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  • Early life and prenatal exposure to nitrogen dioxide and air pollutants generated by traffic was associated with autism, researchers found. Children with autism were more likely to live in homes in the highest quartile of exposure to traffic-related air pollution during gestation (adjusted odds ratio 1.98, 95% CI 1.20 to 3.31) and during the first year of life (aOR 3.10, 95% CI 1.76 to 5.57), compared with control children, reported Heather Volk, PhD, MPH, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues.

    MedPage Today
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    The airport received $14.5 million in stimulus funds to improve runways and taxiways, which was completed in 2010. But the inspector general said in a report earlier this month that $2.1 million was used for unauthorized construction. It is unclear what specifically the money was spent on.


    Bay Citizen
  •  ...When supersonic planes were first under development in Europe and Russia, American aviation officials were worried the U.S.-dominated global passenger airline industry would quickly lose market share to its modernizing rivals....The U.S., as it turns out, was better off for missing out on what was a very brief era of aviation history.

    Atlantic Cities
  • A major rationale for the supply of parking spaces in city shopping centers is that customers won't come without them. The anecdotal argument makes sense — retailers believe that most consumers arrive by car and believe free or cheap parking plays a major role in choosing a destination — but the actual evidence is scant at best. 

    Atlantic Cities
  • ...After striking an agreement with Union Pacific Railroad last week, the Las Vegas Railway Express is one step closer to bringing to life the X Train, a luxurious “party train” complete with big screen TVs, recliners and two ultra lounges.

    Washington Post
  • 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