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Train of thought

Bill Nye the Science Guy says not having high-speed rail in the U.S. is embarrassing

  Did you grow up smarter because you watched Bill Nye the Science Guy blowing things up on TV? Well, he's got some choice words of wisdom for politicians who are blocking high-speed rail in the United States. "If I may, you should be embarrassed ... as a U.S. citizen, not to have high-speed rail," Nye said to the Orlando Sentinel, pointing out that every other country (presumably he means in the developed world) has got it, except for us, and we like to think we're such technological leaders and all. "Could be that everybody in the world is stupid," …

Read more: Transportation


The road to success

Do you live in one of the nation’s ‘smartest regions for transportation’?

You might not see much similarity between More people walk to work in Boston than in any other city in the country.Photo: Steve MinorYolo County, Calif., with its open farmland and small cities, and the densely packed streets of New York City. But both are on the Natural Resource Defense Council's list of "America's Smartest Regions for Transportation." The list is a result of a study done by the NRDC's Smarter Cities Project, in collaboration with the Center for Neighborhood Technology: The study... compares and profiles U.S. cities based on public transit availability and use; household automobile ownership and use; …


Speed limit

Republican governors just love saying no to rail

Photo: Tim GilliamTurning down federal money for rail projects looks like it's turning into a badge of honor for Republican governors. Chris Christie has done it in New Jersey. Scott Walker has done it in Wisconsin. John Kasich has done it in Ohio. Now Florida's Rick Scott, a Tea Party favorite, has jumped on the bandwagon (that would be a bandwagon traveling down the interstate highway system, thank you very much). Some are seeing his high-profile resistance to high speed rail, and his rejection of $2.4 billion to fund a connection between Tampa and Orlando, as precursor to a possible …



Social network for mass transit almost redeems social networks

Photo: Sveter SveterMan, what did we do before we had smartphones to answer all of life's questions? Wracking your brains to remember who played Chunk in "The Goonies"? You can haul out IMDB at the bar. Wondering where to go for dinner? There are apps to tell you the best place within walking distance of wherever you happen to be standing. And now -- in Norway, at least -- your phone can also answer that eternal mystery, "Where the hell is the bus?" Norwegian transport company Kolumbus has embedded 1,200 bus stops with QR codes, which are basically bar codes …

Read more: Living, Transportation


Greener by design

Peter Calthorpe on why urbanism is the cheapest, smartest way to fight climate change

Peter Calthorpe.Cities may be the trendy topic du jour, but Peter Calthorpe has been talking about the benefits of urbanism since the 1970s. In 1993, he was one of the founders of the Congress for the New Urbanism, an influential national organization that promotes walkable, mixed-use, transit-rich development. Now Calthorpe has come out with a new book, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change. In it, he argues that sustainable urban development must play a key role in the fight to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change. He writes: Confronting climate change is a little like the war on …


your water wings for the dating pool

TreeShagger: 10 great green date ideas

Don't need no car to take me on a date. (Photo by Sara Hurt.)

Welcome to TreeShagger, our new column on green dating. If you've got green dating questions, send 'em our way!

So Valentine's Day came and went, and you're in the doghouse since you couldn't get a reservation at Olivebee's Factory? Cheer up, smuckers! Lean in close for some non-obvious, mostly cheap green date ideas, many of which I've tested for you myself. These aren't "green" in the sense that you're eating hummus and watching An Inconvenient Truth outside on a blanket made of stars -- boooring! -- but they're low-impact, legitimately fun things that don't require buying crap. Bonus points if you bike, bus, or walk! Ready?


Look, Mom, No Car!

How buses and ferries and light rail have made it cool to live in New Jersey [VIDEO]

Ever heard the phrase "transit-oriented development" and felt like you'd rather take a nice nap than learn what it means? Well, wake up and spend 3 minutes and 18 seconds watching this video from the Streetfilms crew. It shows how investment in excellent transit (light rail, buses, ferries, and commuter trains), along with some zoning changes, has made the New Jersey Hudson River waterfront a fine place to live and work -- one where you don't have to drive to enjoy shopping, dining, and just being. The area has attracted some $5 billion in residential development since light rail came …


How we roll

Cyclists shouldn’t ‘share the road,’ they should have their own

A physically separated bike lane in Vancouver, B.C. Looks nice, right?Photo: Paul KruegerIt's long been the most controversial issue in bicycling: Should people on bikes ride in traffic with cars, using the same infrastructure and following the same procedures (a style of riding known as "Vehicular Cycling")? Should we ride on the sidewalks and off-road paths, with pedestrians? Or should we have our own place to ride that's designed specifically for bicycling? Like Goldilocks, we've tried all these options. Riding with faster, heavier cars is hard on us. Riding with slower, roaming pedestrians is hard on them. Only when we …


Salt of rebirth

An arts district brings life to Syracuse — and it’s green, too

Photo: SALT District Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Coauthored by Aaron Welch. Take one part Paducah (arts-driven revitalization), one part Old North Saint Louis (incremental restoration of abandoned historic properties), mix in some serious winter weather, and you might just come out with something a lot like the Syracuse (NY) SALT District, an ambitious and fascinating arts-and-technology-driven revitalization effort. According to the project's web site, the initiative is aimed at nothing less than creating "a new epicenter of artistic and cultural development in the Syracuse and Central Upstate New York area." It is being led by the Near …


Accelerating change

Report: U.S. in fast lane to put 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015

More like this are on the way.Photo: Dave Pinter When President Obama in his State of the Union address called for 1 million electric cars to be on the road by 2015, skeptics scoffed. But in a report [PDF] released Tuesday, the Department of Energy basically said no worries. We've already arrived at our destination. That optimism comes from automakers' existing projections of how many electric cars they expect to produce over the next five years. "The production capacity of EV models announced to enter the U.S. market through 2015 should be sufficient to achieve the goal of one million …