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  • ...Another example of Skydeck technology at work is an innovative mass-transit bus tracking system developed by a professor and his graduate students in the College of Engineering. Via Analytics’ first paying customer was an international one — the Spanish city of San Sebastian — with follow-on deals in Hong Kong and Los Angeles. “We’re grateful to Skydeck for giving us a roof over our heads, but even better is the lack of walls inside,” says company CEO Dylan Saloner. “Interacting with the other teams here, and feeding off their energy, is just as important to us as the office space.”

    UC Berkeley News Center
  • A new state law requires Bay Area companies with 50 or more employees to offer commuter benefits to workers, a perk that some companies have provided on their own for years. The law, which may be the first of its kind in the nation, compels both private industry and public employers, with the threat of penalties, to help ease traffic and reduce greenhouse gases.

    Santa Rosa Press Democrat
  • ...A plan to speed up work on reducing global warming gases from the region's businesses, industries and residents was adopted Wednesday by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board. Under one of the 10 measures, the district will review its industrial and business pollution rules to decide if changes are needed to cut down on carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases.

    Contra Costa Times
  • ...According to a recent report from Caltrans, 42,000 of the 50,000 miles of California highways, or 84 percent, are in good operating condition. That's a jump from 75 percent three years ago and means 4,500 more miles of smooth roads than in 2011...But state and local traffic officials caution that the news is mixed. A $3.9 billion infusion of cash over the past several years for paving is almost used up, and streets in many cities like San Jose and Oakland are in deplorable condition.

    Mercury News
  • One of the most oversold problems of everyday life in San Francisco is getting the realistic treatment it needs. Company shuttle buses, demonized by housing activists looking for a handy target, will operate under a pilot program that controls their impacts. It's a sensible plan to limit a modest problem blown out of proportion. To its credit, the Board of Supervisors approved the rules for an 18-month trial.

    SF Chronicle
  • Ratings of 34 child safety seats in frontal-impact crash tests, announced on Thursday by Consumer Reports, awarded the top ranking of Best to just 13 of the seats. A new testing procedure, said by the magazine to represent an investment of more than a half-million dollars and over two years of work, was developed to evaluate the crash protection provided by child seats. The results are intended to equip parents with the information needed to compare the safety level of seats, in this case those designed for infants.

    New York Times
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    National efforts in the last decade to clear the air of dangerous particulate matter have been so successful that most urban areas have already attained the next benchmark, according to new research by Rice University.

    Science Daily
  • What makes cities in India and China so frustrating to drive in -- heavy traffic, aggressive driving style, few freeways -- makes them ideal for saving fuel with hybrid vehicles, according to new research from the Lawrence Berkeley national Laboratory. In a pair of studies using real-world driving conditions, they found that hybrid cars are significantly more fuel-efficient in India and China than they are in the United States.

    Science Daily
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    Doubts about the High Speed Rail Authority’s ability to fund its estimated $68 billion program dominated last week’s Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hearing (see the background report in this PDF). Committee Chair Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) said he was “somewhat skeptical” about the Authority’s 2014 Draft Business Plan and questioned CAHSRA CEO Jeff Morales on the authority’s reliance on uncertain funding sources. “You couldn’t get a [small business loan] based on what we’re assuming here,” DeSaulnier told Morales, referring to the high cost estimates and funding prospects in the Business Plan.

    Streetsblog LA
  • ...We're driving less. Adjusted for population growth, the number of vehicle miles driven per year has dropped 8.9 percent since peaking in 2005...But a new study co-led by myself; Evelyn Blumenberg from the University of California, Los Angeles; and Casey Dawkins from the University of Maryland suggests there is at least one group that may need help to drive more, not less: low-income residents of high-poverty neighborhoods.

    Atlantic Cities