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Archive for the ‘National’ Category

The High-Speed Rail Debate Revisited

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 12
Two recent columns in the New York Times (both reprinted below) have revived the semi-dormant debate about the future of high-speed rail in America. The first column, by New York Times correspondent Ron Nixon, casts a skeptical eye on the Administration’s high-speed rail program and concludes that “despite the administration spending nearly $11 billion since 2009….the projects have gone mostly nowhere…”

The second column, closely following the first, is an opinion piece by the Times’ editorial board. The editors may have felt obliged to respond to the highly critical assessment of the White House initiative by one of their own reporters.

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Five Years of Learning From Communities and Coordinating Federal Investments

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Figure 1: Many Americans prefer to live in more convenient, walkable neighborhoods. Source: National Association of Realtors 2013.

PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
Many of our communities and housing options, built for a different time, are not what Americans want today. Research from the real estate industry shows that more people want to live in more convenient, walkable neighborhoods (Figure 1). A National Association of Realtors survey showed that half of Americans prefer a neighborhood with a variety of housing types, including multifamily and single-family homes; shops, restaurants, and amenities within walking distance; and nearby public transportation over a neighborhood with only single-family homes and few transportation options besides driving. Walkable communities are particularly important to millennials, who make up the largest percentage of the U.S. population; one research firm estimates that about 70 percent of them see walkability as “important” or “vital” when choosing a home.

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Strategic Top 100: North American Infrastructure 2014 Report

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Spotlight on Infrastructure: Los Angeles

CG/LA INFRASTRUCTURE
North America is currently experiencing the highest rate of urbanization in history. The way that infrastructure is developed in cities in the coming years is critical. The 2014 Strategic Top 100 highlights cities that are getting it right by making long-term investments into the right projects. These cities are shifting resources towards Transport- Oriented Development (TOD) and sustainable practices; exploring innovative methods of financing and value capture; while applying a keen understanding of public life and its importance to planning and design. Public sector leaders in the cities highlighted below are creating a sustainable vision for transportation that will benefit not only the local population, but also increased economic competitiveness in the region.

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The Societal Costs and Benefits of Commuter Bicycling

Monday, August 11th, 2014

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES
Car use is the dominant mode of transport to work in many high-income cities. In car-oriented cities, commuting by private motor vehicle allows access to employment and training (crucial social determinants of health) while enabling households to manage competing responsibilities. However, car-dependent commuting has significant negative public health effects for commuters, the wider community, and local and global ecosystems. A mode shift to greater use of active transport would bring environmental, health, social, and equity benefits (de Nazelle et al. 2011; Hosking et al. 2011).

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How Bicycles Can Save Small Town America

Friday, August 8th, 2014
How Bicycles Can Save Small Town America

An explanation of how bike travel can revitalize rural areas. To learn more or have us speak to your community, visit PathLessPedaled.com

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The State of the City Experience

Friday, August 8th, 2014
WHEN IT COMES TO TRANSPORTATION ISSUES, PEOPLE ARE MOST FRUSTRATED BY TRAFFIC

SASAKI
Urbanites across the country agree on a few things: they want great food, they love waterfronts, and they value historical architecture. As planners and designers, our job is to understand what people want and balance these desires with the big picture—economic realities, cultural needs, environmental concerns, and design opportunities—ultimately helping to shape a more satisfying and sustainable urban experience.

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EPA Program to Protect Underground Drinking Water Needs Improvement

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Figure 1: Injection Wells for Enhanced Production and Wastewater Disposal

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE
Every day in the United States, at least 2 billion gallons of fluids are injected into over 172,000 wells to enhance oil and gas production, or to dispose of fluids brought to the surface during the extraction of oil and gas resources. These wells are subject to regulation to protect drinking water sources under EPA’s UIC class II program and approved state class II programs. Because much of the population relies on underground sources for drinking water, these wells have raised concerns about the safety of the nation’s drinking water.

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The Changing Nature of State-Federal Relations in Transportation

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Innovation Newsbriefs
Vol. 25, No. 11
With the Republicans likely to control the Senate next year and the presidential elections casting a shadow over any new proposal to raise taxes, there will be a huge temptation for Congress to kick the can down the road once again — beyond the presidential election and into the next Congress. Remember, it took three years and eight short-term extensions to pass the last reauthorization, MAP-21!

Fortunately, many individual states are trying to compensate for the lack of congressional action on long term funding by raising additional revenue of their own. Our survey has identified more than 30 states that have launched transportation-related fiscal initiatives in the past two years.

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Making the Grade – Civil Infrastructure Industry Leaders Weigh In on Plan to Fix America’s Failing Infrastructure

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Extreme Makeover: Infrastructure Edition

On June 27th in Washington D.C., a new report was released that outlines innovative new ways that the federal government, industry and other stakeholders can work together to solve the crisis of the failing state of U.S. infrastructure. Entitled “Making The Grade,” the six point plan is the result of experts from 45 different organizations, including corporations, professional organizations, think tanks, financial advisors and academic institutions.

The report’s name is intended as a rallying cry in response to last year’s quadrennial report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which gave America’s overall infrastructure a D+ grade. Several of the report’s contributors continued the rallying cry in a #FlashBlog event last week. Following is a summary:

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