Sustainable Transportation

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  1. New Tool Helps Improve Transportation and Health Policies

    It isn't likely that a controversial highway like the Cross Bronx Expressway could be built in America in 2016.The expressway, created by New York City planner Robert Moses in 1948 and open since 1955, is likely the shining example of how NOT to design a major transportation artery. Moses continues to be blamed for destroying the South Bronx neighborhood by putting the automobile first and ignoring vital social and public health concerns. Robert A. Caro’s 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York,” details how it happened.
  2. Accommodating Pedestrians in Active Work Zones

    The city of Raleigh, N.C., has developed a 36-page guidebook to help developers and construction crews comply with regulations and best practices for accommodating pedestrians in work zones."With the increase in construction projects and overall population growth, especially in downtown Raleigh, it is imperative that work sites comply with local, state, and federal guidelines to allow for pedestrian mobility, especially older people and people with disabilities," the guidebook notes.
  3. Greening the Great Smoky Mountains

    SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. – Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are greening the mountains of East Tennessee with a robust composting program, use of alternative fuel vehicles, and implementing sustainable development.This year about 10 million people from around the world will visit the Smoky Mountains and each year that number increases. As that number grows, Sevier County, the towns of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, as well as the park itself, are meeting the growing challenge of reducing, reusing, and recycling through innovative sustainable solutions.
  4. Bike Share Programs Roll Out

    Today’s college students don’t want the hassle of bike maintenance or the annoyance of a stolen bicycle on a rainy day. At the same time, university sustainability managers want to encourage students to commute to their classes without using a car.The answer?
  5. Portland's Bridge to the Future

    At first glance, the Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People spanning the Willamette River in Portland, Ore., looks like any other cable-stayed bridge in any other river city. But take a closer look and you might notice something different.Traversing this new bridge, which opened on Sept. 12, are light rail trains, streetcars, buses, people on bicycles and pedestrians. But, you won’t see a single private car or truck – because, on this bridge, they aren’t allowed.
  6. Public Health + Urban Planning = Quality of Life

    That lifestyle and social behavior directly affect health is a widely accepted fact. Not only do poor nutrition and fitness choices account for nearly half of early deaths, but health also can be strongly influenced by the community in which an individual lives.In communities where people can easily walk and bike to work, school, stores, parks and restaurants, for example, an average of nearly a half hour per week is added to one’s lifespan. Sadly, communities without such amenities as parks and active lifestyle programs are often the poorest.
  7. Public Input and Planning Aid TOD

    Residents of Denver’s West Colfax neighborhood can hop on the new W Line light rail extension and arrive at the city’s dazzling Union Station in less than 15 minutes - without the hassle (or expense) of parking. They don’t even have to leave the station if they don’t want to.There are stores to buy a book or flowers, eat some oysters or ice cream, or have a drink or two, because Union Station - which was once an abandoned rail yard - now serves not only as a transportation hub, but also a commercial one, right in the middle of downtown Denver. Visitors can even spend the night in a quality hotel on site.
  8. Winter Bike Commuting Racks Up Miles

    Biking is not just for summer commuting. As bicyclists – and the cities they live in – are discovering, getting around on two wheels works when there’s snow on the ground too.It just takes a little planning.
  9. Rails-to-Trails Project Spurs Local Economy

    When a community looks for economic and community development opportunities, the answer often lies in their own history.Many communities are using recreational opportunities as major placemaking initiatives and a focus on history and natural heritage has been at the forefront of those decisions.
  10. Denver Strives to Bring Sustainability to Scale

    While Colorado’s epic floods of September 2013 made national news, it has been a water disaster of another kind that worries Denver’s Chief Sustainability Officer Jerry Tinianow the most.“Really it’s the lack of precipitation,” he said. “Drought is a much bigger threat here.”
  11. No Quick Fixes for Sustainable Communities

    Sustainability is a popular catchphrase in cities across the country, but implementing the change needed to become more sustainable communities is challenging work with few quick fixes.That was a recurring message at the 2014 Growing Sustainable Communities Conference, held Oct. 7-8 in Dubuque, Iowa. The conference drew approximately 400 attendees from 100 different cities in 21 states.
  12. Roundabouts Really Get Around

    Roundabouts are one of the most effective tools highway engineers can use to significantly reduce serious traffic accidents.In fact, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported that during the last decade, the crash experience at modern roundabouts has been studied extensively.
  13. Fleet Managers Save Millions with CNG

    When the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) finishes converting its fleet of more than 300 buses to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), it’s estimated that fuel savings will be around $7 million a year, according to Marty Stutz, vice president of communications, marketing and customer service.COTA decided to make the switch from diesel to CNG in 2011 after a comparative study, Stutz said. While the decision was primarily driven by economics, the environmental benefits were also important.
  14. Transit-Oriented Neighborhoods in Demand

    Reversing decades of dominant urban sprawl in metropolitan centers like Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis isn’t going to happen overnight. But a gradual return to transit-oriented development that maximizes access to public transportation is happening in cities across the country.Baby boomers, who originally settled in the suburbs, are now empty nesters and have a desire to live in neighborhoods where they can go to work and out to dinner without using their car.
  15. Napkins in Food Waste: Biofuel Potential?

    An Iowa State University researcher has found an unexpected source of fiber in food waste that increases its potential for making renewable fuel: napkins.Funded by a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Stephanie Jung explored fermentation of the sugars, starches and fibers in food waste to make bioethanol.
  16. Smart Growth 101

    Supporting smart growth doesn’t mean skipping the local mall or avoiding a new housing development. So what does it mean?“Smart growth is really about more choices,” explained Paul Zykofsky, associate director of the Sacramento-based non-profit Local Government Commission (LGC). “It’s not about being against growth. It’s about well-planned growth.” Zykofsky and John Frece, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, addressed the basics of smart growth at the recent New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Denver.
  17. Guidelines for Transit Oriented Development

    The first step toward expanding sustainable public transportation is to have a plan. That’s what Pace Suburban Bus Service in Chicago, Ill., has created with its new Transit Supportive Guidelines for the Chicagoland Region, designed to help municipal officials and private developers incorporate bus service in their projects.The guidelines define the five components of the transit trip, said Bryce Word, Pace special projects manager, in a recent webinar produced by Sustainable City Network.
  18. High-Speed Rail Builds Momentum in California

    The Golden State is on track to build the first carbon-neutral, high-speed rail system in the United States.The rail system will link Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and sustainability is woven into every aspect of this project, starting with a commitment to zero net direct construction greenhouse gas emissions and continuing to improve overall air quality for future Californians.
  19. Cities Sing the Snow Removal Blues

    Described by some as the coldest winter in 30 years, and with one storm after another keeping snow plows on the road, the winter of 2013-14 is already putting a strain on public works departments in many parts of the country.More winter storms and colder temperatures bring increased costs and environmental concerns that have some communities testing new products and procedures that make coping with winter weather more sustainable.
  20. ‘Walking School Buses’ Picking Up Speed

    More U.S. children are getting to school the old school way – by walking.Requiring only two volunteers and a neighborhood of children willing to dress for the weather, the “walking school bus” is part of a growing national trend to combat childhood obesity, traffic congestion and auto emission pollution in urban areas.
  21. Seattle Sets Pace in Climate Race

    If there is a poster child for sustainability in local government, Mike O’Brien thinks the city of Seattle might be it.Maybe that’s because for decades this coastal city of 635,000 has branded itself as a center for environmental stewardship and social innovation. Faced with the threat of sea-level rise, which could inundate large swaths of the city in the coming decades, and diminishing snowpack in the surrounding mountains, which threatens the region’s source of water and hydroelectric power, the city in 2013 updated its plan to become carbon neutral by 2050 and protect its infrastructure from the likely effects of global warming.
  22. Hitting the Solar Energy Trifecta

    “Whenever you can get three or more uses out of one thing, you should do it,” said Jon Dwight, paraphrasing a point he learned when he first began working in the solar energy industry and why this renewable option is an increasingly beneficial investment trifecta for municipalities, businesses and homeowners.Dwight and two other experts discussed the state of the solar industry, its recent growth and its future during “The Modern Economics of Solar PV” presentation at the 6th annual Growing Sustainable Communities Conference held recently in Dubuque, Iowa.
  23. Bike-Share and Car-Share Programs Reduce VMTs

    Kids everywhere are taught at an early age that sharing is the right thing to do, but as we grow up not many of us think about sharing our bikes or cars.Two representatives from Midwestern college towns shared their thoughts about planning and funding bike- and car-sharing programs to help reduce vehicle miles traveled in their communities.
  24. Climate Change Tops Iowa State Senator's Agenda

    Take a look behind today’s headlines and you’ll see how many current events are rooted in climate change. Massive wildfires in California. “Biblical” rains in Colorado. Electrical fires traced back to Super Storm Sandy destroying the New Jersey boardwalk, again. And, as Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg further suggests, civil unrest in places like Egypt and Syria, where drought has caused food shortages leading to societal upheavals.Hogg, 46, represents Iowa's 19th District. A Democrat, he served in the House from 2003 to 2007 and the Senate since 2007. Hogg grew up in Iowa and earned a law degree in Minnesota.
  25. Shifting Gears: Hilton Head Island Embraces Bicycles

    Summer is the perfect time to get away from it all, and for many vacationers that means getting away from traffic jams and smog, in particular. So, it's no surprise that an oceanfront resort town would make traffic reduction a major priority.At its summer peak, Hilton Head Island, S.C., draws 50,000 vehicles a day to its normally quiet, green streets. So, the town has been constructing and promoting bike paths as a way to minimize the air pollution and congestion caused by the sharp increase in summertime traffic.
  26. Madison Colors Wisconsin Green

    MADISON, Wis. -- In the heart of America’s breadbasket, Madison is a blue city in a red state with a long tradition of green living.A college town with a vast network of bicycle trails, more than 500 rain gardens and a farmers’ market almost every day of the week, Madison is a city where every homeowner has the RIGHT to install solar or wind power, and where people are free to pick and eat fruits and berries growing in public parks and green spaces.
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