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Effort Under Way to Repeal High-Speed Rail Bond Measure

Officials in five cities will consider whether to throw their weight behind an effort to ask California voters to repeal the bond measure that launched the high-speed rail project....It is too late to gather signatures for the measure to make the November election, and even an overwhelming Peninsula movement would require significant aid from across the state to gather enough signatures to make the next election, in 2012.

Bids are Low for Antioch Bridge Seismic Repairs

The low bid to strengthen the Antioch Bridge against earthquake risks was $38 million, less than half the initial engineering estimate of $93 million, the Bay Area Toll Authority reported Wednesday. The high number of relatively low bids is likely the result of the intense competition among contractors during a slump in the building industry, according to a report to the Toll Authority Oversight Committee.

EV Maker Licenses Smart Charger Technology

Electric vehicle maker Zap (Santa Rosa, Calif.) has licensed technology from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to build user-programmable EV chargers. Zap plans to use the technology in future vehicles and chargers for the U.S. and Asian markets....A rush is on to develop and deploy low cost home and public chargers for the cars before they hit the road. A coalition supporting the Leaf, for example, aims to install a network of public charging stations in select western U.S.

Deciphering the Movement of Pedestrians in a Crowd

How do pedestrians move in the street? How do they interact? Researchers from the Centre de recherches sur la cognition animale (Université Toulouse 3 / CNRS), in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, have carried out a series of studies to improve understanding of the group behavior of pedestrians in urban environments. Published on April 7th in PLoS ONE, their results establish realistic models of crowd dynamics to improve pedestrian traffic management.

China Looks to Rails to Carry Its Next Economic Boom

From one end of the country to the other, China is in the midst of a railroad boom that promises to transform the world’s third-largest economy, after those of the United States and Japan. By making it easier to move people and goods, the railroad mania will gradually shift the center of economic gravity inland, accelerating the development of central and western China in an echo of America’s experience in the 19th century.

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