Road building, traffic safety, oil by rail and air quality: A brimming cornucopia of transportation news

Some days its seems like it rains transportation news.  Today is one of those days.  I’m going to be efficient (read: lazy) and provide a single round-up of several interesting news items:

  1. People are driving less so should we stop building new roads? As the Atlantic Cities reports, vehicle miles traveled in the US is leveling, perhaps declining.  When will we stop increasing road capacity and invest in alternative modes?  (Thanks to Michael Widener for this post.)
  2. This week in my Sustainable Transportation course, we talked about safety.  Lo and behold, a tale of two “cities” spews forth from cyberspace – a map of NYC traffic fatalities and injuries and an article from The Economist about why Sweden has so few roads deaths.  (The Economist article notes that NYC is trying to match Sweden’s success with its Vision Zero Initiative.  One can see why.)
  3. Meanwhile in upstate New York, there is increasing concern about the amount of oil traveling by rail instead of pipelines due to the domestic energy boom.  [NYT: Bakken Crude, Rolling Through Albany].   ‘ “Albany is getting a lot of the risk and almost no economic benefits or jobs from this,” said Susan Christopherson, a professor at Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning.’
  4. Speaking of crude, one reason why Putin is watching developments in the Ukraine is so many of Russia’s gas and oil pipelines pass through it.  [NYT: The Ukraine in Maps]
  5. Finally, air quality is so bad in China it is being compared to “nuclear winter”: sunlight can not get through to crops, potentially threatening the food supply.  [The Guardian: China’s toxic air pollution resembles nuclear winter, say scientists]

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