People riding public transit by Joe A. Kunzler licensed under Creative Commons.

Some cities have started offering incentives to get people to ride transit. “Circular cities” could reduce waste and overconsumption. A study shows how highways have hindered cities’ growth over the last 60 years.

Rewards programs for transit ridership: We have frequent flyer miles and Uber Rewards, but there are no rewards programs set for transit agencies. Ridership on public transit systems across the country is dropping, so some agencies like Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Portland’s bikeshare system are investing in incentives to win riders back. (David Zipper | Wired)

Circular cities use nature as a template: Daniel Johnson at Fast Company takes readers to five circular cities, which mitigate waste and minimize their carbon footprint. Berlin, for example, has had a tradition of greening rooftops for about a century. In Brooklyn, a “sponge park” helps mitigate the collection of polluted runoff in the Gowanus Canal. China has even begun a “sponge city initiative” to minimize flooding and absorb more rainwater for recycling. (Daniel Johnson | Fast Company)

How highways ruined your city: A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that between 1950 and 2010, highways slowed growth in income, population, and land values in city centers, while having the opposite effect in outlying areas. This study has been submitted to a journal for peer review. (Darryl C. Murphy | Plan Philly)

Behind Amazon’s HQ2 choices: Amazon claims its decision to abruptly pull out of a second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens was not due to politics. It says Northern Virginia became the frontrunner in part because of an annual study of scores with 64 metrics across 10 categories of competitiveness like Workforce, Cost of Doing Business, and Quality of Life. (This probably didn’t hurt either.) (Scott Cohn | CNBC)

The law makes Americans drive: Gregory Shill of The Atlantic posits that in the United States, freedom of movement comes with one critical qualifier: The obligation to drive. In the interests of Big Oil and various auto barons, generations of lawmakers rewrote American life. (Gregory H. Shill | The Atlantic)

Quote of the Week

“But what may be a novel land-use practice in most states is more familiar territory in Oregon. The Beaver State is a pioneer of policies that seek to nudge urban development upwards, rather than outwards.”

Laura Bliss in CityLab discussing Oregon’s move towards allowing more housing.

This week on the podcast, Candace Brakewood of the University of Tennessee and Jonny Simkin of Swiftly talk about the details of real time transit information.