBARQ (the producer of this blog) transport experts Toni Lindau, Dario Hidalgo and Luis Gutierrez.

Air Quality + Climate Change

The U.S. Dept. of Energy will award roughly $175 million over the next three to five years to projects focusing on the development and deployment of alternative vehicle technologies.

The Netherlands, Germany, and others are experimenting with programs that tax drivers for their miles driven. In Belgium, a future pilot program including 50 drivers is set for a September launch.

Brazil’s Petrobras announced it will invest $2.5 billion in increasing biodiesel and ethanol production between now and 2015.

Seattle commissioned the development of a scenario of how the city might achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The finished report emphasizes the city’s shifting to less greenhouse gas intensive travel options, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, and transitioning to lower-carbon energy sources.

Health + Road Safety

In response to its deadly train crash last month, China will conduct safety checks and slow the speed of all its trains by about 30 miles per hour (mph) starting in June. China’s fastest trains travel at 215 mph.

A poll by Marist revealed New York City residents view taxi drivers as the most “not respectful” motorist group, followed by motorists, then cyclists, and finally pedestrians.

A new report exploring the relationship between gas prices and traffic crashes within the context of demographics revealed that not all social groups experience reduced crash rates when gas prices increase.

Seven bus surveillance cameras enabled SEPTA and Philadelphia police to identify seven suspects for a bus attack that occurred last month.

San Francisco’s first-ever Pedestrian Action Plan is under development by San Francisco’s Pedestrian Safety Task Force – a group responsible for coordinating and enacting pedestrian safety measures across the city.

Communications + Marketing

Boulder, Co. officials are pursuing government grants for complimentary bus WiFi and encouraging area employers to permit employees to “clock-in” during bus commutes. The efforts are to preempt future complaints of road construction-related delays and maintain support for city transport projects.

Washington, D.C.’s regional transit authority, WMATA, announced plans to expand communication efforts with a new bus alert system that will provide riders with real-time bus arrival predictions for chosen bus lines.

Argentinian bicycle enthusiasts celebrated cycling on Sunday in their monthly meeting of Masa Critica. Masa Critica (Critical Mass) is a monthly group ride to celebrate biking and bikers’ rights. Critical Mass is practiced in cities around the globe.

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