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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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Spy photos capture next-generation Toyota Prius weeks before debut

Spy photos capture next-generation Toyota Prius weeks before debut | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The next Toyota Prius will largely abandon the eco-chic egg shape of its previous three generations in favor of a more traditional sedan profile, spy shots of the new car revealed Friday.
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Apple Gears Up to Challenge Tesla in Electric Cars

Apple Gears Up to Challenge Tesla in Electric Cars | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The maker of iPhones has hundreds of staff working on an Apple-branded electric vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter who said its “Titan” project is designing a vehicle that resembles a minivan.
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Ramping up production of affordable Tesla may take years, Elon Musk says

Ramping up production of affordable Tesla may take years, Elon Musk says | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
DETROIT — A day after General Motors Co. unveiled a prototype of an affordable, long-range electric vehicle by 2017, Tesla Motors Inc. 's chief executive, Elon Musk , said it could take until 2020 to put a comparable mass-market EV into full production.
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Calculations and References | Clean Energy | US EPA

This page describes the calculations used to convert greenhouse gas emission numbers into different types of equivalent units. Go to the equivalency calculator page for more information.

 

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Here is a quick reference for emissions associated with various transportation activities.

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How driverless cars could encourage sprawl – and reshape Bay Area real estate

How driverless cars could encourage sprawl – and reshape Bay Area real estate | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The idea might sound crazy now, but driverless cars could change how cities and the suburbs play off each other.

Via Catherine Kargas
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Look out for them google cars...are they to be part of the problem as well, rather than a solution?

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Catherine Kargas's curator insight, October 4, 2014 12:41 PM

will driverless vehicles contribute to urban sprawl? should we prepare for such an eventuality? should governments start planning?

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Ride services decimate S.F. taxi industry's business

Ride services decimate S.F. taxi industry's business | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
While the MTA regulates the taxi industry, the state Public Utilities Commission has claimed jurisdiction over the new ride services, which typically contract with people to use their personal cars to carry passengers who hail them with a smartphone app. The new companies, unlike taxi operators, have lesser insurance requirements, no restrictions on the number of vehicles they put on the streets, no clean-air standards and less-stringent background checks. Among biggest impacts of the ride services has been the drop in taxi rides taken by people in ramp taxis, which carry people in wheelchairs. Director Malcolm Heinicke wants to make it mandatory for taxis to have e-hailing apps, and taxi drivers said they want the city to keep ride services and limousines out of transit-only lanes and taxi stands.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Change is hard.  This is perhaps a classic example of how poor planning can kill an industry that provides a social good.  Is your grandma going to be able to jump on Uber and get in someone's car when she lands at the airport for Thanksgiving?

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Politicians need to address transport taboos, not just new technology, to meet carbon targets, say researchers

Politicians need to address transport taboos, not just new technology, to meet carbon targets, say researchers | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Transport accounts for 30% of carbon dioxide emissions in the EU, with emissions rising 36% between 1990 and 2007. New research has found a need to dissect the widely-held view that new technologies, such as biofuel and improved aircraft design, will result in carbon reduction targets being met.

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Be wary of the the techno fix.

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Which is better for a city, subways or surface transport?

Which is better for a city, subways or surface transport? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It depends on whether you are trying to build a community or just get out of it fast. A look at Toronto's proposed Scarborough subway.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A tough cookie to crack.  The key here seems to be that we are arguing and vetting which is better, rather than how many more car lanes do we ned to add to the major arterial and freeway corridors.

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Californians grow less reliant on cars, survey finds

Californians grow less reliant on cars, survey finds | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Californians aren't depending quite as heavily on cars for commutes and errands as they did a decade ago, according to a new survey by Caltrans .
PIRatE Lab's insight:

When you give people the right incentives, they will abandon cars.

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Tesla: from the brink of bankruptcy to "auto-pilot" cars

Tesla: from the brink of bankruptcy to "auto-pilot" cars | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
If anyone needed a reminder of just how far Tesla Motors has come in very short period of time, CEO Elon Musk provided it Thursday. Speaking at a panel discussion in San Francisco, he told the audi...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Not new news, but a good overview piece/perspective for folks who are looking for evidence that we need continued vigilance/acceptable risk with regards to new technologies.

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Public transit times in major cities

Public transit times in major cities | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Last year, WNYC made an interactive map that shows transit times in New York, based on where you clicked. Geography graduate student Andrew Hardin expanded on the idea for San Francisco, Seattle, Boulder, and Denver, with additional options and more granular simulations.

 

You can select the time of the day and day of the week, because as we know, transit schedules change, so you can get a more realistic estimate of how long it takes to get from point A to point B.

 

There is also an interesting comparison option, which lets you choose two locations to see which area will get you somewhere else faster. For example, let's say you plan to walk from point A to to point B, or vice versa, and have a third destination in mind. This comparison would help you plan accordingly.

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Since 1997, Toyota has sold 6 million hybrids (1 million of those just in the past 9 months)

Since 1997, Toyota has sold 6 million hybrids (1 million of those just in the past 9 months) | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
From a very humble beginning with the original Japanese Prius in 1997 Toyota's hybrids have come a long way, with 1 million sold in just the past 9 months.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow.  Very interesting to see the increasing rate of unit sales.  I bought mine the year they sold 68,000 in the U.S.

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Need a ride from LAX? Don't call uberX

Need a ride from LAX? Don't call uberX | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Passengers arriving at LAX will no longer be able to use the peer-to-peer ride-sharing service uberX — which connects private car owners with people seeking a ride — to call a car to pick them up at the airport.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

While some peer-to-peer services are messed up (see the bike sharing troubles of Montreal; http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/01/21/264582819/big-bike-sharing-suppliers-bankruptcy-doesnt-doom-u-s-programs), many are making things more efficient.  For example, places like LAX need some help.  There is huge congestion, they had a recent set-back trying to bring light rail to the terminals (http://www.dailybreeze.com/general-news/20140123/metro-board-advances-4-plans-to-connect-rail-with-lax),, and now the often more efficient peer-to-peer rider-car matching service is getting the thumbs down.  

 

I don't beleive the "safety" aspects of the objections.  Rather, this is a threat to the folks who make big money payments (e.g. SuperShuttle) and see plane passengers as their own personal cash cows.

 

This is messed up.  We need as many ways to be as efficient as possible.  Oh, and public transportation!

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▶ Keystone XL needs a one-two punch

President Obama says he'll veto the latest attempt by Congress to push through the Keystone XL pipeline but he hasn't yet committed to rejecting this dangero...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I found this a very interesting piece of PR.  Engaging and effective use of visuals with essentially a budget of zero.

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London’s Abandoned Underground Lines May Soon Become Self Sustaining Cyclist Highways

London’s Abandoned Underground Lines May Soon Become Self Sustaining Cyclist Highways | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
“Outside” is a horrible place for bicycles, as it’s full of weather and cars. However, Gensler, a design firm from the US, has proposed a radical idea: to transform London's abandoned metro and rail tunnels into bike lanes in a system they'd call the London Underline.

Via Anita Woodruff
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Copenhagen Lighting the Way to Greener, More Efficient Cities

Copenhagen Lighting the Way to Greener, More Efficient Cities | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Urban areas around the world are installing wireless networks of streetlamps and sensors that could ease traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions.

Via Anita Woodruff
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How Much Space Do Cars Take? Cyclists Demonstrate How Bicycles Fight Congestion

How Much Space Do Cars Take? Cyclists Demonstrate How Bicycles Fight Congestion | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

People that commute by car spend an inordinate amount of time staring at taillights. There’s no way they’re getting around that traffic in front of them. But what about bike commuters? This group of Latvian cyclists recently created a powerful demonstration of the large footprint created by cars that carry just one occupant.

 

The four cyclists strapped on fragile frameworks shaped like cars, then hopped into the local traffic in Riga to show how much room they would occupy on their daily commute. The difference communicates loud and clear: if these cyclists were actually in cars, they would seriously add to congestion.


Via Lauren Moss
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Russell Roberts's curator insight, October 17, 2014 12:23 PM

Interesting study from Latvia.  Something to think about when fossil fuels  run out or become too expensive to buy. Protection from bad weather is a definite plus for cars.  Or, you could have commuters park their cars in a municipal lot and use bikes to reach their workplaces once they enter the city.  Aloha, Russ.

Jim Gramata's curator insight, October 27, 2014 10:49 AM

Visually compelling look at the power of the bike commute 

Agence Relations d'Utilité Publique's curator insight, November 24, 2014 5:06 AM

Les images parlent d'elles même...

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38 maps that explain the global economy

38 maps that explain the global economy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

AbsoCommerce knits the modern world together in a way that nothing else quite does. Almost anything you own these days is the result of a complicated web of global interactions. And there's no better way to depict those interactions than some maps.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Absolutely stellar assortment of maps displaying our interconnected world and the systems that currently feed our society.

 

You can get lost in this page for hours, so be careful!

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Freakonomics » Parking Is Hell

Freakonomics » Parking Is Hell | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"The episode begins with Stephen Dubner talking to parking guru Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of the landmark book The High Cost of Free Parking. In a famous Times op-ed, Shoup argued that as much as one-third of urban congestion is caused by people cruising for curb parking. But, as Shoup tells Dubner, there ain’t no such thing as a free parking spot."


Via Seth Dixon
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Everyone searching for a parking space has at one time felt that there are not enough spaces where and when you need them...did you know that their are at least 3 surface lot parking spaces for every car in the United States (not including garages, driveways, etc)?  With 250 million passenger vehicles for 316 million people, that means there are 800 million surface lot parking spaces (that account for only 60-70% of our parking needs).  Parking then is a much bigger issue that we want to believe; this is one of the reasons why IKEA is starting to rethinking their construction model that historically has been designed around huge parking lots.   


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 23, 2014 10:01 AM

Everyone searching for a parking space has at one time felt that there are not enough spaces where and when you need them...did you know that their are at least 3 surface lot parking spaces for every car in the United States (not including garages, driveways, etc)?  With 250 million passenger vehicles for 316 million people, that means there are 800 million surface lot parking spaces (that account for only 60-70% of our parking needs).  Parking then is a much bigger issue that we want to believe; this is one of the reasons why IKEA is starting to rethinking their construction model that historically has been designed around huge parking lots.   


Tags: urban, urban ecology, transportation, planning.

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Transit Oriented Development is the key to better cities

Transit Oriented Development is the key to better cities | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A new standard sets out the guiding principles for shifting away from the car and toward a walkable, cyclable city.

Via Anita Woodruff
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New carpool lane on northbound 405 finally set to open

New carpool lane on northbound 405 finally set to open | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

After countless delays, cost overruns, gridlock gripes from Tesla's Elon Musk and a phenomenon known as "Carmageddon," officials Friday will finally unveil on the 405 Freeway the nation's longest continuous carpool lane.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow...it only took a billion dollars, a decade of active planning/construction (on top of our twenty previous years of discussions), unions screaming for the "high paying jobs" the construction would provide, beyond aggravated motorists, etc., etc.

 

Who says we can't do overpriced, car-centric, gasoline-centric, dated-before-it-launches transportation planning?

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Transit Score: Cascadia Smackdown | Sightline Daily

Transit Score: Cascadia Smackdown | Sightline Daily | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The 2014 Canadian Transit Scores are out...and Vancouver, BC clocks in as the third most transit-friendly city in the Great White North, narrowly bested by Toronto and Montreal. Pretty good, eh?

Canadian Transit Scores by...

Via Anita Woodruff
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Protected bike lanes were all the rage in 1905

Protected bike lanes were all the rage in 1905 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A century ago, "an alternative vision of the future of American transportation flickered to life, and then faded."
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Visions of a future unknown.

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As Overseas Costs Rise, More U.S. Companies Are 'Reshoring'

As Overseas Costs Rise, More U.S. Companies Are 'Reshoring' | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Low wages in places like China once attracted U.S. companies. But those wages are going up.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A true price on carbon emissions would further this trend.

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Tesla expands its Supercharger network in Europe, has big plans for USA too

Tesla expands its Supercharger network in Europe, has big plans for USA too | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Tesla's Supercharger network of super-fast charging stations that are powered by renewable energy and are free-to-use for Tesla owners is one of the company's secret weapons.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The plans for 2014 USA stations is exciting.

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