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Why We Shouldn't Rely on Smart Growth Incentives to Fix Sprawl

June 3, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Maryland has been out in front of the push toward smart growth for years. Beginning in the early 1990s, and continuing up through the recently approved PlanMaryland, the state has developed a series of thoughtful incentives designed to reduce sprawl and increase density. The approach favors collaboration over regulation between ...

What's Your City Watching on YouTube?

May 10, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow As if watching YouTube weren't enough of a distraction, you can now track exactly what everyone else is watching on YouTube. Earlier this week the video site launched the YouTube Trends Maps — a geographic display of who's watching what in cities across the United States. The Trends Map displays ...

Surveillance Tech Fills a Void for Cash-Strapped Cities

May 8, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The marathon bombings in Boston have cities across the country asking how they can prevent similar tragedies. For NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, when it comes to preparing for an attack in New York, "the new normal is the old normal." Kelly established a massive anti-terrorism unit after 9/11, and he ...

The Future of Public Roads Is in Private Hands

May 6, 2013 A few weeks ago, the Colorado Department of Transportation reached a 50-year deal with a private investment group to handle the improvement, maintenance, and operation of US 36 between Denver and Boulder. On paper, everyone seems to have made out well. The state gets money up front, the investors get ...

Do Long Commutes Discourage Married Women From Working?

April 24, 2013 It's easy to reduce commuting to a simple measure of getting to and from work, but its residual impact on our personal lives is becoming clearer every day. Commuting causes us stress and general displeasure, which no doubt sours many a mood and stirs up many a marital argument, though ...

Why Driverless Cars Are 'Probably' Legal

March 28, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow We've said it before and we'll say it again: a world with driverless cars isn't that far off. Europeans have been exploring driverless platoons called "road trains" as the future of car commuting. Computer scientists are thinking about how to reconfigure intersections and traffic lights to make driverless city driving ...

The End of Federal Transportation Funding as We Know It

March 12, 2013 This month marks 120 years since the federal government got involved in funding road transportation. (Strange as it sounds, bicycle advocates did the bulk of the lobbying.) The original Office of Road Inquiry — today, the Federal Highway Administration — was a line item with a budget of $10,000. That ...

Open Data Has Been a Boon for City Governments

March 8, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The recent push from cities to release open data is great for residents, but it can be a boon for municipal governments, too. Take the case of billboards in Chicago. Many of the city's commercial real estate owners have skipped the lengthy procedure of obtaining a billboard permit and just ...

City Life Changes How Our Brains Deal With Distractions

January 30, 2013 City life requires a lot of attention. Navigating a busy sidewalk while processing loud storefronts and avoiding rogue pigeons may feel like second-nature at times, but it's actually quite a bit of work for the human brain. Psychologists do know that quick walks through the park can restore our focus, ...

Would we leave disaster-prone cities in the absence of FEMA?

November 9, 2012 Hurricane Sandy highlighted a number of problems that U.S. cities face in the era of climate change. Development has pushed up to the coastline in a way that strikes some as "foolish."Plans for sea walls and storm protections have been met with a lack of urgency. A push for urban ...