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Transport - July 19

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New York City's traffic fee plan wins state OK

New York City's congestion pricing plan cleared a key hurdle on Thursday, when the state government finally authorized it to begin installing "the needed equipment" though lawmakers denied it the ability to impose an $8-per-car fee without their approval.

The accord was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Eliot Spitzer -- a few days after a federal deadline for $2 billion in aid sought by New York and eight other cities.

...Bloomberg modeled his program after London, which in 2003 started charging motorists fees to encourage them to use mass transit.

New York City will be the first big U.S. city to use this gridlock-fighting method if the mayor's plan -- which even he feared was doomed earlier this week -- is enacted
(19 July 2007)

What drives quality of life for seniors? Driving

Glenn Miller, Gordon Harris and Dr. Ian Ferguson; Globe and Mail
Demographers have been telling us for some time that Canadian society is aging, but a sense of urgency is just now emerging, heightened by the release of new data from Statistics Canada. Not surprisingly, the focus is on problems related to pension shortfalls and rising demand for government services, such as health care.

But there is a more fundamental problem just over the horizon: Most Canadians depend on their cars to get to work, carry out errands and accomplish the things that provide them with one of the most attractive qualities of life in the world. What happens when we get too old to drive?

As baby boomers enter a critical new stage, a powerful new constituency is about to arise, demanding solutions to problems caused inadvertently by planners and others who have helped make automobiles so central to our lives. After all, this generation of Canadians has higher expectations for mobility than any that preceded it: We grew up with easy access to the car, and we will do what ever it takes to hang on to this privilege - which some already view as a basic right. But as many seniors are already finding out to their discomfort, suburbia is no place to grow old, testing the common assumption that we all gracefully "age in place."

Studies show that our identity and determination of self-worth is often inextricably tied to our cars. So how will seniors get around single-use, car-dependent communities when they can no longer drive? Can places where shops and other essential services are beyond walking distance be successfully retrofitted to accommodate changing needs?
(18 July 2007)

World first: Flying high on pond scum

Denise McNabb, Independent Financial Review
Air New Zealand and airliner manufacturer Boeing are secretly working with Blenheim-based biofuel developer Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation to create the world's first environmentally friendly aviation fuel, made of wild algae.

If the project pans out the small and relatively new New Zealand company could lead the world in environmentally sustainable aviation fuel.

It's understood Air NZ is undertaking risk analysis. If everything stacks up it will make an aircraft available on the Tasman to test the biofuel.

The fuel is essentially derived from bacterial pond scum created through the photosynthesis of sunlight and carbon dioxide on nutrient-rich water sources such as sewage ponds.

Air NZ would most likely test the fuel on one engine while normal aviation fuel would drive the other engine. Fuel is held in cells on the aircraft that can be directed to a specific engine.

None of the parties involved will talk about the joint venture development because of confidentiality agreements but whispers about the project were circulating at the roll-out of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Seattle in the US last week.
(18 July 2007)

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