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TheCityFix Picks, November 19: Double-Decker Makeover, Mecca by Bike, Transport’s Rising Emissions

London's Mayor Boris Johnson shows off a full-scale model of the city's new double-decker bus. Photo via Reuters.

London's Mayor Boris Johnson shows off a full-scale model of the city's new double-decker bus. Photo via Reuters.

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: mobility, quality of life, environment, public space, and technology and innovation.

Mobility

The Delhi government has given the go-ahead for the construction of 15 new bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors spanning 359.9 kilometers. The government also approved nine new metro lines covering 148.2 km and a 40.3 km stretch of light rail transit system for the Indian capital.

Atlanta, Ga. debuted its first BRT routes this week—The Q Express and the Q Limited.

Taking advantage of unused capacity on Metro buses and trains during school hours, the mayor of Los Angeles is seeking a policy to allow schoolchildren to ride public transit on field trips for free.

The government of Turkey is set to invest 15.3 billion Turkish liras ($10.5 billion) on transportation in 2011. That is nearly a third of overall public investments destined for transportation projects.

Over the past five years, China has laid over 4,000 miles of high-speed rail. The final tracks of the railway that links Beijing and Shanghai were installed this week. The line is scheduled to open in 2012.

Quality of Life

Two friends recently made the religious pilgrimage of Hajj to Mecca from their home in South Africa by bicycle (except for one hiccup when they were denied entry to Ethiopia and flew to Turkey.)

A Californian family recently opted to move homes using bikes. They moved an entire three-bedroom home all with bicycles in just over four hours. The refrigerator didn’t budge, but they did move the washing machine.

A network of traffic cameras have been installed along the Select Bus Service bus lanes in New York City to ensure lanes are kept clear of non-bus traffic in an effort to enhance service and increase speed.

Environment

In an interview with the Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Salon.com’s Andrew Leonard asks, if China seeks a sustainable future, where did all of Beijing’s bikes go?

Emissions from the transport sector increased by 34% between 1990 and 2008 while emissions from other sectors decreased by 14%, according to recent findings from the European Federation for Transport and Environment.

Public Space

Parking can be a pain for drivers, but New York City uses parking fees to generate revenue and incentivize alternative forms of transportation. Houston, Philadelphia, Washington and other cities are watching.

San Francisco is trying to move drivers out of their cars and increase the average speed of the transit system through the installation of transit-only lanes. The plan has pitted local businesses against planning and transit officials.

Barcelona has been transformed by the Spanish city’s increased bicycle infrastructure and the creation of Bicing, Barcelona’s bikesharing program.

Technology and Innovation

The icon of New York City’s streets is getting a facelift. A competition to redesign the infamous yellow cabs was held recently and three finalists emerged from automakers Ford, Kasan (a Turkish manufacturer) and Nissan. The prize: exclusive rights to supply cabs for the city’s fleet of more than 13,000 taxis for at least a decade.

On that same note, the iconic vehicle of London’s streets – the double-decker bus - is to receive an upgrade, as well. A new lightweight and fuel-efficient version is expected to hit the streets of the U.K. capital by 2012.

Roll out the stone carpet! The Dutch have invented a road-paving machine that can build 400 yards of road per day using cobblestone. See the Tiger-Stone in action here.

The Chevrolet Volt, General Motors’s electric vehicle offering, was named Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Source: http://thecityfix.com/?p=8775

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