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  • Why are new car models released every calendar year? How come there's a new iPhone every 6 to 12 months? And, why do those apps on your phone download updates every few days? These consumer products are the outcomes of a design and production process that values prototyping, rapid iteration, and a learn-from-mistakes approach to production that minimizes the costs of design while increasing the end value to users.

  • Berkeley’s main downtown plaza is set for some major changes in the next few years, and the Berkeley City Council had a chance to share ideas about the project last week. The project is driven in large part by BART, which intends to renovate its station entrances, improve travel through the plaza, at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, repave the area and make it easier to for visitors to navigate the area.

  •  A Metropolitan Transportation Commission committee approved $27 million in funding for a suicide net on the Golden Gate Bridge Wednesday, all but assuring the money will be available to build the barrier on the span.

    Marin Independent Journal
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    A little more than a year ago, when I did an article on the successful second-act governorship of Jerry Brown, I said that among his major ambitions for the state was to create a north-south High-Speed Rail project, or HSR. There wasn't space to go into it at the time, but I was a fan of the project then, and have become more so as time has gone on, even as political controversy about it has mounted. Reasons for my initial pro-HSR outlook:

    The Atlantic
  • Alameda County voters will get a second chance at extending and increasing a transportation sales tax, two years after a similar measure failed to gain the needed two-thirds approval - by just 721 votes. The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a nearly $8 billion spending plan for the transportation tax and to place it on the November ballot. 

    SF Chronicle
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    A group of San Francisco Bay Area cities, counties and water agencies has joined forces for what is being billed as one of the largest single government purchases of all-electric vehicles in the country. The six cities, two counties and two water agencies have gone in together to buy 90 electric vehicles with the help of a $2.8 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional transportation agency, officials with the Bay Area Climate Collaborative said on Tuesday. 

    Mercury News
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    ...new report from the Oregon DOT summarizes the policy steps that took the state from the realization that the gas tax was not long for its treasury, back in 2001, to the passage and pending implementation of the country's first mileage-based funding system, in 2013. Against a backdrop of 21 years of federal gas tax stagnation, 12 years of development looks like a bargain. he beauty of Oregon's system is its flexibility. First is the way people pay.

  • A study by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories concludes that a number of existing gas stations in California can safely store and dispense hydrogen, suggesting a broader network of hydrogen fueling stations may be within reach. The report examined 70 commercial gasoline stations in the state of California and sought to determine which, if any, could integrate hydrogen fuel, based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) hydrogen technologies code published in 2011.

    Science Daily
  • Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have created a lithium ion battery that outperforms the current industry standard by three times. The key material: sand. Yes, sand.

    Science Daily
  • The question of how Uber would spend its billion-dollar investment was never really much of a riddle. More rides in more places has always been the plan...Consider Uber’s kinship with Amazon. The comparison isn’t obvious at first, since Uber doesn’t sell goods, just a service. But their stories are similar. A startup led by a brash, charismatic CEO catches a creaky old industry unaware. It grows quickly, and its popularity explodes as its brand becomes nearly synonymous with the disruptive service it’s offering.