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     What makes a city great? According to Jeff Speck, the secret sauce is, quite simply, walking. If your city is a good place to walk — that is, walking is safe, comfortable, interesting, and useful — everything else will fall into place....If you’re a professional planner or advocate, Walkable City is a new, essential reference. If you’re new to the subject, there’s no better introduction.

  • Two weeks after safety advocates questioned the slow pace of The City’s pedestrian action plan, the mayor on Wednesday announced details of a proposal that’s being drafted...It calls for reducing speed limits on certain streets and making improvements to various intersections, along with using data to increase enforcement and education about particular danger zones, Lee said.

    SF Examiner
  • The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has granted a license for Continental’s “highly automated vehicle” — a modified Volkswagen Passat — to road test the autonomour vehicle after the company successfully demonstrated the car’s system functions, accident-reporting mechanisms, employee protocol and safety procedures.

  • Scientists are confirming what most cyclists instinctively know--that riding a bike has extraordinary effects on our brain chemistry. Rhythm may explain some of the effects.

    The Independent
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    At the end of last year we brought you the biggest urban transportation failures, but this year we thought we'd take a brighter angle on things and see what went right. That's not to say there weren't any low points — Atlanta voters rejected a penny transportation tax, San Diego found itself in a major emissions fight, and a Beverly Hills school opposed a subway extension— but on the whole there was a lot to like about (North) American city transportation in 2012. Here's a short list of the biggest moments and trends.

    Atlantic Cities
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    Huh. This girl has a miniature pony, but still uses the subway? To its credit, the animal behaved better than many public-transit riders by remaining docile throughout the journey, although the U.K. Metro asserts that commuters on the train "got the fright of their lives," reflecting a long-held British terror of tiny horses.

    Atlantic Cities
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    Last year, Cities named ten of its favorite metro datasets of 2011 from cities across North America, illustrating the breadth of what we might learn (regarding mosquito traps! misplaced vehicles! energy consumption!) in the still relatively young field of urban open data. For this year's installment, we're going one step further. Sure, raw data is great. But useful tools, maps and data visualizations built with said data are even better.

    Atlantic Cities
  • ...Automakers ranging from Audi to Mazda have promised to bring diesels to the U.S., finally giving those of us in the States the boosted fuel economy, extended range and tons of torque our European peers have enjoyed for decades. Forget everything you know about diesels. This latest breed of torque monsters deliver on every level.

  • Airport agency and Metro, formerly with competing visions, get together on four possible light rail station sites at LAX.

    LA Times
  • The first three streetcars to roll downs tracks in the District of Columbia since 1962 will be ready for testing next spring, DDOT officials said at a news briefing on Thursday.

    Transportation Nation