American highways are so expensive that cities are tearing them down — here’s what they’re turning into

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Traffic moves on the elevated Central Artery in Boston (2003, top). Parks and open space are seen in the same area (2007, bottom). AP

Throughout the 20th century, highways were key generators of economic growth for American cities. They allowed commuters to quickly travel between urban centers and the suburbs, unclogged traffic-ridden streets, and created infrastructure jobs.

But these days, investing in highways is a bad business decision for many cities.

An increasing number of cities around the US are choosing to tear down or transform parts of their dilapidated interstates, rather than repair them. These redevelopments are largely happening because old highways are costly to rebuild, according to Rob Steuteville from a DC-based nonprofit called the Congress for New Urbanism.

For the past decade, Steuteville’s team has documented cities that have or are considering highway removals. He expects the trend to continue to grow.

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Minnesota could soon see solar arrays lining its highways

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Minnesota to launch solar highways.

Solar arrays could soon be seen along the public rights-of-way that line the state’s highway in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released a request for proposal (RFP) accepting bids to build and manage solar arrays, which would provide the state’s grid a new and reliable source of clean energy for at least 20 years.

 

 

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America’s massive trucker shortage and why it’s only getting worse

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The biggest issue is a problem of supply and demand.

Drivers don’t like big rigs on the highways because of their intimidating size and slow speed. Semis are absolutely vital to moving goods around the country. But, the US is on the road to a major trucking crisis. A recent analysis from Business Insider finds that we aren’t producing nearly enough new drivers to fill all the needed seats. By 2022, the shortfall could reach 239,000 people.

 

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Driverless Highways: Creating Cars that Talk to the Roads

Speaking at “Mobility Day” in Shanghai

Futurist Thomas Frey: Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking at a conference on the “Future of Mobility” in Shanghai, China. The event was produced by the very forward thinking people at Lanxess, a German-based chemical company that broke ground the day before on a new facility to expand its already significant base of operation in Shanghai.

 

 

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Are we ready for driverless cars?

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Governor Jerry Brown of California will most likely sign off soon on the proposed bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  It has been characterized by the Obama administration and its other supporters as an effective way to reduce highway congestion. These costs amount to more than $100 billion annually in wasted time and higher fuel expenses.

 

 

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The future of pothole repair is Silly Putty

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Pot holes pepper highways everywhere.

Fixing a hole in a road should be easy—but the fact that our nation’s highways are littered with potholes is testament to the fact that it’s not quite as straightforward as it sounds. But a new solution, inspired by silly putty, could make our streets much smoother in the future.

In fact, the idea—developed by students from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland—has won an engineering contest, reports Science. But prize-winning or not, the idea of mending a road with something like silly putty sounds like madness, right?

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The Alternative Transportation District

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaJs-SbCQ1c&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Short video clip about the opportunities associated
with creating an alternative transportation district.
Recorded at the Plan Fort Collins event on March 3, 2010

Futurist Thomas Frey:  Over the past few years I have been carefully watching what has turned into an explosion of alternative transportation vehicles being developed all over the world. These vehicles include everything from electric and fuel cell scooters, to hybrid motorcycles, to electric skateboards, to turbo-wheelchairs, to dog-powered bikes, to Segways and Segway knockoffs.

 

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20 Creative Billboard Ads

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Special Poster for “Oldtimer”, a big Austrian chain for motorway rest stops.
(Advertising Agency: Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann, Vienna, Austria)

Adertisers want to catch a person’s attention and create a memorable impression.   Billboard advertisements do just that.  They leave the reader thinking about the advertisement after they have driven past it.  They need to be readable in a very short time because they are usually read while being passed at high speeds.  Usually they have only a few words in large print and are humorous or have arresting images in brilliant color.  (Pics)

 

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Superstreet Traffic Design Promises Faster Travel Times by Eliminating Left Turns

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‘Superstreet’ traffic designs result in faster travel times and significantly fewer accidents.

No left turn. That is the simple concept behind the Superstreet traffic design which promises significantly faster travel times, plus a drastic reduction in auto-collisions and injuries. These superstreets are ground level streets – not raised freeways or highways – that allow for greater volume of thru-traffic by re-routing traffic from side streets that would normally be trying to get across the main road. While the idea has been around in urban transport modeling textbooks for over 20 years, researchers from the North Carolina State University have been the first to test the concept in the real world and the results are promising.

 

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Building The Bridge Of The Future With Fiber-Reinforced Plastics Known As FRP

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Neal Bridge

The Neal Bridge is barely a bump in the road for motorists roaring down Route 100 south of this central Maine town. It’s a modest bit of the nation’s infrastructure — two lanes wide and 34 feet long, enough to span a small stream.  The bridge is newer than most, as suggested by the still-black asphalt and the fresh galvanized gleam of the guardrails. But it’s what is underneath that really makes the bridge stand out.

 

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New Technology Can Reduce Number Of Animal Related Accidents

New Technology Can Reduce Number Of Animal Related Accidents 

Large animals are towards the top of the list when it comes to causing accidents in rural areas. Even though many measures are in place to keep these collisions to a minimum, some accidents are unavoidable. However, a new system is currently being tested that could help to reduce the number of animal related accidents even further.

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