Transportation headlines, Wednesday, October 5

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

Air pollution kills more than 2 million people each year, says World Health Organization (The City Fix)

The World Health Organization released an unprecedented compilation of air quality data last week that shows a dangerous increase in air pollution levels. According to the data, more than 2 million people die each year from indoor and outdoor air pollution, and the collected air quality levels are threatening health in many cities. Classified as among the largest contributors: motor transport, of course. Cheers to all of you who are helping by taking mass transit!

The rise of urban biking (The Nation)

Maybe air quality is what will eventually drive us from our cars. Maybe it will be cost. Or it may end up being a combination of factors. In this interesting piece from The Nation, find figures on how many of us are turning to two wheels and how cities are making it easier. A taste: Bike use has gone up 39 percent nationally since 2001, according to the League of American Bicyclists. And in the 70 largest U.S. cities, commuter bike use is up 63 percent.

Intersections that can sense what — or who — is zooming by (Governing Technology)

Microwaves aren’t just for mac and cheese anymore. Pleasanton, Calif. may be the first city in the nation to test out microwave motion and presence sensors for the purpose of making traffic respond to the presence of bicycles. A longer light, for example, could just be what protects a cyclist making his or her way through a busy intersection.

New app lets bus riders find nearest stops (Ventura County Star)

Bus riders in Ventura County often have a difficult time navigating the six bus systems available. But a new, free Smart Ride iPhone application lets people use their location to be directed to the nearest bus stop. P.S. Coming soon: Go Metro Version 2 (for iPhone, iPad and Android) will serve exactly this purpose. It should be ready in early November. In the meantime, here are a host of other third party apps for your amusement and convenience.