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    This year's list covers a range of urgent topics, from the technical to the technological, from the city to the country, from the personal to the professional; all oriented towards a variety of audiences from "Dummies" to "Straphangers."...Common among this year's books is the provision of practical suggestions for meeting some of our greatest challenges: how to grow our economies, how to build multi-modal cities, how to maximize our public spaces, and how to head off environmental collapse.

    Planetizen
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    Bicycle deaths jumped nearly 9 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to data [PDF] released today by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. The total fatalities for cyclists rose from 623 to 677, an increase of 8.7 percent. But injuries to cyclists were down by nearly the same degree, falling from 52,000 to 48,000, a decline of 7.7 percent.

    Atlantic Cities
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    Every state should require all convicted drunken drivers, including first-time offenders, to use devices that prevent them from starting a car's engine if their breath tests positive for alcohol, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday...The board also urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to speed up its research effort with automakers to develop systems that can determine a driver's blood alcohol concentration using infrared light when the driver presses an ignition button. The vehicle won't start if the alcohol concentration is too high.

    SF Chronicle
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    ... A new study [PDF] released Monday by the New Cities Foundation, based in part on data provided by Waze from drivers in the San Jose area, suggests that networked commuters have a more positive experience of their slog around town than drivers who go it alone (or go it with non-networked apps like Google Maps).

    Atlantic Cities
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    ...pedestrian railroad accidents are now the leading cause of death on the rails. More than 7,200 pedestrians have been fatally struck by trains in the United States since 1997. An additional 6,400 have been injured. Each year on average about 500 are killed. In the first nine months of 2012, the number of pedestrian railroad deaths jumped 10 percent, while the number of all other railroad fatalities fell. Even more startling: Based on the miles driven each year, pedestrians are killed by freight and passenger trains at many times the rate they are killed by motor vehicles.

    (The Post-Dispatch began looking into railroad pedestrian deaths in June, shortly after a fatal collision in Kirkwood. It examined hundreds of fatalities across the country. It conducted more than 90 interviews for these articles, talking with victims’ families, railroad officials and workers, regulators, public officials and police, and reviewed thousands of pages of court documents, regulatory filings and industry publications. Read the entire series at stltoday.com/rails)

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • ...So far, roughly $11.5 billion in state and federal sources have been identified for the project, leaving a $57 billion shortfall. Of the remaining funds needed, the authority has projected that $37 billion will come from Washington, yet lawmakers have been divided on the federal spending practices. The GAO report noted several roadblocks. “Given that the program has not received funding for the last two fiscal years and that future funding proposals will likely be met with continued concern about federal spending, the largest block of expected funds is uncertain,” the report said.

    SF Examiner
  • ...While the California High-Speed Rail Authority is trying to quickly spend billions of state and federal dollars on a starter line in the San Joaquin Valley, the tens of billions in federal funds needed to expand the project appear to be entangled in frantic federal budget negotiations.

    Sacramento Bee
  • Sonoma County transit officials Monday agreed to give $6.6 million that would have gone for bicycle and pedestrian projects to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District to buy additional cars. With the extra cars, SMART officials said they can run passenger trains at 30-minute intervals, providing better service, and possibly even extend service to Airport Boulevard north of Santa Rosa.

    Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
  • ...Paving techniques for the past decade-plus are helping keep highways free of pooling water that leads to spinouts, rear-end collisions and other rainy-day mayhem. It's called open-graded asphalt, a mix that uses pieces of gravel tree-eighths of an inch thick...

    Mercury News
  • Women are more likely to ride public transportation to work than men. Men are more likely to drive to work alone than women. The latest data from the American Community Survey of the U.S.  Census show: Of the people who take public transportation to work, 50.5 percent are women and 49.5 percent are male. That might not seem like a difference worth mentioning until you consider the workforce overall.

    Transportation Nation