TheCityFix Picks, December 28th: Chinese High Speed Rail, New York Subway Tango, Indonesian Mini Bus BRT?

China now has the world’s longest HSR line. Photo by dcmaster.

Welcome back to TheCityFix Picks, our series highlighting the newsy and noteworthy of the past week. Every week, 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.

In a sociological quirk of New York City’s subway system and underground culture, riders on the F and M trains have developed an interpersonal signalling system, ranging from tipped hats to a stairwell tango, communicating the approach of arriving connecting trains to fellow passengers.

The longest high speed rail line in the world opened in China this past week, connecting the capital, Beijing and south chinese industrial powerhouse, Guangzhou. The line, which would span in length from London to Belgrade, is currently operating at 186 miles per hour (300 km/h)  between the two cities.

The Sierra Club has released its state by state analysis of the most environmentally friendly transportation projects of 2013 in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, all of the projects not recommended for build-out consist of widening highways or creating new ones. The District of Columbia, where this post is produced, was featured as a “go,” or recommended project for its Capital Bikeshare program.

The Canadian news aggregator and social commentary site, Global Research, published a detailed set of recommendations for urban accessibility, calling for free public transit in Toronto. It recommends funding a “free transit” system through increased local taxes.

The Sustainable Transport Award, which recognizes cities’ efforts to increase mobility, reduce greenhouse emissions, improve road safety and increase pedestrian-cycling access has released the five final nominees for the 2013 prize: Bremen, Germany, Lviv, Ukraine, Mexico City, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Rosario, Argentina. EMBARQ, the producer of this blog, is a co-sponsor and award committee member.

In preparation for what is anticipated to be a spectacular New Year’s Eve, Dubai will operate its metro and 9 key bus routes for 24 hours straight to accommodate an expected 132,000+ NYE revelers. An additional 10,000 “parking slots” will also be made available for New Year’s festivities.

The Indonesian branch of automobile manufacturer Isuzu will “focus on public transit in 2013” as demand for its trucks and minibuses used in mining and agriculture slip. The general manager of sales for Isuzu Indonesia noted that the market for these vehicles exists in both large and medium sized cities across the country, not just in Java.

Meanwhile, in a tandem effort to increase mass transit ridership, Minibus operators in Jakarta may be able to access Transjakarta BRT exclusive lanes when the regional authorities limit car usage through a license plate lottery. The lottery is set to commence in March and integrating these smaller operators is currently under consideration by the City Administration.

Pennsyslvania State Senate leaders have proposed legislation to issue bonds to pay for the $3.5 billion backlog in transportation infrastructure investment across the Commonwealth’s road, public transport and air network.



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