Technology

August 20, 2007, 11am PDT
<p>Traffic sensors on Germany's Autobahn enable researchers to predict traffic jams a day in advance -- with surprising accuracy.</p>
Der Spiegel
Blog post
August 10, 2007, 6am PDT

After the dramatic collapse of the Minneapolis freeway bridge last week, the collective hand-wringing began. The bridge was known to be faulty, but had not been replaced. Our entire public transit system is underfunded, we were told.

In addition to transportation infrastructure, those concerned with urban issues have a litany of complaints about American cities. Our transit systems are not adequately linked to zoning laws. Our high parking requirements doom alternative modes of transit and drive up development costs. Our policies encourage uncontrolled sprawl, which seemingly nobody likes. Planners' recommendations are too often overruled by ill-informed and politicized zoning boards. Our buildings aren't energy efficient. City mayors and councils play politics with projects painstakingly approved through highly democratic review processes. And nobody's happy when local activists hold undue power over individual projects.

The solutions we are given are almost as varied as the problems. More centralized planning is often called for, or perhaps more regional planning. However, this seems highly difficult and unlikely in most places where land use is regulated by many small municipalities. Some suggest the solution is more public input on infrastructure and private projects to enhance their quality, while others think we need less input to speed them along and reduce the costs incurred by delays. Some are convinced elaborate flexible or form-based zoning holds the key to better cities, although implementation seems frustratingly difficult. Some cynics conclude that perhaps it is American cultural biases that produce our flawed cities: maybe Americans just like it this way, living with decaying infrastructure, long commutes, but low taxes.

The motley list of solutions almost never includes the one thing that actually has overcome the myriad of obstacles to good city building before: a broad-based and robust conversation to create solutions, money, and political support.

Robert Goodspeed
August 9, 2007, 2pm PDT
<p>High technology and the Internet will have an increasingly broad impact on the way our cities and communities deal with transportation, traffic, and mobility, according to commentator John M. Eger.</p>
Government Technology
August 5, 2007, 11am PDT
<p>In sun-drenched Arizona, researchers are working on developing new types of pavement that can counter the warming effect of urban heat islands.</p>
The Arizona Republic
August 3, 2007, 7am PDT
<p>A fun new website that attempts to quantify the pedestrian-friendliness of a neighborhood is getting some buzz in the blogosphere.</p>
Streetsblog
August 1, 2007, 1pm PDT
<p>IBM announced the development of a new traffic prediction tool that could help cities maximize their existing infrastructure investments.</p>
CNN Money
July 30, 2007, 11am PDT
<p>An ambitious 5 year project will attempt to catalog all the historic properties in the city using an interactive website.</p>
The Los Angeles Times
July 26, 2007, 7am PDT
<p>The Treasure Valley metro area, centered around Boise, Idaho, is the latest region to explore the ideal of rail transit, with officials looking to Salt Lake City as a model.</p>
The Boise Weekly
July 24, 2007, 1pm PDT
<p>Boston officials hope to recreate parts of the city in the popular virtual world "Second Life".</p>
The Boston Globe
July 18, 2007, 12pm PDT
<p>New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman expounds on the use of IBM’s green technology that enables the congestion pricing system to work in Stockholm, the environmental benefits of road pricing to cities, and the ‘green-collar’ jobs they create.</p>
The New York Times via International Herald Tribune
July 16, 2007, 7am PDT
<p>The marketing departments of many large companies that have setup stores in the virtual world, Second Life, are finding that it's hard to compete with places developed by residents.</p>
The Los Angeles Times
July 12, 2007, 7am PDT
<p>With interest in alternative vehicles growing, a historical look at the fate of one electric bus company 100 years ago.</p>
The Economist
July 10, 2007, 6am PDT
<p>President Bush has often looked toward American technology to make voluntary carbon emission reductions, but that technology often must come from abroad, where industrialized countries are required to make emission reductions per the Kyoto Protocol.</p>
The Wall Street Journal
July 9, 2007, 8am PDT
<p>Architects are using the online virtual reality world of Second Life to create elaborate and expensive 3D models of historic architecture and extravagant homes -- and many people are buying them.</p>
The Guardian
July 4, 2007, 1pm PDT
<p>Project to recreate Oakland's 7th Street will enable users to experience it's historic jazz &amp; blues club scene in a virtual world.</p>
Poynter Online
June 29, 2007, 1pm PDT
<p>A computer model may be able to assist city planners, public safety officials, and researchers in exploring individual pedestrian and crowd behavior in urban spaces.</p>
Pruned
June 25, 2007, 2pm PDT
<p>An ambitious study to charge motorists by the mile, which hopes to address decreasing gas tax revenue for both states and the federal government, will begin in North Carolina's Research Triangle.</p>
The News & Observer
June 22, 2007, 8am PDT
<p>'Vertical farming' -- the idea of growing crops and livestock in high-rise buildings -- could be a solution to the high environmental costs of transporting food from distant farms to dense urban areas.</p>
BBC
June 21, 2007, 8am PDT
<p>Internet search giant Google will give $10 million to support the development of plug-in hybrid cars.</p>
USA Today
June 20, 2007, 1pm PDT
<p>A Brazilian tribe is in talks with Google to use its satellite imaging program to monitor and prevent illegal logging in the tribal reservation of more than 600,000 acres in the Amazon rainforest.</p>
International Herald Tribune