Are L.A.'s Transit Plans Too Big for Eric Garcetti?

November 4, 2013
A New Mayor Inherits the Ambitious Task of Kicking a City’s Car Habit

Here are a few things you probably think you know about Los Angeles: It is a freeway-riddled, car-dependent traffic jam where nobody walks past their driveway. This is the cartoon version of L.A., a cheap shorthand of stereotypes and decades-old perceptions that the city has struggled to shake.

Inside the Transportation Data Tug of War

January 29, 2019
How cities and new mobility services are battling over the data they create.

The relationship between cities and new mobility companies was tense from the start.

Uber, which launched in San Francisco in 2010, had spread across the country by the end of 2011, opening operations in cities like Seattle, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C. Slowly in some places, immediately in others, the company found itself in bureaucratic showdowns with city councils, mayors and regulators. Bans were proposed, cease and desist letters were sent, lawsuits were filed. Silicon Valley-style disruption was veering towards chaos.

Street Smart

July 1, 2017
For almost 100 years, UCLA has been a leader in solving complex transportation problems, applying multidisciplinary excellence in the heart of a congested city.

There may be no American city more defined by its transportation than Los Angeles. It’s the epicenter of freeway-urbanism, the postwar urban planning playbook many cities across the country and around the world used to try to accommodate the automobile. L.A.’s sheer geographic spread makes it less a city than a conglomeration, a multinuclear, connect-the-dots of mobility patterns where interminable rush hours beg new terms to subdivide the day.

The E-commerce Revolution

March 10, 2016
Online shopping boom testing infrastructure's limits

It was the peak of the holiday shopping season in 2013 when the package delivery system fell apart. Retailers promising online shoppers fast delivery for last minute orders created a tsunami of packages that hit the parcel delivery companies so hard in the days before Christmas that they were unable to get planes to carry all the boxes flooding distribution centers.
The orders had far exceeded UPS and FedEx projections. Thousands of customers were issued apologies and UPS reportedly refunded more than $50 million.

If an Electric Bike Is Ever Going to Hit It Big in the U.S., It's This One

July 29, 2014
Is the Copenhagen Wheel poised to become the next big thing in alternative urban transportation?

On a sunny but brisk spring morning near the Charles River in Cambridge, I took a test ride on the bicycle of the future. No rockets or lasers (alas), the bicycle of the future looks pretty much like the bicycle of the present. But with the first pumps of my feet on the pedals, I felt the difference. The bike wasn't just moving, it was pushing, adding extra propulsion to my own pedaling, giving me a boost with every revolution of the pedals. Faster than expected, I reached the end of a quiet block leaning into a corner.

S.F. Yacht Race Inspires Changes on Dry Land

March 24, 2011
In two years the world’s biggest event on water will take place in San Francisco. But, like many other mega-sporting events, the 34th America’s Cup is expected to have no small impact on land.

With an expected draw of hundreds of thousands of spectators, San Francisco is already contemplating plans to capitalize on the crowds and prestige of the America’s Cup. While it’s no Olympics or World Cup in terms of scope, the event does present the city with an opportunity to bring about long-term changes. San Francisco was named as the host of the event on December 31, and its plans – both short- and long-term – are already unfolding.

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The Challenges Facing South Africa and its World Cup

March 31, 2010
The road to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup has been long for the 32 national teams that have made the final cut of the world’s most-watched international sporting event. But that road has been longer, rougher, and much more expensive for the Republic of South Africa, which was chosen as the host of the 2010 event back in 2004. In the intervening six years, South Africa has laid out a strategy for using the multi-city soccer tournament as a catalyst for local economic development and countrywide infrastructure investments.

Those preparations are underway, and the country has made broad physical and institutional improvements since being chosen to host the tournament. But with less than three months until kickoff on June 11, South Africa still faces many challenges and unanswered questions – not the least of which is what happens after the World Cup is over.

News Summary: Cities Cutting Back

December 4, 2008
It is a confusing time for cities and the people who work for them. On the one hand, the recent election showed a groundswell of support for new investment in infrastructure. At the same time, cities are facing mounting fiscal problems as the wave of the mortgage crisis hits home. How are cities making the tough decisions?

Americans passed $75 billion in funding for public transportation, from a bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles to an elevated commuter rail system in Honolulu. Voters also overwhelmingly elected a presidential candidate that is promising to invest attention (and hopefully, dollars) in cities through the new Office of Urban Policy. He’s also supported creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to the tune of $60 billion over the next 10 years.

Removing Cars to Create Public Space

October 2, 2008
Cars dominate cities, especially in America. But as many cities in other countries have found, removing cars can turn busy streets into lively public places. Now the U.S. is starting to catch on.

Public space has a loose definition. It can be sidewalks, government buildings, or even streets, which account for nearly a third of the land area in an average city. But in people's minds, "public space" is a park or a forest or a beach – places associated with recreation, the out-of-doors and that "nature" thing we tend to divorce ourselves from. Making a connection between the idea of public space and the mundane reality of potholes and rush hour can be difficult.

Best Ideas of the Week - 3

April 18, 2008
From public transit to public parks to public space, this past week brought a lot of interesting and innovative ideas in the world of urban planning.

-El Paso on Fast Track to Transit

-Keeping Construction Projects From Blocking Sidewalks

-A New Era Of Urban Parks?

-A Holistic Approach To Planning For Traffic Impacts

-Creating A Bicycle Commuter System

-Youngstown Plans For A Smaller Future

-Creating A New Vision For The Nation's Transportation System