The New Yorker dives into Americans' love affair with the garage. The head of Atlanta's transit agency has called for $100 Billion in transit improvements. This model can estimate zoned density and help cities improve their housing policies.
America's favorite room: How did the garage become the favorite room in people's homes? In part, when it ceased to be a place to store vehicles, and rather became a “deprogrammed room” for making computers, starting bands, and storing bicycles and family photos. Nonetheless, car ownership is actually increasing in cities and it's unclear what that means for the future of the garage. (Nikil Saval | New Yorker)
A transit moonshot: In Atlanta, MARTA's CEO Jeffrey Parker has called for the transit agency to raise $100 Billion (!) for transit to accommodate the 2.5 million new residents who will be living in the region by 2040. The proposal doesn't have many specifics, but one purpose for the inspirational speech was to make residents believe Atlanta could keep up with cities making big investments in the future, such as Seattle and Los Angeles. (David Wickert | Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Better zoning data could lead to reforms: Since local zoning change has become a national issue, there is a need to gather more information to provide evidence for policy reform. To that end, the Urban Insitute is creating a machine learning model to test density limits in cities. In DC, they created a model that correctly estimates zoned density based on property records. (Emma Nechamkin + Graham MacDonald + Solomon Greene | Urban Institute)
Making sense of transit data: Every day transit agencies release reams of digital transit information, from schedules to turnstile data. To make sense of it, the Nature of Cities (with funding from TransitCenter) has created an Open Transit Data Toolkit that allows users without a programming background to browse and organize the numbers. (TransitCenter)
A new traffic brain for the city: Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba has developed a traffic platform called 'City Brain' to coordinate over 1,000 signals in the city of Hangzhou. The program has been so successful at shortening communtes and enabling quicker emergency response times that the city's national congestion ranking went from 5th to 57th. (Michelle Toh | CNN)
Quote of the Week
“I have really started to notice the improvement as more streets are made quieter and better for walking and cycling – it means it is safer, cleaner and in the end, people can get to where they are going more quickly.”
Nicos Dermi talking to the Guardian about London's new low emissions zones.
This week on the podcast, we're joined by Kelsey Keith, the editor-in-chief at Curbed.