TheCityFix Picks, July 27: Safer US Transit, Zimbabwe Traffic, London Rail Struggles

The U.S. Federal Transit Administration has new abilities to regulate transit safety in the United States. Photo by Dan Pfiffer.

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

As incomes rebound for wealthier citizens in inflation-prone Zimbabwe, car traffic and congestion are rising in this nation of 1 million cars and 12.7 million citizens.

In Delhi’s continuing row over bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes, the local government rejected Delhi High Court findings supporting mixed-flow traffic in these lanes, deeming the report unconstitutional.

Motorists will now have to pay a toll for use across the Lagos-Badagry Expressway in Lagos, in an effort to fund a six-lane, multimodal expansion of the freeway that connects the central business district to the western suburbs and the Republic of Togo.

Several of London’s National Railway lines experienced electrical and operating difficulties due to excessive heat, causing service to be suspended at several sites, including Stratford, home of the 2012 Olympic Stadium.

Holger Dalkmann, the director of EMBARQ, the producer of this blog, called for sustainable transportation to be integrated “before we miss the window of opportunity” this week in Bangalore.

Urban Development + Accessibility

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a regional operator of commuter bus and rail for New York City, is seeking public private partnerships (PPPs) to help fund a recently enacted $25 billion capital improvements program in the wake of $2 billion funding cut from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), as part of the $300 million Sustainable Transport Investment Program for the Republic of Georgia, released an $80 million loan for bridge expansion in the capital, Tbliisi. The ADB has approved more than $1.1 billion in Georgia since 2007.

Using open data provided by the City of Chicago, two web developers created a mashup map, layering income data over Chicago’s rail transit system, known as the “El.”

The board of the  Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which oversees transportation projects in several San Francisco Bay Area counties, voted 8 to 7 not to fund a plan that would give free transit to lower income students in San Francisco.

Air Quality + Climate Change

Seven more countries, including the U.K., Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Jordan joined the U.S. Climate and Clean Air Initiative this week, highlighting a “desperate” need to slow global warming. The U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing highlighted cutting methane and soot as key efforts to “buy time” in the fight against climate change.

The Finance Ministry of India released a report indicating that 2.6 percent of GDP is now spent to mitigate climate change, with goals to increase this spending to 20 percent to 25 percent of GDP by 2020.

Health + Road Safety

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced support for a new Congressional provision that would allow the Federal Transit Administration to regulate safety requirements on transit systems nationwide.

The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ico) ordered the City of Southhampton—80 miles southwest of London—to suspend its compulsory recording of phone conversations in taxicabs. The head of the ico, Christopher Graham, called the security measure “disproportionate.”

The European Commission’s Vice President for Transport spoke to youth groups and road safety organizations, decrying the higher than average mortality rates for Cypriot youth due to road crashes at the 4th European Road Safety Day that took place in Nicosia, Cyprus. The event highlights the theme of the six-month term for  Cyprus’ mantle of the rotating EU presidency, “Towards A Better Europe,” which will place special focus on energy and transportation infrastructure across the 27 member bloc of states.

Communications + Marketing

Walk San Francisco (WalkSF), a pedestrian advocacy organization, released an infographic detailing transportation funding, pedestrian injuries and transport policy provisions in the City and County of San Francisco, calling for a campaign to reduce urban speed limits and redesign streets.

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