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Civic engagement key to mobility success

Establishing what residents and commuters want and how this can be incorporated into policy has been high on the agenda for transit agencies and departments over the past year. At a recent Cities Today online roundtable, transit leaders spoke about how civic engagement initiatives have helped guide and shape their priorities, policies, and budgets. In Miami, the county-wide Thrive 305 initiative, launched earlier this year by...

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Honolulu’s bike-share scheme in danger of closure

Hawaii’s state capital Honolulu is cutting back services on its Biki bike-share scheme after sustaining huge financial losses during the pandemic. In 2019, the programme registered 1.4 million rides, but the pandemic has cut ridership figures in half. Of the 130 docking stations currently in operation, 40-50 are now facing closure. Bikeshare Hawaii Executive Director Todd Boulanger said that without financial help, the scheme is on...

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New Jersey DOT partners with Rutgers University on mobility testbed

New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has partnered with Rutgers University to develop a testbed for mobility data-gathering, analysis and sharing technologies. The university’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) will install the solutions at multiple intersections in New Brunswick, New Jersey as part of the Middlesex County (MC-SMTG) project in collaboration with NJDOT and tech firm Velodyne...

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Autonomous robotaxi service launched in Beijing

Chinese technology company Baidu has launched the country’s first fully autonomous commercial taxi service in Beijing. The Apollo Go robotaxis will operate at Shougang Park – an industrial park on the west side of Beijing which will be a site for the 2022 winter Olympics. The firm says the taxis are fully driverless and will offer the first commercial service of its kind in China. “Introducing unmanned services is an...

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Charlotte City Council approves electric bus pilot

The US city of Charlotte, NC has approved an electric bus pilot as part of a public-private partnership between the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and eTransEnergy. The scheme will test 18 battery electric bus (BEB) vehicles across the greater metropolitan Charlotte area over 12-18 months, and is supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. In June 2018, the city launched its Strategic Energy...

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Leipzig to introduce €1 a day public transport

The German city of Leipzig is set to gradually introduce a €365 (US$442) annual pass for public transport. From August 1, any resident in possession of a Leipzig Pass – a discounted travel card for those on low incomes – will be eligible to buy the €365 ticket, which provides unlimited access to the city’s public transport system for a year. Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung said the ticket is a socio-political measure combined...

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Voi introduces fines for poor e-scooter parking

Micromobility operator Voi is rolling out a new app feature to encourage e-scooter users in the UK to park correctly or risk a £25 (US$35) fine. The ‘end of ride photo’ feature requires users to submit a photo of their scooter after each ride, to ensure they are parked in a safe and appropriate manner. Those who leave e-scooters lying on the ground or parked obstructing the pavement will receive an email containing a warning and...

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UK accelerator launches innovation hub toolkit

UK accelerator Connected Places Catapult has launched a guide which aims to help jumpstart the UK’s economic recovery by seeding and supporting innovation quarters, districts and corridors. Hubs of Innovation: A playbook for place leaders was created in collaboration with the UK Innovation Districts Group, with research led by The Business of Cities and is designed for place-leaders, anchor institutions and larger stakeholders who...

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Los Angeles sees 22 percent increase in cycling

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has published the findings of a study on active travel in the city, with data revealing a 22 percent increase in cycling compared to 2017. The count, which took place over several weekends in 2019, showed there was a significant upturn in the number of people walking and cycling in places where LADOT had implemented safety and complete street improvements. It also showed that while...

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Tesla CEO denies autopilot was engaged in deadly Texas crash

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied claims the company’s semi-automated driving software was to blame for Saturday’s deadly crash that killed two passengers in Texas. “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD,” Musk tweeted on Monday, in a reference to Full Self-Driving, Tesla’s separate beta semi-automated driver assistance system that still requires driver supervision. He...

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E-scooters to deliver new smart city data in Dublin

Dublin City University (DCU) is set to launch a shared e-scooter scheme to monitor how artificial intelligence (AI)  and computer vision technology can improve safety and provide a new source of data for smart city use cases. The trial, which will last six months, will be carried out by Smart DCU with micromobility technology firm Luna, e-scooter operator TIER and Insight, the Irish research centre for data analytics. “This research...

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France to ban some domestic flights under climate bill

French lawmakers have voted to abolish domestic flights on routes than can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours. The measure is part of a broader climate bill to cut France’s carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030, from 1990 levels. The announcement, made by the National Assembly, will need to pass two more rounds of voting before it is formally approved, and comes days after the state said it would contribute to a...

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Boston pilots free public transport for commuters

The City of Boston is piloting a new scheme that will offer free public transport and shared-bike passes as part of an experiment into how financial incentives can impact commuting behaviour. Workers in five Main Street Districts can apply for the pilot, which gives credits of up to US$60 for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) services and a two-month pass for the city’s bike-share scheme, Bluebike. Applicants will be...