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  • High oil prices will make driving a car less and less affordable unless the European Union vehicle industry has more stringent emissions limits than those the European Commission is battling to enforce, the body representing European consumers said. Debate on these limits is intense in the European Parliament, which holds the next of a series of committee votes on Tuesday on proposals for 2020 vehicle CO2 standards. 

    Reuters
  • U.S. distributors and freight hauliers have held down diesel consumption even as their business recovers from recession by making thousands of small changes to their operations.Improved driver training, restrictions on idling and careful route planning to reduce deadheads (where vehicles travel empty) are all reducing consumption of expensive diesel while helping companies promote their green credentials.

    Reuters
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    Last week transportation officials in Denver made a trial run of the new West Rail Line — a 12-mile, $707 million light rail line expected to serve some 20,000 riders a day. The "W" line holds great promise for Denver's western corridor (except, perhaps, for too much emphasis on park-and-ride facilities), but it has even greater significance for the city at large. It's the first rail line to be finished of the massive "FasTracks" regional transit program that's set to reshape the entire metropolitan area.

    Atlantic Cities
  • We knew this was coming. Legislators in West Virginia are proposing an amendment that bans Google Glass or any other head-mounted display while driving...“We spent a lot of time developing a no-texting bill,” House of Delegates member Gary Howell told Wired, “but this Google Glass thing gets around it because it’s a hands-free device.”

    Wired
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    The race to build the world’s first production electric supercar is over. And Audi blinked....Mercedes-Benz pressed full steam ahead with their 740-horsepower, battery-powered SLS – astronomic development costs be damned. The line between vaporware and honest-to-goodness technology can indeed be crossed with persistence and piles of euros, even if those future-friendly technologies are hidden beneath the current SLS’s achingly attractive – if aging – silhouette.

    Wired
  •  Later this spring, Bostonians eager to flee to Cape Cod for the weekend will have an option other than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 70 miles and fuming along with everyone else. Starting May 24, they can hop a train to Hyannis, where regional buses, ferries and rental cars will await to whisk them out to the beaches, islands and wind-swept dunes. The train, the first passenger service to the cape since 1995, is one small piece of a major $13 billion transportation overhaul envisioned by Gov. Deval Patrick. That overhaul is aimed chiefly at repairing and upgrading worn-out bridges, roads and commuter lines in Massachusetts, but about 20 percent of it would go toward reviving train service to the cape and elsewhere in the state.

    New York Times
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    ...To urban planners and bicycle enthusiasts, Polk Street is a key to San Francisco's 4-decade-old "transit-first" policy, designed to reduce the reliance on private cars in the second-most-densely populated city in the U.S. But to the more than 300 vocal denizens of Polk Gulch, who packed a standing-room-only neighborhood meeting last week, the proposal is a commerce killer, one that would create "a freeway for bikes," with little benefit to shops along the route... Audience members jeered when Edward D. Reiskin, the city's transportation director, couldn't say how many of the 320 curbside parking spots along Polk could be taken out under the plan.

    LA Times
  •  Is your car spying on you? If it's a recent model, has a fancy infotainment system or is equipped with toll-booth transponders or other units you brought into the car that can monitor your driving, your driving habits or destination could be open to the scrutiny of others. If your car is electric, it's almost surely capable of ratting you out. You may have given your permission, or you may be the last to know.

    USA Today
  • Equipped with artificial intelligence, Professor Baher Abdulhai’s traffic lights know how to learn. A project by the University of Toronto professor of civil engineering marries cameras with computers to create traffic lights that can measure vehicle flow, understand what it means, and adapt signal patterns to reduce gridlock. “We want the traffic light to learn from experience,” explained Prof. Abdulhai, who is principal investigator on the University of Toronto project, dubbed MARLIN, and an expert in intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

    Globe and Mail
  • ...“When there’s excess road space that cars don’t need, it’s given over to bikes, peds, and transit,” said Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich, “but where there’s a real shortage of road space, in the most congested parts of the city, the car is still the priority.”

    SF.Streetsblog.org