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  • LAST week, under my car’s dashboard, I installed a small wireless gadget that would monitor my driving. I wanted to see how it felt to have my driving behavior captured, sent to an insurance company and analyzed. More drivers, seeking discounts on auto insurance, are voluntarily doing just that.

    New York Times
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    The Renault Twizy has no windows, air-conditioning or radio. Doors are optional. In France it is classified as a quadricycle, which means you can't take it on the autoroute superhighway. 

    New York Times
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    MY wife and I, who live in the center of Paris, are invited to dinner in Boulogne-Billancourt, just to the southwest of the city. So I log on to Autolib’ and within a few minutes I’ve reserved a car across the street and a parking spot over in Boulogne, a couple of blocks from our destination.

    New York Times
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    The arrival of the holidays often means crowds - in stores, restaurants and business districts. But for commuters, the holidays often herald lighter traffic patterns that underscore a transportation planning secret: It doesn't take much to turn the freeways from parking lots to speedways..."You remove just a relatively few cars during the peak hours, and it can make a big difference," said John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the regional transportation planning and financing agency. "Small changes at the margins can have a big impact."

    SF Chronicle
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    ...Even as they prepare for a new normal of intense rain, historic floods and record heat waves, some transportation planners find it too politically sensitive to say aloud the source of their weather worries: climate change. Political differences are on the minds of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, whose advice on the design and maintenance of roads and bridges is closely followed by states. The association recently changed the name of its Climate Change Steering Committee to the less controversial Sustainable Transportation, Energy Infrastructure and Climate Solutions Steering Committee.

    AP/SF Chronicle
  • Just when you thought plans were nailed down for the $2.6 billion Central Subway from Caltrain to Chinatown (and sort of onward to North Beach) comes a new and somewhat unexpected development.

    SF Chronicle
  •  Officials this month began reviewing early results of a study into a new wave of service called BART Metro, which would allow about 50 percent more passengers to ride the rails by 2025, several years after extensions to Antioch and San Jose's Berryessa area are set to open. The upgrades hinge on BART finding huge pots of new funding, perhaps by asking voters for more taxes.

    Mercury News
  • ...Construction crews building the new Bay Bridge east span completed the complicated task of shifting the 35,200-ton weight of the new single-tower suspension span from temporary trestles that supported it from below to a single mile-long cable, draped across a 525-foot tower and anchored in the bridge deck, which holds it from above. "This is now, officially, the largest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world," said Bart Ney, a Caltrans spokesman.

    SF Chronicle
  •  The California Office of Traffic Safety says that 14 percent of drivers surveyed tested positive for driving under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs. A little more than 7 percent of drivers were driving with alcohol in their system.

    AP/Oakland Tribune
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    ... “A gondola can be put in for $12 million a mile. It’s a fraction of the cost because you’re not looking at eminent domain or rights of way, and you’re not disrupting local businesses or cutting out vehicular traffic.” A gondola, on the other hand, only needs a few aerial cables and air rights. Once installed, gondolas offer a unique method of transport, with cars relying on a moving cable instead of individual motors to propel them across long distances. Though most gondolas cross valleys between mountains, they don’t have to. In cities, they can float just a few feet over traffic.