Tag Archives: infrastructure

World Urban Forum Focuses On Improving City Design

Image via unhadb.org

Image via unhadb.org

The upcoming World Urban Forum, the largest, most diverse conference dedicated to cities, will address how urban design can create equitable, sustainable and livable cities for all residents.

In preparation for the event, which opened Saturday in Medellin, Colombia, and runs through Friday, some of the leaders of the World Resources Institute and EMBARQ, its sustainable transport and urban development initiative, discussed the challenges cities are facing and how they are overcoming them.

Cities bring a wealth of challenges, according to Manish Bapna, executive vice president of WRI, which has offices based in China, India, Brazil and the United States. Poverty is rampant and the urban poor often lack access to basic services, such as public transportation. Although cities currently account for 80 percent of the global GDP, they are also responsible for 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and 1.3 million people die prematurely due to urban air pollution every year.

“The spatial layout of a city has such a strong bearing on whether or not people remain segregated from public services,” Bapna said. “It is crucial to get the design right at the outset.”

EMBARQ, which has offices in Washington, D.C., Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, China and India, works with governments around the world to develop better access (mobility) and urban design by creating examples and working with legislators to improve finance and policy to make the projects possible.

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Filed under cities, infrastructure, public transportation, urban planning

The Great Big Picture Of American Transportation

By Micheline Maynard

Americans spend more on transportation than any other household item except housing. Now, The Brookings Institution has quantified the massive size of what Americans, and government officials spend on transportation.

Writing in the Journal of Economic Literature, Clifford Winston, a Senior Fellow of Economic Studies, sums in up in terms of both money and time.

“Consumers spent $1.1 trillion on gasoline and vehicles commuting to work, traveling to perform household chores and to access entertainment, and traveling for business and vacations, and spent an astronomical 175 billion hours in transit,” he writes.

This averages out to about 100 minutes per day for each and every American (or a little over an hour and a half), valued at some $760 billion.

Meanwhile, companies spent $1 trillion shipping products using their own and for-hire transportation, while the commodities that were shipped were valued at roughly $2.2 trillion. Local, state, and federal government spending on transportation infrastructure and services contributed an additional $260 billion, bringing total pecuniary spending on transportation up to $2.4 trillion, or 17 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2007.

This is as much as Americans spent on health care, and with the total spending on everything transportation related amounting to $5 trillion. Continue reading

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Filed under infrastructure, public transportation

Watch San Francisco’s New Bridge Come To Life

By Micheline Maynard

When I was in California last fall, I headed for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to continue my journey to Palo Alto. Traffic never moves very quickly, so I got lots of time to study the construction project next to me.

Now, that construction project has become a reality. The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge opened this week. It’s supposed to be earthquake proof, and it cost a bundle: $6.4 billion over nearly 12 years.

The wonderful video, from EarthCam, shows the bridge’s progress during the past five years. Thanks to our friends at Jalopnik for this cool discovery.

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Filed under Driving, infrastructure