Sustainable Urban Transportation Is at the Heart of a Greener Future

Published: January 24, 2013
Sustainable Cities Collective

By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. To avoid an explosion of cars, which creates air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, congestion, and traffic deaths, new, more sustainable patterns of urban development are needed, with higher-density urban cores and “sustainable transportation systems at the heart of these places,” said Zanny Minton Beddoes, The Economist, before introducing World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at this year’s Transforming Transportation conference, which was co-organized by the World Bank Group and the EMBARQ program of the World Resources Institute (WRI).

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What Really Matters for Increasing Transit Ridership

By Eric Jaffe
Published: January 2, 2013
theatlanticcities.com

For years, many transportation experts thought the success of a city’s transit system depended directly on the strength of its central business district. Surveys supported this idea (one from 1988 showed that four in five “choice” riders worked downtown) and it’s still considered the traditional view. So as cities began to decentralize and transit ridership began to decline, it was only natural to see the former as the cause of the latter.

Today that traditional view is giving way to a more nuanced idea of how commuters use public transportation. Recently some metro areas have adopted multi-destination transit systems — traversing a number of job centers instead of only the central business district — and seen ridership increase. The fact that rail and bus systems can attract new riders in decentralized cities suggests that factors other than CBD strength may be critical to successful transit.

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Emerging Trend: Bicycle-Friendly Business Districts

By April Economides
Published: September 10, 2012
Transportation Issues Daily

An intriguing new trend is emerging in some communities: bicycle-friendly business districts (BFBDs). A handful of cities have created or are exploring the creation of BFBDs.

We’re fortunate to have perhaps the nation’s expert on BFBDs, April Economides, educate us about this trend.  Economides created the nation’s first Bike-Friendly Business District program for the City of Long Beach and has launched similar efforts in San Diego and Oakville (Canada).  She speaks around the U.S. and Canada about “The Business Case for Bicycling” and Bike-Friendly Business Districts. Her complete bio follows her story below.

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Plan Cincinnati aims to guide city back towards its urban roots

By Randy A. Simes
Published: August 30, 2012
UrbanCincy

After a three-year planning process, Cincinnati’s first comprehensive plan in 32 years will be shared with the city’s Planning Commission. The hearing marks a ceremonious occasion for city employees that have worked tirelessly on the plan since Mayor Mark Mallory (D) tasked them to work with the community on putting together an updated plan for the Queen City.

The City of Cincinnati Planning Department will share the 228-page document with the Planning Commission at 6pm today at City Hall (map). From there the document will move on to City Council’s Livable Communities Committee, and then the full City Council for approval where officials do not expect much, if any, pushback from the nine-member elected body. After formal approval from City Council, the document will become Cincinnati’s policy guide for everything from financial to environmental decisions, and beyond.

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Why We Should Stop Talking About ‘Bus Stigma’

By Jarrett Walker
Published: July 18, 2012
theatlanticccities.com

Years ago, when I was presenting my firm’s bus network redesign plan to the board of a suburban transit agency, a board member from an affluent suburb leaned slowly forward, cleared his throat, and asked me a simple question:

“So, Mr. Walker. If we adopt this plan of yours, does that mean I’m going to leave my BMW in the driveway?”

Years later, on my book tour, I was at dinner with some architects when the conversation slipped into one of those abstract rail versus bus debates. One woman, a leading architecture scholar, said: “But I simply wouldn’t ride a bus,” as though that settled the matter.
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The Case for Public Transportation, in Infographic Form

By Kaid Benfield
Published: July 17, 2012
theatlanticcities.com

This would make a great poster. Last week the Sustainable Cities Collective posted a terrific, poster-sized graphic highlighting the benefits of public transportation to individuals and to society. The very well-made display was created, somewhat improbably, by Boris at Credit Donkey, a website whose primary function seems to be to explicate the world of credit cards to consumers. The graphic is based on research by Kelly Teh.
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Investment in High-Speed Rail in the U.S. Results in the Net Benefits of $26.4 Billion, According to New Report

Published: July 10, 2012
American Public Transportation Association

While critics of implementing a high-speed rail program in America say the U.S. cannot afford to build it, new information released today shows that the net benefits to investment far exceed the cost.  The report titled “Opportunity Cost of Inaction: High-Speed Rail and High Performance Passenger Rail Service” was released today at a Congressional briefing by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).  It shows that building a high-speed rail program in the U.S. results in $26.4 billion in net benefits over the next 40 years.

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